Today is the anniversary of the release date of the Buster Keaton short The Blacksmith (1922). An extremely Keatonesque opening shot (Buster standing next to the tallest tree imaginable) followed by a film more characteristic of Laurel and Hardy or the Three Stooges. This was that interesting transitional time when your local blacksmith might also double as a garage mechanic…horses were still around and cars were also in the picture. And Buster wreaks a great deal of havoc in both worlds. The incompetence and chaos his character spreads doesn’t feel like so much like Buster’s accustomed turf to me. Though the saddle with a shock absorber does. Buster’s co-director on the film was Mal St. Clair. Buster’s stern boss is his usual heavy, Big Joe Roberts, and the fancy lady is Virginia Fox.
To learn more about silent and slapstick film please check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc
To find out more about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.