Welcome Back, Bob!

Robert Osborne: classic film champion since 1994.

Dear Turner Classic Movie Fans Everywhere:

As all of you are very well aware, this week marks the return of the one, the only, wonderful Mr. Robert Osborne who, after a five-month hiatus, resumes his primetime hosting duties on the TCM stage this week, December 1st.

Welcome Back Bob” is a week-long celebration brought to you by the online constituency of the classic film community. The Kitty Packard Pictorial and classic film blogger Will McKinley are sponsoring this humble little tribute, but the voices that truly matter are YOURS: everyone who makes up our vital, virtual community of classic film fanatics. We are, I think it’s safe to say, a close knit, affectionate community of film lovers and, with Bob Osborne being a patron saint of classic film, it is only fitting to rally together this week to share what it is we love about our dear Robert O— and classic film itself— and why it is such a unifying force.

Here’s how it works:

Hop on over to the Welcome Back Bob Tumblr page this week and voice up in any way you like: share memories, a video, a photo, a “Welcome Back Bob” graphic, a blog post, or even just a li’l old tweet– the sky’s the limit! If you post something on your blog or tumblr, tweet @MissCarley and we’ll repost it. And if/when you do tweet, make sure to tag it with #WelcomeBackBob so we can find it and share it!

The Great Big Beautiful Project Keaton Blogroll

Wow! What a month it’s been. I hardly know where to start .

Project Keaton has been a daily thrill over on the Project Keaton Tumblr page as well as here on The Pictorial, and with the project officially ending yesterday, I am delighted to post the our Great Big Beautiful Project Keaton Blogroll. The following is a list of every single contributor with links to their respective sites. If you haven’t been following Project Keaton on Tumblr, this is your chance to catch up on a month long of Buster Love. (Click here for a PDF of our blogroll_list.)

Silent film fans from all over the globe came out in droves to show their support for the project: England, Scotland, The Netherlands, Australia, Spain, South America and North America. The creative output has been fantastic. Thanks to every last blessed one of you for giving Buster something to smile about in October.

Buster Keaton Month
Jonathan Melville
HOLYROOD OR BUST
http://holyroodorbust.wordpress.com

Buster Keaton and Film Noir
Buster, Trains and One Week
John Bengtson
SILENT LOCATIONS
http://silentlocations.wordpress.com

Keaton in Color
Rachel
MACABRE STANWYCK
http://macabresstanwyck.tumblr.com

The Buster Keaton Cocktail
CRAZY BITCHES IN HISTORY
http://crazybitchesinhistory.tumblr.com

Buster Keaton and Roscoe Arbuckle
Buster is the 99%
PRETTY CLEVER FILMS
http://prettycleverfilms.wordpress.com

Happy Birthday Buster
Maudit
ABSURDITY
http://maudit.tumblr.com

Buster Sketch
Keaton & Cat
CHUCK LORIS
http://chuckloris.tumblr.com

116 Years of Buster Keaton
Jandy
THE FRAME
http://the-frame.com

The General: The Greatest Film Ever…?
Terence Towles Canote
A SHROUD OF THOUGHTS
http://mercurie.blogspot.com

Buster, Twitter and the 21st Century
Chris Edwards
SILENT VOLUME
http://silent-voume.blogspot.com

Buster in Color
Pidi
LITTLE LOVE NEST
http://littlelovenest.tumblr.com

How About A Little Dinner and a Show?”
Ivan
THRILLING DAYS OF YESTERYEAR
http://thrillingdaysofyesteryear.wordpress.com

Busker’s Bounty
Phillip Van Scotter & Abbey Pleviak
BUSKERFLY PRODUCTIONS
http://buskerfly.com

The Artist and Buster Keaton
Will McKinley
WILL MCKINLEY
http://willmckinley.tumblr.com

“Sherlock Jr. Soundtrack”
Fern Lindzon
FERN’S FLIGHTS
http://fernjazz.wordpress.com

“Colourizations of Buster”
1001 FILMS: A SCREEN ODYSSEY
http://1001films.wordpress.com

Parkour and Pathos
SILENT STANTZAS
http://silentstanzas.blogspot.com

Tattoo Art
MILF IN TRAINING
http://milfintraining.tumblr.com

Buster Would’ve Made a Great B-Boy
Irene Vandemark
GLITTER AND DOOM
http://oak-land.tumblr.com

Viola Dana & Buster Keaton’s The General
Kathy Cocerig
VIOLA DANA
http://violadana.com

It‘s Buster Keaton’s Birthday
Keaton, Arbuckle & Chaplin
MYTHICAL MONKEY
http://mythicalmonkey.blogspot.com

A Little Bit O’ Buster in the Good Old Summertime
Brandie
TRUE CLASSICS
http://trueclassics.wordpress.com

The Accidental Surrealist
ALL ADDERS ARE PUFFS
http://alladdersarepuffs.tumblr.com

A Hard Act to Follow
THE PROVOCATEUR
http://theprovocateur.tumblr.com

Life Lessons from Buster
Trevor Jost
A MODERN MUSKETEER
http://amodernmusketeer.tumblr.com

The High Sign
Angela
THE HOLLYWOOD REVUE
http://hollywoodrevue.wordpress.com

Buster in Dutch
Janneke Maan
OVER THE EDGE OF MY HANDS
http://janneke-man.tumblr.com

Buster Keaton Art
Kate Gabrielle
SCATHINGLY BRILLIANT
http://scathingly-brilliant.blogspot.com

Porkpie Cupcakes
Girl Gatsby
THE HOUSE OF GATSBY
http://girlgatsby.blogspot.com

And congratulations as well to the lucky Project Keaton participants, soon to be chosen at random, who will be owners of the marvelous new line of Buster Pork Pie t shirts from vintage artist Girl Gatsby!

Farewell from Project Keaton– and remember to keep Buster smiling! No matter the month of the year!

And so we’re officially signing off from Project Keaton with this special tribute video prepared by the Pictorial:

Project Keaton Guest Post: Silent Volume

Silent film blogger Chris Edwards runs Silent Volume, a site dedicated to the art of silent filmmaking. Its tagline, “this medium is not dead,” is backed by a wealth of reviews, editorials and general musings on silent films great and small.  In conjunction with Project Keaton, Edwards has written a fabulous piece exploring the deeply human everyman appeal of Keaton’s work and its particular relevance in the 21st century. Follow him @SilentVolume

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Framed: Keaton in THE GOAT (1921)

My Twitter avatar is Buster Keaton. It’s a screenshot of him, behind bars, from THE GOAT, one of his short films.

People love it. They’ve called it ‘perfect.’ It’s cool to them the way Buster’s bars exactly touch the edges of the frame, as though he’s imprisoned in Twitter’s own digital superstructure. One small, innocent man, peeking out of one window, in a building that has millions of them.

I didn’t think about this when I chose it. I just thought the picture looked funny. But reflecting back on it now, after a couple of years, maybe this little picture sums up why Buster matters so much to me. Not just as a fan of silent films, or as someone who writes about them regularly—but as a modern person, navigating life. Buster is me, or us, in a way the other clowns weren’t.

Almost all of us want to understand how the world works, if only so that we can fit into it better. We want to be happy, comfortable, respected, loved. We want fulfillment, freedom, sex—all the usuals. And the better we ‘get’ our world, particularly the circles in which we want to travel, the easier all this becomes to achieve. I’m not excepting the counter-culture types here either; at heart we all want to succeed on our own terms, and the most alternative person you know still, probably, wants to be part of his or her world. The only people who don’t are hermits—or possibly tramps—and you don’t know many of them.

However, most of us are not fulfilled or successful. And if we are, we’re encouraged not to rest on our laurels—to keep striving. This can be a tense thing, because the world remains big and complicated and we can’t always be sure what we’re striving for, or how reasonable our chances really are. On our bad days, we wonder if we’re good enough; on our worst days, we get metaphysical: wondering if the world is designed to thwart us.

It is a gigantic, amoral, mysterious, multi-geared machine of a world like this that all of Buster Keaton’s characters occupy, and yet, every version of him does his best to work within it. Think of the newlywed in ONE WEEK: a man who dreams of building a house; who owns the parts; who has the instructions for assembly and the mindset to follow them strictly. And he does. And he’s destroyed, because unknown to him, the man his wife turned down has changed the numbers on the crates. The house has all the right pieces, but none in the right order.

And yet he tries and tries to make it right. Just as he tries to please the people he cares about, from the sweet wife in that film to the cruel girlfriends in SPITE MARRIAGE and THE GENERAL. Can you imagine one of Fatty Arbuckle’s louts negotiating the terrain of social graces that Buster must in OUR HOSPITALITY? What about the Tramp? I think the Tramp would sooner get drunk.

The exceptions prove the rule. Buster’s sociopathic gunman in THE FROZEN NORTH is a dream; just like his alpha-male master sleuth in SHERLOCK, JR. In THE NAVIGATOR, Buster’s hero is born into wealth, but it does him no good. All Buster’s little fellows are part of the system, trying to work their way through it. They’re never trying to escape it. That would mean giving up.

Back to the Twitter thing. I was saying (actually, tweeting) to someone just today about how most people on Twitter are trying to promote themselves, one way or another. They have a sense of their own smallness, because they think so much about the world, in its vastness. They also think about how to get bigger, and see Twitter as a tool that can help. They’re convinced it can be done.

That’s a modern philosophy, and it’s a Buster philosophy all the way.

How would the other clowns approach Twitter? Lloyd would tweet regular updates about the weather and his kids’ favorite songs. Langdon wouldn’t get it—he’d try updating from his rotary phone. Arbuckle would spam you. And Chaplin, I think, wouldn’t have an account, though you’d still hear from him somehow. But Buster would be there.

It’s Buster, in spirit and in shared plight, who speaks to us best.

Now, none of this makes him better than the others. For what it’s worth, I give Buster the nod for best silent comedy feature (THE GENERAL), but not for best short (Arbuckle’s CONEY ISLAND and HE DID AND HE DIDN’T transcend even COPS and THE PLAYHOUSE). Nor was Buster the actor, innovator, businessman, or comedy polymath that Chaplin was. But Buster had genius, and his particular brand of it has aged the best.

You know… I don’t call Chaplin, Arbuckle or Lloyd by their first names. Funny thing, that.

Project Keaton


For the month of October, the Pictorial will be heavily focusing on the life, work and art of the legendary Buster Keaton. It felt right we should do so, given Buster’s 116th birthday on October 4th, the month-long salute to Keaton’s films on Turner Classic Movies, and some exciting new releases from Kino video.

Project Keaton will be a month long open forum in which writers, artists, everyday Joes and everyday Janes (like me) from all over the world are being invited to tip their pork pie to Buster. The goal is to foster a month of creative exchange, with Buster as muse, and to celebrate one of cinema’s few, true geniuses.

There are no rules as to content: essays, reviews, art, critiques, tributes, prose, poetry, all are welcome. And, since this is a month long project, there are no pressing deadlines: participants may contribute as little or as much as they wish any time at all during the course of October.

The Pictorial has some fun Keaton-related giveaways planned (more on that later!) and plenty of goodies to keep your slapstick sweet tooth satisfied. (Alliteration foul, I know, couldn’t resist.)

I’m also hoping Project Keaton will provide a great cross-platform for writers and artists to explore each others work. All participants’ contributions will receive coverage here on the Pictorial blog, our Twitter feed as well as the special Project Keaton Tumblr and Facebook page.

If you are interested in participating, please send an email to thekeatonproject@gmail.com or respond to this thread with your appropriate contact email and we’ll add you to the Project Keaton roster.

C’mon, everyone. Let’s really give Buster something to smile about!