“The Butcher Boy” (1917) Turns 100 Today!

Image result for bk100 buster keaton

We made it, folks. THIS IS IT. Buster Keaton’s very first film–Roscoe Arbuckle’s fantastic The Butcher Boy (1917), distributed by Paramount Pictures–was released on this day 100 years ago. This is when his career in cinema truly began.

Roscoe butcher boy lobby card

Please enjoy this priceless rare lobby card that just popped up on Google out of nowhere.

100 years ago, frames and easels holding bright new posters for The Butcher Boy were being displayed at the movie theaters.

100 years ago, projectionists were threading their projectors with the clean, tightly-wound, shiny new reels of this comedy.

100 years ago, people were walking down the streets on this spring day and stopping in front of the theaters to look at the posters. Maybe they bought a ticket right away, or maybe they made a mental note to come back later.

100 years ago, audiences might’ve sat through a modest stage show before the films began. Maybe newsreels, cartoons, short documentaries, or even a feature would play before they got to see the comedy short.

Maybe a lot of them started laughing the moment Arbuckle came onscreen, being so familiar with that wildly popular funnyman.

Maybe a few of them recognized the young supporting player in the overalls from his many years in vaudeville.

Maybe those who didn’t still took notice of him.

Maybe they gasped when that same young man did a magnificent pratfall where he spun on his head.

Maybe they liked the whole comedy so much that they sat through the feature and then the stage show and other films so they could see it again.

Image result for the butcher boy 1917

Happy 100th, Butcher Boy. Thanks for introducing Buster to the world.

Image result for the butcher boy 1917

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8 thoughts on ““The Butcher Boy” (1917) Turns 100 Today!

  1. Happy Birthday, Butcher Boy! I love that lobby card—and those thoughts that take us back in time. I think I would have been one of those who sat through to see it twice. 🙂

    PS, Bon Voyage!

  2. It is funny to see the lobby card.
    Now if that short was being shown, it might be billed as a Keaton short. Back then, before he was k own, the girl gets the more obvious nod(in 1917, but not in 2017. . ..I wasn’t sure of her name).

    And is the fellow under the ladder (on the lobby card) supposed to be Al St.John?

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