County Hospital - Location Shooting

COUNTY HOSPITAL begins its story on the streets of Culver City, out in front of what was actually the local city hall. Filming concluded with a wild ride far away in a neighborhood known as the south-central district of Los Angeles.

In 1987 Culver City politicians determined that the 59 year-old edifice was not in compliance with certain laws for fire safety, earthquake safety, energy conservation, and access for the handicapped. Sadly this mecca for Laurel & Hardy fans visiting from around the world was torn down. One suspects the city council was run by Charles Middleton.

A new and larger city hall was built nearby. The original structure's facade was incorporated in the new building’s exterior.Certainly this compromise should satisfy fans making a pilgrimage from oh, say, St. Paul, Amsterdam, or Paris to witness and take pictures of living history on sacred ground. Quite right.

Short scenes with a lifeless dummy stunting for Dr. Gilbert supposedly suspended out the hospital window look like they were staged on the top floor of the Culver City Hotel, although they weren't. Wherever they did shoot this footage, real passersby down on Main Street must have seen this in the sky and wondered...well, wondered what? Did they notice Billy Gilbert had lost weight?

The film’s concluding scenes were shot at the vicinity of 48th Street and Second Avenue in south-central Los Angeles. Buildings shown in the background can be easily recognized today by adventurous fans who might be built along the lines of Noah Young and are willing to brave what is now a rough neighborhood. The streetcar tracks and trolley wires seen in the film, however, are long gone. A post-war national conspiracy involving corporate gas, bus, and tire interests saw to that. The streetcar line on Second Avenue was replaced by smoke-belching motor coaches in 1947. More progress.

-- by Richard W. Bann --