From 1914 to 1921, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was a king of silent screen comedy. His character of the fun-loving fat boy was loved all over the world and second only to Charlie Chaplin in box office popularity. He was the first slapstick clown to move from shorts to feature films, but a scandalous accusation (of which he was ultimately found innocent) left him banished from the screen and effectively buried his reputation for the next 80 years. This retrospective covering the complete arc of his career provides an opportunity to not only appreciate Arbuckle as an immensely likable performer but also to discover his neglected work behind the camera as gag writer and director during his exile, as well as his return to the screen in the sound era. Included are many appearances with Arbuckle’s contemporaries, including Chaplin, Mabel Normand, Buster Keaton, Louise Fazenda, Edgar Kennedy, Al St. John, and Eddie Cantor. Arbuckle scholars and experts will introduce each program.
Organized by Ron Magliozzi, Assistant Curator Research and Collections, Department of Film and Media; Steve Massa, film historian and author; and Ben Model, film historian and accompanist. Special thanks to Box 5 LLC, Cineteca del Friuli, George Eastman House, Laughsmith Entertainment, The Library of Congress, Lobster Films, Nederlands Filmmuseum, Norsk Filminstitutt, Warner Bros., Robert Arkus, Serge Bromberg, Brian Gari, Paul E. Gierucki, Bob Geoghegan, Jane Gillooly, Mark Heller, Bruce Lawton, Elif Rongen-Kaynakci, Dave Stevenson, David Shepard, Ken Winokur, and David Wyatt.