music box stairs
LA Places

LA Staircases: The Historic Music Box Steps

If you are an old film buff and visiting Los Angeles, then stopping by the Music Box Steps is a must for your things to do in Los Angeles bucket list.

Honestly, the Music Box Steps are not as interesting to look at as many of the other LA Staircases that local artists have painted.  The steps have not been painted or decorated in any way.  It’s just a long, long, long staircase.

music box
Totally LA commentator Zeus Lee stands at the base of the Music Box Steps. Be sure to see the video where he climbs them.

Which is what made it perfect for the 1932 Laurel and Hardy comedy, The Music Box.  The MGM film was directed by James Parrott and produce by Hal Roach.  It won the first Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 1932.  It was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 1997 as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

The Music Box is considered the most iconic work by the famed comedy duo.  In it, the duo is hired to move deliver a piano to the home of a woman who purchased it as a gift for her husband.  Arriving at the address, the postman points to the top of the long staircase and tells them the house is at the top.  The duo makes numerous attempts to get the piano up the staircase only to have it come sliding back down the stairs to the bottom each time, while the duo runs from or after it.  One time they actually make it to the top, only to have the piano slide back down to the bottom while ringing the doorbell.

Here they get the stinger.  By this time the postman has made his rounds though the neighborhood and is walking by the house.  He now tells them they didn’t need to haul the piano up the stairs, they could have just driven around the roads to the top and pulled up in front of the house!

The base of the Music Box Steps is located at 936 Vendome Street, just a couple of blocks south of Sunset Blvd.  You won’t have much trouble locating them.  A city street sign reading “The Music Box Steps” and a marble plaque commemorating the steps as the location used in the film are at the base.

Be sure to watch the Music Box on YouTube before you go to see them.  Then when you get to the steps you will marvel at the comedy duo’s athletic ability in addition to their ability to be one of the funniest comedy teams in history.

The staircase has also been used in the 1925 Charley Chase silent comedy, Isn’t Life Terrible.  They were also used in a 1926 Billy Bevan comedy called Ice Cold Cocos.

There are a number of painted staircases in the neighborhood for you to check out as well including the Micheltorena Stairs, the Murray Stairs and the Swan Staircase.  Check out our video below where Zeus Lee takes you on a tour of these iconic staircases.

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