Today is the anniversary of the release date of Charlie Chaplin’s comedy short In the Park (1915).
This is one of Chaplin’s early films for Essanay Studios, and to me it’s always felt a throwaway, a throwback to so many Keystone comedies he was involved in, where a bunch of comedians improvise business in a park. Still, Chaplin is a particularly inventive comedian, so many good gags and moments do result. Charlie and another tramp pick each other’s pockets. Charlie harasses a nanny played by Edna Purviance. Bud Jamison is Edna’s beau. Leo White attempts to commit suicide; Charlie is only too happy to help him. And there is much fol de rol concerning a stolen purse. In the end, as happens in so many of these comedies, everybody falls in the drink.
For more on comedy film history see my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc
For more on show biz history, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.