News
Archive

 
 
 

This is the Buster Keaton News archive. Items here are text only
excepting "Rx Laughter".

 
     
   
 

BUSTER KEATON IN NILES

Forget baseball on Mother’s Day Weekend!
Instead, take her to a Buster Keaton Double Header
with live musical accompaniment at the
Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum & Edison Theater

37417 Niles Blvd., Fremont 94536

Download the flyer here (right-mouse to save) or visit their website:

www.nilesfilmmuseum.org 

Or email pr@nilesfilmmuseum.org for more info!

Thanks to Rena Dein for the tip!

 
 

Look Out!
It's Almost Time for the
15th Annual Buster Keaton Celebration

Sept 28-29, 2007, Iola, KS

Presenting
Buster Keaton and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
in
The Love Nest, The Saphead, Mooching through Georgia (Keaton) and
Down to Earth, The Black Pirate and When the Clouds Roll By (Fairbanks)

With live musical accompaniment by the fabulous Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.

For more info, click here: http://iolakeatoncelebration.org/

 
 

"Walk in Buster' Footsteps!"

The Cottage Grove Historical Society invites all Damfinos and Buster Keaton fans to the film site of "The General" to celebrate its 80th Anniversary on August 4 and 5, 2006.

Friday August 4 is registration day, with a mixer and evening showings of rare Keaton films.

Saturday there are seminars in the morning, followed by lunch at the hotel where Buster and family stayed while making the film. Then a long tour of the actual sites where scenes were filmed and history was made.

On Saturday evening, there will be a special showing of The general, plus One Week and The Playhouse, two of Buster's best short films.

For more info please contact Lloyd Williams at lloyd.l.williams@ci.eugene.or.us

or call 514-942-1310.

You can also download a pdf of the registration form right here.

Thanks to Lloyd Williams for the info!

 
 

TOURING LOS ANGELES THROUGH THE FILMS OF BUSTER KEATON

Author John Bengtson (Silent Echoes: Discovering Early Hollywood Through the Films of Buster Keaton) has been invited to speak at the UCLA Film and Television
Archive on Saturday, May 14 2005 at 7:30 pm. They will be showing a retrospective of
many of Buster's films, and on the opening night John will screen clips and give a talk
based on his book, which is available from amazon.com and the publisher, Santa Monica Press.

Here are more details from UCLA:

Saturday, May 14
7:30 pm

Attorney and amateur historian John Bengtson discovered the magic of Buster Keaton at an early age. He is a columnist for the Keaton Chronicle fan club newsletter and author of the acclaimed book, Silent Echoes: Discovering Early Hollywood Through the Films of Buster Keaton.

Tonight he leads a fascinating tour through the Los Angeles of yesteryear in an entertaining mixed-media presentation. Interspersing clips from classic Keaton films with slide projections of period photos and his own engaging commentary, Bengtson illuminates Buster’s genius as well as the city that so often served as background and springboard for the comedian’s art. Bengtson’s one-of-a-kind lecture will feature several new discoveries not included in his book, as well as 35mm excerpts from NEIGHBORS, THE GOAT, COPS, SHERLOCK, JR. and SEVEN CHANCES—all films shot at locations in or around Los Angeles. An audience Q&A with Bengtson will follow the lecture.
RT: approx. 120 min.

NOTE: John Bengtson will sign copies of his book Silent Echoes: Discovering Early Hollywood Through the Films of Buster Keaton in the theater lobby after his presentation.

Thanks to Kelly Graml of UCLA Film & Television Archive for the info!
For Film details, check out Screenland.

 
 

Everything you need to polish up your DVD player in one handy package!

Paul E. Gierucki with Bruce Lawton of
http://www.laughsmith.com/

Present

2-DVDs including rare industrial films, promotional films, commercials, TV appearances
and outtakes.

FEATURES
=======
The Playhouse (1921) B&W / Silent
* Audio commentary track
Digitally remastered and restored version of one of Keaton's greatest shorts.
New score from The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra.

Character Studies (Mid-1920s) B&W
* Audio commentary track
Recently discovered short with famed magician Carter DeHaven
and featuring cameos by Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Jackie Coogan, Douglas Fairbanks, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and Rudolph Valentino.

Parlor, Bedroom and Bath (1931) B&W / sound feature
* Audio commentary track
* Keaton's Italian villa still gallery
Digitally remastered and restored feature. Definitive version.


PROMOTIONAL FILMS
===============
Seein' Stars (1922) B&W / sound

The Voice of Hollywood #10 (1929) B&W / sound

Hollywood on Parade #A-6 (1933) B&W / sound

An Old Spanish Custom (1935) B&W / sound
* Audio commentary track
* Original press book


LIVE TELEVISION
=============
The Butcher Boy / Can of Molasses Sketch
* The Butcher Boy (1917) B&W / Silent clip w/ Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle
* The Ed Wynn Show (1949) B&W / Sound w/ Ed Wynn
* You Asked For It (1957) B&W / Sound w/ Eddie Gribbon
* Unknown TV appearance (1950s) B&W / Sound w/ Billy Gilbert

"The Martha Raye Show" (1956)
* The Concert B&W / Sound
Buster Keaton and Martha Raye recreate a sketch originally used in the
classic Charlie Chaplin feature Limelight.

Circus Time (1956)


COMMERCIALS
==========
Alka Seltzer (1958) [5 spots]

Northwest Orient Airlines (1958)

Simon Pure Beer (1958) [6 spots]

Shamrock Oil / Outtakes (1959)
* Audio commentary track
* Director's interview track

Milky Way (1961)

Pure Oil (1965)

Country Club Malt Liquor (1958) [3 spots]

Ford Econoline (1963)

Jeep - Lessons in Living (1960)
* Only surviving complete Jeep commercial
* Recently discovered fragments from previously undocumented Jeep commercials.

Pure Oil (1965)


INDUSTRIAL FILMS
==============
The Devil To Pay (1960) B&W / sound short
* Promotional booklet

The Homeowner (1961) - Color / sound short
* Audio commentary track
Recently discovered, previously undocumented Keaton industrial film.

The Triumph of Lester Snapwell (1963) Color short


BONUS FEATURES
============
1 Parlor, 5 Bedrooms and 6 Baths - A new mini-documentary from filmmaker Jack Dragga.

Commentary tracks from comedy historians Andy Coryell,
Paul Gierucki, Bruce Lawton, Steve Massa and Richard M. Roberts.

Still galleries featuring previously unseen Keaton images, original press books, trade advertisements and more.

New music scores from composer Ben Model.

20 page full color booklet with detailed descriptions of each
film, archival photos and essays from authors / historians Ken Gordon, Steve Massa, David B. Pearson, Patricia Eliot Tobias and more!

Available online from amazon.com

 
 

NEW!

Buster Keaton Collection
Includes all the Columbia shorts, restored, with
commentary by Patricia Eliot Tobias and
Joe Adamson, plus
David Weddle and Ed Watz.
PLUS: a new documentary,
featuring all of the above plus a few more.
To pre-order:
http://www.sonypictures.com

(Type Buster Keaton in the Search box.)

 
 
Also new this month for British Keaton fans (or those with multinational DVD players)
a new release from Network. Read about it here.
This DVD can also be purchased at HMV stores online.
Thanks to Dave Foster at dvdtimes.co.uk for the write up!
 

Hurricane Katrina has touched the International Buster Keaton Society in a very personal way. Two of our
members have lost their homes and most of their
belongings.
If you'd like to help them out, email
moviegirl1926@aol.com for information on how you can
help.

Our thoughts, prayers and good wishes are with our
very dear friends on the Gulf Coast and all of those
who are coping with the horrifying aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina.

We strongly encourage you to support those in need. If
you would like to help, visit The Red Cross. For more
links and phone numbers, click here.

 
 

Keaton Celebration, September 23 & 24, 2005

Bowlus Fine Arts Center, Iola, Kansas

www.busterkeatoncelebration.org

Special Guests
Harriet Fields
Allen Fields
Granchildren of W.C. Fields

All celebrations hosted by the Bowlus Fine Arts Center of Iola.
Past celebrations have included insights into Buster's work by such notables as
Eleanor Keaton, David Shepard, Steve Allen, Kevin Brownlow and Leonard Maltin. These and other Keaton experts have mixed with fans in this pleasant,
small-town atmosphere. Celebrations occur on the last weekend of September
Come celebrate the life of Buster Keaton with film, lecture, music and sharing.

All events are free and open to the public.
Funding, in part, has been by the Kansas Humanities Council.

Thanks to Frank Scheide for the tip!
Visit www.busterkeatoncelebration.org for further information.

 
 

A Peek Behind the Screen

A few months ago, I had the extreme good fortune to help create an extraordinary movie book. As far as I know, there never been another quite like it. The book is called Behind the Silver Screen: Stories from the Residents of the Motion Picture & Television Fund's Retirement Community.

In it you'll find stories from people who worked in Hollywood's Golden Age, mostly people who have never been interviewed before -- property masters, cinematographers, projectionists, sound engineers,special effects wizards, a costume designer, a secretary, a greensman ... as well as actors,
directors and writers. All have interesting stories to tell.

If you think you know all the stories about the hey-day of the movies, think again. Do you know about the man who wagged the tail of the Cowardly Lion? Or the projectionist who worked with Stanley Kubrick? Or the cinematographer who lived through the Bataan Death March?

The book was the brainchild of two women -- MPTF resident Betty Freeman and volunteer Lauren Dow. They spent a couple of years collecting stories from the people who live in the MPTF retirement community -- sometimes known as the Motion Picture Country House (although the Country House is just one of the residential buildings on what they call the "campus").

Eventually, Variety was brought in to help. Variety hired me to edit, augment and shape the material. With an extraordinary creative team that included Annette Lloyd, Spencer Green, Pete Hammond and photographer Leroy Hamilton, we interviewed or re-interviewed, then photographed close to 75 people, getting their histories and their stories. Then, with the design firm of elle & elle, the book was completed -- all in about a month, from when I was brought in to when it went to the printer.

The book was created initially to be given away to the celebrities who attended the Fund's annual multi-million-dollar fundraiser the night before the Oscars.

But now it's available to you for a $50 donation to the Motion Picture & Television Fund. You couldn't find a better way to make a charitable donation. Limited supply.

Spread the word:

http://www.mptvfund.org/fundraising/Annual%20Giving/silverscreen.htm

--Patricia Eliot Tobias
President
The International Buster Keaton Society, Inc.

 
 

"You want a Valentino, a big shot..."
- Joe Gillis, Sunset Boulevard, 1950

This rare photograph of Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino graces a
terrific New Year's 2005 gift!

The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra's website announces that the
2005 alt.movies.silent calendar is now available.
It features silent film artwork, birthdays of silent-era film stars
and other significant dates. The artwork ranges from promotional stills
to rare "mug shots" of stars. The proceeds (after printing expenses)
are used for silent film restoration.
Calendars are being printed until Jan. 9, 2005.

See more information on www.mont-alto.com/Calendar/Calendar.html.

 
 

Turner Classic Movies
Turner Classic Movies is now accepting advance orders for the DVD The Buster Keaton Collection, which contains The Cameraman (1928), Spite Marriage (1929), and Free & Easy (1930). It's on sale now for $29.99 (reg. 39.99) and will be available on Dec. 7, 2004.
(See turnerclassicmovies.com)

&

Kevin Brownlow's New Documentary:
BUSTER KEATON: SO FUNNY IT HURTS! (2004)

Will air on Turner Classic Movies at the following times in December:

TCM December 7th at 8:00 p.m.
TCM December 7th at 11:30 p.m.
TCM December 20th at 1:15 a.m.
 
 
Bruce Calvert of the Silent Film Still Archive
(http://home.comcast.net/~silentfilm/home.htm) wants to let Damfinos know
that DVD Planet is selling Keaton DVDs at 30% off.
Website: http://dvdplanet.com.
 
 

Movie Star Homes

From the Famous to the Forgotten...

A new book for those bitten by the "Sunset Boulevard" tourist bug is always welcome and this combination guide and history book is a gem. There are maps as well as indexes (by area, by film, by theme) to help you design your own tour of the homes and stars that interest you. Each home has a short history of the stars who lived there along with other fascinating trivia. The stars featured are from all eras of movie-making, right up to the present day. Of special interest to Keaton fans will be the photos of Buster's earlier addresses such as the Victoria Avenue bungalow, as well as contemporaries Roscoe Arbuckle, Joe Roberts, and the Norma Talmadge beach house.

Authors Judy Artunian and Mike Oldham spent hours doing painstaking research to discover and authenticate some of these addresses. Film fans and scholars will enjoy their work for years to come.

Published by www.santamonicapress.com

The Damfinos are acknowledged as well as author John Bengtson and Marc Wanamaker of the Bison Archives.

 
 
 

TSUNAMI AID

Like the rest of the world, we here at busterkeaton.com have watched
the death toll mount into the hundred thousands following the
devastation of the recent tsunami in Asia.
Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, and the brave people
trying to give support and aid on the spot. Many
large companies have made donations in addition to the
national one from the USA.
It's early days yet and there will be a need for help for a long time to come. If you have been looking for a list of relief organizations to make your own donation, there is one on Yahoo! at:
http://news.yahoo.com/asiadisaster
and another list here of some smaller ones such as Doctors Without Borders:
http://www.astrologyunlimited.com/earthquake.htm

 

Be sure and check out the Buster Keaton Museum
in Piqua, Kansas

http://home.att.net/~BusterKeatonMuseum/

 
 

Envelope Please!

Every year, The Buster Award is presented jointly by the
Keaton Celebration Committee of Iola, Kansas, and
The Damfinos: The International Buster Keaton Society.

The award is given to someone who has, in one manner or another, demonstrated excellence in the tradition of Buster Keaton.

Our recipient for 2002 is the director of Buster Keaton's 87th film,
"The Railrodder" (1965),
Gerald Potterton.

The Buster Award is presented as a joint venture between The Damfinos and the Keaton Celebration Committee of Iola, Kansas.
The previous recipients were David Shepard (1995), Leonard Maltin (1996), David Robinson (1997) and Eleanor Keaton (Lifetime Achievement), Kevin Brownlow (1999), and James Karen (2001).

 
 
KINO
End of Year Special Sale
On Now!

In addition to the Art of Buster Keaton Series, KINO has recently added
the digitally restored Slapstick Symposium series to their catalogue
including "THE HAROLD LLOYD COLLECTION", THE STAN LAUREL COLLECTION",
"THE CHARLIE CHASE COLLECTION" and "THE FLYING DEUCES".
Site address http://www.kino.com/video.

Thanks to Reid Rossman at KINO for the info!

 
 

"We Didn't Need Dialogue -- We Had Faces!"
--Norma Desmond, Sunset Boulevard, 1950.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/shows/billirwin

Silent film fans will know Bill Irwin as the "Silent Sunday Nights" comic on TCM, but here is a chance (hopefully not too late) to catch his own anatomy of comedy and
his career as an actor, playwright and physical comedian on PBS for all to enjoy. Please check your local PBS station for listings.
Thanks to Patty Tobias for the tip!

 
 
http://www.robertbrucemusic.com/

The talented Robert Bruce of Ontario has composed and performed original scores for the Buster Keaton silent comedies Steamboat Bill, Jr., Seven Chances and Sherlock Jr.
In December you get to hear him live again on
Thurs., Dec. 16, '04, 8:00pm, Neighbors (1920) and Sherlock, Jr. (1924)
at Niagra Artists' Company,
2 Bond St,
St. Catharine's, Ontario.
Tickets: $8
(905) 641-0331.
Check website to confirm information: robertbrucemusic.com.
Robert Bruce, accompanist.

(We will soon be adding a new section featuring musicians, composers, accompanists and bands who perform original or other music for Buster Keaton films each month. Please email your details and url to (subject MUSIC):

AnneDawson72@aol.com

 
 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROSCOE ARBUCKLE!

Keaton fans will know that Roscoe Arbuckle is the man who had the insight to allow
Buster to take an expensive camera to pieces his first day on the job.
It was Roscoe Arbuckle who first spotted Buster's potential on film
and encouraged his interest in the whole process of film-making.
The bug bit Buster hard, and the rest is history. (And the camera survived just fine.)

By the time he met Buster Keaton in 1917, Roscoe Arbuckle had already appeared in dozens of films made at Fort Lee, New Jersey, and was soon to go west and
open his own studio in Los Angeles. But when they first met, they were still making films in
New York at the Norma Talmadge Studio. The second day of the Fort Lee Film Commission Retrospective is devoted to these films.

THE FORT LEE FILM COMMISSION
presents a
"Roscoe Arbuckle Retrospective"
on three days over two weekends in April:
Sun., April 10, 2005 - 2pm - A Symposium/Retrospective
on the works of the legendary film comedian Roscoe Arbuckle.
Led by Fort Lee Film Commission member and Rutgers University professor Richard Koszarski, the panel will include filmmaker Paul Gierucki, who will discuss his documentary
"Arbuckle: A Three-Part Documentary Series";
plus film historians and Arbuckle documentary associate producers
Bruce Lawton and Steve Massa.

This Symposium will be taped for DVD release.
For more information, contact
Film Commission Executive Director Tom Meyers at (201) 592-3663.

The Symposium will be followed by screenings of these restored films:
First Program: "Fatty in Fort Lee":
He Did and He Didn't (1916) (35mm)
The Waiters' Ball (1916) (35mm)
Reckless Romeo (1917) (35mm)
Second Program:
Leap Year (1922) (35mm feature)

Sat., April 16, 2005 - 2pm (Symposium continues):
First Program: "Fatty and Buster"
The Butcher Boy (1917) (35mm)
Oh, Doctor!
Coney Island (1917) (35mm)
Fatty Arbuckle Liberty Bond Appeal (1917)
Second Program: "Buster and Fatty"
Out West (1918) (35mm)
Goodnight, Nurse! (1918) (35mm)
The Cook (1918)
The Garage (1920) (35mm)

Sun., April 17, 2005 - 2pm (Symposium continues):
"Six Arbuckle talkies":
Hey Pop! (1932)
Buzzin' Around (1933)
How Have You Bean? (1933)
In the Dough (1933)
Tomalio (1933)
All films Vitaphone - running time approx. 120 minutes

Location of this Symposium: Fort Lee Park Theatre, New Jersey -
atop the Palisades on Hudson Terrace,
just south of the George Washington Bridge (outside New York City).
Tel. 201- 592-3663. See website www.fortleefilm.org/ for details and directions.

DIRECTIONS:

To get to Fort Lee Park Theatre from the NY Port Authority Bus Terminal, 40th St. & 8th Ave, New York City: Take the "A" subway train up to 175th St. (west side) to the George Washington Bridge Bus Station. Take a bus from this station across the George Washington Bridge to the Fort Lee Station on Main St., Fort Lee, in New Jersey, (on the west side of the Bridge.) The Theatre is a five minute walk from this station.

Many thanks to Patricia Tobias, Anne Dawson, Janice Agnello,
Tom Meyers, Paul Gierucki,
Richard Koszarski, Bruce Lawton and Steve Massa.

Please be sure and check out Screenland for live film showings
and Buster on the Box for TV listings.
Click on Films.

 

3 Hats, a new one-man show, celebrates Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd.

Winston-Salem, N.C. - They were the kings of comedy - Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd.  Tom Foolery Productions presents 3 Hats, a new one-man show which recreates the characters, the comedy and the unique art of these three great performers. Actor Michael Huie will perform in the show directed by Brook Davis.

The show is fun for ages 6 to 106.

3 Hats will be performed March 18 at 8 p.m. and
March 19 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. at
SECCA (Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art)
at 750 Marguerite Drive in Winston-Salem.
Tickets are $7.50 for adults and $5 for seniors, students and SECCA members.
Only cash and checks can be accepted. No credit or debit cards, please.

Michael Huie is an actor familiar to local audiences. He has worked in regional theatre in North Carolina and Virginia. Most recently he was seen as Hamlet in the production opening the new Ring Theatre at Wake Forest University, and in his original one-man show Jack, which also premiered at SECCA.

Brook Davis is an assistant professor of theatre at Wake Forest University. In addition to Jack, she recently directed The Secret Rapture, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and The Secret Garden

For more information or reservations, e-mail 3hats@bellsouth.net or visit secca.org/news.html

Special thanks to Michael Huie for the tip!

 
 

 

You Oughta be in Pictures


Photographer Steve Friedmann's pictures from
last month's Damfinos Convention can be
ordered and viewed on:

http://www.stevefriedmanphoto.com/mp_client/pictures.asp

 
 

There's a nice article by Neil Paananen
on the latest Damfinos Convention that took place
on October 3 & 4 in Muskegon, MI.

(We don't know if the gag spirit of Buster got into the website of
The Holland Sentinel, but
two picture captions were switched in the article!)

Click to read it here!

 
 

PBS.org has a page on Buster under...what else? American Masters.
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/database/keaton_b.html

 
 

Dog Days of Summer

Can be enlivened with a few treats -- try these from
the Alloy Orchestra:

Available now:
THE ALLOY ORCHESTRA, SLAPSTICK MASTERS DVD. This new Image Entertainment release, produced by David Shepard, Includes Chaplin's Easy Street (1917), Keaton's One Week (1920), Monty Banks in Chasing Choo-Choos (1927) and Laurel and Hardy in Big Business (1929).

Available on DVD, OCT. 21, 2003
THE GENERAL, This new Image Entertainment DVD stars and is directed by Buster Keaton. Indisputably one of the greatest film ever made, this stunning David Shepard/Alloy Orchestra collaboration will captivate young and old alike.

Check it out at: http://www.alloyorchestra.com

Order Form on their site. Thanks to Alexander Raymond for the tip!

 
 

Two New Items

New Postcard!


Write your friends.
Write your enemies.
When they ask why, say “Damfino!”
A packet of 10 cards
is only $5.00

&

Porkpie Hat Pin!

Wear your love of Buster on your sleeve, your collar or handbag.
The new Porkpie Hat pin is now available.
$15 plus shipping and handling.
Designed by Eryn Merwart.

Please contact Graceann Maciolek at gmaciolek@wi.rr.com for further info.

If you haven't visited our store yet, go to Shop and click on any item. (you will need to enable popup windows in your browser if you have them disabled.)

 
 

Falling for Buster
Film critic and Damfino Roger Ebert examines Buster's stuntwork
and enduring appeal in this article reflecting Ebert's current work
with film students at the University of Chicago:

http://www.suntimes.com/ebert/greatmovies/sho-sunday-ebert10.html

 
 
Wash & Brush up Dept.:
We don't think Buster has adorned or advertised a soap product
since he did the take-off on Barbara Feldon in a bubble bath,
but here is one he'd probably like.
Buster’s Bay Rum Soap for discriminating gentlemen and ladies
is reminiscent of a by-gone era.
Made with all natural ingredients by the silent film buffs at Cats in the Cradle in
Alton, New Hampshire, with the same dedication to their craft that
Buster Keaton had for his.
$5.25 per bar
SPECIAL: $15.00 for three
Produced by permission, Douris Corporation

Please contact Patricia Tobias, patriciatobias@aol.com for further info.
 
 

Milestone Film & Video will release
The Cook and A Reckless Romeo
(Available on VHS and DVD on February 11, 2003)
The discovery of The Cook, starring Buster Keaton and Roscoe "Fatty"
Arbuckle, in the Norwegian film archive, ended one of the most sought after treasure searches of all time. And it’s one of the funniest films Arbuckle and Keaton ever did! Found at the same time, and just as good, is Arbuckle’s A Reckless Romeo, shot in Fort Lee and nearby Palisades Amusement Park.
Intertitles for The Cook written by Damfinos co-founder,
Patricia Eliot Tobias.
Also included, Harold Lloyd’s Number Please.
For further information, call (800) 603-1104,
or visit
www.milestonefilms.com .

 
 


You Can Own This Image of Buster

Is this not amazing? You may think you’re looking at the artwork from the home page for busterkeaton.com, but you’re not. The image above is a needlework design charted by Janice Gill of Unicorn Designs using Victoria Sainte-Claire’s artwork from the Damfinos home page, and stitched in 373 hours by Erica Allewell and Graceann Maciolek.

The actual design is approximately 14 by 18 , and it is framed using triple mats in suede and a lovely dark frame. To view the work in progress, and we highly recommend that you do, visit http://community.webshots.com/user/f1xstitcher.

This extraordinary needlework piece will be auctioned off at this year’s Damfinos convention in Muskegon.

To bid on this one-of-a-kind hand-made work of art, send your bid to KNavigator@aol.com. The opening bid is $150 (shipping costs will be added to the final bid). All proceeds go to the International Buster Keaton Society operating fund.

 
   
     
 

75 years after the fact,
Buster Keaton is still keeping up the morale
of those in war-torn countries with his special brand of humor.
Click here for an interesting article on how an American silent comedian is helping refugees look forward as movies work their magic:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0524/p07s02-wosc.html

Thanks to David B. Pearson for the tip!

 
     
   
     
 

Online Writers Guild Of America 'zine "Written By" features an article on Ernie Kovacs' impact on televison by Patricia Eliot Tobias,
that also mentions Buster:

http://www.wga.org/WrittenBy/0402/ernie-kovacs.html

 
     
   
     
 

KINO on Video is proud to present their new
Buster Keaton section, with links to all of Buster's restored movies and new DVD box set, which can be purchased directly
from KINO online!

The place to go is:

http://www.kino.com/keaton/index.html

 
     
   
     
 

Announcing a new interview with Minta Durfee Arbuckle at the
Mabel Normand site
,
http://www.angelfire.com/mn/hp/

For those who don't know Mabel, her work is unsurpassed as a silent comedienne; (Mabel was also a close friend of the Talmadge sisters, one of whom became Buster's first wife), her screen partner was Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, and, as Keaton aficionados know, Roscoe Arbuckle gave Buster Keaton his first chance in the movies. Minta retells stories of the early days and recalls Roscoe's working relationship with Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand.

Great site by William Thomas Sherman, author of
"Mabel Normand: A Source Book to Her Life and Films"

 
     
   
     
 

Like to get a free B.A. (Buster of Arts?) Well, according to
Columbia University you can!

"Actor and filmmaker Buster Keaton was one of the greatest comic figures of the silent film era. In 1958, Columbia University's Oral History Research Office conducted several lengthy interviews with Keaton about his life and career. These interviews, which can be listened to or read as part of this seminar, provide a rare glimpse of a vanished era from one of the masters of slapstick."

Thanks to John Bengtson, author of Silent Echoes for the tip!

 
     
   
     
 

Identify the Cameo

We have some winners!
Our extremely tough Cameo Contest has
been won by Donna Wing and her sister Dawn,
and close second David B. Pearson.
Congratulations!

Here are the answers: 1) Babe London & Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, "Go West" (1925); 2) Doris Deane in "Sherlock Jr." and "7 Chances) (1924-25); 3) Al St. John in "The High Sign", released 1921; 4) Constance Talmadge in her matching Mercer Raceabout "7 Chances" (1925); Eddie Cline in "The Goat" (1921); Joseph Keaton (Buster's Dad) in "Go West" (1925); Monty Banks and Luke the Dog in "The Garage" (1920)

 
     
   
     
 

A Rose by Any Other Name...

And living up to our name as the "International" Buster Keaton Society, we're pleased to announce the French release of the Art of Buster Keaton and the short films of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle and Buster Keaton on DVD in France!

Read more about it here:

Arte France DVD

 
     
   
     
  We Have a Winner!
The winner of the 2001 Buster Award, for professional excellence in the
tradition of Buster Keaton, is none other than
actor James Karen, who has appeared both on stage and on film with
Buster Keaton.
Read about the presentation here!
 
     
   
     
 

The Damfinos extends its sympathies and condolences to
the victims of the September 11, 2001
tragedy and their families.

We can all show our support by making a donation.
For a list of organizations, please click here.

 
     
   
     
  BACK to BACK

Kino on Video (and now on DVD too!) offers restored copies of
some rare Buster Keaton - Roscoe Arbuckle shorts in two volumes, with
liner notes by David Pearson, and a score by the Alloy Orchestra.

Volume One features:
THE BELL BOY (1918)
THE BUTCHER BOY (1917)
OUT WEST (1918)
MOONSHINE (1918)
THE HAYSEED (1919)

and on Volume Two:
BACK STAGE (1919)
GOOD NIGHT NURSE! (1918)
CONEY ISLAND (1918)
THE ROUGH HOUSE (1918)
THE GARAGE (1920)

Both are $24.95 VHS
$29.95 DVD

check out www.kino.com for more information.

 
     
   
     
 

HIS CAREER AT THE REAR

The website of the Great War Society, dedicated to collecting research on World War I, has a special page in its Doughboys section on your Sunshine Boy and ours, Buster Keaton, contributed by Damfino Martha R. Jett. First published in the September 2000 issue of Good Old Days Specials.

http://www.worldwar1.com/dbc/buster.htm

 

     
   
     
 

How'd he do that?

Dan Kamin, the performer who created the physical comedy sequences for such films as "Chaplin" (Robert Downey, Jr.) and "Benny & Joon" (Johnny Depp)
now has his own website where you can
find out more about his work.
His first original show was "Silent Comedy...Live!"
and he is the author of a book,
"Charlie Chaplin's One-Man Show"
revealing the secrets of Chaplin's art, with a preface by legendary
pantomime artist Marcel Marceau.
Check out
http://www.dankamin.com/
for more info!

 
     
   
     
 
2000 Sherry Dunay Hilber
   
 

(To see more pictures from the Rx Laughter Advisory Board tour of UCLA Medical Center on April 25, click this photo to launch photo album.)

Bill Marx, son of Harpo, "throws a gookie" at Justin Vbarra, an inpatient at the Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA.
Photo courtesy UCLA

Descendants of classic comedians Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, Harpo Marx and Lou Costello have joined forces with the writers of I Love Lucy and other entertainment industry colleagues and UCLA doctors to explore the healing potential of humor in a unique partnership called Rx Laughter.

In this first-ever melding of comedy and medicine, researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center, the Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA and the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital have begun a research project that evaluates the immune responses of children to laughter. During the five-year study, which will focus on ill children and adolescents with depressed immune systems, researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center will try to determine if laughter can help reduce pain, and prevent and treat diseases.

The first phase of the project began the end of April and will continue for six to eight months. If a positive biological response to laughter is found, cartoons, TV shows and comedy films could be incorporated into the care of ill children during procedures such as blood draws and chemotherapy to alleviate stress and fear and promote faster healing, cancer center researchers said.

The project, created and spearheaded by former television network executive Sherry Dunay Hilber, has been endorsed by the Writers Guild of America, west, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the Children’s Television Workshop, the Directors Guild of America, and Comedy Central (which is also underwriting the first phase of the project). As executive director, Hilber hopes to see the project expand into a comedy and entertainment system for hospital nationwide.

Hilber says she created the project because she “wanted to use my TV comedy experience to do something really meaningful. This project uses everything I’ve learned about entertainment from all those very talented writers and producers, plus uses my executive skills - all toward helping people by using TV and film for its highest purposes. It’s the best feeling in the world.”

Funding for the first phase of the study comes from a $75,000 grant provided by Comedy Central.

Rx Laughter
Advisory Board
Joe Adamson - author, film historian and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker; Alice Cahn - president of television, film and video for the Children’s Television Workshop; Robert Carroll, Jr., television comedy writer (I Love Lucy); Jim Chabin - president of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences; Christopher Chaplin - actor, son of Charlie Chaplin; Josephine Chaplin - actress, daughter of Charlie Chaplin; Peggy Charren - founder of Action for Children’s Television; Chris Costello - daughter of Lou Costello; Melissa Talmadge Cox - granddaughter of Buster Keaton; Susanne Daniels - president of the WB Network; Madelyn Pugh Davis - television comedy writer (I Love Lucy); Ronald J. Fields - producer, comedy writer, author, grandson of W.C. Fields; Meryl Marshall - chairman and CEO of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences; Bill Marx - musician, son of Harpo Marx; Daniel Petrie, Jr. - vice president of the Writers Guild of America; Jack Shea - president of the Directors Guild of America; Patricia Eliot Tobias - public affairs department of the Writers Guild of America, west; John Wells - president of the Writers Guild of America, west

To Donate to
Rx Laughter

Make checks payable to"Rx Laughter" and mail to:

Sherry Dunay Hilber
Founder, Rx Laughter
Post Office Box 143
Cambria, California 93428

All donations are tax deductible. Donors will be mentioned on www.rxlaughter.org.

"This is an extraordinary group of people who have come together for the best of all possible causes," said Patricia Eliot Tobias, co-founder of The Damfinos: The International Buster Keaton Society. "Just as we've long suspected, comedy may indeed turn out to be nature's great self-healer. The Damfinos is honored to be part of this important study. We encourage others to support this splendid effort as well."

 
   
     
     
     
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