Site hosted by Build your free website today!

The Sound of Buster Keaton

I'll be the first to state it: MGM's vehicles for Buster were crappy. But insane curiosity provoked me to buy three of them, and record another. You have to admit it's a unique novelty in itself to hear a silent star *talking*. I actually like his voice, though others have said that it was too gruff for his gentle on-screen persona. But it can't be blamed for his lack of success at MGM. I'd rather not think about it.

Anyhow, the main idea being that I like his voice, and don't like the movies, I've set up some wavs for my own amusement and maybe that of other BK fans. Tada!

Some were recorded via the complicated process of holding the mike up to the TV's speaker, and aren't the greatest quality. But the ones with a next to them indicate that they've been recorded correctly.

'The gentle and unforced accord of Hamlet/ Sits smiling on my heart...'

"Free & Easy"

Buster's 'first word' - "friends" (27 k)

"I love riding on trains." (43 k)

"...goodnight." (15 k)

Elmer & Larry start to sing "The Corn Grows Green in Kansas" (129 k)

The words Buster's Babes have been yearning to hear... (138 k)

Ouch. The irony. (192 k)

Buster sings the title song! (1.55 M)

(image from Silent Ladies & Gents)
Buster Keaton as the nerdish Timoleon Zanders Post, sans pinc-nez

"Speak Easily"

"I'd love to rub elbows with the outside world, and be come a, uh... Napoleon. He was about my size, too."

Timoleon learns he's inherited 3/4 of a million-- A snap decision. (294 k)

"Good morning! But why must we be strangers?" (66k)

Runs into fair maiden Pansy Peets...

Tim argues with the baggage guy about leaving his trunk. TZP:"Oh don't equivocate."
"What? What'd he say?"
TZP: "Don't equivocate!"
"Look, I don't take that kind of talk from you, or any other little runt. Now whaddaya think of that?"
TZP: "That calls for drastic action.. I'll give you one minute to apologize."
Pansy: "Professor, keep your shirt on!"
TZP: "Oh I had no intention of removing it."

"Only trouble is.." Tim seeking help in vain from a guy by the train station (259 k)

"But I know nothing whatsoever about the uh, show business."

Timoleon demonstrating a "Greek Dance" to "Oh Suzanna" (313k)

Thelma Todd interprets the dance.
"Now that is authentic. But it would be much more effective if you were in the nude." (150 k)

(with Thelma Todd.) "Have you ever thought seriously of marriage?" "Yes... that's why I'm single." (199k)

Tim stumbles on stage during a performance. "Ladies and gentlemen! As Lord Chesterfield said, 'An honest error is to be pitied and not ridiculed.'" (?k)

"Due to my unfamiliarity with stage procedure, there has been a slight departure from routine in this part of the entertainment. With your kind indulgence, we will continue." (251k)

Timoleon tells off Eleanor Espere, who would marry him for his money...
"I am fully aware of the fact that the events of the last few minutes have not been of a strictly conventional order. Therefore I think it necessary to clarify a situation which otherwise might be filled with doubt. This I will do through the medium of a much quoted but pungeant phrase: nuts to you." (431k)

Then tackles Pansy Peets with a smooch, which was kind of cute.

"Sidewalks of New York"

recording what he's going to say to his sweetheart, as Cliff Edwards runs a series of song titles past him. The funniest part of the movie.

(In a courtroom, being sworn in)
"I can't understand a thing he's sayin'."
"He's asking if you swear-"
"No, but I know all the words."

"Parlor, Bedroom & Bath"

"Well what'll I do with this woman while I'm waiting? See, I'm not much at talkin'." (113 k)


Crank the volume all the way, these next two are barely audible. I don't know why I bothered, but they'll be redone ASAP.

Buster Sings "In a Little Spanish Town" from "Pest From the West" (kyoooot!)

Buster Keaton on working with the Marx Brothers: "It was an event when you could get all three of them on the set at the same time. The minute you started a picture with the Marx brothers you hired three assistant directors. One for each Marx brother. Y'had two of em, while you went to look for the third one and the first two would disappear.... They never worried what the next set-up was gonna be or what- the routine or anything else - sez - 'We'll ad-lib it when we get there'." (430k)

Listen to my favorite non-Keaton wavs here