The Great Stone Face Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton, who was born on October 4, 1895, was a comic known for his deadpan expression and his pork pie hats which were often destroyed during his film antics. He created brilliant gags during the height of his career. Early in his career, he created noteworthy parodies, and he developed his signature style, a combination of lucidity and precise acrobatics. According to Roger Ebert, because Keaton “worked without interruption” from 1920 to 1929, he was “the greatest actor-director in the history of the movies.” In 1959, he earned an Honorary Academy Award. He was recognized as the seventh greatest film director by Entertainment Weekly in 1996, and in 1999, the American Film Institute named him the 21st greatest male star of classic Hollywood cinema. As a testament to his ability, six of his films have been placed in the National Film Registry.
Keaton’s father, Joseph Hallie “Joe” Keaton owned the Mohawk Indian Medicine Company with Harry Houdini; they performed and sold patent medicine. Buster, who was born Joseph Frank Keaton, got his nickname “Buster” after tumbling down the stairs without getting injured. When he was three, he started to perform with his parents. In his first appearance, a comedy sketch, he would provoke his father until his father tossed him against the backdrop or into the orchestra pit. Keaton was not hurt, although this did lead to accusations of child abuse, but he was able to prove to the authorities that he had no evidence of an injury. The experience also led to the development of his deadpan expression because he had to keep himself from laughing while being thrown as he recognized that when he laughed, the audience laughed less.