FREE! Click here to Join FunTrivia. Thousands of games, quizzes, and lots more!
Quiz about Buster Keaton The Man and the Myths
Quiz about Buster Keaton The Man and the Myths

Buster Keaton: The Man and the Myths Quiz


Can you sort myth from reality about the Great Stone Face of silent cinema? Be careful! Keaton himself loved passing many of the myths along.

A multiple-choice quiz by ubermom. Estimated time: 5 mins.
  1. Home
  2. »
  3. Quizzes
  4. »
  5. Celebrity Trivia
  6. »
  7. Celebrities K-L

Author
ubermom
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
317,875
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
283
Last 3 plays: Guest 170 (3/10), Guest 69 (5/10), Guest 195 (3/10).
Question 1 of 10
1. How did Joseph Keaton VI end up with the name "Buster"? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. Buster loved to tell of the multiple calamities that befell him one fateful day when he was just a tot. Which was there actual evidence to support? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Buster claimed that Piqua, Kansas, the town where he was born, was "blown off the map by a cyclone" shortly thereafter. How much truth was there to the tale? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Buster got his start in films from a chance meeting on the street.


Question 5 of 10
5. Buster, a stage veteran already at the age of 21, was invited to tour a film studio one day in 1917. How long was it before he stepped before the camera and started his film career? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. How true was the claim that Buster Keaton, The Great Stone Face, never smiled on camera? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. Buster was known for performing all of his own stunts, but this wasn't entirely true. Which of these shots was done using a stunt double? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. What did Buster superstitiously consider a way to ensure that one of his movies would be a hit? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Buster had a reputation for being indestructible, performing amazing stunts without mishap or injury. How true was this myth? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Was Buster's Great Stone Face persona -- the sad little man who never smiled -- really reflective of his life?



(Optional) Create a Free FunTrivia ID to save the points you are about to earn:

arrow Select a User ID:
arrow Choose a Password:
arrow Your Email:




Most Recent Scores
May 23 2024 : Guest 170: 3/10
May 08 2024 : Guest 69: 5/10
May 07 2024 : Guest 195: 3/10
May 06 2024 : Guest 191: 6/10
Apr 15 2024 : Guest 198: 9/10
Apr 03 2024 : Guest 24: 1/10

Score Distribution

quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. How did Joseph Keaton VI end up with the name "Buster"?

Answer: As a baby, he emerged unscathed from a tumble down the stairs.

Accounts differ as to how old little Joseph was when he took the famous spill that led a bystander to pronounce, "My, what a buster!" Keaton himself claimed that he was six months old. Biographers believe he was probably closer to 18 months old. But either way, the name clearly stuck. Nobody after that -- not even his wives or grandchildren -- called him anything but Buster (though the grandkids prefaced it with "Grandpa"). It's a name he literally took to the grave, where his headstone reads simply, "Buster Keaton 1895 - 1966".

As for Buster's claim that it was Harry Houdini who gave him the moniker, this myth was probably started by Buster's father, Joseph Keaton V. The Keatons did travel the vaudeville circuit with Houdini and his wife. The two families were close friends, with Joe and wife Myra naming their second child Harry in Houdini's honor. But there's no evidence that Houdini and the Keatons crossed paths until after Buster had already picked up the name he'd use the rest of his life.

Buster himself seemed to have been the originator of another myth, that he was the first to use Buster as a name, but according to US Census data it was just not true. The name Buster was in the top 1000 names clear back to 1880 -- fifteen years before Buster's birth. It is, however, possible that Buster Keaton's popularity sparked the use of Buster as a nickname.
2. Buster loved to tell of the multiple calamities that befell him one fateful day when he was just a tot. Which was there actual evidence to support?

Answer: He caught his finger in a wash wringer.

The fact that Buster's father may have also repeated a story hardly made it true, so we'll have to take Buster's word for the cyclone and the peach incident. But he really did get his finger caught in a wash wringer and lose the fingertip up to the knuckle. You can spot the finger in many of his films, such as "The Garage" (1920), "The Haunted House" (1921), and "Sherlock Jr." (1924). Two commercials he did in his later years even showed close-ups of his hand -- in one shot changing film, in another pouring beer -- in which the missing fingertip was unmistakable. Don't be fooled by the print ad for rye bread, which used some sort of primitive photo-shopping on Buster's right hand.
3. Buster claimed that Piqua, Kansas, the town where he was born, was "blown off the map by a cyclone" shortly thereafter. How much truth was there to the tale?

Answer: There might be a shred of truth somewhere in the story, which Buster blew into a cataclysmic cyclone.

Buster's parents, Joe and Myra, were indeed in Piqua, Kansas when Buster made his earthly debut. It was where their traveling medicine show happened to be when Myra went into labor. Joe told a story of a cyclone blowing the medicine show's tent away, and of him chasing it down throughout the countryside. He returned to town to be presented with his newborn son. Buster evidently liked the story enough to embellish it into a cyclone blowing the entire town away -- though this also left him having to delay the storm until after he himself had blown through, lest both he and his mother be blown off the face of the earth.

Despite Buster's lively story, Piqua remained on the map, later commemorating Buster's birth and establishing a small museum in his honor. They passed along Joe Keaton's story simply as Joe's story, with no mention of an actual cyclone.
4. Buster got his start in films from a chance meeting on the street.

Answer: True

This is one story that's true.

Buster had broken up his family's vaudeville act, "The Three Keatons", at the age of 21, when his father's drinking made their rough-and-tumble act too difficult and dangerous. Alone in New York City, Buster was walking down the street when he encountered Lou Anger, an old family friend from their days on the road. Anger took Keaton to Roscoe Arbuckle's new Comique studio for a tour and the rest was history.
5. Buster, a stage veteran already at the age of 21, was invited to tour a film studio one day in 1917. How long was it before he stepped before the camera and started his film career?

Answer: The same day.

Lou Anger brought Buster to tour Roscoe Arbuckle's new Comique studio in New York, where Arbuckle was working on his first independent short, "The Butcher Boy" (1917). Arbuckle had seen Buster on stage and had even lifted bits of the Keaton act, so he invited his visitor to participate.

At first Buster demurred, but Arbuckle gave him a tour, showed him the equipment, and convinced him to go to wardrobe and get costumed up. So Buster made his film debut the first time he ever set foot in a movie studio.
6. How true was the claim that Buster Keaton, The Great Stone Face, never smiled on camera?

Answer: It was mostly true of his later work, but he smiled a lot in his early films with Roscoe Arbuckle.

This was another myth Buster Keaton liked to perpetuate -- sometimes going so far as to claim he was incapable of laughing or smiling at all. But Buster mugged it up quite a bit in many of the shorts he did with Roscoe Arbuckle at Comique studios. The most pointed example was in "Oh, Doctor!" (1917), in which he played the child of Roscoe's character. Buster smiled and laughed and cried in an overblown way that should kill any idea that he couldn't laugh or smile on camera.

Once he got his own studio, the Great Stone Face persona was pretty well fixed. Dedicated fans could sometimes spot a slight smile, such as the two brief smiles in the early portion of "The Saphead" (1920), but they were fleeting and very rare.
7. Buster was known for performing all of his own stunts, but this wasn't entirely true. Which of these shots was done using a stunt double?

Answer: Buster pole-vaulting through an open window in "College" (1927)

It was true that Buster was an accomplished stunt man, doing not only his own stunts and stunts for his actors, but also stunts for other actors in other films. I have only read of two uses of stunt doubles in Buster's silent films. The first was the pole-vault stunt, for which Buster hired an Olympic athlete. The other was when MGM insisted on using a stunt double in a scene in "Spite Marriage" (1929), in which Buster's character drove a car off a pier into the water.

Interestingly enough, Buster did occasionally use hand doubles, because he was missing the tip of his right index finger due to having caught it in a wash wringer as a young child.
8. What did Buster superstitiously consider a way to ensure that one of his movies would be a hit?

Answer: A dunking

Buster's core crew seemed to share his superstition that dunking Buster at least once per movie would ensure a hit. In most of his independent films, he ended up either immersed in, or doused by, water at least once. Even "The General" (1926), which took place on trains, had Buster getting doused twice by water spouts and twice by rainstorms, and he landed in a river and got completely soaked. Evidently he was taking no chances.
9. Buster had a reputation for being indestructible, performing amazing stunts without mishap or injury. How true was this myth?

Answer: It was not true at all. Buster's first injuries went back to vaudeville days, and continued into his film career.

Biographer Edward McPherson commented that some of Keaton's films were a chronicle of injury. Buster took quite a few busters over the years. He broke an ankle on the escalator in "The Electric House" (1922), did something nasty to his elbow tumbling from the second-story door in "One Week" (1920), put himself out of commission for three days slamming into a brick wall in "Three Ages" (1923), and broke his neck doing the fall from the water tower in "Sherlock Jr." (1924).

These injuries were probably the reason MGM put a stop to his daring stunt work once they took control of his films.
10. Was Buster's Great Stone Face persona -- the sad little man who never smiled -- really reflective of his life?

Answer: No

The Great Stone Face persona was Buster's bread and butter, so of course he'd try to maintain it, just as Harpo Marx took care never to talk when a camera was running. But just as Harpo could talk, Buster could laugh and smile. Friends and family reported that though Buster had his share of troubles, he was typically a cheerful man who enjoyed his life and knew how to have fun.

As Keaton himself put it, "I've had few dull moments and not too many sad and defeated ones. In saying this I am by no means overlooking the rough and rocky years I've lived through. But I was not brought up thinking life would be easy. I always expected to work hard for my money and to get nothing I did not earn. And the bad years, it seems to me, were so few that only a dyed-in-the-wool grouch who enjoys feeling sorry for himself would complain."
Source: Author ubermom

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor Nannanut before going online.
Any errors found in FunTrivia content are routinely corrected through our feedback system.
5/24/2024, Copyright 2024 FunTrivia, Inc. - Report an Error / Contact Us