Sunday, October 7, 2018

Blog Post No. 2700: Charlie Chaplin and Peter Arno Shipyard Gags

Back in the 1930s, Charlie Chaplin and Peter Arno, two comic geniuses working in two very different visual media, both set gags in a shipyard. What could possibly go wrong there? Chaplin's Depression-era scene shows the entirety of his tramp's very brief employment in a shipyard, while Arno's gag is set at a white-glove affair—a ship's launching. Still there was, as will readily be seen, a certain similarity to the outcome of both scenarios. The question then arises: Was Arno's 1939 cartoon influenced by Chaplin's 1936 movie "Modern Times?" Certainly there's difference enough between the two gags to leave room for doubt.

From "Modern Times" (1936)
Charlie Chaplin

"Well, what's the excuse this time?"
Peter Arno
The New Yorker, July 22, 1939, page 14

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