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CHAPLIN AND SHAKESPEARE, ECCENTRIC COMEDIANS
B) ROBERT C. BENCHLEY Illustrated by ALBERT LEVERING HUMOR THE comic supplements and Charles Peabody Chaplin ?are fair game these days for any one who ssaati to register his disgust at horse? play and whitewash as comedy acc?s ?vories. Any right minded person will ?.row purple with disapproval when con ?ronted with a comic strip showing ?azink Boys impaling their grand tnts on a picket and will shake hia ?sT?vely when bi ought face to face with the undeniably popular endorsement of a movie featuring a ?swinging door, cus fard pie, and a padded policeman. Such things indicate a fatty degeneration of the national sense of humor, say th*? esthetes. And so they do. But let no one complain of the slap rttt unadvisedly. m thinh Sail I m of tiic kick-and ouch school of ?satire. I "'??" simply giving up the Funny ?Section cl hia paper, or leaving the theatre when "Keystone" is flashed on the screen. "Hie man who would shut "komedy" out from his life altogether must be pre? pared to abandon what may be one of his most cherished poses, an attitude *Mch gives him standing il nmu iron of the for hia laugha ron the Bard ?*? Avon, if I may be allowed the nick tome, that much of our low-brow merri ftfnt of to-day springs. A gentleman sat in front of me at "Hie Merry Wives of (Vindsor" last v,eek who could hardly contain himself 'hen ftardolph landed ;i : ?ron?? left on 1 alstnff's i.tomach, thereby causing hin: *? brliow and blow out a 1 I o *l|ds from the pot of sack he 'ah> drink? lnt>. It was simply too delicious a bit ^ fan for the gentleman to bear, and he clapped his knee and looked at hi companion as if to say, "After all, when ran you find Buch genuine humor as h .Shakespeare?" Had he asked me tht question, I should have told him that hi could find the same thing two block.*, down, where there was a reel In motion showing a waiter with a make-up something less offensive than Bardolph'fl who, at that very mo? ment, was executing the very same ? n Mio stomach of a police? man who was drinking a mug of beer, and with exactly the same delight? ful results. And yet it wouldn't take a very sporting man to bet that the gen? tleman in front of me would leave the moving-picture house in disgust at such an exhibition of crassness. Now, of course, there are no stage di~ roctions in "The Merry Wives of Wind? sor" which say : B. I ikes FoX staff ii/ ttomach, eau n to blow Thai is the work <>r the producer knows what the public wants. Likewise the various blappings and humpings and trippings which mark the entrance and exits of the low comedy characters. One can imagine the di? rector of a Shakespearian production standing down In the pit at a rehearsal and saying: "Now, you two page-boys over there by the door. Don't stand there? doing nothing. Hit each other! First Pa go bite Second Page-boy and Second Page-boy pull First Page-boy's nose! Kick him! That's right! Throw beer at him! Fine! Now, remember that !" Any jury would acquit Shakespeare of this pari o the perfori I ut no lager would d I hing like Falstaff's laundry monologue, which ?Shakespeare undoubtedJy admit? ted was "a little thing of my own." If those in the audience who applauded al? most every line of that speech as de? livered by Mr. Wise were to hear the same lines from a t?arn of soft shoe dancers as patter-talk they would each one v rite a i their favorite pap? r i" ? '?i* ' "'I lie Fifth of ' American Patriots.'* There is the spologisl who says that Shakespeare wrote for his age. So do the writers of the Komedy Reels, for ages four to eight, inclusive. And yet there must have been some mild oid gentlemen of Shakespeare's time who shook their h? ad >; FaU ' mes ? and aaid lo < I.nt tl \u 1 were the spout his low-brov lin< i' the cooler." Such critics probably professed to find the real humor to their taste in Chaucer. Far be it from an unpretentious piece like this to say that Launcelot Gobbo Is not funny. Equally far to say that he is funny. But, those who can scream at his twitting of his blind father ought at least to be able tc get a giggle from a comic strip in which Winifred Weenix pulls the crutches oui fro n under her blind aunt, [fon?: i funny, the other is You don't have to I""1? up the notes ?n the back of the Rolfe edition to find that out. Let us say that you are at a moving picture show. You don't often go, bul . it is Interesting orae in a while. ? (??ally the educational films and the i weeUies. And then, too, the audience is so fascinating to watch. Before you are aware of it a Vogue Komedy is an? nounced and you are caught like a rat in a trap. It deals with a fat plumber who has arranged a clandestine meeting with the wife of an exceedingly jealous waiter, -hist as the fat plumber ha laken the buxom w ife on hii knee s nd of era ? ? : ., is hean i nouncing the advent of the furious waiter-husband. After sufficient rolling of the eyes and trembling of the knees to convince the most backward intelli? gences in the audience that the fat man is terrified, he is hustled into a clothes hamper and the janitor is called to carry it to the laundry. Enter jealous hus d, who nulls down five pictures and h?s ? I ? ? ; ip| ?? i ?? c hi v' f faitl Ic . Close-up <d' the dothes-hamper going down in the dumb-waiter. The next scene is laid in the laundry and is full of punch. Zipl Comes the hamper down a chute, and, Splash ! into a tank, from which the fat plumber emerges, in due course, dripping and blowing. Great facial expression and i ?ntinuous applause. You edge your way out, ?llod with a great sadness. As you turn foi disgusted look before making for the you see the fat plumber again, dressed up as an old woman, being kicked and whipped and mauled about the scene by the infuriated waiter. r such an exhibit '?? "<>l air you would to wall I the ' .. - ?me, b il j ou mu?: hurry, for yon have to dress and go OUl that evening to "The Merry Wives of Windsor," a treat to which you are look? ing forward with genuine pleasure, for you are always sure of a good laugh at FalstafT's antics, especially in the ?n Mistress Ford's "ii.? wh ii - d a. It would fair tc say that this seen Jar to that in the movies which was so offensive, for in the Shakespearean production Ford enlivens the comedy of the thing by call? ing the old lady a witch, hag, baggage, polecat and ronyon. The Board of Cen? sors would never lei thai "ronyon" get bj in t lie m">\ ie i. On with the chai m in "Henrj the lcu i h" ! < last as i'isiol in the scene in the Boar's Head Tavern, with Doll Tear sheet as a foil and an assortment of tables, chairs, pots of sack and a sword or two, and he would have the entire English department of any university fiat on their backs with laughter?pro? vided they didn't know who he was. If some company could only combine kespeare and Chaplin, with the in genuit) i lern Shakespeai . ration in the way ibber hose, mortar and fish ponds, what a reel could be mad"! A laugh from start to finish ! The Terrible Thunder of War The first *run has be,en fired. U hen the Pn ? Idi n< promised vention last August tha he intended to light lor them, some o?' them were so unemotional as to won? der just what he meant. The pause from September to Jan? uary seemed rather long to some. But a great offensive takes a long time to prepare. Th?** other day the first blow was i truck. The President asked the ***jffl*af" pickets to come in and warm Unir f* el battu: hymn He has asked the- suffrage pickets to come m and warm their feet. Yes, the champion of frit-edt-wn bids the drrrma of battle beat For to give your life for Ii">?erty Is ("ecoron? and sweet. So he Bated the suffrage p?<-!,-.*;??, to com?- in and warm th?-ir '? ? ? ? ? bal one of our rontemp* raries Is angry about th?* .suffrage pick? ets?at least, it ?says they are "silent. silly, offensive, petty and monstrous." ARE WOMEN PEOPLE? By Mice I hier Miller Q._What is the difference between ?The New York Times" and the suffrage pickets? A.?The pickets are silent. To ?\nger O Angrr. Temper, I scfc of .?s> If-Control. \\ bat pit falls i' ' '*d path yon It rial!} for ?' ! ' 'I ?' J ? .1, r .. t?l ? ?' ?is Is the sohitiun of BsMM ?sSBpici qu'.st ?ui!. While In the ?Jdrrly yon oft induce Insomnia ?and nervous indigestion. Once more, -das, "The Time*" ts in a rage: Once more, although white paprr is erpensiv. Ttiirkly it .sows its ta)tct?wsl. p igfl With words liki sfen Mi-? pen ? ? ? ? Our enjoyment of ant i suffrage lit erature?and we do enjoy it?is some? times mitigated by a certain confusion of mind. For Instance, Anti-Suffrage Notes No. 135 opens with two paragraphs describing disorders and murders in Chicago, "Where Women Vote." We ran understand fhc object of tha' ?. bul the san i end w?th a ibilanl deacriptidu o? a murdi i Japan, where women do not vote. The only cause of rejoicing in this crime .seems to be the fact that it was com? mitted by a woman. ? ? ? ? Tin pressions of an Ant I Sneech as, Iridie?, jem whose pi*-" ' ? -pend Muir wr.-.lth and '?? I "ding tacts te harta and res 1 ithrr rrirnir??rrs ?-?f your s- ?;. We have some delightful n**.i hfaet con?lstcnt with our vi**w? A young girl, as ?re predicted. i>f a muroVr ?vas com i^t?-! jtee. M . ! '?, i i . ? low and una] I'hcv W? : \rrv happ? . # ? * * Where Women Have Indirect Influence Only If a year ago last October the women of New Jersey had won the vote, they alone would be held responsible by the anH?s for the present conditions in the ton State Prl If i r mg in . women, wh] '".'hing thai goes wrong in other states due to indirect influence of women? If the indirect influence is so potent, why is it never held responsible? Wo should like to know from the N'mv Jersey Association Opposed t'> Woman Suffrage why prison ? rri'ole in a Didn't the indirect influence work? Or didn't the ladies who possess it take enough interest to use it? . VULGARITY Scene ; A street in Venice. Enter Embroglio with a seltzer boU tie. to Craahius, knoekhtg (6 of ichitcuash. How now, I'rashius! ( ,-,. /' . I low now. yourself! (Kicks him into o high dudgeon.) Km.: Bring you good news from Glandular? Cr.: Good news, f faith I (Pushes him into the wall of a castle, which faUs and buries him.) Km. (From the ruins): B'r Ia^dy, an ill much further driven, '(?11 a kidney-bean. from whsjoce you with that custard Cf.: So further than your worship's bridge-work. (Throws it at Embro?Uo's mouth. Hits it.) Em. (Blowing custard): A pox on such a spiteful act f Enter Townspeople, Ilautbeyye, Alar rutns, Sad ToreW -, piixhing hire Ertin i i >? *>,.] o i'?. jrou **ousjab***M - Is \ ? i a sie? ping i bb\\ That privacy's disturbed at will? Townspeople, etc. (Shouting): We want Universal Military Service! (Turn hose) on Embroglio and Crash im. Terribly slow curtain.) This is just a rough sketch, of cours**. A much fin-T thing could be done with more hose. Rut th? essentials ? **iHin would of ^baik'-speare's extra <<'? could not help but be enchanted. Ai d between the two classes ycji. could ? -usily fiil the house.