Chaplin's Music Hall

Chaplin's Music Hall : The Chaplins and Their Circle in the Limelight

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Charlie Chaplin grew up in and around the music hall. His parents, aunt and their friends all earned their precarious livings on the stage and Chaplin himself started out his career touring music halls with a dance troupe. His experiences of the culture of the music hall were a major influence, shaping his style of acting and the films he made, most famously Limelight, which tells the story of a failing variety performer and which evoked painful memories of his own past. Chaplin was horrified to see how performers' lives were ruined when their audience turned against them and he was relieved to exchange the stresses of live performance for screen comedy. Barry Anthony here tells the story of the lives and careers of Chaplin's family and their music-hall circle - from 'dashing' Eva Lester to the great Fred Karno and from Chaplin's parents Hannah Hill and Charles Chaplin to 'The Great Calvero' himself.
He reveals the difficult and often-tragic lives of London's variety community in the late-Victorian and Edwardian years, a time of great change in the music hall and entertainment scene, and in doing so sheds important new light on the inspiration behind Chaplin's genius, providing a fascinatingly fresh perspective on this popular cultural icon of the twentieth century.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 160 x 228 x 26mm | 498.95g
  • I.B.Tauris
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 20 integrated bw
  • 178076314X
  • 9781780763149
  • 888,643

About Barry Anthony

Barry Anthony is a historian with a particular interest in the Victorian and Edwardian period who has written extensively about popular culture and entertainment. He is the author of The King's Jester: The Life of Dan Leno, Victorian Comic Genius (I.B.Tauris, 2010) and co- author, with Richard Brown, of a groundbreaking study of the early British cinema, A Victorian Film Enterprise (1999).
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Table of contents

Overture - The Road to Ruin 'Dashing' Eva Lester - The Californian Gem Little Lily Harley - Original and Refined Kitty Fairdale - The Creme de la Creme of Terpsichorean Serio-Comics Charles Chaplin - Descriptive Singer Arthur West - Topical and Extempore Vocalist Leo Dryden - The Kipling of the Halls Will Godwin - Dramatic Sketch Artist The Eight Lancashire Lads - Characteristic and Champion Clog Dancers Jessie Macnally - The Dublin Girl Casey's Circus - A Ragged Burlesque Fred Karno and his Colossal Combination of Comedians The Great Calvero - Master of Pantomime and Comic Songs
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Review quote

'Barry Anthony has managed to bring back to life the often remarkable and dramatic lives of the performers who once entertained the British public in the many music halls throughout the country.' Michael Chaplin, from the Foreword to this book 'Chaplin's work is rooted in music hall. That is not surprising since both his father and his mother earned their living on the halls. As a writer examining Chaplin's links with music hall, Barry Anthony could not be bettered. A recognised expert on early cinema and the music halls, he paints a vivid account of a crucial part of Chaplin's extraordinary career.' Richard Anthony Baker, author of British Music Hall: An Illustrated History and editor of Music Hall Studies 'I have learned such a lot from this book. It is meticulously researched and well written; an important addition to music-hall history and to Chaplin studies.' Max Tyler, historian of the British Music Hall Society
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