Buster Keaton:
Tempest In A Flat Hat

Edward McPherson

Newmarket Press / 1557046654 (2005)

Besides my interest in Keaton's early vaudeville career, I bought this book hoping for more
information on the national tour of Once Upon A Mattress, as Harold Lang played the Jester.
On page 242 it states Buster did the seven-month tour as part of a sentence and the name of the show
didn't even make it into the index. A disappointment, because I think of all those people that had an
opportunity to see Buster Keaton and Harold Lang perform together live onstage, and I wasn't one of them.

Otherwise the book was interesting, but definately geared toward the film buffs who want to hear about every
single movement made in every single Keaton film. I am not one of those and so skipped many paragraphs of
"and then he did this..." or "and then the house exploded." I was willing to grant Keaton full master status
for his particular kind of intricate (and dangerous, being schooled in danger from his father's vaudeville routines)
style, but if I wanted to know more about a two-reeler I'd rather watch it than read about it.

And his personal story is nothing short of heart-breaking. Unlucky in love (until late in life), he saw his
dearest friend, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, brought down by a vicious scandal that ruined a brilliant career and
probably shortened his life. First-hand Buster saw all that fame and money could - and couldn't - do. After all
the years of growing up on the road, traveling with a drunken, abusive father, Hollywood was just one more illusion.


dimensions: 0.9 x 6.3 x 9.2 in / weight: 1.2 lb / volume: 304 pages


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