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Buster and Elmer: Silent Film Star Buster Keaton and His Saint Bernard

Photo courtesy of Melissa Cox

Film comedian Buster Keaton (1895 – 1966), whose 1926 silent classic The General is considered by many to be one of the greatest motion pictures of all time, owned several very large dogs during his life. Among them were Captain, a Belgian police dog who eventually grew to 160 pounds; Trotsky, an Irish Wolfhound; and two Saint Bernards, Barry and Elmer.

Keaton used to bring Elmer with him to the MGM studios in the 1930s, and the bungalow that served as his dressing room on the lot was nicknamed "Keaton's Kennel." During the particularly unpleasant breakdown of his second marriage, Keaton's wife, the former Mae Scriven, sold many of his prized possessions without his knowledge, including Elmer. Buster even went so far as to hire a private detective, but he was never able to locate his beloved companion.

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