The effect I thought they were kidding me. The comedian remarked later in his career, "I was mad at the time, or I would never have done the thing." (7 reels), 6,400ft miscalculated the complex gag. The son of a steamboat captain, Buster falls in love with the daughter of a rival steamboat owner. In 1927, however, it was seen as an over-budget box-office failure. As she is lowered, Minnie drops her fiddle and "Turkey in the Straw" sheet music which bounces over to a goat. Yet by the end he manages to impress his dad and become a bit of a hero. Stage (1919) and One Week (1920) with smaller buildings, King has the power to have Bill's boat condemned, so Bill physically confronts King and is promptly thrown in jail. In this environment he produced a brilliant string of work (ten features and almost 20 two-reelers) practically unmatched in cinema. They responded almost instinctively to this union of sound and motion. Behind his back, Mickey blows a raspberry. Steamboat Willie became the most popular cartoon of its day. Though he does not take co-scripting or co-directing credit, Steamboat Bill, Jr. is one of his most personal and autobiographical movies. She proceeds to run alongside the river after the steamboat. Steamboat Willie is one of those characters that is instantly recognizable.Even people who’ve never seen the actual film can immediately identify Mickey in this starring role. This scene is occasionally featured in the Disney titlecard. See reviews & details on a wide selection of Blu-ray & DVDs, both new & used. The title of the film is a parody of the Buster Keaton film Steamboat Bill Jr. Walt Disney performed all of the voices in the film, although there is little intelligible dialogue. The synchronism was pretty close. Such images are startling and delightful, and Steamboat Bill, Jr. is full of them. For the riverboat, see Steamboat Willie Riverboat. He fastens a belt around the cow in order to lift him onto the ship. When they finally shot the scene, the dummy was so convincing that townspeople who'd come to watch screamed in horror. Buster Keaton Productions, Inc. would be shut down. The narrow-gauge railways used in the Civil War had long since been replaced in Georgia and Tennessee. Stories of the filming of this gag are apparently NOT apocryphal - clearly the structure was weighted and solid, and obviously it misses hitting Keaton by inches. This first synchronized sound cartoon is actually a parody, loosely based on Steamboat Bill, Jr., a silent movie starring Buster Keaton that was released that same year. Cast: Buster Keaton (William "Willie" Canfield, Jr.), Ernest Torrence (William Canfield, Sr.), Marion Byron (Kitty King), Tom McGuire (John James King), Tom Lewis (Tom Carter), Joe Keaton (Barber) Steamboat Bill, Jr. was released in May 1928. comedy as they debate the ideal headwear. Associated Figures: Bob Iger • Roy Edward Disney • Michael Eisner • John Lasseter • Ed Catmull • Jeffrey Katzenberg • Bob Chapek Steamboat Bill is the nickname of Canfield Sr. Apart from one snide remark made by Bill Sr.'s rival, nobody calls William Jr. "Steamboat Bill Jr" in the picture. Iconic Outfit: The famous porkpie hat is used for a gag. However, due to a real Mississippi flood and bickering amongst the producers, the flood plot was changed to a "cyclone.". Music for Steamboat Willie was arranged by Wilfred Jackson and Bert Lewis, and included the songs "Steamboat Bill," a 1911 Arthur Collins composition, and "Turkey in the Straw." Willie, meanwhile, proves to be less than proficient in learning the ropes of piloting a steamboat. Cast: Buster Keaton (William Canfield Jr.), Ernest Torrence (William the son he hasn't seen since he was a child. Steamboat Bill, Jr. contains some of his most memorable imagery, from a lone figure leaning into an overpowering wind, to massive structures that have fallen or splintered and missed our hero, to simple images of a son trying to emulate his father's stance and attitude. made for producer Joseph M. Schenck, bringing to a close one of the Unfortunately, despite his big sets and enormous gag setups (Keaton has a building literally dropped on him in Steamboat Bill Jr), I prefer the comedies of Chaplin and Lloyd, who both infused a lot more humanity into their films and this is the problem with Bill Jr. Another justly famous scene in the film occurs when Willie is hauled by his father into a clothing store to replace the foppish apparel that Willie shows up wearing. The crane is lowered by Minnie and the hook proceeds to gently lift of her dress and grab hold of her bloomers carrying her onto the ship. or nature (cyclone, raging river, rock slide, etc.) He made one more great film, The Cameraman (1928), but many consider the films that followed the beginning of a decline in Keaton's innovative comedy output. So far, Steamboat Bill, Jr is my favorite Buster Keaton film. "Steamboat Bill, Jr." is funny, pure and simple. immediate difficulty adapting to his gruff father's working class The ruined train would remain at the location until it was salvaged for scrap metal during World War II. According to Dave Smith, the boat officially has no name, with the short's title (a reference to the Buster Keaton film, Steamboat Bill, Jr.) instead being the name of the character Mickey plays in the short. mugging and playing his ukulele for a small child, Bill, Sr. recoils Amidst all this, there is a mighty storm brewing. life. A scene where he fumbles with the controls in the pilot's cabin and causes a wreck is later mirrored with a scene in which he not only masters the complex gears - he improvises his own remote controls! He proceeds to yell at Mickey and then and sends him back down to the deck. by John Miller, Trivia and Other Fun Stuff on STEAMBOAT BILL, JR. He's being put out of business by J.J. King, who not only owns the local hotel and bank, but has recently introduced a new paddle wheel … By 1927 Buster Keaton had enjoyed many years producing his films independently. spontaneously innovative slapstick did not translate to the It features a story about Bill Jr. meeting his dad, who is a rough seaman and how Bill Jr. seems out of place. When a cyclone rages, Buster proves himself a hero by rescuing his love and her father from a watery grave. that barnacle off his lip" then takes Bill, Jr. shopping in an effort It is characteristic of Keaton's other great silent features The General (1927) and Our Hospitality (1923) in that it is rich in period detail and energized by some of Keaton's most inventive gags, including the most elaborate climax he devised for any of his films. The iconic opening scene in which Mickey is piloting Steamboat Willie. Director: Charles Reisner Screenplay: Carl Harbaugh Steamboat Bill, Jr. represents the last time Keaton enjoyed his ideal creative environment, and it marked the end of an incredible era for one of the cinema's most creative talents. Mickey begins to work when the annoying parrot flies into the window and begins to mock and laugh at him again provoking Mickey to throw a half-peeled potato at him, sending the parrot splashing into the water. It contains his most famous stunt and Walt Disney likely used it as inspiration for his first Mickey Mouse cartoon Steamboat Willie, 1928. The mouth organist played the tune; the rest of us in the sound department blamed tin pans and blew slide whistles in the beat. He spits and turns around to watch it hit the bell but gets hit in the face instead which causes him to make a fuss. Each time, copyright protection in the United States has been extended. "Steamboat Bill" is a 1911 song composed by Arthur Collins, it was later used in the 1928 film Steamboat Bill Jr. and then in the first Mickey Mouse short Steamboat Willie. Against all probability, Keaton's film is NOT the most famous film released in 1928 to have the word "Steamboat" in the title. The original climax as devised by Keaton was to take place amidst a Mississippi flood. riverboat: the "Stonewall Jackson." Its negative costs alone exceeded $404,000 but its domestic gross was only $359,000. In 1. clock. The film inspired the title of Walt Disney's Steamboat Willie (1928), which was released six months later and is considered the debut of Mickey Mouse. to make him over -- a sequence which includes some wonderfully subtle races through the town, toppling buildings like matchsticks. Unfortunately, there were actual floods on the Mississippi River in 1927 which caused great loss of life and property, and Brand convinced Schenck that it would be perceived as bad taste to proceed with a comedic flood. Marion was only sixteen when Steamboat was shot and was not a very good swimmer, so Buster's sister, Louise, was used as a double for all her underwater scenes - the women were nearly identical in height and weight....Louise recalls the lengthy diving sequence into the extremely cold water of the river, from which she and Buster would emerge half-frozen after several of these unsuccessful takes. Interestingly, 'Steamboat Willie' was itself a parody, spoofing the latest Buster Keaton release, 'Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928),' though the connection stretches little beyond the title and the general story setting. Steamboat Willie became the most popular cartoon of its day. As Buster reached for Red Top in the dark empty theater, Trovollo, hiding behind Red Top, brought the dummy to life. famous cinematic storm also includes one of the comic star's most (Marion Byron) whose father King (Tom McGuire) owns River Junction's mugging and playing his ukulele for a small child, Bill, Sr. recoils In a test screening from family and friends, Though "Steamboat Willie" was the first cartoon in Mickey's lineup to be released, two cartoons ", Contrary to belief, it was not the first cartoon in history to feature synchronized sound (there was. fisticuffs between the two captains and Bill Sr.'s run-in with the ⓘ Steamboat Bill. In truth, Disney was playing off the same "Steamboat Bill" archetype that predated the Keaton movie in story and song. Anticipating that he will have a husky partner in his struggle with King, Bill and his mate are dismayed to find that Willie is a shrimp who wears college clothes, plays a ukelele, and sports a mustache. The title of Keaton's film, then, would have painted an instant picture for 1928 audiences - that of the offspring of a larger-than-life figure. great film, The Cameraman (1928), but many consider the films ), Released in United States November 1997 (Shown at Northampton Film Festival (Special Programs) in Northampton, Massachusetts November 6-9, 1997.). The gag was worked out mathematically and no doubt attempted many times with inanimate stand-ins. Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928) is the last of physical comedian Buster Keaton's (the Great Stone Face) nine independent feature films and one of the last silent comedies. college educated son. In the most celebrated single shot of Steamboat Bill, Jr., the cyclone causes an entire side of a building to fall straight toward Buster, who avoids death when his body passes harmlessly through an open window on the building façade. A parrot nearby mocks him and begins to laugh, which provokes Mickey to throw the bucket of water on the parrot, who squawks for help as Mickey walks away. Production Supervisor: Harry Brand that followed the beginning of a decline in Keaton's innovative Steamboat Willie. It was one of his last great silent masterpieces. door. By the mid-1920s, Schenck was becoming heavily involved in the management of United Artists. More than a year ago. The pratfalls and pranks and slapstick humor is … Supervising Animators: Glen Keane • Andreas Deja • Alex Kupershmidt • Eric Goldberg • Mark Henn • John Pomeroy • T. Daniel Hofstedt • Tony Bancroft • Tom Bancroft • Tony Fucile • Russ Edmonds • Duncan Marjoribanks • Ruben Aquino • Nik Ranieri • Ron Husband • Rick Farmiloe • Tom Sito • Tony Anselmo Storyboard Artists and Writers: Bill Peet • Ralph Wright • Dick Huemer • Floyd Norman • Yale Gracey He made one change, however. However, it is highly probable that Walt Disney and his entire animation staff, beginning with the primary architect of Steamboat Willie, Ub Iwerks, were Keaton fans. Storyline. Man overboard! The signature melody for Steamboat Willie has been used as an introduction for movies by. Running time Many thought the parrot was speaking gibberish like Mickey, Minnie, and Pete, but thanks to research, and listening really closely due to the quality of the audio, he actually says to Mickey, both times, "Hope ya don't feel hurt, big boy! blissful father and son reunion instead reveals a hilarious Celebrity Productions It was terrible, but it was wonderful! Drowning Pit: Bill Sr. drowning in his cell, after the cyclone blows the jail cabin into the river. Visual Development & Storyboard Artists: Dean DeBlois • Lisa Keene • Claire Keane • Brittney Lee • Jin Kim • Shiyoon Kim • Cory Loftis. Studio(s) by John Miller & Felicia Feaster, The Critics' Corner on STEAMBOAT BILL, JR. Join the conversation now at, Richard Lewis On Buster Keaton -- (TCM Original) Star Of The Month. An array of comic imbroglios follow, including a hurricane, some In Steamboat Bill Jr, Buster plays a ridiculous dandy of a young Bostonian sent to the South to live with his gruff father (Ernest Torrence), captain of a broken down riverboat. He is still admired by modern animators. That scene alone is worth the price of admission." Editing: Sherman Kell college educated son. Synopsis. Chuck Reisner was one of Keaton's friends from the old vaudeville days (he referred to his friend as "little Buster"). The cartoon is considered the debut of Mickey Mouse and his girlfriend Minnie, although both characters appeared several months earlier in a test screening of Plane Crazy. The coming of sound also had a negative impact on Keaton's career; The credited director of Steamboat Bill, Jr. (actually co-director with Keaton) was Charles F. Reisner. As the explosion of the engine through them up in the air. The stunt where the wall falls on Buster Keaton was performed with an actual full-weight wall. Buster had instructed his man Caruthers to stand by with a bottle of the best procurable French brandy. — garykmcd In the riverside town of River Junction, Captain William Canfield has an old steamship and disputes the passengers with the powerful banker John James King, who … You may be bored at the long intervals during which the blank-faced hero slides across the Mississippi delta on one ear, but just wait for the scene in the haberdashery where Torrence, as the hard-boiled old river pilot, buys his collegiate son a hat. window. It was one of his last great silent masterpieces. "Steamboat Bill" notably inspired two major works of American film with long-lasting influence: the 1928 Buster Keaton film Steamboat Bill, Jr. and " Steamboat Willie ", the first Mickey Mouse cartoon. He pulls a rope to sound the steamboat's three whistles. Certain scenes play out seemingly in reverse, like eloquent bookends within the film. But the film's most famous crowning achievement was probably the But what really delights is the detailed depiction of small town life, plus Keaton's comic awareness of his own persona..." - Geoff Andrew, TimeOut Film Guide. sailor (played by noted character actor Ernest Torrence) visited by Comedian Richard Lewis on his first fanatical, then personal connection to TCM's October Star Of The Month, the incomparable Buster Keaton. The hat that Keaton quickly removes from his head and hands back to the clerk with a frown is Keaton's own trademark porkpie hat. For the next two months, they made Cottage Grove their base, building the town of Marietta, Georgia, nearby and employing 500 Oregon National Guardsmen to play the two armies. Later revived to cable television, it was then seen on American Movie Classics starting in 1995 where it was part of that station's annual film preservation series, and ending its run there in 1999. He made one more He spits in front of him and the spit circles around and hits the bell behind him causing it to ring. In order to make The General "so authentic it hurts," Keaton wanted to film on the story's original locations, but that was impossible. memorable moments, when Bill, Jr. clinging desperately to an uprooted The film - actually co-written, co-produced, and co-directed by actor Keaton (with director Chas. Edit. Red Top shot up and yelled 'Don't touch me, boy, or I'll tell your old man!' Keaton's Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928) was the last of his self-controlled slapstick pictures, following the likes of Sherlock Jr and The General, made independently before he signed up with MGM and gave away much of his ideas-rich filmmaking autonomy. "Steamboat Bill" notably inspired two major works of American film with long-lasting influence: the 1928 Buster Keaton film Steamboat Bill, Jr. and "Steamboat Willie", the first Mickey Mouse cartoon. Also visiting River Junction is college classmate Mary King Steamboat Bill, Jr. is the story of a naive, college-educated dandy who must prove himself to his working-class father, a hot-headed riverboat captain, while courting the daughter of his father's rival, who threatens to put Steamboat Bill, Sr. and his paddle-wheeler out of business. She turned 17 about two months before the film's premiere in May 1928. The title of the film is a parody of the Buster Keaton film Steamboat Bill Jr. Walt Disney performed all of the voices in the film, although there is little intelligible dialogue. The shot went off without a hitch, but cost $42,000 (almost $2 million in contemporary terms), making it the most expensive single shot in silent film history. Buster Keaton was one of the most important figures in all of early cinema, and Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928) was his last independent silent feature and one of his funniest films. The two They even found three antique locomotives they could use in the film. legendary stunts, when the facade of a three-story house falls down Executive Producer: Joseph M. Schenck Though "Steamboat Willie" was the first cartoon in Mickey's lineup to be released, two cartoons "Plane Crazy" and "The Gallopin' Gaucho" were produced before but released after this cartoon. The cow is lowered back to the dock and Mickey attempts to tighten the belt to no avail. So where exactly can we hear the tune of “Steamboat Bill” in Steamboat Willie? The first film under this arrangement was The General, now usually recognized as Keaton's masterpiece. Keaton When he does, he tries to turn him into a proper person for working on the boats, while his son resists. The film, named after Arthur Collins's popular 1911 recording of the 1910 song "Steamboat Bill", also featured Ernest Torrence, Marion Byron, and Tom Lewis. For the finale, Keaton staged many gags in an old theater, drawing on his vaudeville days for inspiration. New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center. ©2021 Turner Classic Movies, Inc. A WarnerMedia Company. Steamboat Bill himself bore many resemblances to Keaton's own father, Joe (who shows up in the film in a bit part as a barber). Mickey jumps aboard the ship and takes off leaving Minnie yelling at the dock. Keaton must have taken greatly to it, since it would afford him another chance to recreate in great detail a time and place which teems with comic possibilities. Multiple buildings were required to either splinter into a million pieces, collapse inward a section at a time, or in one particularly notable instance, lose its facade and plop to the ground with pinpoint accuracy. Keaton was taken by surprise, but Schenck convinced him to sign with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Presenting quite a contrast, his son William Canfield, Jr. has lived with his mother since he was a toddler and has just graduated from an elite college back East. Bill happily anticipates the arrival of his son, whom he has not seen since babyhood, and goes to the station to meet him. This is a direct reference to a vaudeville act that fascinated Buster as a boy, and a dummy named Red Top that Buster wanted to claim as his own. "Steamboat Bill" (Ernest Torrence) and his faithful first mate (Tom Lewis) run the most dilapidated paddle steamer on the river. Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928) - William Canfield Jr. Greg Proops Intro -- Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928), Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928) - I'll Pick The Young Man, May Source The Steamboat Willie Riverboat is the riverboat from Mickey Mouse's debut cartoon captained by Pete, who had Mickey working as his cabin boy.. Unfortunately, it was the biggest money-loser of all of Buster's features released by United Artists. moment in that same chaotic hurricane sequence in which an entire make him more suited to co-captain his ancient, dilapidated Mickey salutes weakly while Pete turns around. regimented structure of the Hollywood studio system. What follows is a lively rendition of the song where Mickey uses a barrel and garbage can as drums, bangs on pots and pans, strokes a washboard, pulls on a cat's tail to make it sing and swings it around his head, uses a duck as a makeshift bagpipe, pulls on little piglets tails to make squeaks, and finally uses the cow's teeth as a makeshift xylophone. The goat sees it and begins to eat the sheet music. But what should be a 12, Louise Keaton had some vaudeville experience and later went on to act in some of Buster's short subjects made in the mid-1930s for Educational Pictures. In a wonderful self-reflexive moment, Keaton slips on his trademark porkpie hat, has a shocked look on his face, then quickly snaps it off his head before anyone can see it on him. Try as he might, Bill, Jr. Steamboat Willie was briefly referenced in the film, The part where the goat eats the music sheets and the instrument, as well as Mickey turning the goat into a phonograph, mirrors an exact event from the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon called. Arriving by train wearing a polka-dot tie, beret, and pencil-thin moustache, Willie (Buster Keaton) is immediately hauled away for a Mississippi makeover. Walt DisneyUb Iwerks continued making films for Metro Goldwyn Mayer but his brand of in horror, embarrassed by the undignified foppishness of his son's the jailhouse stuffed with files and other escape tools. He made one more The cow happily swallows the entire bale and easily fills out to the size of the belt and is raised to the ship. The boys worked from music and sound effects score. Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928) - William Canfield Jr. Meeting the son he hasn’t seen in many years, Bill (Ernest Torrence), with first-mate Tom (Lewis), is looking for a guy with a white carnation, not expecting the dandified college man William Jr. (Buster Keaton), the first appearance by the director and star, in Steamboat Bill, Jr., 1928. After several quarrels with King, Bill lands in jail, his boat condemned. In fact, the name was used as a title for a popular song in 1910, which was itself a re-write of Slim Webb's popular tune about the railroad engineer archetype, "Casey Jones." The composition is perfect, and the gags and different looks and styles come fast and furious, Keaton's demeanor changing with each look. Followed by Mickey is lowered down to the dock by a crane near the cow. The first indications of impending challenges to Keaton's independence occurred during preparations for his next feature, College (1927). Many people have claimed that these extensions were a response by the U.S. Congress to extensive lobbying by Disney; others claim that the copyright extensions that Congress has passed in recent decades have followed e… comedy as they debate the ideal headwear. The effect on our little audience was nothing less than electric. Steamboat Bill, Jr. According to Tom Dardis in his biography, Keaton: The Man Who Wouldn't Lie Down (Charles Scribner's Sons), "most of the film was shot on location in and around the state capitol at Sacramento, California, along the banks of the Sacramento River. Steamboat Willie is a Mickey Mouse cartoon that was released on November 18, 1928, produced by Walt Disney and directed by Ub Iwerks. Where Buster stumbles and falls the entire height of the steamboat cabin and wheel at one point, in another he will leap and fly the same obstacle in a time of need. Shown at Telluride Film Festival August 29 - September 1, 1997. Some have also seen hypocrisy in the Disney Corporation's recent efforts to extend the copyright protection for Steamboat Willie, saying that they "ripped-off" the Keaton film in the first place. They call him Willie. comedy output. "This is one of the best Keatons, almost as good as The General...All the forces of nature attack Keaton, who makes no attempt to control them and doesn't even seem to resent them, but uses them instead to perform a kind of free ballet." posing a great deal of danger for Keaton if he in any way Conversely, Mordaunt Hall in The New York Times calls Steamboat Bill, Jr. a "gloomy comedy" and a "sorry affair." A large crane and a number of cables were also needed to carry aloft buildings, props, and in one scene, Buster himself - clinging to an uprooted tree trunk. TCM Shopping. Following through on a promise to his mother, William Canning Jr. goes to River Junction to meet his father who has not seen him since he was a child. comic inventiveness in tackling everything from subdued, facial First catching a glimpse of Bill, Jr. at the train station Technical Director: Fred Gabourie It was Reisner's idea for Buster to play the son of a steamboat pilot, a notion that to Buster would've seemed full of possibilities. house falls on Keaton, who then walks nonchalantly out the front that followed the beginning of a decline in Keaton's innovative Keaton's feature premiered earlier that year in May, so it is likely that Disney's staff did find some inspiration for their cartoon in Buster's newest effort. Periodically undergoing restoration and re-release, Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928) is the latest to find its way back into the cinema, released in the UK on 18th September. Steamboat Bill, Jr. also includes audio commentary by film historians Michael Schlesinger and Stan Taffel, and a vintage Alka-Seltzer commercial starring Buster Keaton. In triumphing over the beret, it is Kitty who sends Willie on his first step from zero to hero. Just then, Minnie Mouse appears on the scene running to catch up to Steamboat Willie. It features a story about Bill Jr. meeting his dad, who is a rough seaman and how Bill Jr. seems out of place. Prior to working with Keaton, Reisner had worked on several films with the cinema's other great silent comic, Charles Chaplin. He will begin duties in late January 2021. captains are soon bickering incessantly and the young couple's love Willie tries, unsucessfully, to spring his father and ends up in the hospital just as a cyclone hits River Junction. Upon its initial release in 1927, The General was greeted with poor reviews and a tepid box office. continued making films for Metro Goldwyn Mayer but his brand of Mickey struggles but can't pull it out and falls on the ground launching the fiddle into the goat's body which proceeds to bounce around causing music notes to sound. This movie was used as a model for Steamboat Willie (1928), Mickey Mouse's first cartoon with sound. The coming of sound also had a negative impact on Keaton's career; generation gap between a Mississippi riverboat captain and his spoiled, He also layers into the proceedings bits and details of an autobiographical nature. In the course of this long afternoon Louise and Buster drank four or five glasses."

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