Buster Keaton Employs Camera Tricks in “The Playhouse”
PRESENTED BY GARY SCOTT BEATTY, PUBLISHER AND EDITOR, MUSKEGONMAGAZINE.COM
In the opening sequence of “The Playhouse,” Keaton famously uses multiple exposures to portray everyone in the theater, a tricky thing to accomplish in 1921, well before computer matting techniques.
Buster knew all about theater acts, including the blackface theatrical makeup, zouave drill routines, animal act and mermaid act presented here — he began performing on the vaudeville stage when he was three years old. Written and directed by Eddie Cline and Muskegon’s own Buster Keaton.
In the early 1900’s performers began to spend summers in the Bluffton area. Buster’s father, Joe, helped found the Actor’s Colony club there and by 1911, over 200 performers resided in the colony. By the early 1920’s, the California film industry lured many vaudevillian performers to Hollywood, including Buster and his family.
Above, one of the original lobby cards for this short. Beginning in 1913, lobby cards were produced as small posters to display in theaters, typically in sets of eight and usually featuring scenes from the film.
These Works are in Public Domain and not Derivative as specified by U.S. copyright law (title 17 of the U.S. Code).
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