Friday, January 3, 2014

Charles Chaplin -- January 3, 2014

A photo of Charlie Chaplin in City Lights from the 1933 World Film Encyclopedia, a British publication edited by Clarence Winchester.  The photo is credited to United Artists.  Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version. 

I think I have always known Charlie Chaplin.  I must have seen many of his movies on Fractured Flickers or other television programs.  KQED Channel 9, the local public television station in San Francisco, showed Paul Killiam's version of The Gold Rush.  I cried when no one showed up for the New Year's party. 

Years later, the Surf Theater in San Francisco's Sunset District had a Charley Chaplin festival.  That was where I first saw many of his features.  My wife, who was then my fiancée, came to most of the shows.  I remember a double bill of City Lights and Limelight.  At the end of City Lights, my she was weeping.  Perhaps that is when I knew she was a keeper. 

One of the first film-related books I read, when I was in grammar school, was My Autobiography.  I didn't understand a lot of it the first time I read it, although I knew something interesting was going on with Pola Negri.  I wondered why he didn't say much about his movies. Years later, I read his 1916 Charlie Chaplin's Own Story, which I think I read from the library at San Francisco State.  I was fascinated that he told a completely fabricated story about his first experience in making a movie.  This was only two years after he made his debut and there were lots of people around who could refute his story. 

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