Buster And “Big” Joe Roberts, A Lasting Friendship

This is my own post for the Ninth Buster Keaton Blogathon. Please enjoy, and don’t forget to check out all the other wonderful posts, too!

If there was an official “gentle giant” of silent comedy, in my book it would have to be “Big” Joe Roberts, of Buster Keaton film fame. The jowly, 6-foot-3-inches performer played a number of intimidating “heavies”–and at least one bashful farm hand–in nearly twenty of the famed (and more diminutive) comedian’s films.

But Buster and Big Joe weren’t just coworkers but long-time pals, vaudeville veterans who spent their summers in the same quiet neighborhood of Muskegon, Michigan and shared countless memories of lakeside fun and hijinks. In fact, Big Joe’s house was just down the hill from the Keaton family.

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The Ninth Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon

*Checks calendar* What, it’s that time of the year already? Why yes! It’s time for:

If you told me back in 2015 that this blogathon would be going strong almost a decade later…well, I would’ve been darn pleased!

I’m excited about the variety of topics our participants chose this year (not that every year isn’t exciting) and I hope you are, too! My fellow bloggers always do a lovely job and I know our readers appreciate it. So let’s get to it!

Bloggers: Please send me the link to your post whenever it’s ready today or tomorrow! I’ll be updating the roster throughout the blogathon. Don’t forget that I’ll be holding a drawing for all participants, the winner receiving a copy of Buster’s talkie Doughboys (1930). The drawing is scheduled for March 15.

Readers: Drop by periodically to see the latest posts–and don’t forget that we bloggers love to read comments!

Wondering what the previous ‘thons were like? Here are the links to the First, SecondThird, FourthFifthSixthSeventh aaaaand Eighth Annual Buster Blogathons–okay, I should really start a BK Blogathon Library page at this point!

The Roster:

Silent-ology | “Buster and ‘Big’ Joe Roberts, a Lasting Friendship” essay

Classic Film and TV Corner | Sherlock Jr (1924)

Silver Screenings | One Week (1920)

Cinematica | The Cook (1918)

Nitrateglow | “A Spotlight on Kathryn McGuire” essay

The Thoughts of One Truly Loved | “Inaudible Melodies” tribute video

Welcome to My Magick Theatre | Our Hospitality (1923)

Big V Riot Squad | “Buster Keaton’s Silent Shorts–Reel Two and a Half” essay

Taking Up Room | Parlor, Bedroom and Bath (1931)

Whimsically Classic | “Buster Keaton’s Influence on Lucille Ball” essay

The Inimitable BK | “Natalie Talmadge: The Early Years” essay

Buster Blogathon 9 Is A Week Away!

Attention all readers! The Ninth Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon is only a week away–man, how time flies. I’m looking forward to another great selection of thoughtful posts, and I’m sure you readers are too!

If you’re a blogger who hasn’t signed up and are interested in joining, jump on in! I’ll even accept new participants during the blogathon itself, because why not. The more the merrier!

Update: As many of you know, every year I hold a little drawing for blogathon participants (using my handy 1920s-style cloche hat) as a thank you. This year I’ve decided to give away a DVD of Doughboys (1930), one of Buster’s early MGM features and his second talkie overall. While many fans aren’t wild about his MGMs, most look kindly upon Doughboys and Buster himself was pleased with it, too. It’s also interesting to see Buster drawing on his real-life experiences in WWI.

So here’s what we have to look forward to next week!

The Roster:

Silent-ology | Big Joe Roberts and his friendship with Buster

Whimsically Classic | Buster’s influence on Lucille Ball

Taking Up Room | Parlor, Bedroom and Bath (1931)

Nitrateglow | Buster’s leading lady Kathryn McGuire

Welcome to My Magick Theatre | Our Hospitality (1923)

Silver Screenings | One Week (1920)

The Thoughts of One Truly Loved | “Buster Melodies” tribute video

Classic Film and TV Corner | Sherlock Jr (1924)

Cinematica | The Cook (1918)

Inimitable BK | Article on Natalie Talmadge

Big V Riot Squad | “Buster Keaton’s Silent Shorts–Reel Two and a Half” essay

UPDATE: Less Than A Week Until The Silent Movie Day Blogathon!

It’s coming closer! The Silent Movie Day Blogathon hosted by myself and In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood is a mere six days away!

Silent Movie Day–destined to be one of your favorite holidays, behind Thanksgiving and Christmas–is an official yearly celebration of the silent era. Anyone can participate in any way they choose: by watching silent films, sharing the love of them on social media, hosting a screening, donating to an archive…whatever works for you! We decided to host a silent film blogathon for the second year in a row, and happily quite a few people have signed up. (If you’re interested, there’s still time–no pressure!) We’re almost there, folks!

Hooray!

I did want to add that goodness, I’ve been a bit AWOL this month, haven’t I? Probably the most since Silent-ology started, surprisingly enough. But it’s for a good reason–on top of a couple other non-blog-related writing projects, I’ve been asked to contribute a program essay to one of my favorite film festivals. So happily, my writing time and attention has been well occupied lately! So never fear, Silent-ology is rarely far from my mind, and if I’m ever AWOL it’s probably because it lead me to an exciting opportunity (and I can’t get by without sleep, ha ha).

Also, a reminder: October is coming.

“Excellent.”

Without further ado, a copy of le roster:

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The Eighth Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon

UPDATE: Day 2 of the blogathon has begun! Be sure to check out any new posts, more are trickling in!

And just like that, our annual Busterthon is back–for year eight!!

And I’m proud to say that we have a great turnout this year and a wide range of topics–participants always do an amazing job, and this year’s no exception. So find your coziest chair, make a pot of your favorite tea, and please enjoy!

Bloggers: Please send me the link to your post whenever it’s ready today or tomorrow. (Many thanks if you already have!) I’ll be updating periodically throughout the blogathon. Don’t forget that I’ll be holding a drawing for all participants, the winner receiving a copy of the fabulous new James Curtis biography Buster Keaton: A Filmmaker’s Life. The drawing is scheduled for March 16.

Readers: Drop by often to see the latest posts–and don’t forget that we bloggers adore comments!

Wondering what the previous ‘thons were like? Here are the links to the First, SecondThird, FourthFifthSixth and Seventh Annual Buster Blogathons–whew! Just in case you were hoping to find something to read about Buster…!

The Roster:

Silent-ology | Reviewing All of Buster’s MGM Features

Cinematica | The Scarecrow (1920)

University of Iowa Libraries blog | Article on the Marion Meade research paper collection

La Pantalla Enmudecida | “Buster and My Nieces: A Personal Story” essay

Silver Screenings | The Haunted House (1921)

Realweegiemidget Reviews | Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)

dream in dizzy sunlight | Go West (1925)

The Thoughts of One Truly Loved | “How I Fell For Buster Keaton” essay

Taking Up Room | College (1927)

Way Too Damn Lazy to Write a Blog | “Mr. Keaton Goes to the Columbia Shorts Department” article

Big V Riot Squad | “Buster’s Silent Shorts–Reel 2” article

Century Film Project | Cops (1922)

nitrateglow | Reviews of the books The Vampire Diary of Buster Keaton and Bluffton

Whimsically Classic | The Great Buster (2018) documentary

MovieRob | The Cameraman (1928)

Inimitable BK | “Adventures With Horses” essay

The Wonderful World of Cinema | Buster Keaton’s appearance on The Donna Reed Show

Critica Retro | Buster Keaton: The Genius Destroyed by Hollywood (2016) documentary

Rekha’s Sousaphone | Modern adaptations of Our Hospitality in Indian cinema

One Week Until Buster Blogathon 8!

Only seven days to go, everyone, until the great annual Busterthon returns for the 8th year in a row!!

I’m excited to see all your posts, everyone! (And I’m, ahem, still working on my own…!) The official roster is below–and if you’re a Keaton-loving blogger who’s just hearing about all this, you’re still welcome to join! The more the merrier, I say.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: The Eighth Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon!

I’m sure you knew it was coming–and it’s here! I’m officially announcing that the great Busterthon is coming back, for an eighth year in a row!

When: Monday, March 14 and Tuesday, March 15, 2022.

Where: Right here on Silent-ology!

Senseless Cinema: Buster's Blockbusters: The Commercial Success of Buster  Keaton's Features

How: To join in:

  • Please leave a comment on this post and let me know which Buster film or Buster-related topic you’d like to cover. (Or you can feel free to send me a message).
  • Help spread the word about the event by adding one of my banners to your blog! (I went with more of a “classic banner” look this time–it’s always fun coming up with different designs!)
  • During the blogathon itself, when you publish your post please leave me a comment with the link to it (or you can send me a message). Publish whenever you have time during March 14th and 15th!
  • Don’t forget to mention Silent-ology and the blogathon in your post, if you please, to help publicize the event.
  • You can definitely publish your post before the 14th if you want (many do), just give me a head’s up. Just know that Silent-ology will be putting up the official blogathon post with all the new links only on the blogathon dates.

What to write about: Anything and everything Buster! (Check out his filmography for some ideas.) You can write about one of his short films, one of the actors who appeared onscreen with him, his costume in a particular film, his influence on a certain actor/director, an experience you had at a Buster screening, a piece of art you made about him–whatever you like! There’s infinite ways to celebrate our brilliant comedian. Also: Duplicate topics are 100% allowed! Everyone has a different perspective, so 2-3 posts on the same film are welcome.

Buster Keaton! | Il Cinema Ritrovato Festival

I will be hosting a drawing for all blogathon participants on March 16 as a “thank you” to everyone who joined in. The prize will be announced closer to the blogathon dates–although I already have a good idea of what it’s going to be!

As always: Make Buster Proud! There’s a lot of dubious information out there about his life and career, so let’s try and steer clear of those myths and rumors as best we can. Just imagine you were going to have Eleanor Keaton look at your piece before you published it. *wink*

Buster Keaton, 1960 | Hollywood, Busters, In hollywood

For ideas and inspiration, here’s the links to the FirstSecond, Third, FourthFifthSixth and Seventh Buster Blogathons. Just look at all those links–what a library! I love it, my friends.

Banners:

The Roster:

Silent-ology | Reviewing All Of Buster’s MGM Features

The Thoughts Of One Truly Loved | How I Fell For Buster Keaton

Cinematica | The Scarecrow (1920)

nitrateglow | Reviews of the books The Vampire Diary of Buster Keaton and Bluffton

Taking Up Room | College (1927)

Whimsically Classic | The Great Buster (2018) documentary

Realweegiemidget Reviews | Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)

The Wonderful World of Cinema | The Donna Reed Show episode “A Very Merry Christmas”

Century Film Project | Cops (1922)

Critica Retro | Buster Keaton: The Genius Destroyed By Hollywood (2016) documentary

Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog | Buster’s Columbia shorts

Big V Riot Squad | “Buster Keaton’s Silent Shorts — Reel Two”

Silver Screenings | The Haunted House (1921)

Rekha’s Sousaphone | Our Hospitality adaptations in Hindi pop cinema

Silent Locations | Video tour of Buster’s 1920s studio

University of Iowa Libraries blog | Article on the Marion Meade research paper collection

The Silent Movie Day Blogathon

Happy Silent Movie Day, everyone! (Man it feels good to say that…! Dream come true, and all.) Me and In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood are happy to be celebrating it with you all with you today! The founders of this new holiday–one of the best since Christmas–wrote:

“National Silent Movie Day is an annual celebration of silent movies, a vastly misunderstood and neglected cinematic art form. We believe that silent motion pictures are a vital, beautiful, and often powerful part of film history, and we are united in the goal to advocate for their presentation and preservation.”

Couldn’t agree more! So let’s get to it.

Bloggers: Please send us the link to your post whenever it’s ready today–if you signed up with me, send me the link, if you signed up with Crystal at In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood, send it to her. Our rosters will be updated periodically throughout the blogathon.

Readers: Please drop by often today to check out the latest posts–and don’t forget that we bloggers live for comments!

The Roster:

Silent-ology | What is the greatest silent film?

Silent Locations | Honoring the Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd Alley

MovieMovieBlogBlogII | The Cabinet of Dr. Ramirez (1991)

RealWeegieMidget Reviews | Silent Movie (1976)

The Classic Movie Muse | Hot Water (1924)

Hometowns to Hollywood | Girl Shy (1924)

Cinematica | Coney Island (1917)

Better Living Through Television | The relationship between silent film and television

Nitrateglow | The hit films of 1921

Caftan Woman | The Last of the Mohicans (1920)

Silver Screenings | The Hoodlum (1919)

The Story Enthusiast | The Scarlet Letter (1926)

The Thoughts of One Truly Loved | The Circus (1928)

Laurel and Hardy Blog | The Battle of the Century (1927)

Strictly Vintage Hollywood | The lost silent Uncharted Seas (1921)

Grace Kingsley’s Hollywood | “What Does Hollywood Think of Herself?”

Wild About Harry | The silent cinema of Harry Houdini

MovieRob | The Conquest of the Pole (1912)

Critica Retro | Souls For Sale (1923)

Brooksie at the Movies | “Who Taught Valentino to Tango?”

The Classic Movie Muse | Hot Water (1924)

LA Daily Mirror | The first permanent studio in Hollywood

Silent Film Music | Article on silent film projection speeds

Century Film Project | The Nut (1921)

Taking Up Room | Show People (1928)

The Everyday Cinephile | Pre-1920 cinema

Lokke Heiss | The Crowd (1928)