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Fatty Arbuckle Scandal 1921 One of the most tragic figures in movie history was Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle. A onetime cabaret singer, Arbuckle was among the most popular actors in silent comedies from 1914 to 1921. Starting as an extra at Keystone Studios, the surprisingly nimble Arbuckle quickly graduated to starring roles in the studio's slapstick comedy films where he was noted for his terrific accuracy in throwing pies and other missiles. Later, like Charlie Chaplin, Arbuckle matured as a performer, adding brilliantly subtle aspects to his comedy routines. A box-office favorite, he was making a seven-figure salary at Paramount Pictures in 1921. Midway through that year Arbuckle was so popular that he was put to work on three feature comedy films simultaneously! Shortly after completing them, Arbuckle's career abruptly ended in scandal. He was accused of sexually assaulting small-time actress Virginia Rappe at a party he was hosting in a suite at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco on Labor Day 1921. Rappe died four days later in a maternity hosptal of peritonitis from a ruptured bladder, presumably caused by the 266-pound Arbuckle forcing himself on her. (There was also an apocryphal story of Rappe being raped with a champagne or cola bottle. How this slanderous story started is anyone's guess.) Rappe had become violently ill and irrational at the party. Arbuckle and several partygoers tried to succor Rappe and eventually moved her to another hotel room where she was examined by three different doctors over the next three days. A postmortem on Rappe's body found no signs of sexual assault whatsoever. In all likelihood Rappe death's was due to medical negligence or malpractice. Moreover, Rappe was hardly the virginal victim that the popular press and D.A.'s office portrayed her to be. The mistress of director Henry Lehrman, Rappe had had at least four abortions by the time she was 16, she had an out-of-wedlock child that she had abandoned, and she was afflicted with gonorrhea. In the summer of 1921 the 26-year-old Rappe, who hadn't had an acting job in two years, recently underwent another illegal abortion. Rappe was also suffering from a chronic illness that was exacerbated by her taste for poor-quality Prohibition booze. The accusations against Arbuckle were based solely on a malicious complaint fabricated by party attendee Maude Delmont, a known extortionist who claimed to be a "lifelong friend" of Rappe's--but had only known Rappe for two days prior to the Labor Day party. Arbuckle was astounded when a horde of reporters descended upon his Hollywood mansion to tell him he was being investigated for rape and possible murder charges in Rappe's death. Beginning in late September, Arbuckle was tried three times for rape and manslaughter in the space of seven months. He spent $700,000 on legal fees to beat the bogus charges. The prosecution's case was absurdly weak and should have been dropped. In fact, complainant Delmont was never called as a witness because her wild story of Arbuckle assaulting Rappe for an hour did not jibe with the physical evidence nor the timeline of events at the party. Nevertheless, the San Francisco D.A.'s office doggedly pursued the charges against Arbuckle because of intense pressure by reformers and moralists. The first two trials resulted in hung juries. At the first trial, Arbuckle fared terrifically when he eagerly took the stand to defend himself. It ended with the jury voting 10-2 in favor of acquittal. One stubborn holdout was a militant feminist so determined to convict Arbuckle that she refused to read any portions of the trial's transcript or listen to other jurors' opinions--to the point of childishly putting her hands over her ears! The second trial, in which Arbuckle's legal team badly advised him not to bother to take the stand because his innocence was obvious, was surprisingly 9-3 in favor of conviction! At the third trial, in April 1922, Arbuckle wisely took the stand. The jury deliberated for a mere six minutes before returning with a not guilty verdict that was loudly cheered by the gallery. Furthermore, the jury also insisted a formal apology to Arbuckle be read into the trials' official transcript. Film historians generally believe Arbuckle was totally innocent of any wrongdoing and was the victim of malicious prosecution. Nevertheless, his acting career abruptly ended because newly appointed Hollywood censorship czar Will Hays banned distributors from showing any Arbuckle comedies despite being acquitted! Although filmdom was deprived of a master comic's work, Arbuckle stayed in movies by directing films under an assumed name. He was just beginning to make an acting comeback--with six two-reel comedie--when died of heart failure in 1933 at age 46. According to Arbuckle biographer David A. Yallop, in an era when Hollywood stars routinely engaged in all sorts of debauchery, Roscoe, ironically, "was probably the most chaste man in Hollywood."
Tags: Roscoe  Fatty  Arbuckle  scandal  1921 
Added: 16th November 2007
Views: 3048
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Posted By: Lava1964
Keystone Cops The Keystone Cops were a regular feature in Mack Sennett's silent Keystone comedies. Their heyday was between 1912 and 1917. The ensemble that played the comical police force changed from film to film. (Many were per diem actors who remain unknown to this day.) Ford Sterling usually played the police chief. In this still photo silent screen buffs will recognize Roscoe Arbuckle and Edgar Kennedy.
Tags: Keystone  Cops 
Added: 8th May 2008
Views: 1610
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Posted By: Lava1964
100th Anniversary of First Chaplin Film February 2, 2014 marked the hundredth anniversary of the release of Charlie Chaplin's first film--Making A Living. In this film made by Keystone Studios, Chaplin plays a swindler dressed in a long coat and top hat who sported a long mustache and a monocle. Chaplin's famous Little Tramp character would debut in his next fim, Kid Auto Races at Venice. He did, however, carry a cane and wear baggy pants in this one. Years later Chaplin said he was disappointed that his funniest scene in Making A Living was cut out of the film by actor/director Henry Lehrman, the other man in this photo. Film historians suspect Lehrman, who had a reputation for being self-centered, did not want to be upstaged by Chaplin. Within a short time Chaplin became so enormously popular that he demanded--and got--artistic control over all his films.
Tags: Charlie  Chaplin  Making  a  Living   
Added: 3rd February 2014
Views: 1050
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Posted By: Lava1964
Charley Chase - Forgotten Comedian One of the overlooked comedy greats from the silent-screen era was Charley Chase. Chase began working in films at age 19 in 1912 and was still amusing audiences well into the sound era. Chase performed in comedies under Mack Sennett at Keystone but he is more famous for his long association with Hal Roach Studios. Chase often played a luckless character who was frequently the victim of unfortunate circumstances. Wrote one film historian, "Charley Chase was always innocent--but he got caught anyway." Often the setup to Chase's film gags was long and complex. Consider this clip from the 1924 film Accidental Accidents. Sadly, Chase died of a heart attack in 1940 at the age of 46.
Tags: Charley  Chase  silen  film  comedian 
Added: 7th March 2014
Views: 1292
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Posted By: Lava1964
Bobby Buntrock Bobby Buntrock was a child actor best remembered for his portrayal of Harold (Sport) Baxter in the 1961-65 sitcom Hazel. Buntrock was killed in a car accident on a bridge in Keystone, South Dakota in April 1974. He was 21 years old. A year earlier his mother had been killed in another accident on that very same bridge.
Tags: bobby  Buntrock  Hazel 
Added: 25th November 2009
Views: 10216
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Posted By: Lava1964
Lost Chaplin Film Discovered For years film historians were puzzled by Charlie Chaplin's claim that he'd had a bit part as a Keystone Cop early in his one-year stint at that famous studio in 1914. Despite the best efforts of silent screen buffs, Chaplin's claim could not be verified until 2010 when a print of A Thief Catcher surfaced in Taylor, Michigan. Film historian Paul Gierucki found the film by chance: The movie buff happened to be browsing in an antiques shop when he found the 16-millimeter reel hidden inside a chest. Originally thinking it was an unimportant Keystone comedy, Gierucki let the flick sit on a shelf in his home for months before deciding to view it. Partway through the film, two Keystone Cops make an appearance. The build, mannerisms and facial features of the smaller cop were undoubtedly Chaplin's. Chaplin's film career has been well chronicled by experts, so his surprise appearance in A Thief Catcher stunned Gierucki. He quickly shared his remarkable find with other silent film fans. Their research confirmed the one-reel comedy had been filmed in January 1914 and released the following month. Like many early silent films, it was believed to have been lost forever. A Thief Catcher was screened at a film festival in Arlington, Virginia in June 2010--presumably its first public showing in 96 years. (This is a frame of the film.) It is now rightfully included among Chaplin's filmography.
Tags: A  Thief  Catcher  Chaplin  Keystone  Cop  lost  film 
Added: 28th November 2010
Views: 1654
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Posted By: Lava1964

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