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Fatty Arbuckle times two

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Jerry Stahl, the author of the imagined Fatty Arbuckle autobiography I, Fatty, will be in conversation on Wednesday night with Erica Jong. Since it's for her book tour, they'll probably spend more time talking about blow jobs than silent movies, but you never know. That Fatty had some pretty wild parties (he was acquitted, eventually, in his notorious murder trial). It's part of the excellent Writers Bloc reading series, taking place this time at the Skirball.

Then with your appetite whetted for Fatty, a genuine comic genius, you get to see his movies for free the very next night. Thursday night's free screenings start at 7:30pm at the Vista Theater; they're part of the Silverlake (ahem) Film Festival. But don't expect people there to call him Fatty: that name was for the fans. Friends called him Roscoe. We consider this one not to be missed.

As anyone who's read Hollywood Babylon knows, Fatty Arbuckle played a key role in Hollywood history beyond his comedies. He was arrested for the coke bottle rape of Virginia Rappe, who subsequently died. Exactly what happened in the hotel room where they were found together is under some debate, but his original conviction was later overturned. The scandal was one of the first that brought increased scrutiny to Hollywood, eventually launching morality codes and self-censorship.

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But before all that, Fatty could make some darned funny films, and he could sure throw a party. If the photo set above is, as we think, from his arrest, then he was on a 4-day bender in a San Francisco hotel room — wearing a tux.