Most of the photos I’ve seen of a pre-teen age, stage made-up Buster are, well, basically just variations of these. I believe they were taken around 1910:
They’re great photos, but Buster doesn’t seem particularly stage-y if that makes sense. From descriptions it sounds to me like his stage character at the time was less introspective, more reckless and pest-oriented, causing mayhem and flaunting puckish attitude and getting thrown about the stage for it. There’s this gem that does show some of the cheek I imagine:
But there seems to me to be more photos of Buster out of makeup than in it at this age.
So I was pretty happy to find this one hidden among the online dusty stacks of articles. I feel like it captures a bit of swagger that the others miss.
I hope to see a clearer version of it someday – so if anyone out there has a better copy – please share!