Mark Steyn writes:
Offstage, things weren’t much better: on one single July day, baby Buster had his right index finger irretrievably shredded by the clothes wringer, got his head gashed open by a falling brick and then, after retreating to his bedroom, was sucked out of the window by a tornado and dumped into a distant field. In vaudeville, having survived a cracked skull and broken neck, he was billed as “The Little Boy Who Can’t Be Damaged”.
The vaudevillian reality – the sense that these things are actually happening to him — is hard to recreate in today’s computer-generated capers. But, with only the earliest movie technology, he got to most of the good tricks first. Seventy years before Back to the Future, in The Rough House, Arbuckle and Keaton use reverse-action photography to jump into the picture out of nowhere; in Sherlock Jnr he marches up a cinema aisle and steps into the movie — just like Last Action Hero, except he’s funnier than Schwarzenegger.