Oy, quite the week chez Campaspe. Mr. C is in Australia on business. Periodically he calls to tell the Siren how great the weather is. Things here in Brooklyn are hot, humid and rather frantic, as the Siren tries to come up with a New York blog post in time for the Derelict's blogathon.
For some reason, all week the Siren has had Charlie Chaplin on the brain. Perhaps it is because she is child-wrangling by her lonesome. Chaplin was beloved by children around the world for such a long time. Do they still love him, if you show them the movies? Or is his art too faraway and antique now? The Siren plans to find out, soon.
Meanwhile, I couldn't stop thinking about this passage, from Griffith and Mayer's The Movies, and I had to share.
They were dreadfully poor. Charlie's parents were third-string strolling players. His father died early of alcoholism; his mother was often in asylums, whether through drink or because of periodic mental illness. Whenever this happened, Charlie and his brothers had to shift for themselves on the streets of London. Robert Flaherty used to tell the story of one of these times: 'It was a rainy winter night. Charlie, who was about eleven, had no place to sleep and was sheltering under an overhanging roof. A solid-looking man came by, took a look at the boy, and asked him what he was doing there. Charlie told his story. The man stroked his chin for a moment and said, "Well, I've a bit to eat at my place. I've only one room, but you're welcome to stay the night if you don't mind sleeping on the floor." They went to the man's furnished room, where Charlie slept on a pallet at the foot of his host's bed. Next morning when he woke, the man had gone, but Charlie found a note saying, "If you've no place to sleep tonight, come here." Charlie had to avail himself of his friend's help for many nights, but always in the morning the man had gone to his work. Charlie became curious about what that work might be. One morning he managed to wake early. The man was taking out of the closet and measuring in his hands a long, strong rope with a noose at the end of it. He was the common hangman.'
Out of such experiences came the greatest comedian in the world.