Tag Archives: Chaplin

What a character!!

One of the original comedians from the silent film era, other than the more commonly known Chaplin and Keaton comedies…..there was Ben Turpin!

First of all, the cross-eyed comedian of silent days was not born that way. Supposedly his right eye slipped out of alignment while playing the role of the similarly afflicted Happy Hooligan in vaudeville and it never adjusted. Ironically, it was this disability that would enhance his comic value and make him a top name.

Ben Turpin was born in New Orleans in 1869, the son of a French-born confectionery store owner. When 7 years old, his father moved to New York’s lower East Side. A wanderlust fellow by nature, Turpin lived the life of a hobo in his early adult years. He started up his career by chance while bumming in Chicago where he drew laughs at parties. An ad in a newspaper looking for comedy acts caught his eye and he successfully booked shows along with a partner. Going solo, he performed on the burlesque circuit as well as under circus tents and invariably entertained his audiences by doing tricks, vigorous pratfalls and, of course, crossing his eyes. One of his more familiar sight gags was a backwards tumble he called the “108.” He happened upon the Happy Hooligan persona while playing on the road and kept the hapless character as part of routine for 17 years.

Do you have a favorite film by him?


Happy Birthday Charles Chaplin

Happy Birthday Charles Chaplin

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Where does one begin when trying to sum up Charlie Chaplin’s career?

Sir Charles Spencer “Charlie” Chaplin was born on this day, April 16, 1889 in London, England.

Charlie Chaplin, considered (and for good reason) to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood and film.  Charlie Chaplin was an actor, comedian, director, producer, writer, musician and music composer whose work in motion pictures spanned from 1914 until 1967.

He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular “Little Tramp” character; the man with the toothbrush mustache, bowler hat, bamboo cane, and a funny walk.

Here is an interesting trivia fact that I had no clue about: “On March 3, 1978, his dead body was stolen from the Corsier-Sur-Vevey cemetery. It took until 18 May when the police found it.” – OH MY  I know silent films aren’t for everyone but if you ever want to give it a shot, you will not be let down with Mr. Chaplin.  He is a great comedian who can make you laugh without saying a word, and that’s saying something.

Top 5 Charlie Chaplin movies I suggest:

1: The Great Dictator (1940)

2: The Gold Rush (1925)

3: The Circus (1928)

4: The Kid (1921)

5: Modern Times (1936)

If you are in the Los Angeles area, I would suggest looking up the Egyptian Theatre for silent film screenings as I have seen first hand Chaplin films on original 8mm along with commentary.  It was a fabulous experience and definitely a great way to view the classics!