The Law of Contact

Getting Acquainted, or A Fair Exchange (December 5, 1914)

Charlie Chaplain in Getting Acquainted

Released on December 5, 1914: Two couples meet in the park, and the men decide to flirt with each other's mate, until a park policeman intervenes.

Directed by Charles Chaplin

The Actors: Charles Chaplin (Mr. Sniffels), Phyllis Allen (Mrs. Sniffels), Mack Swain (Ambrose), Mabel Normand (Ambrose's wife), Harry McCoy (flirt in the park), Edgar Kennedy (the cop), Cecile Arnold (Mary), Joe Bordeaux (the auto driver), Helen Carruthers (lover in park), Glen Cavender (a passing Turk), Gene Marsh (girl in park).


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The first time I heard this saying, it was attributed to an old African-American grandmother, but I have since heard variations from other sources. Whether a wise old grandmother first said it or someone else, it still holds true today. The old grandmother one day told her young grandchild, "When it is hot . . . we want it cold. But when it is cold . . . we want it hot. We always want what we ain't got!" In the same vein, when talking about our relationships with the opposite sex, someone else said, "Men go out into the world searching for gingham when they already have silk at home!" Charlie Chaplin used this fact of human nature to create this short one-reel comedy, featuring the great comedian Edgar Kennedy when he was 24 years old. Edgar is the policeman in this early motion picture comedy, and although Charlie Chaplin is a better known star today, Edgar Kennedy went on to act in comedies until his death in 1948. He started his adult life as a professional boxer, but Mack Sennett soon lured him into acting, and he never looked back. He was one of the original and legendary Keystone Kops, and after sound came to motion pictures he perfected the persecuted, bad-luck character actor, known as the master of the 'slow burn.'

In the very early days of motion pictures the short one or two reel comedy before the main attraction was a popular and lucrative part of the motion picture business, and many actors like Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand and Edgar Kennedy rose to fame as the first motion picture stars. Pop some white kernel popcorn with warm melted butter and watch these three famous stars 'Get Acquainted' in the park on a sunny afternoon.

Charlie Chaplin, Glen Cavender and Gene Marsh Charlie Chaplin and Mabel Normand
Charlie Chaplin, Glen Cavender and Gene MarshCharlie Chaplin and Mabel Normand
Edgar KennedyEdgar Kennedy and Charlie Chaplin
Edgar KennedyEdgar Kennedy and Charlie Chaplin
Edgar Kennedy and the loving couplesMabel Normand and Phyllis Allen
Edgar Kennedy and the loving couplesMabel Normand and Phyllis Allen
Mack Swain and Mabel NormandMack Swain
Mack Swain and Mabel NormandMack Swain - 1914
Phylllis Allen and Mack Swain
Phyllis Allen and Mack Swain