Category Archives: Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton and W.C. Fields in Astoria

Buster Keaton and W.C. Fields filmed alongside the same Astoria apartment building, nine years apart. Who knew? While working on a post connecting Fields’ It’s The Old Army Game with Keaton’s The Cameraman (1928) and Harold Lloyd’s Speedy (1928) (all … Continue reading

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Buster Keaton’s Kennel on the MGM lot

As one of MGM’s biggest stars, Buster Keaton once had a private bungalow dressing room on the studio lot, jokingly dubbed “Keaton’s Kennel.” A reader correctly wrote long ago that the Kennel stood along the north side of the lot, … Continue reading

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Buster Keaton’s Blue Blazes in Astoria

While working on posts covering W.C. Fields filming It’s The Old Army Game (1926) and Running Wild (1927) at the Paramount Astoria Studios on 35th Avenue and 35th Street, I remembered Keaton had made a few short comedies for Educational … Continue reading

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New Buster Keaton Self-Guided Tours

The Buster Keaton June 15-17 Celebration Weekend was a huge success, and the site of Buster’s former studio (where Chaplin also filmed his Mutual shorts) is now graced with a beautiful commemorative plaque. As part of the long weekend, I … Continue reading

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Keaton’s Battling Butler – A Knockout Finish to the SF Silent Film Festival

The 2018 San Francisco Silent Film Festival closes Sunday, June 3 with a screening of Buster Keaton’s self-directed comedy Battling Butler (1926), hosted by Leonard Maltin, and honoring recently deceased festival Board member, beloved television writer and director Frank Buxton, … Continue reading

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Keaton’s Seven Chances – On The Clock

Late for church, during Seven Chances (1925) Buster Keaton must marry by 7:00 p.m. that evening in order to inherit a fortune. But what time is it? Having just lost his pocket watch down a sewer drain, Buster stops in … Continue reading

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The Surviving Keaton Studio Neighbors

Buster Keaton unwittingly documented the urbanization of the once agricultural Colegrove region of Hollywood in the background of his films. As reported in my book Silent Echoes, the quaint Cahuenga Valley Lemon Growers Exchange warehouse once stood across the street … Continue reading

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Keaton’s “What No Beer?” Barrel Avalanche

As Jim Kline writes in The Complete Films of Buster Keaton, MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer had already drafted Keaton’s termination letter by the time filming of What No Beer? completed in January 1933. For better or worse, this … Continue reading

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Arbuckle – Keaton at the Bronx Biograph Studio

Noted biographer James Curtis contacted me with an intriguing observation. Did a scene from the 1917 Arbuckle-Keaton short Oh Doctor! (above) reveal the large glass rooftop shooting stage of the former Biograph Studio, located at 807 E 175th St in … Continue reading

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Arbuckle – Keaton – the Good Night Nurse Hot Springs

Roscoe Arbuckle, Al St. John, and Buster Keaton must have had special fun making their Comique film Good Night Nurse (1918), leaving their Long Beach studio behind to film certain scenes at the Arrowhead Hot Springs resort 75 miles to … Continue reading

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Buster Keaton’s Haunted House

My friend architectural writer Steve Vaught made this amazing discovery – the “haunted” mansion appearing in Buster Keaton’s 1921 short film The Haunted House was the former Bonebrake Mansion, once standing on the corner of Adams and Figueroa. Steve noticed … Continue reading

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Hollywood’s Silent Echoes – 2017 FIAF/FLC Tour

[Tour download] Late in 1921 a mob of angry police chased Buster Keaton down a narrow Hollywood alley towards Cahuenga Boulevard. Entering the street Buster saw to his right a corner where “America’s Sweetheart” Mary Pickford filmed a scene in … Continue reading

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Keaton’s The Goat – the geography of a gag

Particular yet pragmatic, Buster Keaton would travel hundreds of miles to find just the right setting for a joke, while also filming dozens of mundane locations within steps of his small studio in Hollywood. This post breaks down the geography … Continue reading

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Buster with a Bullitt – Keaton and Steve McQueen’s SF Stunts

Recent posts show Buster Keaton crossed paths with Orson Welles in Venice, California (The High Sign and Touch of Evil), and with Alfred Hitchcock in San Francisco (Day Dreams and Vertigo). This time Keaton and ‘King of Cool’ actor Steve … Continue reading

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Keaton and Orson Welles – A High Sign Touch of Evil

Prior posts discuss Orson Welles and Chaplin (Citizen Kane – Modern Times), and Keaton and Alfred Hitchcock (Day Dreams and Vertigo), so how about Keaton and Orson Welles? Their paths crossed too, filming in Venice, California. As I explain in … Continue reading

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Keaton and Hitchcock’s Vertigo Day Dreams

Filmed on location in San Francisco, Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece Vertigo (1958) provides tantalizing mid-century glimpses of the City in sparkling VistaVision color. Remarkably, when Scottie (James Stewart) traces Madeleine (Kim Novak) by car back to his own apartment, they cross … Continue reading

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Keaton’s Cops and Go West – Peeking Over the School Fence

Rebuilt over the years, but pre-dating 1912, the Vine Street (Colgrove) Elementary School still stands between Romaine and Willoughby, kitty-corner from the site of the former Keaton Studio block in Hollywood. The back of the school, with its distinctive series … Continue reading

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Buster Keaton, Seven Chances, and Warren Beatty?

Warren Beatty’s audacious and scarily prescient political satire Bulworth (1998) depicts Beatty as a California Senator seeking reelection who’s become so disillusioned with the ineffectiveness of politics that he hires a hit man to finish him off. Suddenly liberated to … Continue reading

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Buster Keaton, The General, and Animal House?

As shown in this previous post describing how Buster Keaton filmed The General in Cottage Grove, Oregon, Buster and crew stayed at the Bartell Hotel during the production, staged the summer of 1926. The hotel stands just a block or … Continue reading

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The Chaplin – Keaton – Lloyd Hollywood Alley

Three of the greatest comedies of all time, Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid (1921), Buster Keaton’s Cops (1922), and Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last! (1923), were filmed in the heart of Hollywood at the unnamed alley running just south of Hollywood Boulevard … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Chaplin - Keaton - Lloyd Alley, Charlie Chaplin, Cops, Harold Lloyd, Hollywood Tour, Safety Last!, The Kid | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments