During the famous clock tower stunt, Harold Lloyd is not as far from the ground as he appears. The building on which he climbs was actually a fake wall constructed on the roof of an actual skyscraper and skillfully photographed to maintain the illusion.
The movie begins with the girlfriend’s harsh ultimatum to Harold, off to the big city to get a job: “It would just break my heart if you failed.” Indeed Harold fails immediately - while enthusiastically waving goodbye he boards a horse-drawn wagon instead of the departing train!
A stuntman revealed for the first time in the television documentary, Hollywood (1980), that he doubled for Lloyd in the long shots of him climbing the building in the distance. Up until then, even the Time-Life version of Safety Last! contained an opening title declaring that Harold Lloyd climbed the building himself and without the use of a stuntman or trick photography.
Harold Lloyd got the idea for this film when he saw Bill Strother climbing the Brockman Building in Los Angeles as a stunt one day. Bill Strother also plays Lloyd's pal, "Limpy" Bill in the movie.
In 1919 Harold Lloyd lost his right thumb and index finger when a prop bomb that turned out to be real exploded. Once recovered, he went back to making movies, wearing a white glove while on screen to hide his damaged right hand. He did his stunts dangling from ledges, clocks and windows, using only 8 fingers!
Harold Lloyd ranks alongside Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton as one of the most popular and influential film comedians of the silent film era. He is best known for his bespectacled ''Glasses'' character.