The Buster Keaton Show (1949)

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Richard M Roberts
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The Buster Keaton Show (1949)

Postby Richard M Roberts » Sat Jun 21, 2014 5:45 am

For those who haven't seen it, here's that one surviving kinescope of Keaton's live show on KTTV Los Angeles:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzuu2mB8MH4


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Re: The Buster Keaton Show (1949)

Postby Gary Johnson » Sun Jun 22, 2014 2:32 pm

How did this survive? Was a copy found in Keaton's shed?

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Re: The Buster Keaton Show (1949)

Postby Richard M Roberts » Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:05 pm

Gary Johnson wrote:How did this survive? Was a copy found in Keaton's shed?



No idea, turned up and started circulating a few years ago (I think it was first seen on an old Video Yesteryear VHS release)



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Re: The Buster Keaton Show (1949)

Postby Gary Johnson » Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:37 pm

That's where I first saw it. On VHS.

Since I came up in the era when we were being told that the majority of silent films were lost forever.....only to find continual constant discoveries the past 30 years or so, I find I am now almost as interested in how something once thought lost is now found, as to what it is that is actually found. In other words, I'm ecstatic that missing footage keeps re-appearing but I'm almost as interested in the back story of how Fairbanks' GOOD BAD MAN or Keaton's new version of THE BLACKSMITH has graced our shores once again.

As Richard's mantra, "We 're lucky to be seeing this stuff", resounds in our ears, I find that the older I get a revision of that maxim may well be,"We're lucky to be seeing this stuff twice...".

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Re: The Buster Keaton Show (1949)

Postby Richard M Roberts » Mon Jun 23, 2014 12:11 am

Gary Johnson wrote:That's where I first saw it. On VHS.

Since I came up in the era when we were being told that the majority of silent films were lost forever.....only to find continual constant discoveries the past 30 years or so, I find I am now almost as interested in how something once thought lost is now found, as to what it is that is actually found. In other words, I'm ecstatic that missing footage keeps re-appearing but I'm almost as interested in the back story of how Fairbanks' GOOD BAD MAN or Keaton's new version of THE BLACKSMITH has graced our shores once again.

As Richard's mantra, "We 're lucky to be seeing this stuff", resounds in our ears, I find that the older I get a revision of that maxim may well be,"We're lucky to be seeing this stuff twice...".


It is amazing the number of kinescopes that have actually survived and turned up over the years. I'm amazed how many late-40's TV shows I've seen in the last few decades. That Keaton show was never syndicated, but it is most likely they kinescoped at least one show for KTTV's commercial time salesmen to use to run for potential clients. Then it's usually a case of did some one grab said print to keep when the station cleaned house or did it go in the garbage?


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Re: The Buster Keaton Show (1949)

Postby Gary Johnson » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:43 am

That's the same scenario of why we have as many radio show's survive to this day, as we do.
A program would be transcribed, usually for the ad agency, and then stored away and forgotten until some former employee goes home with it and 30 years later it is found in the garage.

Bing Crosby's KRAFT MUSIC HALL series (1936-1946) doesn't have a very good survival rate of shows from the Thirties, but it could had if not for the war. A studio engineer, who worked on the series from the very beginning, began transcribing one copy of every single episode. He kept them in his work area and when ever anyone asked him what he was going to do with them he just shrugged his shoulders. Comes the war and he gets drafted in 1943. He collects his massive collection of KMH shows and searched the NBC studio for a safe hiding place. He finds an empty deserted space in the basement, cleans it out, moves the transcriptions in there, puts a new solid door on and tapes up signs saying "the property of..." and "keep out". He really thought this out. All for naught, it turns out for when he returns from the war he finds his door had been removed and it was now a broom closet. When he asks the higher ups where the shows were they just shrugged at him and told him, "We needed the space."

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Re: The Buster Keaton Show (1949)

Postby Richard M Roberts » Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:09 am

Gary Johnson wrote:That's the same scenario of why we have as many radio show's survive to this day, as we do.
A program would be transcribed, usually for the ad agency, and then stored away and forgotten until some former employee goes home with it and 30 years later it is found in the garage.

Bing Crosby's KRAFT MUSIC HALL series (1936-1946) doesn't have a very good survival rate of shows from the Thirties, but it could had if not for the war. A studio engineer, who worked on the series from the very beginning, began transcribing one copy of every single episode. He kept them in his work area and when ever anyone asked him what he was going to do with them he just shrugged his shoulders. Comes the war and he gets drafted in 1943. He collects his massive collection of KMH shows and searched the NBC studio for a safe hiding place. He finds an empty deserted space in the basement, cleans it out, moves the transcriptions in there, puts a new solid door on and tapes up signs saying "the property of..." and "keep out". He really thought this out. All for naught, it turns out for when he returns from the war he finds his door had been removed and it was now a broom closet. When he asks the higher ups where the shows were they just shrugged at him and told him, "We needed the space."



"We needed the space" is the excuse for pretty much every missing film, radio or TV show.


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