“The act had to change. But Joe was changing too. Not like the old man any more. Mad most of the time, and could look at you as if he don’t know you. But he could become the father quick enough–those lickings for things that had happened before. No more private spankings. In front of a thousand people. Finally I’d get sore, and we’d start trading. And still keep it funny.
"Funny? People should have felt the wallops we were handing out. Like the time he found the pipe in my jacket down in the dressing room and stalked out, and I said to one of the actors, ‘Now I’ll catch it. If you want some excitement, just watch from the wings.’ What a beating, and I’m nineteen! …
"Myra told me, 'Joe’s not punishing you.’
"I said, 'It feels like it.’
"She said, 'No, he’s not mad at you or anyone else. It’s old Father time he’d like to get his hands on. Man or woman,’ she said, 'some can take getting old, some can’t.’
"It made it more understandable, no more standable. Anyway, like the Indian said, it went on like that for a while, then it got worse. When I smelled whiskey across the stage, I got braced.”
- Buster Keaton from “Keaton” by Rudi Blesh
[photo 1911, Buster 16, Joe 44]