Over half century ago the society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children complained to Mayor Van Wyck, of New York, that Joe Keaton, a vaudeville actor, was brutally mistreating his five-year old son. At each afternoon and evening performance the child, billed as “The Human Mop”, was slammed on the floor, hurled into the wings, and sometimes banged into bass drums. Unable to find a bruise or scratch on the lad, Mayor Van Wyck refused to ban the act. The “Human Mop” bounced on to worldwide fame as Buster Keaton, one of this century’s greatest comedians.
In this intimate autobiography Buster Keaton tells his whole personal and professional story, beginning with his colourful and exciting childhood as the undentable tot in the “Three Keatons” whose proudest boast was having the rowdiest, roughest act in vaudeville. Buster has played with all the great ones, from George M. Cohen and Bojangles Robinson and Al Jolson to Jack Paar and Ed Sullivan and Red Skelton, during his sixty years as a star in vaudeville, silent and talking pictures, night clubs and television.
Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle got him into the movies and taught him how to throw a custard pie. Buster could not even keep slapstick out of his eleven months as a draftee in our World War I army. He came out to help create the Golden Age of Comedy with his friends Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Arbuckle, Mack Sennett and the Keystone Cops. Marital troubles and alcoholism once got Buster down, but could not keep him down.
MY WONDERFUL WORLD OF SLAPSTICK was written with the collaboration of Charles Samuels, co-author of His Eye Is On the Sparrow, Ethel Waters’ best-selling autobiography. Buster Keaton’s Life Story will enchant and thrill all those who enjoy looking past the glitter and the grease paint into a magnificent performer’s mind and heart.
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