Arbuckle Home

Roscoe and Buster  

The prologue (Arbuckle's living room, 1933) changes by degree into a busy film set, 1921. Arbuckle is performing and directing a slapstick routine with Buster Keaton. He makes a pratfall but is unhappy with its execution.
 

Arbuckle

Cut! Sorry, guys!
Keaton What was the problem, Roscoe?
Arbuckle I fell too early and I think that I went out of frame
OK, let’s go again
Keaton You could land that blow much quicker
Hit me!
(whack!)
Harder!
(whack!)
Arbuckle Take your positions
Let’s run this one more time
 
Virginia pulls the door handle off. The carpenter rushes to fix it.
 
Virginia It just came off in my hand!
Keaton I’ve heard that line before!
Arbuckle We’re way behind the schedule as planned
All except Arbuckle We’re awful sorry boss!
Arbuckle Let’s just get this scene in the can!
 
Carpenter OK, It’s fixed!
Arbuckle Let’s get the camera rolling
Cameraman Camera...rolling! And...speed!
Arbuckle Mark it!
1st AD ‘The Bell Boy’, Scene 8, Take 5
Arbuckle Take your positions
Let’s run this one more time
 
The lights suddenly go out, plunging the studio into utter darkness.
 
Electrician We got a problem with the lights
Keaton Is there a problem with the lights?
Cameraman Do we get extra pay for working nights?
Keaton I’d climb up there myself...but I’m scared of heights
 
Torches and candles are lit giving the set the flickering appearance of a small vaudeville stage.
 
Virginia How are we supposed to work like this?
1st AD Can it, lady – it’s only slapstick. Come on guys, this is easy, let’s get it together, huh?
Keaton Easy? You think this is easy?
 
Arbuckle & Keaton Some people say that guys like us have it far too easy
But every winner has to take the tricky path
There might have been a smarter way
But would we be where we are today
If life had been much kinder on the way?
When you come from nothing
There’s nothing much to lose
We learned our lessons on the road
And then watched our careers explode
Our lives ‘til now have been the burning fuse!

Remember Roscoe and Buster
Both started from scratch
Any dreams of the big time
Were failing to hatch
Barely making a living
With no fixed abode
So don’t blame us ‘cos we’re famous
It’s rough and rugged road we’ve had to follow
To get here
And, boy, we’re gonna burn!
It’s Roscoe and Buster’s turn!
 

Keaton (a la impresario) And now, ladies and gentlemen, please be seated for the astonishing tale of a boy from Kansas who was to become one of the America’s greatest comedians, known and loved by millions the world over. Sob as you witness the cruelty which he suffered at the hands of a vicious uncaring father and be uplifted by his ultimate rise to adulation and stardom. The very definition, my good people, of the American Dream!
 
Arbuckle My dear old man would kick me like a ball into the air
Keaton (as Arbuckle's Father) Get up, you lazy good for nothing little mite!
Arbuckle Then he’d box my ears then throw me round the theatre
 
It is revealed the pair are ‘performing’ on stage
 
Arbuckle As the audience went crazy every night
I soon discovered if I landed like a cat
It wouldn’t hurt quite as much!
Some people called it child abuse
But that’s your standard vaudeville act!
Through bruises and broken bones
The foundations were laid
For Roscoe’s unusual trade!
 
Arbuckle Of course I’m bigger
Keaton I’m funnier
Arbuckle I’m charming and sweet
Keaton The biggest thing about you is the size of your seat!
Arbuckle Just take a look at that face of granite
It never cracks!
Arbuckle & Keaton Together we’re a force of nature
Conquering the world by taking whacks
On the backside
And a pie in the face
This town is Roscoe and Buster’s place!
 
Keaton (as Arbuckle's Father) Now your mother’s dead I can’t afford to look after you, Roscoe.
Arbuckle So I’m all alone in the world?
Keaton (as Arbuckle's Father) I guess so, son.
Arbuckle But how will I eat?
Keaton (as Arbuckle's Father) My boy, you never had a problem with that...I'm sure you'll find some way to sing for your supper.
 
We see a young Roscoe on a stage doing exactly that, singing a quaint song from a bygone era.
 
Arbuckle Buttercups and tulips
Both remind me of your two lips, dear
The cute honey bee sips where I suck...
 
Keaton (as Impresario) You said it, pal
You’re outta luck
You’re not an act we’d like to book
Arbuckle Quick! Roscoe, think!
Avoid the crook!
Keaton (as Impresario) Your act is frankly outta date
Go learn some tunes and lose some weight

Your frame ain’t what you’d call petite
Though your singing voice is kinda pure’n’sweet
But the world is full enough of crazy singing hicks, so leave!

Arbuckle But sir, I got a few more little tricks here up my sleeve
Keaton (as Impresario) Look here, fatty
You’re just not right for our revue so
Get off my stage, you oversize Caruso
 
Arbuckle Please, one more chance is all I need
Keaton (as Impresario) I’ve seen enough, you hopeless hayseed!
 
Keaton (as Impresario) Next!
 
The crook appears from offstage and the young Roscoe neatly avoids it by performing a somersault into the pit.
 
Keaton (as Impresario) Hey pal, that’s quite an act you got there!
You’re in!
Rehearsals start on Monday
Arbuckle (still in the pit, slightly dazed) I knew that I would make it someday!
Thank you, sir
I mean that most sincere
Now please, sir...how do I get outta here?
 
Arbuckle & Keaton So that’s how Roscoe and Buster both started their game
They say we’re lucky guys
To land on all this fortune and fame
But from Vaudeville in the small towns
To uptown Hollywood
Is the journey we were meant to make
And furthermore we’re very very good!
And that’s why we’re here in this Tinsel Town to stay
'Cos Roscoe and Buster deserve their day!
 
The lights come back on. We’re back in the movie set. Sam Goldwyn has appeared during the blackout.
 
Electrician Voila!
Keaton Back in the real world!
Goldwyn Roscoe!
Arbuckle Sam Goldwyn shows up and then suddenly the lights come on!
You sure know how to make an entrance!
Goldwyn Don’t let me interrupt you
We need to talk but it can wait
Arbuckle We’re nearly done now
It’s just this one last scene
 
  Let’s get the camera rolling
Cameraman Camera...rolling! And...speed!
Arbuckle Mark it!
1st AD ‘The Bell Boy’, Scene 8, Take 6
Arbuckle Take your positions
Let’s make it count this time!
 
Arbuckle And...action...
 
The scene runs perfectly.
 
Arbuckle Cut! Check the gate!
Cameraman Gate’s clear!
1st AD Moving on
Arbuckle Maybe we ought’a stop
Perhaps we all deserve a break
Then run it from the top
I think we need just one more take
Goldwyn Are you kidding?
It was perfect, Roscoe!
Arbuckle But something's just not working as yet
Goldwyn You gotta tell him, Sam
Arbuckle Harry, get your guys to reset
Keaton Hey Roscoe, listen now:
The timing was immaculate
The light was perfect
Ev’ry fall was accurate
And you were perfect
Virginia (with more than a little sarcasm) He’s always perfect!
 
Goldwyn You see?
Arbuckle I suppose you’re the boss, Sam.
 
All except Arbuckle Roscoe and Buster
The kings of the movie gag
A classic scene of comic mime
Preserved on film for all of time
Arbuckle Okay, guys, I guess it’s in the bag
All except Arbuckle Roscoe and Buster have done it again!

Arbuckle Home