Prefab Slapstick in One Week

By Aaron Britt / Published by Dwell
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I was in the process of researching a big prefab round-up story this week when I came across what might be the only prefab slapstick comedy in existence. A good three decade's before Jacque Tati's M. Hulot bumbled his way through the modern world, Buster Keaton played a luckless newlywed trying to build a kit home in One Week (1920). Build-it-by-the-numbers kit homes had come onto the market at the turn of the century—Sears Roebuck & Co. introduced theirs in 1908—so Keaton was playing with a newish mode of American housing. As you might expect, things go terribly wrong for our hero, not least of which because his building materials get all mixed up. You can see the 19-minute film in the two videos posted below.

Aaron Britt


Aaron writes the men's style column "The Pocket Square" for the San Francisco Chronicle and has written for the New York Times, the Times Magazine, Newsweek, National Geographic and others.

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