Saturday, June 11, 2011

Phil sees THE KID at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum-June 4, 2011

During the annual Charlie Chaplin Days over in Niles, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum showed Chaplin's first feature film. THE KID has been regarded as a silent film classic, one of Chaplin's most beloved films. Two Chaplin shorts were shown as well. Pianist extraordinaire Judy Rosenburg provided the music accompaniment.

Charlie Chaplin
The first short of the night was THE NEW JANITOR. The film is one of Chaplin's early shorts, released by Mack Sennett's Keystone Film Company. Also known as THE BLUNDERING BOOB, the film has Chaplin playing a janitor at a firm to which the manager (John T. Dillon) plans on stealing money from the firm's safe to pay off his gambling debt. The secretary (Helen Carruthers) catches the him in the act and it's up to Charlie to rescue her and save the day. This was on of Chaplin's early films to which he wrote and directed. The film was released by Mack Sennet's Keystone Film Company on September 14, 1914.

The second film was THE BANK, which Chaplin plays yet again, a janitor. He falls for Edna Purviance after he mistakes her gift for her boyfriend (also named Charlie) for his. This was a hilarious film and helped the Tramp character to evolve even more. Chaplin made the film in Los Angles and was released by the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company on August 9, 1915.

Original Movie Poster (1921)
After a brief intermission, the night continued with one of Chaplin's finest films ever: THE KID. The film stars our favorite Tramp who happens to find an abandoned baby on his morning stroll. He cares for the baby and raises him as his own. Jackie Coogan plays the Kid, who was just five years old when he made the film. Chaplin discovered Coogan on the theater stage and casted him on the spot. Years later Coogan would also be known as Uncle Fester on The ADDAMS FAMILY television show. Purviance also starred in the film as the mother who abandoned her son and regretted her mistake. The film was released to the world on February 6, 1921. The film is highly regarded as on of the finest films ever made in cinema's history. For those who have never seen the film, I would highly recommend it and it is available to rent or purchase.

As I stated in my previous blog, this was the centerpiece for the Charlie Chaplin Days celebration this past weekend, and I had a blast! There are many more fun events coming up at the museum! To learn more about the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, on how to become a member, and to view their weekly film schedule, visit their website at 

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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