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Chaplin and Silent Film Comedy

1. Origins to 1928

3. 1915–1928

  1. Charles J. Maland

Published Online: 13 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470671153.wbhaf010

The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film

The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film

How to Cite

Maland, C. J. 2011. Chaplin and Silent Film Comedy. The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film. 1:3:10.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 NOV 2011

Abstract

On May 12, 1913, Keystone movie producer Mack Sennett sent a telegram to Alf Reeves, the manager of a touring British music hall company, performing at the Nixon Theater in Philadelphia. It read: “IS THERE A MAN NAMED CHAFFIN IN YOUR COMPANY OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT STOP IF SO WILL HE COMMUNICATE WITH KESSEL AND BAUMAN 24 LONGACRE BUILDING BROADWAY NEW YORK.” Reeves showed the telegram to a featured comedian, Charles Chaplin, whom Sennett, although he had forgotten the name, had seen perform at the American Music Hall in 1911. Chaplin had no experience in the movies but agreed to try after Sennett offered him $150 weekly — twice his music hall salary (Chaplin 1964, 137–139).

Keywords:

  • film comedy;
  • Chaplin;
  • Keaton;
  • Lloyd