In 1920, having served a slapstick apprenticeship in the shorts of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Buster Keaton had earned the opportunity to headline his own series of two-reel comedies. The very moment at which he emerged as a star of his own shorts, Keaton was recruited to appear in his first feature film, THE SAPHEAD, based on a popular stage play. Though Keaton was not the primary creative force behind THE SAPHEAD (as he was on his short films), it became hugely important in shaping the actor's on-screen persona: the lonely, stone-faced man thwarted by circumstance, inept at the art of romance, yet undaunted in his struggle for love within a chaotic world. Keaton stars as Bertie Van Alstyne, the pampered son of a powerful Wall Street financier (William Crane). Having no other lifestyle but privilege, he wanders through a variety of misadventures: an attempt at courtship, a trip to an illegal gambling den and a tumble onto the floor of the Stock Exchange, oblivious to the obstacles that stand before him.