Sunday, June 26, 2011

5th & B Appears with Buster Keaton and Fatty Arbuckle!

The Majestic Theatre in Corvallis opened in 1913 as a "moving picture, vaudeville, and legitimate drama house," according to the Gazette-Times coverage of the opening.  We'll carry on that tradition on July 2nd when we perform a concert to benefit this Corvallis landmark.  OK, maybe we're not "legitimate drama," but we do have a

bit of vaudeville in our schtick, and we will be showing a moving picture, "The Garage," directed by Roscoe Arbuckle.  The plan is for 5th & B to improvise a soundtrack for the movie within a very open framework composed by Rob Birdwell.

This has gotten me to thinking about my Grandmother on my Father's side.  To help make ends meet for her growing family, Ermine played piano accompaniments to silent movies in a theatre in Madison, Wisconsin.  It could have been The Majestic, which was still in business when I was growing up in Madison.

According to Wikipedia, "The Garage," directed in 1920 by Arbuckle, was the 14th film starring Arbuckle and Buster Keaton.  It also features frequent co-star Luke the Dog.  The film has the distinction of being among the very first to practice product placement; its prominent display of Red Crown Gasoline was criticized by the motion picture trade journal, Harrison's Reports.  What I remember most from my single viewing of "The Garage" is how often somebody falls down.  Falling down must have been just about the funniest thing one could imagine in 1920.  I hope Dave brings a big crash cymbal.

So there's your Saturday evening entertainment!  Live music, a classic film, product placement, lots of falling down, and all for a good cause.