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The Cook

Two reel comedy.Copyright, Aug. 20, 1918, Famous Players-Lasky Corp. copyright claimant.Comique Film Corp.Paramount-Arbuckle Comedy No. A-3112. Released, Sept. 15, 1918, by Paramount Pictures. Director/Writer: Roscoe Arbuckle. Cast: Roscoe Arbuckle (The Cook), Buster Keaton (The Waiter), Al St. John (The Tough Guy), Alice Lake (The Cashier), and Luke the Dog.

Commentary: Filmed at the Pike and Balboa Studios in Long Beach, California, this two-reeler was thought to be lost till 1998 when the movie was uncovered among unidentified nitrate prints at the Norsk Filminstitutt, and later, in 2002, the Nederlands Filmmuseum found more footage of the film, permitting Norsk Filminstitutt, in association with George Eastman House, to combine the two sets to approximate the original US version, released in 2003 on DVD by Milestone film & video.

Summary: At the Bull Pup Café, Roscoe is the cook of an ocean-front restaurant with Buster as waiter and Alice as cashier. The extraordinary kitchen kettle magically concocts all orders in the wink of an eye, and Fatty and Keaton dance nimbly Egyptian style with kitchen ware as costumes. There is also a spaghetti eating scene to make audiences howl. From these antics, chaos ensues and destroys the tranquillity of the restaurant. The finale takes place at the Pike in Long Beach, where Roscoe battles Al St. John, who plays the restaurant bully and robber, but Arbuckle’s dog, Luke, joins the chase with his master, Fatty, off into the sunset.

Arbuckle and Keaton in scene from The Cook

Photo, courtesy of the Historical Society of Long Beach.