If he were alive to celebrate his birthday today, Buster Keaton would be 116 years old. “The Great Stone Face”, as he was known in his time, was a tall, thin, deadpan actor who stole the silver screen with his spot on wit and charm. Before his death at age 70, Keaton starred in and/or contributed to more than 60 films. Roger Ebert even said that Keaton was, and perhaps still is, one of the greatest actor-directors in the history of movies. Films such as The General, Sherlock Jr., and Our Hospitality are ranked as some of the greatest movies of all time…all thanks to a little man in a little hat.
Equally as famous as Keaton were his hats…more specifically, his pork pie hats. Keaton and his wife Eleanore were said to have made thousands of hats during Keaton’s acting career. Many were destroyed during filming…which is obvious if you’re a fan of Keaton’s pictures…and others were given away as gifts.
If you’re unfamiliar with Keaton’s work, there’s tons of clips available on YouTube for your viewing pleasure. I’ve attached the famous hat scene from Steamboat Bill, Jr. here.
Fans of Johnny Depp might also remember a particular touching scene in Benny and Joon, one of Depp’s earlier and more touching films (personally, one of my favorites). In this hat scene, Depp pays tribute to Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, dancing with a “magic hat” with minimal dialogue and clever “stunts”. Watch Depp dance “In the Park” here.
In his short lifetime, Buster Keaton made his mark on the stages of vaudeville, Broadway, and Hollywood. Though his body of work lacks a physical voice, it speaks volumes to the cleverness and sincerity of the silent picture era. Happy Birthday, Buster Keaton!
Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!