In late 1916, Joseph Schenck offered Roscoe a deal he couldn't refuse. $1,000 a day, 25% of the profits, and complete creative control of his films.

While Arbuckle's fame was increasing, he was going through physical agony. A carbuncle had developed on his leg, causing it to nearly be amputated. Arbuckle's illness caused him to lose 80 pounds, and - for a short time - become addicted to the morphine doctors were giving him for the pain.

By March 1917, Roscoe had completely recovered, and began work on his first film at his new "Comique" banner: "The Butcher Boy."
During production, Roscoe bumped into Buster Keaton in New York, and invited him to be in the film. A twenty year veteran of the stage, the twenty-one year old Keaton joined "Comique," and soon became Arbuckle's writing staff.

In early 1918, the "Comique" unit was moved to Los Angeles.

With the "Comique" films, Arbuckle reached his artistic peak. Films like "Coney Island," "Out West," "The Bellboy," "Goodnight Nurse!," "The Sheriff," "Love," "Back Stage," and "The Garage," were wildly popular at the time, and are still considered comedy classics. With Chaplin going into semi-retirement after 1918, the comedy crown was being passed on to Arbuckle, and greater honors seemed to be coming as 1919 ended.

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