LIFE WITH BUSTER KEATON: BUSTER IN THE JUNGLE (1951)

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Richard M Roberts
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LIFE WITH BUSTER KEATON: BUSTER IN THE JUNGLE (1951)

Postby Richard M Roberts » Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:03 am

Here's an episode from Buster's 1951 filmed TV show I hadn't come across before. Buster goes on safari with Fritz Feld and hmmmm, somehow I had a feeling Ray Corrigan and his Gorilla suit was going to make an appearance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVFJtFm90ro


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Pasquale Ventura
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Re: LIFE WITH BUSTER KEATON: BUSTER IN THE JUNGLE (1951)

Postby Pasquale Ventura » Tue Jul 29, 2014 2:31 pm

How many episodes of the filmed BUSTER KEATON SHOW - LIFE WITH BUSTER were made? Has a complete list of episode titles ever been compiled?

Pasquale

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Re: LIFE WITH BUSTER KEATON: BUSTER IN THE JUNGLE (1951)

Postby Richard M Roberts » Tue Jul 29, 2014 4:51 pm

Pasquale Ventura wrote:How many episodes of the filmed BUSTER KEATON SHOW - LIFE WITH BUSTER were made? Has a complete list of episode titles ever been compiled?

Pasquale


An interesting question, and one that apparently doesn;t have a definitive answer. It was originally believed that therer were only 12-14 episodes, but I now have a list of 18, and to be a full single-season syndicated show in those days, we're talking 39 episodes.

So there may be a lot more of these than we think, and, like the Jungle episode, new ones seem to keep turning up.


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Re: LIFE WITH BUSTER KEATON: BUSTER IN THE JUNGLE (1951)

Postby Joe Migliore » Wed Jul 30, 2014 4:12 am

Richard M Roberts wrote:
It was originally believed that there were only 12-14 episodes, but I now have a list of 18, and to be a full single-season syndicated show in those days, we're talking 39 episodes.


I remember you writing a few years ago, if I'm remembering correctly, that a religious organization apparently held the rights to LIFE WITH BUSTER. Unless they don't care about it at all, which is possible, might they not possess within their holdings the full run of episodes?

Thank you for posting "new" Keaton; these shows are always worth watching.

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Re: LIFE WITH BUSTER KEATON: BUSTER IN THE JUNGLE (1951)

Postby Richard M Roberts » Wed Jul 30, 2014 4:53 am

Joe Migliore wrote:Richard M Roberts wrote:
It was originally believed that there were only 12-14 episodes, but I now have a list of 18, and to be a full single-season syndicated show in those days, we're talking 39 episodes.


I remember you writing a few years ago, if I'm remembering correctly, that a religious organization apparently held the rights to LIFE WITH BUSTER. Unless they don't care about it at all, which is possible, might they not possess within their holdings the full run of episodes?

Thank you for posting "new" Keaton; these shows are always worth watching.



Thats right, some religious broadcasting company owns the rights, but they have never made the series available on video, but I believe Kino had to negotiate with them for the clips they used in KEATON PLUS. Perhaps Shout Factory should consider doing a Buster Keaton Television DVD Collection along the lines of their Marx Brother TV Collection, release all the LIFE WITH BUSTER shows and all the TV appearances that have never come out on DVD. Just trying to put a flea in someones ear.


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Re: LIFE WITH BUSTER KEATON: BUSTER IN THE JUNGLE (1951)

Postby Pasquale Ventura » Wed Jul 30, 2014 4:08 pm

There were a handful of LIFE WITH BUSTER shows on VHS releases years ago. One company, Starcade Entertainment in California released two VHS tapes of the show under the title "Signature Classics" in 1994. I purchased them and still got them. One tape contained the 65 minute edited "feature" THE MISADVENTURES OF BUSTER KEATON, the other had two episodes FISHING STORY and THE COLLAPSIBLE CLERK (Clerk is part of the Misadventures extended length version). Print source for these were pristine.

Videobrary also had a few from 16mm prints. One I have is the excellent and oddly funny DETECTIVE STORY. Buster talking with marionettes is one the the best scenes. Here's the last half, all I could find from a nice print:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dyo_Q-9GFw

Wonder who this religious company is and if they would negotiate with a video company like Shout. It's always a pleasure seeing Buster's TV Shows. BUSTER IN THE JUNGLE is a good one.

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Re: LIFE WITH BUSTER KEATON: BUSTER IN THE JUNGLE (1951)

Postby Uli Ruedel » Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:27 pm

That one has been available e.g. from Shokus Video, and has apparently been theatrically released in the UK as The Gorilla Story. It was also included in the German, dubbed Buster Keaton in Wild West, which has some material I haven't seen elsewhere (i.e. in its original English) yet, most frustratingly an episode featuring Margaret Dumont. Serge Bromberg showed an excerpt of Gorilla Story in a pristine DCP version during this year's Bristol Slapstick. The gorilla(man) not only speaks in the film, but also here, by the way, calling this collaboration "the most satisfying performance of my life" -- http://www.hollywoodgorillamen.com/2010/01/confessions-of-hollywood-gorilla.html

This item (Broadcasting July - Sept 1950, via Lantern / Digital media History Library) confirms 13 episodes were planned: http://tinyurl.com/pt4jbd5. A title listing is given in the filmography in the Meade book, here via google books: http://tinyurl.com/oroo59p.

A Shout Collection of these and other Keaton TV appearances would be a major treat (and ideal follow-up to the Marx set).

Uli

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Re: LIFE WITH BUSTER KEATON: BUSTER IN THE JUNGLE (1951)

Postby Pasquale Ventura » Sun Aug 03, 2014 3:37 pm

The broadcast article mentions Mal St. Clair to be the director. His ill health and early death at age 55 in 1952 prevented his participation. Too bad.

Get that article about ABC's plans to use Atomic gas in it's transmissions from NY. That could have been a Buster story right there.

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Re: LIFE WITH BUSTER KEATON: BUSTER IN THE JUNGLE (1951)

Postby Gary Johnson » Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:58 am

Whether there are 13 more episodes or 30, I would welcome any more editions, if only to see if they get any better. I have never been that enamored with any of these circulating episodes all these years. There is always a feeling of 40's Columbia shorts-cheapness that hangs in the air of these programs like a malaise and dilutes the whole atmosphere for me. And I'm not talking just sets and costumes. I get that this is a lowbudget independent TV production, but each episode feels the need to open with too much unnecessary exposition spoken by unappealing actors. The less talk the better. Whenever Buster is allowed to shine (working out alone in the gym in The Boxing Match, reacting to all of the strange goings on in The Private Eye) makes these shows worthwhile but eventually more talk intrudes.

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Re: LIFE WITH BUSTER KEATON: BUSTER IN THE JUNGLE (1951)

Postby Richard M Roberts » Mon Aug 04, 2014 4:53 am

Gary Johnson wrote:Whether there are 13 more episodes or 30, I would welcome any more editions, if only to see if they get any better. I have never been that enamored with any of these circulating episodes all these years. There is always a feeling of 40's Columbia shorts-cheapness that hangs in the air of these programs like a malaise and dilutes the whole atmosphere for me. And I'm not talking just sets and costumes. I get that this is a lowbudget independent TV production, but each episode feels the need to open with too much unnecessary exposition spoken by unappealing actors. The less talk the better. Whenever Buster is allowed to shine (working out alone in the gym in The Boxing Match, reacting to all of the strange goings on in The Private Eye) makes these shows worthwhile but eventually more talk intrudes.



Yeah, the filmed shows have a lot of padding, and the whole pace seems to drag, and Keaton quit doing them because they ate up so much material quickly. What I want to see is more of the live shows, because Keaton in front of a live audience is always good, you realize that apart from being a great filmmaker, he had all those years of Vaudeville training and he really connects with any sort of an audience(something you can also say about the Marx Brothers).

I was always amazed that the LIFE WITH BUSTER show was popular enough to have been sold overseas and even translated into other languages (at least German, though I think i once saw a spanish-language version of one as well, and there was that feature compilation released in England). For a show that was basically forgotten for years, even by Keaton fans, it did seem to have travelled a bit.


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