Beyond the slapstick and roughhouse typical of the times, the number of thoroughly original and brilliant comic ideas found in the short films by Buster Keaton and Fatty Arbuckle is staggering. Keaton once said that making funny pictures is like assembling a watch; you have to be sober or it won’t tick. He also said afterward that everything he knew about film comedy he learned from Arbuckle.
—Charles Simic, Manhattan’s Forgotten Film Studio
Photo: Buster Keaton (left), Fatty Arbuckle (center), and Al St. John, circa 1917 (mptv images)