Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Birth, Rebirth, Celebration

Spring officially began about two weeks ago, at least according to the calendar, so this seems to be an appropriate time to talk about birth, rebirth, and celebration. 

Birth: Charles Spencer Chaplin was born on April 16, 1889. His father was Charles Chaplin Senior; his mother, Hannah Harriett Hill. They were music hall entertainers, they moved around quite a lot, they kept incomplete records. The result is there is no official record of the birth of the man who would eventually conquer the world with laughter.

Birth: The character of The Little Tramp was born one hundred years ago, in February, 1914. The film was "Mabel's Strange Predicament" with Mabel Normand, one of Charlie's earliest films for Mack Sennett at Keystone. It would take several more films, however, before The Tramp character would be fully realized. And that's the character that captured the hearts of people around the world. 

Rebirth: There have been many Chaplin impersonators over the years. There are many today. I want to tell you about one young man I've met through the internet. His name is Jason Allin. Jason Allin's website
He lives in Innisfil, Ontario, near Toronto, and he first contacted me after reading about my novel. Here's the short version of what's going on with him. He's made short films as Chaplin, performed in a one-man show on stage about him, and is currently planning a trip to Adipur, India, for Chaplin's 125th birthday celebration. He will be making a documentary about the festivities there.  He was interviewed - via Skype - by the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury and Manhattan. Their film and television program is paying tribute to Charles on his birthday. (They also Skyped me the other day) He is booked for a showing of his movie in Ontario for the 2nd Annual International Comedy Festival.He has other Chaplin-based projects in the works. Yes, a busy and talented young man.

What's going on in India? Celebration. The entire town celebrates Chaplin's birthday, as they have for the past 40 years. I wouldn't have believed it either, until I saw pictures of it. Here's a link to a CBS item about it. 
Chaplin celebration in India

Jason is trying to raise funds to help pay for the trip to India for the documentary. If you have a few extra quid lying about, consider helping him on his questKickstarter for Jason Allin to India

The Celebration of Chaplin will continue throughout the year, around the world. One of the highlights will be a gathering in Bologna, Italy, in June to celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Little Tramp. Almost anybody who's connected to Chaplin and his legacy will be there. They include two of my personal favorites: David Robinson and Kevin Brownlow, two of the most respected Chaplin experts in the world. If you want to put in a few hundred quid or lira for me, I'll go too. I accept personal checks. Chaplin in Bologna

If you're a Chaplin fan, 2014 will be a marvelous year. Proof that his star shines as brightly as ever.

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