Buster Keaton at 125

Turner Classic Movies observed the 125th anniversary of the birth of Buster Keaton yesterday by replaying the terrific 2018 Peter Bogdanovich documentary The Great Buster: A Celebration (trailer below), followed by Sherlock, Jr. (1924), The General (1927), Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928), and the lesser known Seven Chances (1928).

Coincidentally, I think, one of the automobile companies broadcast an advertisement yesterday afternoon incorporating classic silent film stunts, including one or two featured in the clips above and below. Watching it, I wondered how many viewers had a clue. I would love to track that ad down if it is out there somewhere in cyberspace. In the meantime, take a look at the highlights compiled in the clip below and try not to laugh.

I owe my appreciation of Keaton’s genius to Walter Kerr’s brilliant book The Silent Clowns (1975). It is astounding how deeply Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd were able to exploit the medium of film in its infancy.

UPDATE: Courtesy of a reader, here is the advertisement incorporating classic scenes derived from Keaton et al. The advertisement is discussed in this Forbes column.

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