Today I wanted to recognize a milestone birthday for certain beloved comedian–Joseph Frank Keaton, our Buster. (Aside from designing a special Zombie Buster for our Halloween header image. He’d be very grateful, I’m sure.) Today would be his *drumroll* 125th birthday!
Being a BK Superfan and all, I’ve written a sizable amount on his life and work already, so just for your reading pleasure, let’s bust out a good old-fashioned blog post roundup!
Buster Keaton and the Minnesota State Fair — This post is my pride and joy, a rare opportunity to do some film history sleuthing practically in my backyard (I mean, the MN State Fair is basically my second home). And I hope it inspires some of you to see if Buster did any performances in your neck of the woods!
Analyzing the “Molasses Scene” From The Butcher Boy — Taking a cue from John Bengtson’s “Silent Locations” blog, I took a “frame by frame” look at Buster’s very first scene in films. The goal: Can we see evidence that Buster’s first scene was filmed in one take? And what other trivia? As you can imagine, I can safely say that I’ve watched this scene about 100 times by now…!
“He Really Can Smile”–A Charming 1921 Buster Keaton Interview — Taken while Buster was recuperating from the broken ankle he got while filming The Electric House (1922), I thought this was one of his most endearing interviews, one where he seems to be relaxed and joking instead of shy (it helped that his mother Myra was hanging out with him, I’m sure).
Skyscraper–The Silent Film Buster Keaton Almost Made — From the “what if” department comes this fascinating tale of how Buster decided to make a Harold Lloyd-style building-climbing thriller, and how all the plans eventually had to be scrapped–and let’s face it, with Buster’s fondness of doing stunts For Real, maybe this turned out to be a blessing.
Thoughts On: One Week — My piece on one of Buster’s finest shorts, and one of the most perfect comedies ever made if you ask me.
Sybil Seely, Buster’s Most Charming Leading Lady — Here’s another pride and joy of mine, the product of quite a bit of research! I must modestly add that I also wrote a similar article for the Keaton Chronicle. The lovely Sybil certainly deserved some attention!
My Experience At The 2017 Buster Keaton Convention — The Damfinos’ convention is virtual this year, much to the sadness of everyone who enjoys journeying to Muskegon every year, but it will be back better and stronger than ever! This was my experience a few years back, and it was genuinely the most perfect weekend I could ever have hoped for (and I made a presentation, too!).
Reviewing ALL of Buster’s 1930s Educational Shorts! (Yes, Talkies) — This post was just such a chore to research /obviouslysarcasm. Maybe a round two is needed for his Columbia talkies!
So, About Buster and Charlie’s Limelight Scene… — This being one of the most famous scenes from classic comedy, and a real gift to the world, it deserved a closer look…especially since it’s the source of many pervasive, but likely unfounded, rumors.
Buster’s Wife’s Relations: Getting To Know The Talmadge Family — If you’re one of those folks who just thought “Oh no, those awful Talmadges!” then this piece is for you! The Talmadges are some of the most caricatured figures in Hollywood history, and I’m hoping to get the words out that maybe, just maybe, we need to get to know them better.
Book Reviews: Keaton By Rudi Blesh And Tempest In A Flat Hat By Edward McPherson — Looking for some good books on our favorite straightfaced performer? Here’s my reviews of two of the most popular ones.
Were Chaplin And Keaton Rivals? — This is on Silent-ology’s “Greatests Hits” list, for sure. It’s a question that comes up often among silent comedy fans, but perhaps the real answer involves getting acquainted with some historical context.
Alrighty! That’s a decent amount of reading for today, I hope you enjoy it! And now, it’s time to start baking a birthday cake. Happy 125th, Buster!