By Debra Spamer, vice president of business development
You might have recognized a familiar face in our new brand—that of silent film pioneer Buster Keaton. And why are we so keen to use him in our imagery? He showed that workplace accidents are a fact of life. At Company Nurse, we get that.
Turns out Keaton has an interesting background too. Here’s what we’ve learned:
1. Harry Houdini Gave Keaton His Name
Keaton’s true first name is “Joseph,” but he was called Buster since childhood.
Legend has it that when Houdini toured with the vaudevillian Keaton family, he witnessed the young Keaton tumble down a flight of stairs. The magician then remarked to his parents, “That’s some buster your kid took.”
There are some who claim this story is false, but it’s nice to think the Great Harry Houdini was the one to bestow Keaton with his iconic name.
2. Keaton Understood that Accidents Happen
Watch any Buster Keaton film, and you’ll find the actor loved to play accident-prone characters.
But they remained unfazed, even in the wake of disastrous situations. His characters always found a way to turn crazy situations into happy endings.
Exactly as we do at Company Nurse. Every day, we help injured workers who have had accidents—some as crazy as Keaton’s characters’! And we find solutions, giving them happy resolutions.
3. He Branded Himself as a Hollywood Pioneer
Other comedians of the silent film era had acts similar to Keaton (amusing chase scenes, being left behind by a variety of vehicles). But he found a way to stand out.
Part of what made Keaton’s acts so distinct was his “stone face.” While other silent-film actors relied on dramatic expressions to convey their stories, Keaton kept his face still. But this never detracted from the quality of his films.
In fact, it enhanced his work. His characters were known for their ability to adapt to any situation, pioneering his own brand of comedy.
As the premier nurse triage service for workplace injuries, our new brand establishes Company Nurse as a pioneer in the workers’ comp industry. Like Keaton, we created a unique identity to distinguish ourselves from the pack.
4. Keaton Relied on His Talent
Silent films used intertitles (those cards between scenes that contain dialogue or narration) to communicate their stories. The film industry used an average of 240 for each movie. Keaton never used more than 23.
Instead of depending on words to communicate his stories, he used his talent. While his face remained still, his pantomiming and hilarious stunts kept audiences engaged and entertained.
It was what he knew, what he was best at; and it worked.
At Company Nurse, we also stick to what we’re good at: nurse triage for workplace injuries. While it can be tempting to expand outside of the workers’ compensation industry, it would detract from our purpose: to lessen the pain of workers’ comp.
5. His Acts were Genuine
During this era of Hollywood, actors were starting to rely on stunt doubles. Even those who did their own stunts used camera tricks to seem more daring (this includes Harold Lloyd and his famous Safety Last clock scene).
Keaton was different. Not only did he perform all of his own stunts, he made sure they were real. In perhaps his most highly-acclaimed movie, The General, he spent $42,000 to shoot a real train crash, an unheard-of amount at the time.
And the shot of him stepping onto the speeding train’s engine? That’s real too. Keaton did whatever it took for quality.
Here at Company Nurse, we understand the importance of being genuine. While other companies claim they offer nurse triage for workplace injuries (when it’s really just an add-on), we have made it our focus. This means we invest in quality, just like Keaton.
Did you learn anything new about Keaton? As you can tell, we’re excited to see him in the Company Nurse brand.