“I don’t want to be just a shadow. I’m human and I eat and sleep – my wife says I snore – and I cuss when I play golf. I’m at least half human. . . That’s the trouble with a lot of film stars – they’re just shadows, sort of dreams of a person’s imagination. I want to be real to the folks who come to see me on the screen.”

-Buster Keaton

(August 26, 1922. Honolulu Star-Bulletin.)

No, No Bananas!

It’s really amazing to me that the banana of the 1920s was a different variety than what we have today. I wonder if the thicker Gros Michel peel was more of a slipping hazard. Something to think about. And test if I ever come across one… Gros Michel banana shortages began in the 1920s. A …

A Visit from Houdini

In 1919 Harry Houdini was a motion picture actor living in California. It was an interesting phase in his career that honestly always surprises me. His motion picture endeavors ended up fizzling out after a few years, but during that time he payed visits to several studios, and one of them was Roscoe Arbuckle’s. To …

On the Set: Myra the Convict

Buster’s mother, Myra, only appeared in two of her son’s films, and those much later in his career. Those parts were due primarily to Buster’s limited funds – he several times employed his whole family and several friends while filming his later, low budget shorts. I always assumed Myra had little interest in film acting. …

Adventures with Horses

Written for the Silent-ology 2022 Buster Blogathon. “Not being horsey people we didn’t know . . .” (My Wonderful World of Slapstick, p. 141) Not being a horsey person in the 1920s would’ve meant something very different than it does in the 2020s. Nowadays horses belong almost exclusively to the wealthy. My own experiences with …

On the Set: Man Overboard

Most of the articles describing accidents on set are about Buster. He was the one at the center of the action, pulling the dangerous stunts, never using a double. And if it’s not Buster, it’s one of the stunt men he hired to test out tricks before he performed them before a camera – every …

Buster the . . . Hothead?

I sometimes wonder what Buster would have been like with a different father. Would he have been more confrontational or less? Did Buster’s passiveness develop in the reflection of Joe’s active – even aggressive – influence? Or was creative passiveness just a part of his original personality. Both Joe and Buster were very physical men, …

Buster the Boy

“I was then about six. I just put on my own jacket backward, held the sleeves together, hiding my hands, then wriggled, writhed, and grimaced as the audience had seen him do a few minutes before.” – Buster describing his burlesque of Houdini’s straight jacket act. (My Wonderful World of Slapstick, pg. 51) I’m good …