Charlie Chaplin’s Chatter and Funny Sayings 1916
|Why It's Interesting|
Charlie Chaplin became the first movie star [along with Mary Pickford] in 1914. That year his pay rose first from $50 to $175 a week, then to a million dollars a year. In the universality of silent film, he became the most famous man in the world. In 1919 he, Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, D. W. Griffith and 2 others founded United Artists, the first studio run by the talent. Chaplin was the little tramp, the beloved everyman he played in dozens of shorts and then features running from The Kid in 1921 through Modern Times (1936)(and to a lesser extent The Great Dictator (1941). Chaplin became the first true auteur of film, being star, director, producer, writer, and even, sometimes music composer.
This booklet gives a brief biography and then 55 pages of jokes. Many concerned movies and theater. Many were high-flying with classical allusions, and quite ridiculous. And, of course, there were dozens of stereotyping ethnic and racist jokes; Ford Model T jokes; risque jokes, etc. Here’s a cute concise one: “Jack Johnson, Charley Chaplin and Billy Sunday make the finest dish on earth–a chocolate nut sundae.” Johnson was the first black boxing champion; Sunday the most famous evangelist preacher. [Am I being condescending by feeling that I should identify these men? I welcome comments on my assumptions as to desirable annotations.]
This website seeks to encourage researchers and collectors to discover and study obscure ephemera that document American culture and life. Worldcat reveals that most of the items that I post cannot be found in more than a few research libraries–often none at all. Alternately, research libraries do not bother to catalog ephemeral publications like these. I believe, however, that because these were distributed free, or at nominal cost, to consumers, they were the publications most likely to make their way into homes and be read by large numbers of Americans.
I acquire pre-1960 examples of the kinds of publications that prove so useful when scholars study 19th-Century America. The limited competition that I encounter for them suggests that libraries, which could easily outbid me, have little interest in post-Civil War and 20th-century ephemeral publications in general.
I try to anticipate what materials future historians will find useful. Being an historian first and a collector second, I organized this website to encourage others to do this too—even if this means new competition for me. I am aware that I could be wrong in prizing particular ephemera or even whole classes of ephemera. I may even be wrong to encourage scholars to study obscure ephemeral publications; these may be obscure for good reason.
Ephemerastudies.org will permit me to share with others the information and imagery that I am acquiring, and to benefit from the knowledge, intelligence and experience of other scholars and collectors. Please contact me with your impressions of the site.