American film legend Buster Keaton's childhood baseball field is about to go under the bulldozer to make way for a residential development in Bluffton, Muskegon, Michigan. It's hard to imagine how a little patch of land served as a crucible that helped to shape the direction of cinema history, but this tiny parcel of real estate did just that.
Baseball was more than a passtime to Buster Keaton - it was the foundation of his work ethic and integral to the sense of teamwork that enabled him to create a body of cinematic magic that has become a national treasure. We hope that those with the power to preserve and protect this historic location will examine its history in light of the marvels it helped to create, and perhaps think twice about allowing it to be plowed under and replaced with modern development.
Buster Keaton is more popular today than ever. Take a few moments to check the number of fans who have expressed their admiration and inspiration on social platforms like Facebook, tumblr and twitter. Luminaries such as Martin Scorsese, Johnny Depp, and Jackie Chan cite Keaton as a major influence in their work; and the new crop of filmmakers take inspiration from the small man with the stone face who entertained generations of movie-goers. Silent films are returning in popularity, and Keaton's are at the forefront in their cinematic beauty, unbelievable stuntwork, stunning camera effects and side-splitting comedy. Keaton has inspired recent off-Broadway plays, countless songs, art projects, documentaries and film restoration efforts across the globe. Thankfully, Buster Keaton is once again on the rise, and the preservation of his childhood landmarks should reflect our gratitude for his life's work.
Buster's baseball field is a reminder of an era when we laughed easily, enjoyed one another's company, and participated in community life with relish, glee, and a sense of joy. In this age of technological wizardry and electronic over-stimulation, it might benefit the children of the Muskegon area to be able pick up a ball and bat and play a few innings on the same ground that fostered the creative genius of one of America's finest cinematic minds. If we remove the places we set aside for children to play, we leave them to the mercy of the computer or video game for entertainment. We urge those with the power to preserve this tiny bit of real estate in Buster Keaton's name, and in the name of those kids who might enjoy an outdoor experience on this hallowed field of dreams.
The International Buster Keaton Society, Inc.
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