December 20, 2012
Jack Hanlon, 96, who had roles in the 1926 silent classic The General and in two 1927 Our Gang comedies, died Dec. 13 thursday in Las Vegas. His niece, Wendy Putnam Park of Las Vegas, said her uncle, precocious and freckle-faced, was a natural as a child actor from 1926 to 1933. After a small role with Buster Keaton in The General , he played mischievous kids in two Our Gang/Little Rascals films: The Glorious Fourth and Olympic Games. He got an on-screen kiss from Greta Garbo in the 1930 film Romance.
December 4, 2012 |
The stage at Plays & Players Theatre these days looks like a combination hamster cage/prison cell/Lego village, an environment that seems too tiny to hold several of the city's most outsized theatrical practitioners. The staging of bunkbeds and cartoon props may physically squeeze Dave Jadico (comic thespian, writer, 1812 Productions staple) and Aaron Cromie (director, actor, mask- and puppet-maker). But nothing gets in the way of the fast-moving, belly-flopping, arm-flailing duo in Dave & Aaron Go to Work , a silent film-inspired comedy that's equal parts Buster Keaton and The Odd Couple . The play, now in previews, opens this week.
May 16, 2003 |
My favorite movie of all time? Glad you asked. It's Buster Keaton's Sherlock, Jr. (1924) and, lucky for all of us, on Saturday this 45-minute slapstick masterpiece is screening - with live musical accompaniment - at the Prince Music Theater, along with the appealing Keaton short One Week (1920). Whether you're an action-flick type or the kind of moviegoer fond of romance, whether you like high comedy or down-and-dirty pratfalls, Sherlock is the movie for you. The tale of a projectionist who dreams of being a sleuth and who literally walks into the movie he's projecting and solves its mystery, Sherlock is really about the mystery of movies.
July 5, 2002 |
Charlie Chaplin was the tramp who recycled throwaway objects, such as that camera in The Pawnshop (1916), and animated them with human characteristics. Buster Keaton was the stoneface who entered a shooting gallery in The High Sign (1921), picked up a brush and painted a hook on the wall on which he hung his porkpie hat. Harold Lloyd was the ordinary Joe, who in Never Weaken (1921), despondent at being jilted, blindfolds and shoots himself, and thinks he's a goner when a girder from the construction site next door slides in, fixes between his chair rungs and lifts him out of his high-rise building, taking him stories above the pavements.
May 22, 2002 |
Philadelphia summers won't be dead anymore, thanks to the first full Kimmel Center slate of hot attractions. Beginning with a 12-hour Summer Solstice marathon on June 21, the calendar will present four themed weekend festivals in July, Wednesday night dance parties and both free and ticketed events. Evenings of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd films, played to live orchestral backing, plus plenty of jazz, hip-hop, classical and pop attractions should wake up Broad Street until the fall season kicks in. Kimmel president Janice Price and programming director Mervon Mehta, announcing the events yesterday at the Perelman Theater's rooftop garden, listed visits by Harry Belafonte, Judy Collins, the Neville Brothers, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Lang Lang among many others.
April 27, 2001 |
Is there another face as gravely funny as Buster Keaton's? Like a deadpan Abraham Lincoln, he tickles audiences while striking deeper chords, his stone face all the funnier for remaining the fixed point in a turbulent universe. What's comic is that his impassivity inevitably yields to creative action. The silent clown wrote, directed and starred in a string of silent films unsurpassed for laughs, ingenuity and daredeviltry. The General (1926) - the story of a Confederate locomotive kidnapped by Union forces during the Civil War - starts slow but picks up steam, barreling across enemy lines like a runaway train.
January 12, 1996 |
Charlie Chaplin is the tramp in the bowler hat who waddled, twirling his cane and the world in his wake. Harold Lloyd is the gent in the oversize glasses who defied gravity by clinging to the hands of a clock on a skyscraper tower. But Buster Keaton is the granite-faced guy in his dressing room, primping before the mirror, who gamely strides through the looking glass and into the infinite possibilities of motion pictures. Of the three kings of silent film, Buster still rules.
September 29, 1995 |
The way performer/professional clown Bill Irwin puts it, the silent films of Buster Keaton rank with the bald eagle and the jazz saxophone solo as icons of Americana. And who's to say the guy is that far off? Woody Allen, Steve Martin, the Marx Brothers and Red Skelton are among the artists who've borrowed from Keaton's assorted features. "I remember watching '50s television," said Irwin, 45, "and seeing some of his stuff in these great compilations of old silents, but it wasn't until I got interested in clowning as a profession that I really looked at these films.
March 9, 1995 |
Undersea with a swordfish poised to gore him, Buster Keaton is the guy who grabs its cousin and gracefully duels his challenger to defeat. At the office with nowhere to hang his porkpie hat, Buster Keaton is the guy who picks up brush and pigment, paints a hook on the wall and thereupon gravely hangs his chapeau. In his dressing room, primping before the mirror, teasing tie and hat to maximum rakishness, Buster Keaton is the guy who then strides gamely through the looking glass and into the infinite possibilities of motion pictures.
February 2, 1995 |
The true extent of Buster Keaton's talents is well-documented in film- history books, but not on video. That's because much of the material from his most creative years as an independent maker of silent movies could be seen only on film, not on tape. That's about to change in big way this year, the 100th anniversary of the comedian's birth. Kino on Video, a company that specializes in vintage film, has acquired the rights to issue classic Keaton titles on tape, many for the first time.