by Art Chantry ( email@example.com)
i just wanted to share this 8×10 b&w glossy photo of buster keaton wearing one of ed ‘big daddy’ roth’s “surfink” tshirts. amazing, huh? seems like everybody was wearing those things back then, eh?
actually, buster was filming guest spots in a “beach” movie with frankie and annette. i believe this was a publicity shot to promote the movie. i’ll bet he didn’t rat fink from mickey mouse.
at this point in his career he had been virtually forgotten and erased from history and then suddenly re-discovered by film historians as the genius he was. this small cameo-esque film appearance in ‘beach blanket bingo’ (i believe that was the title) was his first major film appearance since the silent era.
the way that his films were salvaged from the trash bin was through a bit of serendipity. a film historian decided to find out if keaton was still alive. he found him living in a tidy but modest suburban house quietly and anonymously. in fact, he was thrilled that anybody at all remembered him. when the writer asked some questions, keaton lead him out to his garage where he had a stack of rusting film cans. it was his a set of his movies that he saved for no other reason that he did them – simple pride. and that is where all the master prints of his filmography survived. he almost tossed them in the garbage.
AC:keaton was re-discovered as a master in the late 50′s/early 60′s. for decades prior to that he was forgotten. yes, hard to believe, now.
…From IMdB Bio:
“In 1952 James Mason, who then owned Keaton’s Hollywood mansion, found a secret store of presumably lost nitrate stock of many of Buster’s early films; film historian and archivist Raymond Rohauer began a serious collection/preservation of Buster’s work.
957 Buster appeared with Charles Chaplin in Limelight (1952) and his film biography, The Buster Keaton Story (1957) was released. Two years later he received a special Oscar for his life work in comedy, and he began to receive the accolades he so richly deserved, with festivals around the world honoring his work. He died at 70 years of age.”
And later, “In 1952 while remodeling his home, James Mason discovered several reels of Keaton’s “lost” films (Mason had purchased Keaton’s Hollywood mansion) and immediately recognized their historical significance. He took upon himself the responsibility for their preservation.”…
Art Chantry:my memory of where i got my version of the story is from a book and a couple of magazine articles (basically a couple of sources, as i recall) from when i was young, maybe around 1970-75. however, your version sounds more plausible. or maybe less plausible because it contains famous people. dunno.
usually things like this happen because of tried and true nobodies who make an effort to save things. the idea that another famous movie star chanced across them and saved them seems further out than my story if you think about it.
i dunno. information out there is so lousy on the net. garbage in/garbage out is a real problem. so, if either of us want to make a larger effort,i suppose something a little closer to the truth could be found. but, who knows, eh? interesting stuff.