Buster Keaton’s Entry in the 1923/24 Blue Book

[Please note the misprint in the list of Keaton’s released films. “The Ghost” should read “The Goat”! There is also a discrepancy here and between Keaton’s telling of the Pickway hurricane incident.]

Young as he is, Buster Keaton has seen much of the face of the earth. He began moving when, at the ripe old age of two weeks, he was moved from the little town of Pickway, Kan., where he was born. And it is a noteworthy thing that, no matter how famous he may become, he can never go back to that town. Sad, isn’t it? But it must not be supposed that Buster is in anyway to blame for his banishment. You see at the time Buster was born, his father and Harry Houdini, the “Handcuff King” were owners of a medicine show. They left Pickway, but about two months after they started on their way along came a lively young cyclone and blew the town off the map. And nobody thought it of enough importance to build it up again.

So Buster became a wanderer. His parents used to say of him that he couldn’t get lost anymore than he could get killed.

Buster Keaton Joseph Francis Keaton) American Comic Actor Mainly in Silent FilmsUp to the time he was six months old, he had the dignified name of Joseph Francis. And then, one day, he fell downstairs from the top to the landing. “What a buster.” Said Harry Houdini, when he found he wasn’t hurt. “And Buster’s his name!” said his father; so he’s been Buster ever since.

As a child Buster was perhaps the most vociferously pitied youngster in the country. This was especially the case in the state of New York where the Gerry Society repeated accused his father of cruelty. And not the Gerry Society alone. Managers of theaters, at which the “The Three Keatons” appeared, would be deluged with notes from sympathetic women protesting at the way in which “that poor child” was treated.

“My father used to carry me on the stage and drop me. After explaining to the audience that I liked it, he would pick me up and throw me at a piece of scenery, sometimes knocking the scenery down with me and sometimes not. He would often throw me as far as thirty feet.”

When in England, the manager of the theater insisted that Buster must have been stolen or adopted, or something. He said that no parents would treat their own child as his father and mother treated him. and on another occasion in New York, he had to be carried before the Governor of the state and stripped in order to prove that he had no broken bones! As a matter of fact, he didn’t even have any bruises. He had been thoroughly taught how to take his falls.

Keaton lives with his wife, formerly Natalie Talmadge, in a typical California home in the Wilshire district of Los Angeles. He is the father of a 20-months-old boy, Joseph Talmadge Keaton.

In 1917 he left the stage for moving pictures, planning to settle down in one city for more than two weeks for the first time in his life. But his plans were upset, just as were the plans of thousands of other boys, and he marched away to make a tour of Europe.

He appeared with Roscoe Arbuckle in nine comedies. Before being elevated to head his own company in the two reel field, he was co-starred with William Crane in “The Saphead.” He was then given his own company by Joseph Schenck.

Following “One Week” he made “The Scarecrow,” “Neighbors,” “The Haunted House,” “Hard Luck,” and “The Ghost.” [The Goat]

Through First National Keaton released “The Playhouse,” “The Boat,” “Day Dreams,” “The Love Nest,” “The Electric House,” “Cops,” “The Blacksmith” and “The Balloonatic.”

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