- By Greg Merritt

Room 1219: The Life of Fatty Arbuckle, the Mysterious Death of Virginia Rappe, and the Scandal That Changed Hollywood

  • Title: Room 1219: The Life of Fatty Arbuckle, the Mysterious Death of Virginia Rappe, and the Scandal That Changed Hollywood
  • Author: Greg Merritt
  • ISBN: 9781613747926
  • Page: 197
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Room The Life of Fatty Arbuckle the Mysterious Death of Virginia Rappe and the Scandal That Changed Hollywood In one of the biggest movie stars in the world was accused of killing a woman What followed was an unprecedented avalanche of press coverage the original trial of the century and a wave of cen

    In 1921, one of the biggest movie stars in the world was accused of killing a woman What followed was an unprecedented avalanche of press coverage, the original trial of the century, and a wave of censorship that altered the course of Hollywood filmmaking.It began on Labor Day, when comic actor Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle, then at the pinnacle of his fame and fortune, hosteIn 1921, one of the biggest movie stars in the world was accused of killing a woman What followed was an unprecedented avalanche of press coverage, the original trial of the century, and a wave of censorship that altered the course of Hollywood filmmaking.It began on Labor Day, when comic actor Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle, then at the pinnacle of his fame and fortune, hosted a party in San Francisco s best hotel As the party raged, he was alone in room 1219 with Virginia Rappe, a minor actress Four days later, she died, and he was charged with her murder.Room 1219 tells the story of Arbuckle s improbable rise and stunning fall from Hollywood s first true superstar to its first pariah Simultaneously, it presents the crime story from the day of the orgy through the three trials Relying on a careful examination of documents, the book finally reveals, after almost a century of wild speculation, what most likely occurred in room 1219 In addition, Room 1219 covers the creation of the film industry from the first silent experiments to a studio based system capable of making and, ultimately, breaking a beloved superstar.

    1 thought on “Room 1219: The Life of Fatty Arbuckle, the Mysterious Death of Virginia Rappe, and the Scandal That Changed Hollywood

    1. Most people of this generation don't know who Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle is and what he was famous for. Hell, most people nowadays barely know anything about silent film and only recognize the iconic names (such as Charlie Chaplin, [maybe] Mary Pickford, etc.). What they don't realize, is that Fatty was a major comedy star pre-scandal and at one point was more famous than Chaplin! He also gave Buster Keaton, another name that lives on, a leg up into the business and they were really great friends. [...]

    2. Greg Merritt's Room 1219 is probably the best book I've read all year. It's incredibly well-organized, insightful, thoughtful, unbiased, thorough, clear and well-written. I was very interested in the Arbuckle-Rappe scandal but was worried that I would be overwhelmed with boring information about the three trials. My experience was quite the opposite. I was enthralled and found myself not wanting to let the book go.The key to the book's success is Merritt's organization of the chapters. Each chap [...]

    3. This was a tragic just tragic storyThis man had it all and he fought to have the life of a "Hollywood star"!! But a false story totally crippled not only his career but destroyed his life!!It's sad how a fun loving man could close everything to a harlot that had clanked false accusations before Just a sad tragic story

    4. Room 1219: The Life of Fatty Arbuckle, the Mysterious Death of Virginia Rappe, and the Scandal That Changed Hollywood by Greg Merritt (a god-awful title by the way) does something that no other book on Roscoe Arbuckle has done before, it presents its subjects, both Roscoe and Virginia, as actual human beings. If most people know these names at all, and I'd lay 10 to 1 that most people do not, it has to do with scandal, misinformation, and demonization of these two unfairly maligned people. It's [...]

    5. Merritt's book is a biography of Roscoe Arbuckle (he put up with the nickname "Fatty" for his career, but no one who knew him called him that), and of Virginia Rappe (pronounced "rappay"), insofar as Merritt was able to unearth information about her; it is also, therefore, an excellent book about silent movies and the beginnings of Hollywood. But mostly it is the terrible story of the point where Arbuckle and Rappe's lives intersected and the consequences thereof. Merritt is passionately interes [...]

    6. This was a really interesting and informative book. Not only did it clear up the "raped by a Coke bottle" legend that has been attached to Fatty for 90 years but it also described both Fatty and Virginia Rappe as human beings. I thought the court proceedings were a little drawn out but I can't believe it took 3 trials to acquit this man and I feel bad that his career was over and he was blackballed. If only we could blackball the Kardashians! The book also gave great history about Hollywood, how [...]

    7. Interesting book on the lives of silent film star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle and model/starlet Virgina Rappe, whose fates were sealed over Labor Day weekend 1921 when Rappe was taken seriously ill at a party hosted by Arbuckle and subsequently died. Because of rumors and some loose talk from Arbuckle himself, he was arrested and charged with manslaughter. Though he was eventually acquitted, his career never recovered. The author argues that both of them had their images tarnished and presents an ev [...]

    8. I have been hoping for a coherent and somewhat balanced book on this particular topic for a very long time, and thank goodness this one was well researched and thought out. This case has interested me since I was a kid--I first came across Roscoe Arbuckle in the saddest of places--Hollywood Babylon--that book fascinated and repelled me for as long as I can remember. As a kid I could not possibly have known it's origins and falsehoods, only pictures of the movie stars that I already adored and so [...]

    9. A fascinating and tragic story about a man destroyed at the height of his career by the media and a poor police investigation. Merritt explores in painstaking detail the case of Fatty Arbuckle and the murder he was accused of and will be forever associated with. The thing that surprised me most was that there was really no evidence and he was finally acquitted after 3 trials. The media served as a kind of lynch mob destroying his reputation and career and fostering a view of Hollywood as immoral [...]

    10. 4.5 Stars. Room 1219 is a highly entertaining & informative look at the very first "Trial of the Century". Before O.J. or Jodi Arias the world was obsessed with silent film comedian Fatty Arbuckle who was accused of killing actress Virginia Rappe. I learned a lot from this book, like the fact that forensics were already being used in 1921. This book also tried to separate fact from rumor. As a fan of silent films I really enjoyed the portrait of early Hollywood the author painted. I would re [...]

    11. This book gives a a descent overview of the Virginia Rappe case. It's hard to tell exactly what occurred, but either way the consequences pretty much destroyed Arbuckle's career. The book covers the history of Arbuckle's early career and the aftermath of Virginia Rappe's death pretty thoroughly. I was kind of hoping that they could provide a more conclusive answer on what caused Virginia Rappe's death, but this does provide a pretty solid overview of a case that I was not familiar with.

    12. Fascinating read about the rise and fall of early Hollywood's biggest star. It probably could have been pared down a bit (how many times and in how many different ways do we need to be told that nobody knows what really happened in room 1219?), but there are so many interesting details in this story, I couldn't help but get swept away by the scandal.

    13. I really expected to like this more, but something about the style didn't appeal to me. Perhaps the author's dry tone or something. Couldn't put my finger on it. Useful for a research tome, but probably won't be reading it again.

    14. What should have been a gripping and fast-paced true crime book ended up slow drudgery by the end. A significant part of the problem is that Merritt thinks he is creating interest by jumping back and forth from the beginnings of Arbuckle's career, to the trial, but the reality is it just makes for a confused and abrupt narrative. Merritt also comes down very heavily on the "Arbuckle definitely did it" side for a long, nearly interminable portion of the middle of the book, before reverting back t [...]

    15. This fascinating book details the lead up to, events of and aftermath of Labor Day, 1921: a day of infamy which led to the end of one life, the ruination of another and to Hollywood's first scandal. The principals of this notorious (and mysterious) case, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle and Virginia Rappe, certainly have a friend in biographer Greg Merritt who tells their story with empathy and compassion. In particular, I was quite impressed by the book's fair and detailed treatment of Ms. Rappe - it wa [...]

    16. There are many books about the sensational death of Virginia Rappe and the resulting scandal that turned Roscoe Arbuckle from beloved comedy star to archetypal monster. None come anywhere close in detail and analysis to Merritt's account. This is as close as we will ever get to understanding what really happened during a 1921 party, but he also understands how the Arbuckle case has continued to resonate for nearly a century. It's fascinating history, but also thoughtful and relevant account of t [...]

    17. I really enjoyed reading this biography of Fatty Arbuckle and the event that has come to be synonymous with his name—the events that took place in Room 1219 of the Hotel St. Francis in San Francisco. While a few reviews have suggested there’s nothing new about his “solution” their missing the point. This book presents solid research and context from original resources, tells Virginia Rappe’s story for the first time and presents this all in an engaging fashion.

    18. A great depiction of a truly tragic scandal that left one participant dead and another forever scarred. Fatty Arbuckle was one of the biggest stars of the silent film era. One Labor Day weekend party and one death four days later destroyed his reputation and career. The author brings both the scandal and its players to life plus provides interesting history of the silent film era.

    19. Well-crafted, well-researched and even-handed. Arbuckle is neither monster nor saint, just a guy caught up in circumstances. Merritt ably dismantles the myths surrounding the case.

    20. One of the fun things about reading non-fiction is you learn things about subjects you never knew anything about. Such is what happened when I picked up Room 1219: The Life of Fatty Arbuckle, the Mysterious Death of Virginia Rappe, and the Scandal That Changed Hollywood by Greg Merritt.I am not a silent-movie fan; my tolerance for old films extends to occasional forays into Marx Brothers comedies, so I knew nothing about Fatty (Roscoe) Arbuckle but his name, and a vague notion he’d committed a [...]

    21. This is an excellent book on a subject that deserves the analysis and examination that is provided here. Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle is probably a name unfamiliar to many today, since he was a big star in the silent movie era getting on for 100 years ago now.I was vaguely familiar with the story and the tawdry nature of it (or at least the coverage of it) but this book provides an apparently well balanced, rational and objective look at the facts of the case of the death of Virginia Rappe, as well a [...]

    22. SYNOPSIS: Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was the biggest star in Hollywood during the silent era. On Labor Day 1921, Arbuckle and some friends threw a party in room 1219 of the Hotel St. Francis in San Francisco. One of the guests was Virginia Rappe, a young starlet who appeared as a bit player in some films. Over the course of the weekend, Virginia died and Arbuckle was accused of murder. Following his indictment, Arbuckle was tried three times in the court of law and was found not guilty, but in [...]

    23. I knew nothing about Fatty Arbuckle except he was fat (sigh. But still weighed less than me), and I feel bad for him. He was the first major celebrity to be shredded in the court of public opinion, to the point where movie censorship was begun and it led to the entire movie rating system (G, PG, etc). Roscoe Arbuckle was a top silent-film star, hugely popular, but separated from his wife for several years. He threw an impromptu Gatsby-type party in his hotel room one afternoon in 1921, and a sec [...]

    24. He was one of the first silent film superstars, a millionaire back when that was really saying something. He gave Buster Keaton his first big break and literally gave Chaplin the bowler and pants that became the Little Tramp's trademark look. And you've probably never heard of him, except as the punchline of a lewd joke.Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle's good fortune ended over one boozy Labor Day weekend, which left a starlet dead of a ruptured bladder—and a lot of questions that were never satisfacto [...]

    25. I had been wanting to read this book for awhile due to a) being interested in silent comedy b) wanting to know more about Roscoe Arbuckle and c) being interested in the trail that ended his popularity with the American audience. The book does not disappoint and paints a very detailed and well researched (even including a chapter on myths debunked) book that doesn't draw any personal opinions until the second to last chapter. The reader is left to make up there own minds as to the innocence of th [...]

    26. When I saw this book, I was curious to read a detailed account of the infamous "Fatty" Arbuckle incident. Very interesting and readable book. Merritt presents the material by interspersing chapters describing details of the arrest and trials, with chapters that provide a biography for Roscoe, Virginia, and other key people. This book was well-researched and sourced, so I felt that it was an honest recounting of the facts surrounding the man, the event, and the trials. Some of the bio and "afterm [...]

    27. One of those Hollywood scandal where you "think" you know what happened from bits and pieces you have heard over the years. Merritt does a good job of laying out what could be proven, what everyone's story was and what the likely scenarios are. It also explains the rumors that have no basis in fact that have been whispered about for decades. Merritt also gives a early history of silent movies and shorts of the time, that helps set the stage for who Roscoe was and how far he had to fall. In the e [...]

    28. This is a fascinating book that is about so much more than the death of a starlet in the hotel room of one of the film industry's earliest superstars. It is also about the beginnings of commercial films, early feminism, prohibition, censorship, and the start of celebrity fascination. This book is well researched. The author believes that Roscoe Arbuckle perjured himself but did not kill Virginia Rappe. I previously believed the coke bottle rape account which I now know was made up 40 years after [...]

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