Charlie Chaplin IS “The New Janitor”

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Today is the anniversary of the release date of the Charlie Chaplin comedy The New Janitor. 

In this Keystone comedy, Charlie plays a janitor at a bank, a situation he would revisit a year later in The Bank, which is essentially a remake of this film.

The first section is just an excuse for a lot of janitor gags. He spills the contents of a garbage can. He dusts a woman’s butt (fairly risque for the time). He spills suds on the bank president (Jess Dandy) and nearly falls out the window. He is (appropriately) fired.

Meanwhile a manager at the bank (John T. Dillon) embezzles money from the safe to pay a gambling debt to gangsters. A Secretary (Peggy Page) sees the crime go down. The villain spots her. They tussle. Meanwhile, Charlie is still in his janitor closet. His buzzer goes off—he is being summoned. He slowly goes up to the office to see what it is about. And then foils the robber with a gun he found in a desk and calls the cops.

To learn more about comedy film history please check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Mediaalso available from amazon.com etc etc etc

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To learn about the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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