Audiences first saw Charlie Chaplin on a movie screen on February 2, 1914. (Thousands had already seen him live.) On that day, his first Keystone one-reeler, "Making a Living," premiered to audiences who were not, reportedly all that excited. But with his second flick, "Kid Auto Races in Venice," he became a sensation.
In other words, audiences have been laughing at Chaplin’s filmed antics for just a few weeks short of a century. (Some 25 years ago, I showed my then very-young son some early Chaplin shorts. As he watched, I marveled that he was laughing at performances older than his grandparents.)
In honor of this anniversary, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival will take over the Castro on January 11 for The Little Tramp At 100: A Charlie Chaplin Centennial Celebration.
Why January 11? I don’t know. Maybe the Castro is already booked for February 2; perhaps for a screening of Groundhog Day.
A more important question: What will they be showing? The Festival hasn’t announced that yet. I assume the program will be announced before October 21, when tickets go on sale.
I’ll also assume, based on the Festival’s history, that they’ll bring in some great musicians to accompany the films. They may not have all that many choices, musically speaking. Chaplin’s estate is pretty strict about the scores played for the movies they control.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to a whole day of Chaplin.