I'm excited to hear what you think of it! Haven't read it myself but I think he writes really well so it would be fun to read some time.
I hope he really did respect Buster Keaton and it wasn't charity.I saw the real story documentary of The General last night. That stolen Civil War train is in a museum now. It is actually quite small. Buster's crowning glory. Too bad he sank to alcoholism.I always remember Charlie saying in the film "I'm funnier when I'm drunk." The alcohol mixed with a bad ticker made the blood pressure soar. As an old time bartender on the country club golf courses before the days of high tech meds I saw this attitude a lot. Many died. Today they live to 90. Charlie's clown getup really burst my romantic bubble about him. Sheeesh. But I respected his character again when he collected tips in his hat near the end from Syd, his son, and the mgr. No loss of pride in him at all. I wept.
From everything I've read, I've heard that Buster and Charlie's interactions on the set were full of mutual respect, though Buster couldn't help needling Charlie sometimes when he got, as Buster saw it, too full of himself. Buster's autobiography has some great stories about Charlie--for instance, on the Limelights set, Charlie was expecting Buster to be kind of a wreck, but he'd been working fairly steadily in TV and was looking pretty fit. "You're looking good, Buster," Charlie commented. "Tell me what you've been up to." Buster asked, "You ever watch TV, Charlie?" According to Buster, Charlie started ranting about TV and saying he didn't ever let his kids watch "the stinking little box." Then Charlie asked Buster again what he'd been doing with himself. "Television," Buster deadpanned. Love it.
Yes, that's great! There's also the funny story that Geraldine tells in one of the docs about a boyfriend she brought home once that was a real Buster fan. He just went on and on about Buster all through dinner while Charlie just sat there and stewed. Later in the evening, Charlie finally said, "But I was an artist...and I gave him work."From what I've read, there was nothing but mutual respect between CC and Buster. Buster also came to Chaplin's defense when he was under political attack. I'm really enjoying the Footlights book so far. In the part I read last night, Robinson describes movie treatment that Charlie was planning to do with Paulette that involved a dancer (a man) named Tamerlain. I had not heard about this before.
Cool! I have to add one more Buster and Charlie story I like, from Buster's bio as well--Buster and Charlie were sitting and talking at a party, and Charlie was talking politics. At one point, he declared, "All I want is for every child to have shoes on his feet and enough to eat!" in a very dramatic tone. Buster waited a beat, then said, "Don't you think that's what everyone wants, Charlie?" As Buster told it, Charlie paused, then burst out laughing.