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I used to be one of those people who thought that anything that was "old" was no good. Old movies, old music, whatever... except for my grandparents :). There were a few "old" things that I did like, like the Beatles, "It's a Wonderful Life", "The Wizard of Oz" but not much more than that. But boy was I ever wrong with that attitude!
I seemed to have always been interested in humor and comedy however, and later became interested in history. I was a huge fan of the Peanuts comic strip when I was a kid. Then around 1986/87 I happened to catch all by accident the Smothers Brothers on TV and became a huge fan of theirs. When I would see them on talk shows they talked about the comedians and comedy teams that inspired them like Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, Jack Benny, Jimmy Durante, etc., and so I though I would look into those other guys. Around 1990/91 I was already buying up Abbott & Costello and Laurel & Hardy movies and books. While reading "Mr. Laurel & Mr. Hardy" by John McCabe, I learned that Stan was understudying Chaplin during the Karno days and thought "That's cool!", and with that I began to become a fan of Charlie's.
I don't remember the first time I saw it, but the first Chaplin movie I remember watching was "Modern Times" on a show called "Dead Comics Society" hosted by Robert Klein on (what was then) Comedy Channel. I laughed so hard I was crying, especially the scene where Charlie is being fed by the machine. That had me in stitches! Sometime later in 1992 I recorded some Chaplin movies when AMC was showing a few of his movies...Modern Times...Monsieur Verdoux...The Gold Rush (narrated version)...Limelight...A King in New York. I watched them again and again and again and..well I think you get the idea :).
And my first Chaplin book was Robinson's "Chaplin: His Life and Art" also in 1992. That, along with watching the films more times than I could count, launched me into serious fandom so that by the time I went to see "Chaplin" in January of 1993, I could pretty much tell what was accurate and what wasn't.
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