Roscoe Conkling Arbuckle (March 24, 1887–June 29, 1933) was considered one of the great comic actors of the silver screen during the silent movie era. His career was later derailed by drugs, alcohol, whores, and a pebble placed on the track by a mischievous child. In this way, Arbuckle blazed a path that would be soon followed by many other actors, rock stars, and rapsters. His trial was considered the Trial of the Century (for other Trials of the Century, see Harry Thaw, Nuremburg, O. J. Simpson, or Michael Jackson); Arbuckle was a pioneer of the entertainment genre known as the celebrity trial.
Arbuckle was born in the sweltering bath-house district of San Francisco and also in Newcastle to a matched pair of Belgian immigrants. Forced into the rough-and-tumble world of child labor by a well-meaning-yet-sinister Dickens character, he learned early-on the value of a hard-earned dollar as well as several techniques for riveting Levi's jeans by candlelight. After the untimely demise of his parents in a trolley-car pileup, Fatty (then known as "Li'l Fats") was placed in an orphanage. While conditions were in keeping with the typical standards of the era (burlap clothing optional, one window per building, standing water allowable in less than 50% of the sub-structure), somehow young Roscoe knew there was more to the world than abject misery. With a twinkle in his eye, and the caretaker’s wallet in his pocket, he decided to wander south to Los Angeles and try his luck in the burgeoning motion-picture industry.
At age 12, he began to stalk Hollywood production lots with hungry-lunatic-zombie-like tenacity. Arbuckle was, in fact, extremely hungry, having not eaten since leaving the orphanage (the stolen wallet contained only a hankey and several pornographic drawings which resisted all attempts to eat them). Luckily, a Mexican janitor caught him in a dumpster gnawing on a live alley-cat, and immediately saw the boy's enormous potential as an entertainer. Fatty became the janitor’s personal footrest, until wealthy film producer D.W. Griffith saw the sad, sullen eyes of the "human ottoman" and exclaimed, “That little guy would make the perfect tear jerker, I’ll be rich, I tells-ya, rich!”.
Arbuckle worked his way up the Hollywood call-lists, as well as through a long list of Hollywood call girls, earning the name "Fatty" as directors quickly learned of his eagerness to work and perform stupid tricks for food.
After playing several "bit" roles and appearing as extra cheese in several short subjects, Arbuckle landed his first starring role in 1916 as an ocean liner in Make Mine Stink, the story of a beautiful-yet-tragically-educated woman (Joan Collins) whose ambition is to spend too much time in the bathroom on all five continents before her inevitable death. This was followed by his critically-acclaimed role as "Cheeser Ray" in The Cabinet of Deep-Fried Calamari, a German expressionist horror film featuring the yet-unborn Gary Busey as a squid who predicts imminent death for a group of scantily-dressed, crack-smoking college cheerleaders.
His best-known role, however, was as "Johnny Bottlefuckerfaster" in the epic historical drama Girth of a Nation, for which he won the Academy Award for Most Pies Eaten in One Sitting Without Farting in 1921.
After his artistic and gastronomic triumph in Girth, Arbuckle's career took a steep downturn, after which it turned left, stopped at a traffic light, and then went straight for a while, until reaching the Kwikie-Mart, at which point it turned around and went back to get its wallet. His last role, immediately prior to his unexplained mysterious death by firing squad after being eaten alive by voles in a burning dumpster and thrown into a vat of sulfuric acid while suffocating under several tons of farm equipment, was as "President Sporker" in Disgraced: How Liberals Are Eating Our Young and Regurgitating Them All Over Our Nice Lawn Furniture And Getting Away With It, a 1927 film based on a short story written by Ann Coulter's Great Grandmother, Rin Tin Tin.
Scandal and Celebrity Trial
In 1926, Arbuckle was arrested and tried on charges of operating an unlicensed waffle iron with intent to eat breakfast food. Found guilty, he was ordered to perform 30 minutes of community service by cleaning the lavatories of the local International House of Pancakes, a relatively light punishment given the severity of the offense. Despite several later attempts to publicly demonstrate contrition by inserting wine bottles into the rectal cavities of various public figures, his reputation was damaged beyond repair, although the waffle iron continued to function perfectly and was later purchased by the Smithsonian Institute when several of its morning-shift employees became hungry. Arrested again for unlawful sex-boat activity, he was forced to undergo the ignominy of the world's first celebrity trial since that of astronomer Galileo nearly two years earlier.
At the trial, prosecutor Deputy Dawg argued that Arbuckle had, indeed, taken the Revolver from Colonel Mustard's footlocker and hidden in the Library with Mrs. Peacock while the other suspects remained in the Dining Room. Arbuckle allegedly then used the Candlestick to perform unnatural acts on Miss Scarlet after she entered the Billiard Room with Professor Plum, who took detailed photographs of the entire event.
Despite the damning evidence, which included his sworn confession, Arbuckle's defense attorney Johnnie Cochran pointed out in a brilliant closing argument that because of his enormous bulk, Arbuckle should be considered a God-Fearing Republican and therefore entirely above the law. The jury, made up of Snow White, the Seven Dwarves, and all four original members of the Ramones, were unable to find a flaw in this logic and acquitted Arbuckle of all charges.
Arbuckle's attempts to obtain a domestic book deal soon after the trial were unsuccessful when it was learned that because of an administrative oversight by the Department of Education, the entire population of the United States was illiterate.
The Later Years
Tragically, Arbuckle spent many of his last years of life in various mental institutions, sanatoriums, and Wendy's Hamburger Restaurants. By 1933, his weight had reached nearly 600 pounds, though most of this was lost a year later in a poker game.
Finally, after many years of being alive, Fatty Arbuckle inexplicably died when his life suddenly came to an end. His tombstone, currently being used as a frozen pizza. The New York Times reported his death in the retractions and deletions section retracting his birth announcement.
More information about Arbuckle can be found by visiting The Fatty Arbuckle Historical Museum and Adult Video Duplication Service, located just underneath Cleveland, Ohio. Visiting hours are 9 AM to 5 PM, today only.
A Fatty lookalike was recruited into the band Bright Red Paper as the cowbell player. It was unknown to the band that he was not the real Fatty, because they were so high that they didn't realize the real Fatty died over seventy years ago.
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