He was one of the most influential figures in the early days of Hollywood. He also became the key player in perhaps the first "Hollywood scandal," which Americans have now become so familiar with. Now, the films of "Fatty" Arbuckle are being resurrected thanks to a Massachusetts-based orchestral group, which is touring the country performing new soundtracks to Arbuckle's silent movies.
Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was arguably Hollywood's biggest star in the late 1910's and early 1920's, as Charlie Chaplin began to fade from the scene. Several of his films, such as "Coney Island" and "The Bellboy" are still considered comedy classics.
But in 1921, it all came crashing down. Arbuckle was throwing a huge, weekend-long party at a San Francisco hotel when one of the guests, Virginia Rappe', died. Three spectacular trials ensued, and although Arbuckle was acquitted, he was blacklisted by an increasingly moralistic Hollywood. His career essentially came to an end, and he died of a heart attack a few years later.
The Alloy Orchestra is on a mission to revive the name and genius of Fatty Arbuckle. The group brings new voices to the silent films in the form of synthesizers, accordions and an "anything goes" barrage of percussion (including bedpans and hubcaps). This hour, the Alloy Orchestra shares their modern interpretations of some of Hollywood's earliest films.
Terry Donohue, percussion, accordion and vocals
Ken Winoker, Percussion
Roger Miller, synthesizer
This program aired on March 29, 2002.