The Law of Contact

The Floorwalker (May 15, 1916)

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The Floorwalker
 

Released on May 15, 1916: Charlie Chaplin shops in a big department store and causes havoc while the floorwalker and store manager try to steal a briefcase full of cash.

Produced by Charles 'Charlie' Chaplin

Directed by Charles Chaplin

The Actors: Charles 'Charlie' Chaplin (the new floorwalker), Edna Purviance (the secretary), Eric Campbell (the store manager), Lloyd Bacon (the floorwalker), Albert Austin (a clerk), Charlotte Mineau (a detective), Leo White (a customer), Henry Bergman (old man), Frank J. Coleman (the janitor), Bud Jamison (unknown), James T. Kelley (elevator operator), Tom Nelson (a detective), John Rand (a policeman), Wesley Ruggles (a policeman), Tiny Sandford (unknown)

 

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The-Floorwalker-1916.mp4 (129mb - 720x526)
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The First Time Ever . . .

The comedy genius of Charles 'Charlie' Chaplin has long been recognized, but sometimes we forget some of his 'firsts' . . . Have you ever seen the comedy sketch where two people think that they are looking in a mirror, and they duplicate each other's actions as if it were a mirror? Would you have any idea who came up with that idea? Yup . . . Charlie Chaplin, in this very comedy did that sketch with actor Lloyd Bacon. Charlie is a customer in a large department store who is creating havoc, and Lloyd Bacon is the floorwalker who is helping the store manager steal a big satchel full of money. Charlie and Lloyd look very much alike, and they mimic each other's actions when they first meet. When Lloyd discovers how much they resemble each other he convinces Charlie to become the floorwalker so that he can assume Charlie's identity and escape with the loot. Another 'first' for motion pictures is the store escalator, or 'moving stairs' . . . not only is this the first time that an escalator is used in any motion picture, it is the first time that escalator gags are performed. One other item that you might want to watch for is the cigar goof - I'm not very good at spotting mistakes in scenery and such, but I caught this goof right away. The male store detective, Tom Nelson, is prominently chewing on a big cigar . . . when Charlie first meets the detective he even hangs his famous cane on the cigar for a moment. Now when Charlie runs away from the detective chomping his cigar, the detective runs after him, with cigar in mouth . . . but then the scene changes to the luggage room where Charlie is hiding, and when the detective enters the scene he no longer has the cigar, it has suddenly disappeared. This could also be the first motion picture where a man is hit with a drawer, and his head goes through the drawer so that it becomes a 'necklace' resting on his shoulders. This was Charlie Chaplin's 51st film, and the first one that he made for Mutual Film Company. Oh, and for the youngsters who have no idea what a 'floorwalker' was . . . in the early days of departement stores that were so large that the owner could not be everywhere at once, floorwalkers were hired to be the eyes and ears of the owner. Floorwalkers would patrol an area of store watching for theft, and also looking for any opportunity to help a sales clerk or customer, as the owner would do if he were there. Pop a little bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter on it and enjoy the show.

Albert Austin and Charlie Chaplin
Albert Austin and Charlie Chaplin
Albert Austin, Lloyd Bacon and Edna Purviance
Albert Austin, Lloyd Bacon and Edna Purviance
Albert Austin and Lloyd Bacon
Albert Austin and Lloyd Bacon
Charles Chaplin and Charlotte Mineau
Charles Chaplin and Charlotte Mineau
Charles Chaplin and Eric Campbell
Charles Chaplin and Eric Campbell
Charlie Chaplin and Leo White
Charlie Chaplin and Leo White
Charles Chaplin and Albert Austin
Charles Chaplin and Albert Austin
Charles Chaplin, Eric Campbell and Charlotte Mineau
Charles Chaplin, Eric Campbell and Charlotte Mineau
Charlie Chaplin and Leo White
Charlie Chaplin and Leo White
Charlie Chaplin and Lloyd Bacon
Charlie Chaplin and Lloyd Bacon
Charlie Chaplin and Lloyd Bacon do the mirror gag
Charlie Chaplin and Lloyd Bacon do the mirror gag
Charlie Chaplin and Lloyd Bacon
Charlie Chaplin and Lloyd Bacon
Charlie Chaplin and Tom Nelson
Charlie Chaplin and Tom Nelson
Charlie Chaplin with the satchel of loot
Charlie Chaplin with the satchel of loot
Charlie Chaplin and Lloyd Bacon
Charlie Chaplin and Lloyd Bacon
Charlotte Mineau in 1916
Charlotte Mineau in 1916
Charlotte Mineau and Charlie Chaplin
Charlotte Mineau and Charlie Chaplin
Edna Purviance in 1916
Edna Purviance in 1916
Edna Purviance and Eric Campbell
Edna Purviance and Eric Campbell
Edna Purviance, Lloyd Bacon and Eric Campbell
Edna Purviance, Lloyd Bacon and Eric Campbell
Eric Campbell
Eric Campbell
Eric Campbell and Charlotte Mineau
Eric Campbell and Charlotte Mineau
Eric Campbell spots the loot as Edna Purviance looks on
Eric Campbell spots the loot as Edna Purviance looks on
Eric Campbell and Edna Purviance
Eric Campbell and Edna Purviance
Eric Campbell and Lloyd Bacon
Eric Campbell and Lloyd Bacon
Eric Campbell
Eric Campbell
Frank J. Coleman and Charlie Chaplin
Frank J. Coleman and Charlie Chaplin
Henry Bergman and Charlie Chaplin
Henry Bergman and Charlie Chaplin
Lloyd Bacon and Eric Campbell
Lloyd Bacon and Eric Campbell
Tom Nelson with cigar
Tom Nelson with cigar
Tom Nelson, Charlie Chaplin and James T. Kelley
Tom Nelson, Charlie Chaplin and James T. Kelley
Tom Nelson and Charlotte Mineau
Tom Nelson and Charlotte Mineau