We sure hope you can join us for the 2013 Damfinos Convention in Muskegon, Michigan on October 4th & 5th! It’s a rare opportunity to meet and learn from many folks who lived/worked with Buster, and to hang out with fellow Keatonauts! Check out the convention website at http://silent-movies.com/Damfinos/home.html for bios on our special guests and to register for the convention. Hope to see you there!
Ok tumblr - here’s a genuine Buster Keaton Mystery for you to solve! While perusing Buster’s personal date books, we found this odd group of numbers that have us totally bumfuzzled! Here’s hoping you can help figure out what they are!
Here’s what we know:
- They aren’t mathematical computations. Buster was VERY precise in his financial calculations and these aren’t sums or totals. The decimal places don’t make sense for arithmetic.
- This is the only time in the 10-year span of Buster’s date books that anything like this sequence of unexplainable numbers appears.
- They aren’t lists of serial numbers, catalog numbers, etc. He would have listed what each number was - not just the numbers by themselves.
- They are dated at the top of each page - so they have something to do with what was happening in his life in the months of September & October 1914, when he was 18 years old.
- The Three Keatons had just ended their summer sabbatical in Muskegon at this time, and had returned to performing in the mid-west. Nothing out of the ordinary.
- The entries on lines 10, 11, 13 & possibly 15 might end in lower-case letter “b” - not the numeral “6.”
- Several sequences repeat themselves. “12288” repeats twice, as does “2717.” Many of the numbers seem to end in 17 or 18.
- We’ve looked at baseball stats, box scores, boxing match scores, horse racing forms, stock quotations, train schedules, etc. - nothing matches up.
So…. all you crypto-peeps and math-gurus put your collective code-breaking hats on and see if you can solve Buster’s mystery numbers! Send me an “ask” if you have any questions!
*Photo courtesy of Patty Tobias and the International Buster Keaton Society.
Howdy tumblr! I’ve been neglecting the old Busterblog for a while – but not for lack of Bustering! In fact, he’s pretty much become my full time job nowadays. Between Damfino duties, the Busterfiles archive project and a heavenly 2-week trip to California with a gaggle of fellow Busterbloggers to do some hardcore research (and a LOT of Busterly sightseeing), I’ve been busy as a one-armed paperhanger!
One of the highlights of our recent CA trip was the screening of Keaton’s newly restored “The General” at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Another “General” restoration, you say? I admit I was thinking the same thing – as I didn’t think anything could improve on KINO’s Blu-Ray version. HOLY SHEEP, was I wrong!!! In cooperation with the Library of Congress, the Cohen Film Collection has gone back to the camera negative and produced a 4K-scanned restoration so clear and bright – it’s like watching reality instead of a film! You can literally see each and every strand of Johnnie Gray’s hair blowing in the breeze, and the effect of light glinting on shiny surfaces (like swords and trains) are almost like watching real sunlight reflecting off the screen. The exploding rockets in the battle scene looked so real, it was as if someone was flashing strobes on the backside of the screen as well. The contrast was gorgeous and the clarity incredible. If this version tours a theater in your area – GO SEE IT! It’s probably the closest thing you’ll ever get to seeing actual a projection of pristine nitrate film.
Everything has a downside, and I’d have to say that the Alloy Orchestra’s score was the bummer of the event. I know they have quite a following, but IMO their adaptation did nothing but add some rather annoying sound effects – and those were inconsistent with the film. I love “choo-choo” rhythms, but playing the same theme throughout the entire train segment of the films got on my nerves after a while. I was expecting a tremendous crash/boom/bang to occur during the train crash scene, but their take was surprisingly low-key compared to some of their other over-the-top audibles. You just can’t beat Carl Davis’ score for “The General” – and while nothing could dampen my excitement at seeing my favorite film on the big screen at Grauman’s – Alloy certainly didn’t do anything to add to the experience.
Lots more going on in Busterville, gang – I’ll try to update more often and keep you on top of things!
Hugz — Busterness
why did norma hate buster?
I think that’s a pretty general assumption - we have no evidence that Norma hated anyone. In fact, she seemed to get along with Buster fairly well up until his marriage to Natalie started falling apart, and I’m sure she was acting as a protective big sister typically would in that situation. Judging from Buster’s comments in the press around the time of the divorce, he blamed Norma for instigating some things, but that still doesn’t mean that she harbored hatred toward him. We just don’t have enough facts to make judgment calls about how individuals felt about one another. For them most part, they seemed to have kept their emotions out of the press.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t find this man attractive at all. Nope. Kind of goofy lookin’, don’t you think? And that movie “The General” - overblown hype, really. I mean, come ON! Who wants to watch somebody climb all over trains! And it’s SILENT! No freakin’ dialog at all! How in the hell does anyone expect me to enjoy such garbage?? Hmmmmpf.
What do we know about Natalie?
Not nearly as much as we would like to!!!!! (Which, BTW, is why I find it very difficult to understand some of her actions, and also why I try not to judge her too harshly. There are simply not enough facts known and her side of the story has never been fully told).
What do you make of people who claim The General is an anti-war film?
Folks who want to attach a sociological or political motive to The General don’t know Keaton very well. He was probably the most apolitical man in Hollywood. He liked the story told in “Daring & Suffering/The Great Locomotive Chase” because it gave him the opportunity for the action and gags he wanted to portray. He wasn’t trying to make a statement - he just wanted people to laugh.
Why do some people find The General boring?
IMO, people who didn’t care for The General were expecting the same kind of slapstick that Keaton used in his previous work. The General is as much spectacle as it is comedy. Buster took more time developing the story and characters, and the gags are spaced out more than usual. Folks who just wanted to see Keaton falling on his behind every few minutes were likely disappointed. Thank goodness we’ve taken more time to appreciate all the OTHER incredible facets of this film - it’s a treasure.
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Why do you love The General so much?
Where to start??? The General is a unique mix of comedy, majesty, gorgeous cinematography, heroism, humility, movement, geometry, love amidst war, etc. As Michael Palin said: Buster Keaton showed us that comedy can be beautiful. That fits The General to a tee! To be honest, I also think that steam locomotives are incredibly sexy and Buster with that long hair…….. (thud).