“I was once picked up by the police on Fatty Arbuckle’s front lawn. Of course, by then Fatty—who preferred to be called Roscoe—had moved on. Arbuckle died in 1933. And this was the mid-eighties, before the dawn of the Crack Era. Street dealers dotted that no-longer upscale strip of Adams Boulevard, near downtown Los Angeles, flagging down white kids in cars to sell them loads, a potent combo of Doredin and Codeine 4. Dors-‘n’-4s offered a slow-motion rush that lasted half an hour, with a residual opiate buzz that kept you scratching your nose and not moving your bowels for days at a time. Looking to deeply wound legions of much-loathed punks—core consumers for the narcotic combo described above—a cabal of LAPD, DEA, and two mysterious men named Leon from Compton made Doredins disappear, forcing an entire community to jump to jump.”
Thus begins Stahl’s tragic journey not only into the life of forgotten comedian and silent-movie star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, but the early days of Hollywood itself, before Will Hays and the whole studio system killed them both.
Personally, having been a huge fan of Stahl’s memoir, Permanent Midnight, I found I Fatty to be even more well-written.
You can purchase I Fatty, by Jerry Stahl, at Amazon.com.
Jerry Stahl is an American novelist and screenwriter. He is best known for his memoir of addiction Permanent Midnight. A film adaptation followed with Ben Stiller in the lead role. Stahl has worked extensively in film and television. Find his books at Amazon.com.