Sunday Matinee: Fatty Arbuckle

Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was a silent comedian whose career was a successful one until a scandal destroyed him in 1921.

Arbuckle started in films in 1909. In 1913 he joined Mack Sennett’s Keystone Kops films. He made several films with Mabel Normand and he worked with Charlie Chaplin during this time. From there Arbuckle had started his own company and he and Buster Keaton made several silent shorts together starting in 1917. In 1918 he handed his company over to Keaton and started making feature films for Paramount.

In 1921 Arbuckle was accused of the manslaughter and rape of aspiring actress named Virginia Rappe. Rappe died after attending a party held by Arbuckle. Three trials and a media sensation later Arbuckle was found not guilty but his career was finished. His films were banned and several of his films have now become lost. Those that have survived are in poor condition.

Arbuckle worked in the background during the ’20s – directing films under pseudonyms. In 1932 he staged a comeback with Warner Brothers with a series of short talkies. These were a success and Warner signed Arbuckle to a feature film contract in 1933. He died later that day of heart attack.

Fatty’s Pluck Pup

Out West (1918)

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka has spent most of his life watching movies and reading comic books. He has decided to use this vast knowledge for evil instead of good.