“The best summers of my life were spent in the cottage Pop had built on Lake Muskegon in 1908.”
Buster Keaton’s Favorite Place on Earth, by Ron Pesch features this photo of legendary comedian Buster Keaton’s parents, Joe and Myra Keaton riding on an elephant in Muskegon somewhere around 1915. He explains how the Keaton family ended up with a summer home in Muskegon:
While performing at the Lake Michigan Park Theater in July 1908, his parents, Joe and Myra, visited property that was for sale along the shore of Muskegon Lake. The Keaton’s arraigned a purchase, and then returned to the road, informing friends and acquaintances of the little slice of paradise they had found in Muskegon, Michigan.
The move laid the groundwork for a thriving community of actors that grew in Edgewater and the neighboring Bluffton area. It was known as the Actors’ Colony and thrived during the summer months, when performers relaxed as bookings on the vaudeville circuit were down due to the heat.
With Pigeon Hill, a soaring sand dune, serving as a backdrop, Joe had a cottage built for his family on a lot that faced the water. For Buster, his sister Myra and his younger brother Harry (nicknamed Jingles because of his â€œnoisy way with toysâ€), Muskegon provided a chance to be kids.
That legacy is honored every year when the International Buster Keaton Society holds their convention takes place this weekend, October 1st & 2nd, 2010. The weekend features visit to the baseball diamond, a trip through the neighborhood and discussions on Buster’s years as a performer are capped with a public showing of some of his classic comedies at the city’s restored movie house, the Frauenthal Theater.
We’ll close with a Convention regular, Dennis Scott, playing at the Frauenthal…