Today is the anniversary of the release date of the Keystone comedy Getting Acquainted, written and directed by Charlie Chaplin. Though Charlie is at the helm and the titular star of this short, like most of his Keystone pictures (and most of the Keystone product) it’s an ensemble picture. And like so many films from this period, it’s a farce set in a park. Mack Swain (as his usual character Ambrose) and Mabel Normand play one couple, Chaplin and Phyllis Allen play another. Charlie starts flirting with the fetching Cecile Arnold, who is there with “a Passing Turk”, dressed in what looks like a wizard outfit (Glen Cavender). Then Charlie flirts with Mabel as Ambrose helps a stalled driver get his car going. Irritated by Charlie’s attention, Mabel calls a cop (Edgar Kennedy), who starts chasing Charlie and then accidentally hits the Turk with his nightstick. Meanwhile Ambrose returns and begins flirting with Charlie’s wife. Then SHE calls a cop. The wives sit together. Then Charlie and Ambrose meet and are nabbed by the cop, who proceeds to bring them over to the ladies to ID as perps. The wives reclaim their husbands…who then continue to hit on each other’s wives as they are led off.
For more on silent and slapstick comedy please see my 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 To find out more about show business past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.