Friday, March 29, 2019

How Fatty Arbuckle Makes "Love" -- March 29, 2019

Moving Picture World, 08-March-1919
Buster Keaton had not yet returned from the Army.  Roscoe Arbuckle and Al St John continued to produce comedies for Comique in California.

"Roscoe of the Movies in New York for a Week-End After Signing a New Paramount- Arbuckle Contract — Tells of Latest Comedv With the Romantic Title
"By Edward Weitzel

"IN one way Roscoe of the Movies is a disappointment. He keeps all of his comedy for his pictures. During an hour's interview with him he did nothing to uphold his reputation as one of the leading funny men of the screen. He leaned against a desk in a corner office at the Paramount and talked as soberly and sensibly of his plans and his work as might the head of a steel corporation. Before many minutes his listeners began to understand why it took more time and money to make one of his two-reel comedies than are required to complete the average five-part serious drama.

"Hard mental application and days of preparation are necessary to produce a piece of business that may not run a minute. The story is written as Scenarist-Director-Actor Arbuckle thinks up a new bit of the comic-continuity and tries it this way and that and starts all over again and tries it another way and four or five other ways and then throws them all away and thinks up something new.

"Such a steady course of close brain-work doesn't leave a man much time to be funny in a casual off-hand way for the amusement of chance callers. That is why he is glad to relax occasionally and have other persons do funny things to make him laugh. So he has run on from Kansas City for a week end in Times Square and a visit to as many smart shows along Broadway as can be taken in before he starts back for the Coast on Sunday.

"Arbuckle Renews Contract.

"'How did you come to make your start from Kansas City instead of Los Angeles?' Roscoe Arbuckle was asked.

"'It was an after thought,' was the reply. 'My old contract with the Paramount was about up and Joseph M. Schenck, my manager, and Lou Anger, my personal representative, met Adolph Zukor at the Mouhlbach Hotel, in Kansas City, last Saturday, and signed a new contract and I was taken along to keep me out of mischief. The business was completed in short order and everyone was so pleased with the terms of the contract that the New York members of the deal insisted upon dragging me back with them for a play spell.'

"'He didn't need much urging,' put in Personal Manager Anger. "And I don't mind saying for Mr. Arbuckle, who is a painfully modest man, that the new contract is the largest one ever signed by Mr. Zukor for an individual artist. It covers a period of three years and involves over three million dollars."

Comedian Pays Tribute to Associate.

"A large American flag floating from a tall flagpole in front of the Public Library changed the conversation to the wonderful parades that have passed up Fifth Avenue during the war and since the boys have started to come home.

"'Where's 'Buster' Keaton?' the stout comedian was asked.

"'Still over in France, waiting to be sent back. We are making every effort to get him started. It is utterly impossible to replace him. To my mind, 'Buster' is the coming comedian of the movies and will be a very successful star.'

"'I'll wager he is a great favorite with his company.

"'He can entertain them, all right. By the way, he had a funny experience, or rather his drill squad did, when 'Buster' first joined the army. He was eager and anxious to learn but knew just as little about handling a gun and about military tactics as the rest of the rookies. In going through the drill he unconsciously put in some of the funny steps and movements with which he was accustomed to burlesque military exercises. Everyone knew who he was and nothing but military discipline kept him from breaking up the show. When off duly he was the best entertainer in camp, with his ukelele solos and his stock of natural comedy. We'll all be glad to get him back again.

Yes, Luke Is a Regular Actor.

"'How about the four-footed member of your company — you must pay him an enormous salary to make him such a willing worker.

"'My dog! Oh, he's a true artist and works for pure love of his art.'

"'What part of his art does he love best?

"'Biting Al St. John and 'Buster' Keaton.'

"'Do you have any trouble teaching him his share of the business?'

"'Very little. The only thing is to prevent him from overdoing it. Both boys wear stout leather union suits when there is to be a mix-up with the dog, and the instant they start to run he darts after them without being told. In the picture where he jumps off the pier we didn't bother about rehearsing him. It was a thirty-foot drop, but the instant one of the actors jumped he was right after him. It must have hurt when the dog struck the water, but he was always game for the next jump.'

"'That must have been a difficult scene to photograph,' remarked Publicity Promoter Peter Smith.

Is Careful About Risks.

"'Well,' explained the comedian, 'it took us two days to get the camera rigged so that we could shoot the jumps, and you know how many minutes the scene lasts. One reason why it takes so much time and expense is because we are obliged to guard against accident. We cannot afford to take any unnecessary chances of the actors getting hurt. There is enough risk that cannot be avoided, as it is.'

"The next question asked the comedian sounded like an attempt to pry into his private affairs :

"'Do you mind telling, Mr. Arbuckle, how you made 'Love'?'

The expected blush did not appear on the face of the man who has shown how Bill Hart was a maiden when he burlesqued him in "The Sheriff."

"'You mean my new picture? — some subject, isn't it?'

"'To tell in two reels ! — it certainly is. You're the hero, of course?'

Admits He Is There With Strong Arm Stuff.

"'Oh, yes ! I may not be as handsome as some of the other screen lady-killers, but I can be just as brave and hold the heroine in my arms just as long as the best of them.'

"'What kind of a hero are you? A cowboy hero?'

"'No, a farmhand hero who is in love with the farmer's daughter on the next farm. I have a rival, a rich young chap played by Al St. John, and he almost beats me to it in the tying of the wedding knot. But true love conquers in screen comedies — when the hero writes his own scenario — and I put one over on the wealthy youth by a trick, and marry the bride five minutes before he expects to make her his own wife. I'll not explain how the trick is worked, but it contains a lightning change act that I'm rather proud of.'

"'One more personal question, Mr. Arbuckle. Has your past experience made you competent to do justice to the subject? In other words, what do you know about making love?'

"'Everything. I've been making it all my life.'"

Moving Picture World, 01-March-1919

Moving Picture World, 15-March-1919

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