Magic Lantern Video & Book Store

Buster  Keaton
[1895-1966]

          on this page:
short profile
video & DVD collections
silent shorts
links

top of Page 2
silent features
sound films 1929-33
works about Buster Keaton

top of Page 3
sound films 1934-66
image gallery
friends & family

Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.
— Buster Keaton

        Joseph Frank Keaton VI was born 4 October 1895 in Piqua, Kansas. His parents – father Joe and tiny, dark-haired mother Myra – performed in vaudeville, where Harry Houdini is said to have given the kid, a performer from the age of 5, the nickname 'Buster'. The family toured around the country, billed as 'The Three Keatons', and Buster spent a total of one day in formal school. By 1905, he had two siblings; neither performed onstage. Joe threw young Buster around as part of the act, and in later years took to drink and beat the boy if he showed any sign of fear. Life on the vaudeville stage was not all abuse: Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson taught Buster to dance, and Harry Houdini taught him card tricks. Buster loved the stage, but in 1916 he left his uncaring family, first for Broadway and then off to Hollywood.

        A chance meeting with comic Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle led to film acting, then writing and directing. After serving in France during World War I, Buster returned to Hollywood in 1920, making a series of two-reelers that catapulted him to fame in just two years. Arbuckle's career was ruined by scandal in 1922, though he was ultimately acquitted; Buster remained a friend until Arbuckle's untimely death in 1933.

        Buster's career blossomed, and he formed a company to write, produce and direct shorts and features that displayed his comic stunt and acting skills, making 19 shorts and 11 feature films from 1920 to 1929. Against the advice of pals Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd, Buster made a deal to work for M.G.M. in 1928, but studio executives were unable to understand his genius. Thwarted by terrible scripts, Buster found solace in alcohol, then recovered and found work on the legitimate stage, where he was a success in both America and Europe. A September 1949 cover story in Life Magazine by James Agee revived Buster's career; he appeared in "Sunset Boulevard" (1950), starred in a television series (1951), acted in Chaplin's "Limelight" (1953), and in "Around the World in 80 Days" (1956) . During the 1960s, he acted in mostly low-budget films, including roles as a stone-faced Indian in beach-and-bikini movies of the period.

        He married Natalie Talmadge (sister of screen stars Norma and Constance) in May 1920, and she bore him two sons. In-laws soon ruled the Keaton home, however, forcing him to sleep in his own room from 1924; the marriage finally collapsed in 1932. He married his second wife, Mae Scrivens, the same year – while inebriated and before the divorce was final; alcoholism hastened the end of the second marriage as well. Confined to a sanitarium in 1934, Buster escaped his straitjacket using a secret learned from Harry Houdini. Buster later achieved control of his drinking, and in 1940 married dancer Eleanor Norris, 21 years his junior; she stayed with him to the end. He died of lung cancer at his home in Woodland Hills, California on 1 February 1966; his widow Eleanor died 19 October 1998.

        Buster Keaton was lauded during his lifetime for his mastery of stunts and acting in silent films, receiving an Honorary Oscar in 1960 "for his unique talents which brought immortal comedies to the screen", and two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He stated near the end of his life that he had lived the happiest and luckiest of lives. The U.S. Postal Service has issued several Keaton postage stamps, as have other countries. The first year of the National Film Registry named "The General" [1927] to the list, and "Sherlock Jr." [1924] followed two years later.

Buster Keaton credits [150+ titles, 1917-66] at Internet Movie Database

star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame  star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame  Oscar statuette is a trademark of A.M.P.A.S.     Buster Keaton won an Honorary Oscar® in 1960
and has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame



Video  &  DVD  Collections

browse Buster Keaton on DVD at Amazon

Art of Buster Keaton collection   "The Art of Buster Keaton" [Kino Video 1995]
includes ten features & 20 shorts [plus bonus goodies on DVD]

b&w DVD [11/2001] 11 disks for $132.46
credits from IMDb

Volume 1: 8 films on 3 tapes or 3 DVDs as below b&w VHS [11/2001] out of prodn/used
Saphead etc   Three Ages etc   Hospitality + Sherlock   "The Saphead", "One Week" & "The High Sign"
b&w VHS [11/2001] for $19.95
b&w DVD [11/2001] for $26.99
"The Three Ages", "The Goat" & "My Wife's Relations"
b&w VHS [11/2001] for $19.95
b&w DVD [11/99] for $26.99
"Our Hospitality" & "Sherlock Jr."
b&w VHS [11/2001] for $19.95
b&w DVD [11/99] for $26.99

Volume 2: 12 films on 4 tapes or 4 DVDs as below b&w VHS [11/2001] for $69.95
Navigator etc   7 Chances etc   Go West etc   Battling Butler etc   "The Navigator", "The Boat" & "The Love Nest"
b&w VHS [11/2001] for $19.95
b&w DVD [11/99] for $26.99
"Seven Chances", "The Balloonatic" & "Neighbors"
b&w VHS [11/2001] for $19.95
b&w DVD [1/2000] for $26.99
"Go West", "The Scarecrow" & "The Paleface"
b&w VHS [11/2001] for $19.95
b&w DVD [11/99] for $26.99
"Battling Butler", "The Haunted House" & "The Frozen North"
b&w VHS [11/2001] for $19.95
b&w DVD [10/99] for $26.99

Volume 3: 10 films on 3 tapes or 3 DVDs as below b&w VHS [11/2001] for $52.95
General etc   College etc   Steamboat etc   "The General", "The Playhouse", "Cops"
b&w VHS [11/2001] for $19.95
b&w DVD [10/99] for $26.99
"College", "Hard Luck", "The Electric House" & "The Blacksmith"
b&w VHS [6/95] for $29.95
b&w DVD [1/2000] for $26.99
"Steamboat Bill, Jr.", "Daydreams" & "Convict 13"
b&w VHS [11/2001] for $19.95
b&w DVD [10/99] for $26.99


Keaton Plus collection on DVD    "Keaton Plus" on DVD [1995]
Kino Video DVD [8/2004] for $21.99
includes silent shorts "Hard Luck" [1921], "The High Sign" [1921], "Daydreams" [1922], "The Haunted House" [1922] & "The Love Nest" [1923]; sound shorts "Allez Oop" [1934] & "Jail Bait" [1937]; dramatic tv episode "The Awakening" [1954], plus rare outtakes & video of filming locations based on the book "Silent Echoes"
Famous Comedy Legends DVD box sets  "Famous  Comedy  Legends" DVD Box Sets [2002]
Volume 1: National Film Museum b&w DVD set [7/2002] 3 disks for $24.99
Starring Charlie Chaplin {3 shorts), Charley Chase (1 short), W.C. Fields (2 shorts), Buster Keaton (shorts "The Goat" [1921] & "The Blacksmith" [1922], silent features "The General" [1927] & "College" [1927]) & The Three Stooges (2 shorts)
Volume 2: National Film Museum b&w DVD set [7/2002] 3 disks for $24.99
Starring Charlie Chaplin {2 shorts), Charley Chase (2 shorts), W.C. Fields (1 short), Buster Keaton (shorts "Cops" [1922] & "The Love Nest" [1923], features "Steamboat Bill, Jr." [1928 silent] & "Parlor, Bedroom and Bath" [1931 talkie]) & The Three Stooges (3 shorts)

Buster Keaton Collection   "The Buster Keaton Collection" [Warner 2004]
Warner b&w DVD [12/2004] 2 discs for $35.99
includes "The Cameraman" [1928], "Spite Marriage" [1929] & "Free and Easy" [1930] silent features, Kevin Brownlow & Christopher Bird's documentary "So Funny It Hurt: Buster Keaton & MGM" [2004], plus many extras
Industrial Strength Keaton collection  "Industrial Strength Keaton" [Laughsmith Ent. 2006]
Directed by Paul E. Gierucki with Bruce Lawton
Mackinac Media color DVD [1/2006] 2 discs for $21.99
includes b&w silent feature "The Playhouse" [1921], recently discovered silent short "Character Studies" [1927], b&w sound feature "Parlor, Bedroom & Bath [1931]; b&w promotional shorts "Seein' Stars" [1922], "The Voice of Hollywood #10" [1929], "Hollywood On Parade #A-6" [1933], "An Old Spanish Custom" [1935]; 7 TV shows, 21 TV commercials, 3 short industrial films, and many bonus features
Buster Keaton 65th Anniversary Collection  "Buster Keaton 65th Anniversary Collection" [2006]
Sony b&w DVD [3/2006] 2 disks for $21.99
includes Columbia sound shorts "General Nuisance" [1941], "His Ex Marks the Spot" [1940], "Mooching Through Georgia" [1939], "Nothing But Pleasure" [1940], "Pardon My Berth Marks"
[1940], "Pest From The West" [1939], "She's Oil Mine" [1941], "So You Won't Squawk" [1941], "The Spook Speaks" [1940] & "The Taming of the Snood" [1940] plus featurette "Buster Keaton: From Silents To Shorts" [2006]

Buster Keaton Chronicles DVD set from U.K.  "The Buster Keaton Chronicles" DVD Set [2006]
NOTE: this DVD product appears to be for Region 2
Netwerk b&w DVD set [2/2006] 6 disks - out of prodn/used { list price in U.K. is £39.99 }
"28 movies from the genius of silent comedy": includes Thames Silents versions of 'The General' and 'Our Hospitality', 1968 Keaton documentary "The Great Stone Face", and a special booklet by Ed MacPherson & Paul Ross; the other 26 shorts and features are: "The Balloonatic", "Battling Butler", "The Blacksmith", "The Boat", "College", "Convict 13", "Cops", "Day Dreams", "The Electric House", "The Frozen North", "Go West", "The Goat", "The Haunted House", "The Love Nest", "My Wife's Relations", "The Navigator", "Neighbors", "One Week", "The Paleface", "The Play-house", "The Saphead", "The Scarecrow", "Seven Chances", "Sherlock Jr.", "Steamboat Bill Jr.", and "The Three Ages"

Buster Keaton 2 DVD Set  
"Buster Keaton 2 DVD Set: The Great Stone Face of Comedy" 4 films on DVD [2008]
contains four feature films (3 silent, 1 sound): "College" [1927], "The General" [1927], TV show "The Misadventures of Buster Keaton" [U.K. movie 1953], and "Steamboat Bill Jr." [1928]
Echo Bridge Home Ent. b%w DVD [9/2008] 2 disks for $5.19
Rare Films of Buster Keaton on DVD  "The Actors: Rare Films of Buster Keaton" [2009]
Volume 1: Classic Video Streams b&w DVD [8/2009] for $14.99
contains six b&w sound shorts from Fox/Educational: "The Gold Ghost" [1934], "One Run Elmer" [1935], "Tars and Stripes" [1935], "Hayseed Romance" [1935], "Three On A Limb" [1936], and "Mixed Magic" [1936]
Volume 2: Classic Video Streams b&w DVD [8/2009] for $14.99
contains three b&w sound shorts from Fox/Educational: "The Chemist" [1936], "Grand Slam Opera" [1936], and "Ditto" [1937]; color short "The Home Owner" [1961]; a 1962 Ford commercial; and the color short "The Triumph of Lester Snapwell" [1963], essentially a commercial for Kodak's Instamatic camera

Lost Keaton Sixteen Comedy Shorts DVD box set  "Lost Keaton: Sixteen Comedy Shorts, 1934-1937" DVD Box Set [2010]
Kino Lorber b&w DVD set [7/2010] 2 disks for $24.14
option for dubbing in Japanese (!); contains all 16 Educational Pictures shorts (14 of which are first time on DVD) including: "Allez Oop" [Feb 1934], "The Gold Ghost" [March 1934], "Palooka From Paducah" [Jan 1935], "One Run Elmer" [1935], "Hayseed Romance" [March 1935], "Tars and Stripes" [May 1935], "The E-Flat Man" [Aug 1935], "The Timid Young Man" [Oct 1935], "The Chemist" [1936], "Grand Slam Opera"
[1936], "Three On A Limb" [Jan 1936], "Blue Blazes" [Aug 1936], "Mixed Magic" [Nov 1936], "Jail Bait" [Jan 1937], "Ditto" [Feb 1937], and "Love Nest On Wheels" [March 1937] — omitting "Mooching Through Georgia" [Aug 1939]
Buster Keaton Short Films Collection, 1920-1923 from Kino  
"Buster Keaton Ultimate Edition: Short Films Collection, 1920-1923" [2011]
Kino Intl. b&w Blu-ray [7/2011] 3 disks for $45.99
Kino Intl. b&w DVD [7/2011] 3 disks for $21.99
contains 19 silent short films, digitally-remastered in high definition; extras include 15 'visual essays' by Keaton experts, booklet, 1925 gag film, excerpts & outtakes
Best of Buster Keaton DVD box set  "The Best of Buster Keaton" DVD Box Set [2011]
S'more Entertainment DVD set [10/2011] 2 disks for $9.99
contains 4 silent shorts and 2 silent feature films: "The Goat" [1921], "The Blacksmith" [1922], "Cops" [1922), "The Love Nest" [1923], "The General" [1926], and "Steamboat Bill, Jr." [1928]
Buster Keaton Collection 14-Disc Blu-ray box set  "Buster Keaton Collection 14-Disc Set" on Blu-ray [2016]  11/2016
Kino Lorber b&w Blu-ray set [11/2016] 14 disks for $117.10
contains 35 shorts and eleven features & featurettes: "Buster Keaton Short Films Collection, 1920-1923"
(19 two-reelers on three disks); "Lost Keaton: Sixteen Comedy Shorts, 1934-1937" (on two disks); "The Saphead" [1920], "Our Hospitality" [1923], "The Three Ages" [1923], "Sherlock Jr." [1924], "The Navigator"
[1924], "Seven Chances" [1925], "Go West" [1925], "Battling Butler" [1926], "The General" [1927], "College" [1927], and "Steamboat Bill Jr." [1928]


Shorts  with  Fatty Arbuckle
Magic Lantern's Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle [1887-1933] Page

"The Butcher Boy" [April 1917]  counted among 14 films in Neibaur's book
with Al St. John; full credits from IMDb

A Reckless Romeo silent short starring Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle & Buster Keaton  "A Reckless Romeo" [Paramount/Comique May 1917 short]
Long considered a lost film, nitrate elements were discovered in Norway in 1999. Roscoe flirts with a girl in the park, then when he takes his wife & mother-in-law to the movies, he sees the flirtation show- ing on the screen. Co-written & directed by & starring Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle; co-starring Buster Keaton, Al St. John, Alice Lake, Agnes Neilson & Corinne Parquet • Both DVD & VHS also include Roscoe's "The Cook" [1918] with Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd's "Number Please?" [1920]
Image Ent. tinted b&w DVD [2/2003] 3 shorts for $22.49
Milestone Video b&w VHS [1/2003] 3 shorts - out of prodn/used
full credits at IMDb

"The Rough House" [June 1917]  counted among 14 films in Neibaur's book
with Al St. John; full credits from IMDb

"His Wedding Night" [Aug 1917]  counted among 14 films in Neibaur's book
with Al St. John; full credits from IMDb

"Oh Doctor!" [Sept 1917]  counted among 14 films in Neibaur's book
with Al St. John; full credits from IMDb

"Coney Island" silent short [Comique Film Co. Oct 1917]  counted among 14 films in Neibaur's book
'Coney Island' silent short film starring Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle & Buster Keaton  25-minute silent short, filmed at Coney Island; Roscoe tries to dump his wife so that he can chase young bathing beauties; Buster arrives with Alice who is taken away by Al, who loses her to Roscoe . . .
Directed & written by and starring Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle; also starring Buster Keaton, Al St. John, Alice Mann, Agnes Neilson
available on "The Best Arbuckle/Keaton Collection" 2-disk DVD set [2002]
Image Ent. b&w DVD set [10/2002] 2 disks - out of prodn/used
full credits at IMDb • watch full movie [silent; 25:04] online at YouTube

"A Country Hero" [Dec 1917]  counted among 14 films in Neibaur's book
with Al St. John; full credits from IMDb

"Out West" [aka 'The Sheriff'; Jan 1918]  counted among 14 films in Neibaur's book
with Al St. John & Joe Keaton; full credits from IMDb

"The Bell Boy" [March 1918]  counted among 14 films in Neibaur's book
with Al St. John & Joe Keaton; full credits from IMDb

"Moonshine" [May 1918]  counted among 14 films in Neibaur's book
with Al St. John; full credits from IMDb

"Good Night, Nurse!" [July 1918]  counted among 14 films in Neibaur's book
with Al St. John & Joe Keaton; full credits from IMDb

The Cook silent short starring Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle & Buster Keaton  "The Cook" [Paramount/Comique Sept 1918 short]  counted among 14 films in Neibaur's book
Long considered a lost film, nitrate elements were discovered in Europe in 1998 & 2002. A restaurant chef and his assistant attempt new efficiencies, which wreak havoc, then a robber shows up. Written & directed by & starring Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle; co-starring Buster Keaton, Al St. John, Alice Lake & Glen Cavender • Both DVD & VHS also include Roscoe's "A Reckless Romeo" [1917] with Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd's "Number Please?" [1920].}
Image Ent. tinted b&w DVD [2/2003] 3 shorts for $22.49
Milestone Video b&w VHS [1/2003] 3 shorts - out of prodn/used
11"x17" poster available for $14.99 at AllPosters.com
full credits at IMDb

"A Desert Hero" [1919]
with Al St. John; full credits from IMDb

"Back Stage" [Sept 1919]  counted among 14 films in Neibaur's book
with Al St. John; full credits from IMDb

"The Hayseed" [Oct 1919]  counted among 14 films in Neibaur's book
with Al St. John; full credits from IMDb

"The Garage" [aka 'Fire Chief'; Jan 1920]  counted among 14 films in Neibaur's book
with Al St. John; full credits from IMDb

Arbuckle & Keaton 14 Film Collaborations book by James L. Neibaur  "Arbuckle and Keaton: Their 14 Film Collaborations" [2006]
by James L. Neibaur

McFarland & Co. pb [12/2006] for $33.25

except that there were sixteen Arbuckle-Keaton collaborations {as above}

Arbuckle & Keaton Collection   "The Best Arbuckle / Keaton Collection" DVD set [2002]
Volume 1: Blackhawk/Flicker Alley b&w DVD [5/2015] for $16.95
Volume 2: Blackhawk/Flicker Alley b&w DVD [5/2015] for $16.95
Image Ent. b&w DVD [10/2002] 2 disks - out of prodn/used
twelve short films, including "The Butcher Boy" [1917], "The Rough House" [1917], "His Wedding Night" [1917], "Oh Doctor!" [1917], "Coney Island" [1917], "Out West" [1918], "The Bell Boy" [1918], "Moonshine" (fragment) [1918], "Good Night, Nurse" [1918], "Back Stage" [1919], "The Hayseed" [1919], and "The Garage" [1920]

Arbuckle & Keaton Shorts Volume 1  
Arbuckle & Keaton Shorts Volume 2  
Arbuckle & Keaton: The Original Comique Paramount Shorts [2001]
Volume 1: "The Butcher Boy" [1917], "The Bell Boy" [1918], "Out West" [1918], "Moonshine" [1918], and "The Hayseed" [1919]
Kino Video DVD [4/2001] out of prodn/used
Kino Video VHS [4/2001] out of prodn/used
Volume 2: "Coney Island" [1917], "The Rough House"[1917], "Good Night, Nurse!" [1918], "Back Stage" [1919], and "The Garage" [1920]
Kino Video DVD [4/2001] out of prodn/used
Kino Video VHS [4/2001] out of prodn/used
Volume 3, perhaps? [shorts not included in Volumes 1&2]
"Oh Doctor!" [1917], "A Country Hero" [1917], "His Wedding Night" [1917], "The Cook" [1918], and "A Desert Hero" [1919]


Later  Shorts
co-written & co-directed by Edward F. Cline [unless otherwise noted]

"The Scarecrow" [1920]
with Al St. John, Edward F. Cline & Joe Keaton; full credits from IMDb

"One Week" [Comique/Metro Sept 1920]
full credits from IMDb

"Convict 13" [1920]
with Edward F. Cline & Joe Keaton; full credits from IMDb

"Neighbors" [aka 'Backyard' or 'Mailbox'; 1920]
with Edward F. Cline & Joe Keaton; full credits from IMDb

"The Haunted House" [1921]
with Edward F. Cline; full credits from IMDb

"Hard Luck" [1921; restored 1987]
full credits from IMDb

"The High Sign" [1921]
"May be the summit of Keaton's inventiveness." — Richard Brady, New Yorker Magazine film critic (in 2011)
with Al St. John; full credits from IMDb

"The Playhouse" [1921]
full credits from IMDb

"The Boat" [1921]
with Edward F. Cline; full credits from IMDb

"The Goat" [1921] co-written & co-directed by Malcolm St. Clair
with Malcolm St. Clair & Edward F. Cline; full credits from IMDb

"The Blacksmith" [1922] co-written & co-directed by Malcolm St. Clair
full credits from IMDb

"The Paleface" [1922] co-directed by Edward F. Cline
full credits from IMDb

"My Wife's Relations" [1922] co-written by Edward F. Cline
full credits from IMDb

"The Frozen North" [1922]
with Edward F. Cline; full credits from IMDb

"The Electric House" [1922]
with Joe, Myra & Louis Keaton; full credits from IMDb

"Day Dreams" [1922] co-written by Edward F. Cline
with Renιe Adorιe, Joe Keaton & Edward F. Cline; full credits from IMDb

"Cops" [1922]
Brentwood Video 98 not available; full credits from IMDb

"The Balloonatic" [1923] co-written by Edward F. Cline
full credits from IMDb

"The Love Nest" [1923] co-directed by Edward F. Cline
full credits from IMDb

"The Iron Mule" [Educational 1925]
directed by Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle & Grover Jones
starring Al St. John; full credits from IMDb

jump to Buster's Silent Features on page 2



L i n k s
Buster Keaton credits [150+ titles, 1917-66] at Internet Movie Database
Buster Keaton entry at Wikipedia
Intl. Buster Keaton Society

Silents Majority B.K. Photo Gallery
Annual Buster Keaton Celebration [Sept 2008 = #16] in Iola, Kansas
Derek Timbrell's Buster Keaton fansite

online transcriptions of Columbia University interviews with Buster Keaton [1958]
session 1 • session 2 • session 3 • session 4



  play that music again !! {3 min. 28 sec. midi file}  

Magic Lantern Video & Book Store's Buster Keaton [1895-1966] Pages

here on page one: top of page • short profile • video & DVD collections • silent shorts • links

on page two: top of page • silent features • sound films 1929-33 • works about Buster Keaton

on page three: top of page • sound films 1934-66 • image gallery • friends & family

Online sales in association with  browse Buster Keaton on DVD at Amazon

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