Laurel And Hardy ‘The Music Box’ To Get Sign At Silver Lake Steps Intersection

Laurel And Hardy ‘The Music Box’ To Get Sign At Silver Lake Steps Intersection

Laurel And Hardy ‘The Music Box’ To Get Sign At Silver Lake Steps Intersection

It’s a crisp Tuesday morning, just before 8 a.m., and I’ve managed to snag a prime parking spot along Silver Lake Boulevard, right where it splits at Sunset. This is the same corner where the Silversun Pickups found their name. I step out of my car, leash up Milo, and prepare for a climb. We’re about to tackle a series of historic steps, including the famous Music Box Steps.

Charles Fleming’s book, “Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles,” maps out over 40 pedestrian routes through L.A. County’s urban staircases. Many of these staircases are relics from a time when walking was a primary mode of transportation. Among the most iconic is the Music Box Steps, a 133-step staircase south of Sunset Boulevard, immortalized in the 1932 Laurel and Hardy film, “The Music Box.” Today, these steps are part of a nearly two-mile loop that Fleming outlines in his guide, and that’s the route I’ll be exploring.

Starting from Cafe Tropical, I head south on Parkman Avenue, turn right at Silver Lake Boulevard, and continue until I reach Marathon. A right turn on Marathon, a slight uphill walk to Robinson, and another right brings me to a hidden staircase at 834 Robinson. This stairway, obscured by trashcans and tree growth, descends onto Dillon Street. It’s a quiet, often overlooked part of the walk, and I relish the solitude as I make my way down.

At the base of the stairs, I turn left on Dillon and follow it until it intersects with Vendome. A left turn and a short walk bring me to the Music Box Steps. In the Academy Award-winning short film “The Music Box,” Laurel and Hardy play piano movers struggling to deliver a piano up this steep stairway. The film is a classic, filled with comedic mishaps and physical gags. A small plaque at the base of the steps commemorates the film’s historical significance.

Interestingly, the same steps were used in an earlier film called “Hats Off,” where Laurel and Hardy attempt to carry a washing machine up the stairs. Unfortunately, no prints of “Hats Off” are known to exist, making it a lost film. If it had survived, perhaps these steps would be known as the Washing Machine Steps instead.

Climbing to the top of the Music Box Steps, I notice a change from Fleming’s description. The “eight rickety wooden steps” he mentions have been replaced by a concrete divide, making the climb awkward and unsafe. I turn right on Descanso Drive and continue north until I reach a three-way intersection at Larissa Drive. Carefully crossing the street, I arrive at the Descanso Stairs, a 139-step ascent that takes me to Micheltorena Street.

Turning right up the hill and then left on Winslow, I pass the one-mile mark of my walk. I follow Winslow down to Maltman Avenue, turn right, and then make another quick right down Golden Gate Avenue to reach Sunset Boulevard. The view of the hills from here is stunning, offering a perspective often missed when driving.

Back on Sunset, I turn right and walk about 500 feet to the Micheltorena Stairs, known for their colorful heart and rainbow designs by artist Corinne Carrey. These stairs have become a popular Instagram spot, though they seem less frequented now, perhaps due to the occasional graffiti and debris.

As I climb the Micheltorena Stairs, I pause to observe the recently renovated Silver Lake Towers apartment complex. Nearby, a makeshift dwelling for an unhoused individual features a banner with portraits of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, their soft, angelic features juxtaposed against the urban backdrop. The colors of the banner almost match the hearts on the stairs, creating a poignant contrast.

Reaching the top of the Micheltorena Stairs, I head back to Descanso Drive, following the road as it curves around, offering a view of downtown Los Angeles before arriving back at the top of the Music Box Steps. I descend once more, cross Vendome, and turn left to reach the final landmark, the Garcia Walk. This narrow public walkway, barely wide enough for a golf cart, is a unique feature in a city dominated by cars.

After a quick photo of Milo, I exit the Garcia Walk and head back to Sunset Boulevard, returning to my starting point. The boulevard is busier now, filled with commuters rushing to their destinations. Reflecting on my walk, I realize that these historic staircases offer a glimpse into a time when Los Angeles was more pedestrian-friendly. Perhaps, one day, it will be again.

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