Monty Python were a British surreal comedy group who created their sketch comedy show Monty Python's Flying Circus, which first aired on the BBC in 1969. Forty-five episodes were made over four series; the Python phenomenon developed from the television series into something larger in scope and impact, including touring stage shows, numerous albums, several books, musicals. The Pythons' influence on comedy has been compared to the Beatles' influence on music, their sketch show has been referred to as "not only one of the more enduring icons of 1970s British popular culture, but an important moment in the evolution of television comedy". Broadcast by the BBC between 1969 and 1974, Monty Python's Flying Circus was conceived and performed by its members Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin. Loosely structured as a sketch show, but with an innovative stream-of-consciousness approach, aided by Gilliam's animation, it pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable in style and content.
A self-contained comedy team responsible for both writing and performing their work, the Pythons had creative control which allowed them to experiment with form and content, discarding rules of television comedy. Following their television work, they began making films, which include Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life, their influence on British comedy has been apparent for years, while in North America, it has coloured the work of cult performers from the early editions of Saturday Night Live through to more recent absurdist trends in television comedy. "Pythonesque" has entered the English lexicon as a result. In a 2005 poll of over 300 comics, comedy writers and directors throughout the English-speaking world to find "The Comedian's Comedian", three of the six Pythons members were voted to be among the top 50 greatest comedians ever: Cleese at No. 2, Idle at No. 21, Palin at No. 30. Jones and Palin met at Oxford University. Chapman and Cleese met at Cambridge University.
Idle was at Cambridge, but started a year after Chapman and Cleese. Cleese met Gilliam in New York City while on tour with the Cambridge University Footlights revue Cambridge Circus. Chapman and Idle were members of the Footlights, which at that time included the future Goodies, Jonathan Lynn. During Idle's presidency of the club, feminist writer Germaine Greer and broadcaster Clive James were members. Recordings of Footlights' revues at Pembroke College include sketches and performances by Cleese and Idle, along with tapes of Idle's performances in some of the drama society's theatrical productions, are kept in the archives of the Pembroke Players; the six Python members appeared in or wrote these shows before Flying Circus: I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again – The Frost Report – – At Last the 1948 Show – Twice a Fortnight Do Not Adjust Your Set – + Bonzo Dog Band: musical interludes We Have Ways of Making You Laugh – How to Irritate People – The Complete and Utter History of Britain Doctor in the House The BBC’s satirical television show, The Frost Report, broadcast from March 1966 to December 1967, is credited as first uniting the British Pythons and providing an environment in which they could develop their particular styles.
Following the success of Do Not Adjust Your Set, broadcast on ITV in the UK from December 1967 to May 1969, ITV offered Gilliam, Idle and Palin their own late-night adult comedy series together. At the same time and Cleese were offered a show by the BBC, impressed by their work on The Frost Report and At Last the 1948 Show. Cleese was reluctant to do a two-man show for various reasons, including Chapman's difficult and erratic personality. Cleese had fond memories of working with Palin on How to Irritate People and invited him to join the team. With no studio available at ITV until summer 1970 for the late-night show, Palin agreed to join Cleese and Chapman, suggested the involvement of his writing partner Jones and colleague Idle—who in turn wanted Gilliam to provide animations for the projected series. Much has been made of the fact that the Monty Python troupe is the result of Cleese's desire to work with Palin and the chance circumstances that brought the other four members into the fold.
By contrast, according to John Cleese's autobiography, the origins of Monty Python lay in the admiration that writing partners Cleese and Chapman had for the new type of comedy being done on Do Not Adjust Your Set. According to their official website, the group was born from a Kashmir tandoori restaurant in Hampstead in 1969; the Pythons had a definite idea about. They were admirers of the work of Pete
Variety shows known as variety arts or variety entertainment, is entertainment made up of a variety of acts including musical performances, sketch comedy, acrobatics and ventriloquism. It is introduced by a compère or host; the variety format made its way from Victorian era stage to radio and television. Variety shows were a staple of anglophone television from the late 1940s into the 1980s. While still widespread in some parts of the world, such as in the United Kingdom with the Royal Variety Performance, South Korea with Running Man, the proliferation of multichannel television and evolving viewer tastes have affected the popularity of variety shows in the United States. Despite this, their influence has still had a major effect on late night television whose late night talk shows and NBC's variety series Saturday Night Live have remained popular fixtures of North American television; the live entertainment style known as music hall in the United Kingdom and vaudeville in the United States can be considered a direct predecessor of the "variety show" format.
Variety in the UK evolved in theatres and music halls, in Working Men's Clubs. British performers who honed their skills in music hall sketches include Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel, George Formby, Gracie Fields, Dan Leno, Gertrude Lawrence and Marie Lloyd. Most of the early top performers on British television and radio did an apprenticeship either in stage variety, or during World War II in Entertainments National Service Association. In the UK, the ultimate accolade for a variety artist for decades was to be asked to do the annual Royal Command Performance at the London Palladium theatre, in front of the monarch. Known as the Royal Variety Performance, it continues today. In the 1940s, Stan Laurel revisited his music hall days. In the United States, former vaudeville performers such as the Marx Brothers, George Burns and Gracie Allen, W. C. Fields, Jack Benny honed their skills in the Borscht Belt before moving to talkies, to radio shows, to television shows, including variety shows. Variety shows were among the first programs to be featured on television during the experimental mechanical television era.
Variety shows hosted by Helen Haynes and Harriet Lee are recorded in contemporary newspapers in 1931 and 1932. The genre proliferated during the Golden Age of Television considered to be 1948 to 1960. Many of these Golden Age variety shows were spinoffs of previous radio variety shows. From 1948 to 1971, The Ed Sullivan Show was one of CBS's most popular television series. Using his no-nonsense approach, host Ed Sullivan was instrumental in bringing many acts to prominence in the United States, including Elvis Presley and The Beatles; the Lawrence Welk Show would go on to become one of U. S. television's longest-running variety shows. Other long-running American variety shows that premiered during this time include Texaco Star Theatre, Cavalcade of Stars titled The Jackie Gleason Show, The Garry Moore Show, The Colgate Comedy Hour, Your Show of Shows, The Red Skelton Show, The Dinah Shore Show, The George Gobel Show and The Dinah Shore Chevy Show. Perry Como hosted a series of variety shows that collectively ran from 1948 to 1969, followed by variety specials that ran until 1994.
Shorter-lived variety shows during this period include The Frank Sinatra Show, The Jimmy Durante Show and a different The Frank Sinatra Show. In the UK, The Good Old Days—which ran from 1953 to 1983—featured modern artists performing dressed in late Victorian/Early Edwardian costume, either doing their own act or performing as a music hall artist of that period; the audience was encouraged to dress in period costume in a similar fashion. Other long-running British variety shows that originated in the 1950s include Tonight at the London Palladium, The Black and White Minstrel Show, The White Heather Club and Royal Variety Performance. Popular American variety shows that began in the 60s include a revival of The Jackie Gleason Show, The Andy Williams Show, The Danny Kaye Show, The Hollywood Palace, The Dean Martin Show, The Carol Burnett Show and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. 1969 saw a flurry of new variety shows with rural appeal: The Johnny Cash Show, The Jim Nabors Hour, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour and Hee Haw.
Entertainers with less successful variety shows in the 1960s include Judy Garland and Sammy Davis Jr. In 1970 and 1971, the American TV networks, CBS conducted the so-called "rural purge", in which shows that appealed to more rural and older audiences were canceled as part of a greater focus on appealing to wealthier demographics. Many variety shows, including long-running ones, were canceled as part of this "purge," with a few shows surviving and moving into first-run syndication. Variety shows continued to be produced in the 1970s, with most of them stripped down to only music and comedy. Popular variety shows that ran in the 1970s include The Flip Wilson Show (
Donald Jay Rickles was an American stand-up comedian and author. He is regarded as being one of the best insult comics of all time, his prominent film roles included Run Silent, Run Deep with Clark Gable and Kelly's Heroes with Clint Eastwood, beginning in 1976 he enjoyed a two-year run starring in the NBC television sitcom C. P. O. Sharkey, he received widespread exposure as a popular guest on numerous talk and variety shows, including The Dean Martin Show, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Late Show with David Letterman, voiced Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story franchise, he won a Primetime Emmy Award for the 2007 documentary Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project. Donald Jay Rickles was born to Jewish parents in New York City, on May 8, 1926, his father, Max Rickles, emigrated in 1903 with his Lithuanian parents from Kaunas, his mother, was born in New York City to Austrian immigrant parents. Rickles grew up in Jackson Heights. After graduating from Newtown High School, Rickles enlisted in the United States Navy and served during World War II on the motor torpedo boat tender USS Cyrene as a seaman first class.
He was honorably discharged in 1946. Two years intending to be a dramatic actor, he studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and played bit parts on television. Frustrated by a lack of acting work, Rickles began performing comedy in clubs in New York and Los Angeles, he became known as an insult comedian. The audience enjoyed these insults more than his prepared material, so he incorporated them into his act; when he began his career in the early 1950s, he started calling ill-mannered members of the audience "hockey pucks". His style was similar to that of an older insult comic, Jack E. Leonard, though Rickles denied Leonard influenced his style. During an interview on Larry King Live, Rickles credited Milton Berle's comedy style for inspiring him to enter show business. While working in the "Murray Franklin's" nightclub in Miami Beach, early in his career, Rickles spotted Frank Sinatra and remarked to him, "I just saw your movie The Pride and the Passion and I want to tell you, the cannon's acting was great."
He added, "Make yourself at Frank. Hit somebody!" Sinatra, whose pet name for Rickles was "bullet-head", enjoyed him so much that he encouraged other celebrities to see Rickles' act and be insulted by him. Sinatra's support helped. During a Dean Martin Celebrity Roast special, Rickles was among those who took part in roasting Sinatra, Rickles, was roasted during another show in the series. Rickles earned the nicknames "The Merchant of Venom" and "Mr. Warmth" for his poking fun at people of all ethnicities and walks of life; when he was introduced to an audience or on a television talk show, Spanish matador music, "La Virgen de la Macarena", would be played, subtly foreshadowing someone was about to be metaphorically gored. Rickles said, "I always pictured myself facing the audience as the matador."In 1958, he made his film debut in a serious part in Run Silent, Run Deep with Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster. Throughout the 1960s, he appeared on television in sitcoms and dramatic series. Rickles guest-starred in Get Smart as an old war buddy of Max who comes to stay with him.
In an episode of the 1960s drama series Run for Your Life, Rickles portrayed a distressed comedian whose act culminates when he strangles a patron while imploring the patron to "Laugh!" Rickles took a dramatic turn in the low-budget Roger Corman film X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes as a carnival barker out to exploit the title character. Rickles appeared in the Beach Party film series, he recalled in his 2007 memoir that at a White House dinner, Barbara Bush teased him about his decision to appear in those films. Rickles' agent, Jack Gilardi, was married to Annette Funicello when Rickles was cast in the Beach Party films, he subsequently began appearing more on television talk shows, first appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1965. He became a frequent guest and guest host, appearing more than 100 times on The Tonight Show during Carson's era. An early Carson-Rickles Tonight highlight occurred in 1968 when, while two Japanese women treated Carson to a bath and massage by foot, Rickles walked onto the set.
He made frequent appearances on The Dean Martin Show and became a fixture on The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast specials. In 1968, Rickles released a live comedy album Hello, Dummy!, which reached #54 on the Billboard 200 album chart. The same year he starred in his own variety show on ABC, The Don Rickles Show, with comedy writer Pat McCormick as his sidekick; the show lasted one season. During the 1960s, Rickles made guest appearances on The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Munsters, The Addams Family, The Mothers-in-Law, Gilligan's Island, Get Smart, The Twilight Zone, The Andy Griffith Show, Gomer Pyle and I Dream of Jeannie. In 1970, Rickles had a notable role as Crapgame in Kelly's Heroes, sharing the marquee poster with co-stars Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland and Carroll O'Connor. In 1972, he starred in The Don Rickles Show with comedy writer Pat McCormick as his sidekick, which lasted for 13 episodes, he starred in a series of television specials. In his memoir, Rickles acknowledged a scripted sitcom was not well-suited to his ad-lib style of performing.
Starting in 1973, he became a popular comedian appearing on The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast specials. In 1976–1978, he starred in C. P. O. Sharkey, which lasted two seasons; the series is remembered for the cigarette box incident when Johnny Carson
Monty Python's Flying Circus
Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a British surreal sketch comedy series created by and starring the comedy group Monty Python. The first episode was recorded at the BBC on 7 September and premiered on 5 October 1969 on BBC1, with 45 episodes airing over four series from 1969 to 1974, plus two episodes for German TV; the series stands out for its use of absurd situations, mixed with risqué and innuendo-laden humour, sight gags and observational sketches without punchlines. Live action segments were broken up with animations by group member Terry Gilliam merging with the live action to form segues; the overall format used for the series followed and elaborated upon the style used by Spike Milligan in his ground breaking series Q5, rather than the traditional sketch show format. The six troupe members, or "Pythons", play the majority of the series characters themselves, including the majority of the female characters, with a small team of regular supporting cast members, including Carol Cleveland, Connie Booth, series producer Ian MacNaughton, Ian Davidson, musician Neil Innes, Fred Tomlinson and the Fred Tomlinson Singers.
Much of the humour in the series's various episodes and sketches targets the idiosyncrasies of British life that of professionals, as well as aspects of politics. The Monty Python troupe was educated, their comedy is pointedly intellectual, with numerous erudite references to philosophers and literary figures and their works. The team intended their humour to be impossible to categorise, succeeded so that the adjective "Pythonesque" was invented to define it and similar material; the opening titles of the series features as theme music the Band of the Grenadier Guards' rendition of John Philip Sousa's "The Liberty Bell", first published in 1893. Under the Berne Convention's "country of origin" concept, the composition was subject to United States copyright law which states that any works first published prior to 1923 was in the public domain due to copyright expiration; this enabled Gilliam to co-opt the march for the series without having to make any royalty payments. The title Monty Python's Flying Circus was the result of the group's reputation at the BBC.
Michael Mills, the BBC's Head of Comedy, wanted their name to include the word "circus" because the BBC referred to the six members wandering around the building as a circus, in particular, "Baron Von Took's Circus", after Barry Took, who had brought them to the BBC. The group added "flying" to make it sound less like an actual circus and more like something from World War I; the group was coming up with their name at a time when the 1966 Royal Guardsmen song Snoopy vs. the Red Baron had been at a peak. Freiherr Manfred von Richthofen, the World War I German flying ace known as The Red Baron, commanded the Jagdgeschwader 1 squadron of planes known as "The Flying Circus." The words "Monty Python" were added because they claimed it sounded like a bad theatrical agent, the sort of person who would have brought them together, with John Cleese suggesting "Python" as something slimy and slithery, Eric Idle suggesting "Monty". They explained that the name Monty "...made us laugh because Monty to us means Lord Montgomery, our great general of the Second World War".
The BBC had rejected some other names put forward by the group including Whither Canada?, The Nose Show, Ow! It's Colin Plint!, A Horse, a Spoon and a Basin, The Toad Elevating Moment and Owl Stretching Time. Several of these titles were used for individual episodes. Compared with many other sketch comedy shows, Flying Circus had fewer recurring characters, many of whom were involved only in titles and linking sequences. Continuity for many of these recurring characters was non-existent from sketch to sketch, with sometimes the most basic information being changed from one appearance to the next; the "It's" Man, a Robinson Crusoe-type castaway with torn clothes and a long, unkempt beard who would appear at the beginning of the programme. He is seen performing a long or dangerous task, such as falling off a tall, jagged cliff or running through a mine field a long distance towards the camera before introducing the show by just saying, "It's..." before being abruptly cut off by the opening titles and Terry Gilliam's animation sprouting the words'Monty Python’s Flying Circus'.
It's was an early candidate for the title of the series. A BBC continuity announcer in a dinner jacket, seated at a desk in incongruous locations, such as a forest or a beach, his line, "And now for something different", was used variously as a lead-in to the opening titles and a simple way to link sketches. Though Cleese is best known for it, Idle first introduced the phrase in Episode 2, where he introduced a man with three buttocks, it became the show’s catchphrase and served as the title for the troupe’s first movie. In Series 3 the line was shortened to simply: "And now..." and was combined with the "It's" man in introducing the episodes. The Gumbys, a dim-witted group of identically attired people all wearing gumboots, high-water trousers, Fair Isle tanktops, white shirts with rolled up sleeves, round wire-rimmed glasses, toothbrush moustaches and knotted handkerchiefs worn on their heads (a stereotype of the Englis
The National Broadcasting Company is an American English-language commercial terrestrial television network, a flagship property of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast. The network is headquartered at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, with additional major offices near Los Angeles and Philadelphia; the network is one of the Big Three television networks. NBC is sometimes referred to as the "Peacock Network", in reference to its stylized peacock logo, introduced in 1956 to promote the company's innovations in early color broadcasting, it became the network's official emblem in 1979. Founded in 1926 by the Radio Corporation of America, NBC is the oldest major broadcast network in the United States. At that time the parent company of RCA was General Electric. In 1930, GE was forced to sell the companies as a result of antitrust charges. In 1986, control of NBC passed back to General Electric through its $6.4 billion purchase of RCA. Following the acquisition by GE, Bob Wright served as chief executive officer of NBC, remaining in that position until his retirement in 2007, when he was succeeded by Jeff Zucker.
In 2003, French media company Vivendi merged its entertainment assets with GE, forming NBC Universal. Comcast purchased a controlling interest in the company in 2011, acquired General Electric's remaining stake in 2013. Following the Comcast merger, Zucker left NBCUniversal and was replaced as CEO by Comcast executive Steve Burke. NBC has thirteen owned-and-operated stations and nearly 200 affiliates throughout the United States and its territories, some of which are available in Canada and/or Mexico via pay-television providers or in border areas over-the-air. During a period of early broadcast business consolidation, radio manufacturer Radio Corporation of America acquired New York City radio station WEAF from American Telephone & Telegraph. Westinghouse, a shareholder in RCA, had a competing outlet in Newark, New Jersey pioneer station WJZ, which served as the flagship for a loosely structured network; this station was transferred from Westinghouse to RCA in 1923, moved to New York City. WEAF acted as a laboratory for AT&T's manufacturing and supply outlet Western Electric, whose products included transmitters and antennas.
The Bell System, AT&T's telephone utility, was developing technologies to transmit voice- and music-grade audio over short and long distances, using both wireless and wired methods. The 1922 creation of WEAF offered a research-and-development center for those activities. WEAF maintained a regular schedule of radio programs, including some of the first commercially sponsored programs, was an immediate success. In an early example of "chain" or "networking" broadcasting, the station linked with Outlet Company-owned WJAR in Providence, Rhode Island. C. WCAP. New parent RCA saw an advantage in sharing programming, after getting a license for radio station WRC in Washington, D. C. in 1923, attempted to transmit audio between cities via low-quality telegraph lines. AT&T refused outside companies access to its high-quality phone lines; the early effort fared poorly, since the uninsulated telegraph lines were susceptible to atmospheric and other electrical interference. In 1925, AT&T decided that WEAF and its embryonic network were incompatible with the company's primary goal of providing a telephone service.
AT&T offered to sell the station to RCA in a deal that included the right to lease AT&T's phone lines for network transmission. RCA spent $1 million to purchase WEAF and Washington sister station WCAP, shut down the latter station, merged its facilities with surviving station WRC; the division's ownership was split among RCA, its founding corporate parent General Electric and Westinghouse. NBC started broadcasting on November 15, 1926. WEAF and WJZ, the flagships of the two earlier networks, were operated side-by-side for about a year as part of the new NBC. On January 1, 1927, NBC formally divided their respective marketing strategies: the "Red Network" offered commercially sponsored entertainment and music programming. Various histories of NBC suggest the color designations for the two networks came from the color of the pushpins NBC engineers used to designate affiliate stations of WEAF and WJZ, or from the use of double-ended red and blue colored pencils. On April 5, 1927, NBC expanded to the West Coast with the launch of the NBC Orange Network known as the Pacific Coast Network.
This was followed by the debut of the NBC Gold Network known as the Pacific Gold Network, on October 18, 1931. The Orange Network carried Red Network programming, the Gold Network carried programming from the Blue Network; the Orange Network recreated Eastern Red Network programming for West Coast stations at KPO in San Francisco. In 1936, the Orange Network affiliate stations became part of the Red Network, at the same time the Gold Network became part of the Blue Network. In the 1930s, NBC developed a network for shortwave radio stations, called the NBC White Network. In 1927, NBC moved its operations to 711 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, occupying the upper floors of a building de
Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin was an English comic actor and composer who rose to fame in the era of silent film. He became a worldwide icon through his screen persona, "The Tramp", is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the film industry, his career spanned more than 75 years, from childhood in the Victorian era until a year before his death in 1977, encompassed both adulation and controversy. Chaplin's childhood in London was one of poverty and hardship, as his father was absent and his mother struggled financially, he was sent to a workhouse twice before the age of nine; when he was 14, his mother was committed to a mental asylum. Chaplin began performing at an early age, touring music halls and working as a stage actor and comedian. At 19, he was signed to the prestigious Fred Karno company, he began appearing in 1914 for Keystone Studios. He soon formed a large fan base, he directed his own films and continued to hone his craft as he moved to the Essanay and First National corporations.
By 1918, he was one of the best-known figures in the world. In 1919, Chaplin co-founded the distribution company United Artists which gave him complete control over his films, his first feature-length film was The Kid, followed by A Woman of Paris, The Gold Rush, The Circus. He refused to move to sound films in the 1930s, instead producing City Lights and Modern Times without dialogue, he became political, his next film The Great Dictator satirized Adolf Hitler. The 1940s were a decade marked with controversy for Chaplin, his popularity declined rapidly, he was accused of communist sympathies, while he created scandal through his involvement in a paternity suit and his marriages to much younger women. An FBI investigation was opened, Chaplin was forced to leave the United States and settle in Switzerland, he abandoned the Tramp in his films, which include Monsieur Verdoux, Limelight, A King in New York, A Countess from Hong Kong. Chaplin wrote, produced, starred in, composed the music for most of his films.
He was a perfectionist, his financial independence enabled him to spend years on the development and production of a picture. His films are characterized by slapstick combined with pathos, typified in the Tramp's struggles against adversity. Many contain political themes, as well as autobiographical elements, he received an Honorary Academy Award for "the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century" in 1972, as part of a renewed appreciation for his work. He continues to be held in high regard, with The Gold Rush, City Lights, Modern Times, The Great Dictator ranked on lists of the greatest films of all time. Charles Spencer Chaplin was born on 16 April 1889 to Charles Chaplin Sr.. There is no official record of his birth, although Chaplin believed he was born at East Street, Walworth, in South London, his mother and father had married four years at which time Charles Sr. became the legal guardian of Hannah's illegitimate son, Sydney John Hill. At the time of his birth, Chaplin's parents were both music hall entertainers.
Hannah, the daughter of a shoemaker, had a brief and unsuccessful career under the stage name Lily Harley, while Charles Sr. a butcher's son, was a popular singer. Although they never divorced, Chaplin's parents were estranged by around 1891; the following year, Hannah gave birth to a third son – George Wheeler Dryden – fathered by the music hall entertainer Leo Dryden. The child was taken by Dryden at six months old, did not re-enter Chaplin's life for 30 years. Chaplin's childhood was fraught with poverty and hardship, making his eventual trajectory "the most dramatic of all the rags to riches stories told" according to his authorised biographer David Robinson. Chaplin's early years were spent with his mother and brother Sydney in the London district of Kennington; as the situation deteriorated, Chaplin was sent to Lambeth Workhouse. The council housed him at the Central London District School for paupers, which Chaplin remembered as "a forlorn existence", he was reunited with his mother 18 months before Hannah was forced to readmit her family to the workhouse in July 1898.
The boys were promptly sent to another institution for destitute children. In September 1898, Hannah was committed to Cane Hill mental asylum – she had developed a psychosis brought on by an infection of syphilis and malnutrition. For the two months she was there and his brother Sydney were sent to live with their father, whom the young boys scarcely knew. Charles Sr. was by a severe alcoholic, life there was bad enough to provoke a visit from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Chaplin's father died two years at 38 years old, from cirrhosis of the liver. Hannah entered a period of remission but, in May 1903, became ill again. Chaplin 14, had the task of taking his mother to the infirmary, from where she was sent back to Cane Hill, he lived alone for several days, searching for food and sleeping rough, until Sydney – who had enrolled in the Navy two years earlier – returned. Hannah was released from the asylum eight months but in March 1905, her illness returned, this time permanently.
"There was nothing we could do but accept poor mother's fate", Chaplin wrote, a
Modern Times (film)
Modern Times is a 1936 American comedy film written and directed by Charlie Chaplin in which his iconic Little Tramp character struggles to survive in the modern, industrialized world. The film is a comment on the desperate employment and financial conditions many people faced during the Great Depression, conditions created, in Chaplin's view, by the efficiencies of modern industrialization; the movie stars Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman, Tiny Sandford and Chester Conklin. Modern Times was deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress in 1989, selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. Fourteen years it was screened "out of competition" at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. Modern Times portrays Chaplin in his Tramp persona as a factory worker employed on an assembly line. There, he is subjected to such indignities as being force-fed by a malfunctioning "feeding machine" and an accelerating assembly line where he screws nuts at an ever-increasing rate onto pieces of machinery.
He suffers a nervous breakdown and runs amok. He is sent to a hospital. Following his recovery, the now unemployed factory worker is mistakenly arrested as an instigator in a Communist demonstration. In jail, he accidentally ingests smuggled cocaine. In his subsequent delirium, he avoids being put back in his cell; when he returns, he knocks the convicts unconscious. He is hailed as given special treatment; when he is informed that he will soon be released due to his heroic actions, he argues unsuccessfully that he prefers it in jail. Outside of jail, he leaves after causing an accident, he runs into a orphaned barefoot girl, fleeing the police after stealing a loaf of bread. Determined to go back to jail and to save the girl, he tells police that he is the thief and ought to be arrested. A witness reveals his deception and he is freed. To get arrested again, he eats an enormous amount of food at a cafeteria without paying, he meets up with Ellen in a paddy wagon, which crashes, she convinces him to escape with her.
Dreaming of a better life, he gets a job as a night watchman at a department store, sneaks Ellen into the store, encounters three burglars: one of whom is "Big Bill", a fellow worker from the factory at the beginning of the film, who explains that they are hungry and desperate. After sharing drinks with them, he wakes up the next morning during opening hours and is arrested once more. Ten days Ellen takes him to a new home – a run-down shack that she admits "isn't Buckingham Palace" but will do; the next morning, the factory worker reads about an old factory re-opening and lands a job there as a mechanic's assistant. His boss accidentally falls into the machinery; the other workers decide to go on strike. Outside, the worker is arrested again. Two weeks he is released and learns that Ellen is a café dancer, she gets him a job as a waiter, where he goes about his duties rather clumsily. During his floor show, he loses his cuffs, which bear the lyrics to his song, but he rescues the act by improvising the lyrics using gibberish from multiple languages, plus some pantomiming.
His act proves a hit. When police arrive to arrest Ellen for her earlier escape, the two flee again. Ellen despairs that there's no point to their struggling, but the factory worker assures her that they'll make it somehow. At a bright dawn, they walk down the road towards an hopeful future. During a European tour promoting City Lights, Chaplin got the inspiration for Modern Times from both the lamentable conditions of the continent through the Great Depression, along with a conversation with Mahatma Gandhi in which they discussed modern technology. Chaplin did not understand why Gandhi opposed it, though he granted that "machinery with only consideration of profit" had put people out of work and ruined lives. Chaplin began preparing the film in 1934 as his first "talkie", went as far as writing a dialogue script and experimenting with some sound scenes. However, he soon abandoned these attempts and reverted to a silent format with synchronized sound effects and sparse dialogue; the dialogue experiments confirmed his long-standing conviction that the universal appeal of his "Little Tramp" character would be lost if the character spoke on screen.
Most of the film was shot at "silent speed", 18 frames per second, which when projected at "sound speed", 24 frames per second, made the slapstick action appear more frenetic. The duration of filming was long for the time, beginning on October 11, 1934, ending on August 30, 1935; the reference to drugs seen in the prison sequence is somewhat daring for the time. According to the official documents, the music score was composed by Chaplin himself, arranged with the assistance of Alfred Newman, who had collaborated with Chaplin on the music score of his previous film City Lights. Newman and Chaplin had a falling out near the end of the Modern Times soundtrack recording sessions, leading to Newman's angry departure; the romance theme was given lyrics, became the pop standard "Smile", first recorded by Nat King Cole. Modern Times was the first film where Chaplin's voice is heard as he performs Léo Daniderff's comical song "Je cherche après Titine". Chaplin's version is known as "The Nonsense Song", as his character sings it in gibberish.