Joseph Frank Keaton was born on October 4, 1895, to a pair of vaudeville performers. Spending his childhood on the road with his family, he earned the nickname Buster at the age of six months. By the age of three, the youngster was appearing as part of his parents act whenever they could evade child labor laws. In vaudeville, Keaton developed remarkable talents as an acrobatic comedian with a superb sense of timing, and became a rising star by his teens. In early 1917, Buster left his act with his parents, and appeared in a Broadway comic revue later that year, but the key to Keaton’s future came when he met a fellow vaudeville comedian. Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was starring in a low-budget two-reel screen comedy, The Butcher Boy, and invited Keaton to play a small role in the picture. The two hit it off and became a successful onscreen team, starring in a long string of comic hits. Fascinated by the medium of film, Keaton soon began writing their pictures, and assisted in directing… read more
Buster is as watchable as ever in this good value short. He's the incompetent blacksmith's assistant who causes utter devestation for all of his clients after his boss, the giant and regular Keaton foil Joe Roberts, is carted off to jail after some good knockabout mayhem involving a giant magnet. Somehow The Great Stone Face also manages to win the hand of the girl in this very silly but extremely funny comedy film..
Buster destroys a white Rolls-Royce, a Model T, the coat of a white horse, and enrages more than a few people (including his boss, the burly Keaton foil Joe Roberts), in this late stage two-reeler. He gets the girl in the end, and as always, it's well earned, and a bit out of left field.
Relying less on large comic set pieces, Buster Keaton's 1922 short, THE BLACKSMITH features Keaton as a hapless blacksmith who just can't seem to get anything right. A series of comic episodes ensues, as he manages to mess up each subsequent customer's request, and it's easy to see from films like this just how influential Keaton was on future characters like Mr. Bean.