Chaplin, Charlotte Mineau, His New Job, 1915 – Viktor Sidler

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His New Job – Sein erster Film für Essanay,

sein einziger in Chicago. Und Chaplin karikiert gleich

mal die Filmbürokratie. Er hat Ben Turpin

als Partner. Er arbeitet zum ersten Mal mit Rollie

Totheroh an der Kamera.

               Fritz Hirzel, Chaplins Schatten.

               Bericht einer Spurensicherung. Zürich 1982

Mit Ben Turpin, der seinen Kleinbürgertyp mit der Noblesse

eines Seehunds verkörperte, liess es sich anders an.

Sein Zusammenprall mit Charlie war es, der in His New Job

für den ersten Höhepunkt sorgte.

      Zwei gespannt vor der Tür des Studiomanagers harrende

Aspiranten, die beide auf eine Rolle im Film hoffen, nur dass keiner

sie sich vom anderen wegschnappen lassen will, sodass

Charlie, als die Türe aufgeht, buchstäblich über Turpins zuletzt

am Boden liegende Gliedmassen hinweg das Ziel, des

Managers Büro, als erster erreicht, freilich ohne eine Rolle

zu bekommen.


               Charles J. McGuirk, Chaplinitis,

               Motion Picture, New York, July & August 1915

When Chaplin first came to the Essanay studio, he almost

stopped the works. Every person in the studio – actors,

and actresses, property men, scenario writers, the publicity

department and even the business office – side-stepped

their tasks and stole down to the studio floor to watch the genius

apply his methods. Even then he was comparatively

unknown. The world had just begun to recognize that the

funny little man with original methods could make

whole audiences hold their abdominal muscles and go home

sore from uncontrolled laughter.

      But the wiseacres in Moving Pictures knew Chaplin

and knew his possibilities. Hence the interest

that manifested itself in the Essanay studio and the impromptu

recesses that passed unrebuked. When Charlie

finally came on the floor, there was an audience that cluttered

entrances and lined itself stolidly and silently against

the studio wall. There were far too many on the floor. Chaplin

didn‘t notice it, but somebody else did. Orders came

forth, and the crowd melted. The comedian was ready to go

to work.

      And do you know how he started his comedy,

His New Job? He stood out in the center of his set, pulled

three of his fingers out of joint, and then, crouching

into the professional dancer‘s pose, he executed a clog-dance.

He danced for five minutes while the actors and

actresses of the company that was to play with him gazed

at him. They didn‘t know whether he was crazy or

doing it just for their amusement. Some laughed; the rest were

dumb with amazement. As a matter of fact, they were

all wrong. Just why he did it will be told in an illustrated continuation

of this article in the August issue of this magazine.

      (Continued from July Number)

      We left Charles Chaplin in the July number, taking a few,

vigorous dance-steps prior to getting to work on his first

photo-comedy for the Essanay Company. He did it so seriously

that everybody wondered if he was out of his mind,

because it seemed entirely uncalled for. Francis X. Bushman

was among the interested bystanders – just a wee-bit

peeved, perhaps, to see this great bidder for world-popularity

stepping into the Essanay studio, where he had been

monarch o‘er all he surveyed – and he inquired the cause

of Chaplin‘s peculiar antics.

      „Ah!“ he said, sotto voce. „Got to limber up. A little pep,

everybody; a little pep. Come on, boys. Shoot your

set. I‘m ready.“ The last sentence was shouted. Charlie went

thru a few other steps, and then sized up the situation.

He examined his set and then his actors. He gave them their

instructions as to just what they should do and just

when they should do it. He looked down on those $50,000 feet

of his, picked up one of them and stood like a stork

as he examined the shoe, put it down again, straightened up

and started to shoot a rapid-fire of directions, musings

and comments on the world of today. When any actor went

thru a piece of ,business‘ that appealed Charlie, he was

quick to step out, pat him on the back and tell him: „You‘re a bear.

Good stuff. You‘re goin‘ along right, old top. Keep it up –

keep it up.“

      It took a little while, but Chaplin finally injected enough

enthusiasm into his people to make them work hours

without thought of time. The proof of it came at the noon hour.

Nobody knew it was twelve o‘clock. The first inkling

Chaplin had of it was when he noticed the augmented crowd

that eyed his efforts with all sorts of expressions on their

faces. „What‘s the idea? Why the party?“ Charlie exclaimed,

during a lull in the work. „By George! I‘ll bet it‘s twelve

o‘clock, aint it, boys? Twelve o‘clock, sure as you live. That‘s all

for a while. Get out and get your lunches.“

      The actors filed out, tired but very happy. Every one

who had worked wih Chaplin that morning had the warm spot

in the heart that comes with the praise of work well done.

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Pictures and Picturegoer, May 15, 1915

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