Charlie Chaplin in “His New Profession”

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Today is the anniversary of the release date of the Charlie Chaplin comedy short His New Profession (1914).

Despite the similar title, this film is quite distinct from His New Job, Chaplin’s first film for Essanay a few months later. In this one, Charlie is busy minding his own business in the park when a young Charley Chase (then still billed as Charles Parrott), runs up and hires him to be a home health aid to his invalid uncle (Jess Dandy) just so that he can go cavorting around with his girlfriend (Peggy Page). The job consists mostly of pushing the old crank around in his wheelchair, presaging some of the comic fun he will later have with Eric Campbell in The Cure. 

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Naturally, they wind up on a pier. There they encounter a blind man. When both the unfortunates are napping, Charlie steals the coins out of the blind man’s tin cup, so that he can go drinking at the bar, surely one of his lowest onscreen acts. Eventually of course the story winds up with all of them on the pier, and lots of harrowing fisticuffs.

To learn more about silent and slapstick comedy history, including Charlie Chaplin movies like “His New Profession” 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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