Babe Ruth, Harold Lloyd, His Eyeglasses & New York City star in Speedy


Harold Lloyd was the first movie star to incorporate eyewear in an iconic persona. Babe Ruth was the most famous athlete in history. In 1928 both starred in a movie called “Speedy”. The film has some of the earliest location footage ever shot in New York City.

I’ve been meaning to do a post on Harold Lloyd for a while. His appearance in the collective consciousness was significant. He was the first modern eyewear icon.

We can ponder how his eyeglasses helped him forge his bookish, innocuous, all-American image thereby plunging us into the semiotics of dress yet again. We can also note that the pantoscopic hinge hadn’t been invented yet so almost everything on the market had round lenses with hinges centrally mounted on the eyewire.

But my recommendation is to take a look at Speedy.

I keep watching and staring at New York circa 1928 – Coney Island, Yankee Stadium, numerous locations in Manhattan – and figure others who might not be aware of this footage might want to see it. I think Harold Lloyd’s comedy still holds up somewhat. But the restored versions of the film floating around the internet look so vivid it’s eerie.

Its weird to see all those people, places and things and realize most are long gone.

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