MERRY CHRISTMAS to one and all! I hope your holiday’s been merry and bright so far–mine sure has!
A fellow Buster fanatic reminded me of this fun clipping that I shared on social media some years ago. It’s a little glimpse into what Christmas was like at Buster Keaton’s house back in the late ’20s (or early ’30s?), and it simply must be shared again!
If the clipping’s a bit challenging to read, here’s a handy transcript:
“Although the sun shines at Christmas in Hollywood, and thin dresses are worn, the good old Christmas spirit is not lacking in the homes of film stars.
“Parties are given on Christmas Eve as well as Christmas day. In the homes of Jack Holt and Buster Keaton for instance, where children form such an important part of the festive season, the decoration of a Christmas tree for the kiddies is made an excuse for a Christmas Eve party for the grown-ups.
“Mrs. Keaton who was Natalie Talmadge, always invites ten or twelve friends to help her and Buster to decorate their Christmas-tree. The guests arrive about 8 o’clock when Joe and Bob Keaton are in bed, dreaming of Santa Claus. Natalie gives all the girls a big overall, while Buster produces green baize aprons for the men. Then the serious business of the evening begins.
“The tree is carried into the hall; a tall ladder is produced; and on a table box after box of glittering baubles for the tree stand waiting to be used. Up the ladder goes Constance Talmadge, while Norma helps her brother-in-law blow out a string of coloured balloons.
“As a rule, the Keaton’s guests include in addition to Mrs. Talmadge, Norma and Constance such cheery people as William Haines, Dorothy Sebastian, Marceline Day, Gilbert Roland, Louis Wolheim–who is a tower of strength on these occasions–and probably, John Gilbert.
“While half the party concentrates on the tree, some of the others tie up dozens of parcels in gay holiday-patterned paper, with huge bows of scarlet ribbon. The remainder get very busy with evergreens and mistletoe, making trails and those big green rings that hang in every Californian home at Christmas. The wireless set provides music, also the gramophone, and most of the workers sing while they toil.”
Unfortunately I lost the source of this clipping and can’t seem to find it again (although admittedly I’m in a holiday food stupor already, which doesn’t help…!). If you know where it came from, feel free to comment, please and thank you.
Have a lovely day, and Happy New Year! And be on the lookout for the Silent-ology end-of-the-year silent film news roundup–next on the list. Well, once that Christmas food stupor wears off…!