The Battle of the Century - Location Shooting

The pie war was waged on the studio's well controlled backlot; one wonders how, and by whom, it was all scrubbed and cleaned.

Anita Garvin remembered that "all those cream pies attracted bees. Seemed like there were thousands of bees buzzing around the pies as the day wore on. Some of those extras went home early they were so scared. I did my scene over the noon hour, before it got so bad. The director was Clyde Bruckman, and he said not to worry, you know? Right! But who believed him? Of course I would have done anything for Stan, and did! As you can see!"

The park scene, judging from still photos, since no footage survives, may have been shot near the Culver City Hotel.


In a recent discovery, the boxing match was filmed at the Culver City Stadium, located at 3835 Overland Avenue, just north of M-G-M. Like much of the film itself, the boxing arena is gone now too.

Sometime around 1960, Stan Laurel explained to actor Chuck McCann that originally he had a different venue in mind for the boxing match. He wanted to stage the fight outdoors, in the open, at night, with the crowd in the dark, illuminated only by their cigarettes. After being knocked cold, Stan was going to remain in a prone position on the canvas. Then the camera would pull back to reveal the transition to morning -- daylight in the sky as the sun comes up. Stan has not moved from where he'd been dropped in the ring. The camera movement would also reveal Ollie is now sitting at ringside, all alone, solemnly reading the morning newspaper.

It's not clear why this plan was altered. It's also not clear why Oliver Hardy wears eye makeup in his scenes as boxing manager for Stan Laurel!

-- by Richard W. Bann --