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04 October 2017

Buster's Other Career -- Baseball

Today's genius, Buster Keaton, was a stage star from his early childhood. His life experience was totally different than anyone else's then and certainly now. He loved performing. I don't think you can be that fantastically creative and not love it.

But he loved something else, too -- baseball. Happily, when it featured Buster the family vaudeville act,The Three Keatons, was very popular and successful. This meant that although they did travel for most of the year, they could settle into a long run at a high-grade New York theater and stay in the same cozy family-run theatrical boarding house. And when Buster wasn't working he could play baseball with the same group of pals year after year.

All his life Buster played whenever he got the chance, including on film sets between takes. Being able to play baseball was almost a prerequisite for being on Buster's film crews!

Here are a few looks at Buster and the Great American Pastime:

Buster at bat

Buster in the outfield

As catcher in a celebrity charity game with Boris Karloff
He's out!

In the outfield

Another great comic athlete, Joe E. Brown, was also a baseball fiend, and in fact almost chose that as a career instead of movies. When Buster and Joe appeared together in an episode of Screen Director's Playhouse in 1955, they happily played a couple of innings between takes.***

Here he is pitching:

And here's a link to the wonderful little documentary Buster Keaton Rides Again, which contains a great scene of Buster and Eleanor enthusiastically watching a ballgame on TV: Keaton Rides Again

And here's a link to The Silent Partner, the 1955 episode of Screen Director's Playhouse that featured Buster and Joe E. Brown.

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