Sisyphus Rising


In 1932’s The Music Box, Laurel and Hardy attempt to deliver a piano to Professor von Schwarzenhoffen, who lives at the top of a long series of steps. Thousands of fans relished the antics during the four-day shoot in Silver Lake and swarmed the actors at lunch breaks. The crate, of course, was empty during its ascent but contained an actual piano for the descent. In this still from the film (inset), the scholar scoffs at the idea of walking around the obtrusive package; the present-day image was shot from the base of the stairs because apartments now obscure the view. The City of L.A. later named the staircase “Music Box Steps.” A green space across the street became Laurel and Hardy Park. Don’t look for the professor’s house, though. It was a studio set.