Facts About Buster Keaton

Larrylambert
3 min readFeb 26, 2024

He was a master of physical comedy.

Creative Commons: twm1340

When I was a kid, I vaguely remember a TV showed that featured comedians from the silent film era. Comedians from that time frame were often brilliant physical comedians, obviously out of necessity. One I especially enjoyed was Buster Keaton.

I hadn’t thought about Keaton for some time, but recently saw him in an episode of The Twight Zone. He played a time traveler, and the episode was filled with physical humor. So, motivated by that episode of The Twilight Zone, here are some things you didn’t know about Buster Keaton.

1: Buster was known as, “The Great Stone Face.”

And this was before the days of Botox.

2: He was born Joseph Frank Keaton but given the name “Buster” by Harry Houdini.

He was given that nickname when he was six months old and fell down a flight of stairs. Keaton was apparently uninjured, and Houdini, who was present at the time said of the fall, ‘That was a real Buster.” And the name stuck. And DHS wasn’t notified.

3: Buster didn’t use very many title cards.

Most silent movies used about 240 cards, whereas Buster never used more than 56. Buster conveyed the story through action and pantomime. Buster said he found “humor in the geometry. It sounds like Buster needed gag writers and math majors.

4: Buster did most of his own stunts and did suffer some in doing them.

Included in his injuries was a broken neck, which Buster didn’t realize he had. And no. he did suffer his broken neck when he fell down a flight of stairs at the age of six months.

5: At the age of sixty-seven, he did beer commercials.

But remember, Buster was “The Great Stone Face not The Great Stoned Face.

6: Keaton stood only 5'5" and used it to his advantage.

Rather than wear lifts, or surround himself with other short actors, he actually used large actors. The idea was being surrounded by large guys would…

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Larrylambert

You probably don't know my name, but have likely seen my work. I've written for numerous syndicated cartoon strips and my gags have appeared in national pubs.