Behind the scenes footage of Buster Keaton on location in New York City during the filming of “The Cameraman”, 1928.
“The first shot we attempted in New York was one of me, carrying my tintype camera, crossing the trolley tracks at Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street. As I was doing this, the motorman stopped his trolley in the middle of the crossing and yelled, ‘Hey, Keaton!’ His passengers looked out of the windows and also began to shout things at me.
In no time at all I was surrounded by so many people that the nearest cop couldn’t even get near me …
When I was finally hauled back to the anguished Sedgwick (the director), I pointed out to him the mocking irony of the line in the script describing this scene. It read: 'No one in New York knows that this character exists.’”
- Buster Keaton, “My Wonderful World of Slapstick”
Later that day, Buster telephoned Irving Thalberg at MGM and explained the impossibility of shooting on location. Keaton discarded the over-worked script and made the story his way. For the next thirty years, MGM used "The Cameraman" as a training film, a blueprint for directors, writers, and actors on how to make comedies.