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Michigan’s own Buster Keaton to be subject of new documentary

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This guy was the biggest star in the world at one point…Getty Images

Just like Hemingway spent a lot of his time during his youth in and around Petoskey, Michigan, early film star Buster Keaton spent a lot of his summers in the Muskegon area. (Yes, he was born in Kansas, but we’re claiming Buster as one of our own).

According to, a new documentary that focuses on Keaton’s early life is being produced by a Muskegon company, Clear Vision Films.

Here’s a story I’ve never heard before: According to Wikipedia, early in his life, Buster, whose real name was Joseph, did a vaudeville act with his dad in which he would pretend to disobey his dad and his dad would throw him at stage scenery and into the audience and orchestra pit. Because he learned how to fall, he said he hardly ever got hurt. Michigan’s own Harry Houdini – legendary magician and a co-owner of the vaudeville show with Buster’s dad, saw “Joseph” fall down a FLIGHT OF STAIRS at the age of 18 MONTHS (!!) – and get up like nothing had happened. Since one of the terms for a fall at that time was “buster”, Houdini said, “That was a real buster!” And the name stuck.

I’m just happy I wasn’t a kid in the late 1800s. Sounds like a rough life.

Anyway, the documentary should be out soon. Here’s the story.


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