Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Banana peel – Charlie Chaplin

Famous actor David Niven (1910-1983) wrote in his autobiography an anecdote when screenwriter Charles MacArthur (1895-1956) asked Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977) for advice on how to design a gag in which a fat lady is walking down the street, slipping on a banana peel and falling down. Since such a stunt was performed thousands of times before, how to do it and make the audience laugh?

Should he first show the banana peel, then the lady approaching, and then the fall? Or, to show the fat lady first, and then the banana peel on which she slips?

Charlie Chaplin immediately replied:

"You show the fat lady approaching; then you show the banana peel; then you show the fat lady and the banana peel together; then she steps OVER the banana peel and disappears down a manhole."

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