NILES RETROSPECTIVE: Mabel Normand gets day in the California sun

Retrospective will take place November 11-12
Normand helped Chaplin early on in his career

Over the years I’ve researched and written extensively ("Silent film star deserved to be heard," ScreenComment, 2012) on the underrated work of silent movie actress Mabel Normand, Hollywood’s first film comedienne and female director. I’m now happy to report that she is finally being recognized for her many accomplishments. During November 11-12 the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, located in ... more >


The character came complete from day one

The character of The Tramp, played by Charlie Chaplin, turned 100 today. He was born on February 7th, 1914 in the short film by Henry Lehrman called "Kids auto races at Venice, Cal." In it Sir Charles Chaplin performs the character that would make him famous for the very first time. He is filmed as he wanders randomly in the middle of a car race and starts--as would be predicted--all kinds of ... more >

Charlie Chaplin and Mabel Normand

The case for MABEL NORMAND, Tramp-ett

The woman standing behind the legend

There has been some recent research by film historians, silent movie academics and classic comedy buffs who have explored the idea that Chaplin and his most enduring character and image, “The Tramp” may not have been his own concept. The prevailing theory is that it was, in fact, the brainchild of the most underrated film person in history, silent-movie actress and Hollywood's first female ... more >