Speedy (1928) by matthew c. hoffman

Advance tickets now available at the Pickwick Theatre!
In Speedy (1928), Harold Lloyd must preserve the old traditions and save New York City’s last horse-drawn trolley. This is also a film about helping friends who are in need. Across the cobblestone streets of old New York, Harold must race his trolley like a chariot in a desperate attempt to keep Pop Dillon’s business going.  Shot on location in New York, this rousing crowd-pleaser is a valentine to the Big Apple with its wonderfully evocative images of Coney Island. It’s a time and place not completely gone from memory. Lloyd has captured it so brilliantly on film. He did it in a way that, eighty-three years later, still gets us excited. As the New York Times reviewer wrote in April, 1928: “…wherever Mr. Lloyd takes you in this film he rather makes you regret that you haven’t been there for some time.”

Speedy is infused with a spirit of life and youth. It is this energy and joy which Harold brings to the role that becomes contagious for viewers. He is both funny and romantic– in a leading man sort of way– that no other comic could match; no other comic was as normal as Harold Lloyd.  Harold the man was every bit the high-energy character we see on the screen.  (As a bit of trivia, “Speedy” was actually Lloyd’s nickname in real-life, given to him by his father.) 

Lifestyles change and the years go by, but it’s hard to imagine any contemporary audience being disappointed by this film. And with baseball season’s Opening Day just around the corner, what better film to showcase than this one in which Harold plays a baseball-obsessed soda jerk who can’t hold down a job! (But when you are as resourceful and optimistic as Harold, you don’t stay unemployed for long.) This would be his last silent film and, some would argue (myself included), his last great film. Speedy was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Comedy Direction (Ted Wilde)– the only year this category existed.

Speedy also stars Ann Christy, Bert Woodruff, and “King Tut” the dog!


The Park Ridge Public Library and the Silent Film Society of Chicago (in partnership with the Pickwick Theatre) will be screening this wonderful film on April 10, 2011, at 6:30 pm. We will be playing a 35mm print of the film direct from the Harold Lloyd Foundation. A live organ accompaniment will be provided courtesy of Jay Warren of the Silent Film Society.

In addition, there will be a short film preceding the feature: 1921’s “Never Weaken,” which also stars Harold Lloyd. Admission is only $8. (The first 500 theatregoers will receive a commemorative ticket for this event.)

“The King of Daredevil Comedy” in 1921’s “Never Weaken.”


This was how the film was meant to be seen– not on a tv screen or, even worse, on youtube! We’ll be experiencing it in an art deco palace erected the same year Speedy was released. This one-night only screening is the centerpiece of the Park Ridge Public Library’s “Legends of Laughter” film series, so we cordially invite you to be there for this special event. Like Harold’s character in the movie, we are trying to keep the old traditions alive. More specifically, in our case, the tradition of silent film. This is an authentic presentation we hope you will enjoy. 

During the intermission between films, be sure to visit “Those Were the Days” radio host Steve Darnall, who will be joining us as a special guest. (Check out the spring issue of his “Nostalgia Digest” for the cover story on Dick Powell!)

Special thanks to Dennis Wolkowicz of the Silent Film Society of Chicago, Dino Vlahakis of the Pickwick Theatre, and Laura Scott of the Park Ridge Public Library. Without their participation this event would not be possible.


One Response to “Speedy (1928) by matthew c. hoffman”

  1. You probably don’t remember me but I was one of the people who came to the Lassalle Theater. My family was the one that came from the Wisconsin boarder every now and then.

    I heard you were doing good things for the library and I just thought I’d say “Hi.” Keep at it and don’t let the movies down (like you ever would).

    By the way, this is just a user name. You would know me by Elizabeth Rye (if you remember – its Ok if you don’t you were always busy).

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