1914, March 9 – PREMIERE OF “TANGO TANGLES”

By now tango madness  had swept the world over, it was all the rage in Paris, Berlin, London and so when director Mack Sennet read in the newspaper about an upcoming tango contest, he had a flash…he would send his film crew to the dance hall and improvise one of his famous “shorts”…in fact the whole of “Tango Tangles” is only twelve minutes long…”shorts” were low-budget, fast directed, improvised films which the viewing public at the turn of the century learned to love…actual tango dancing in Tango Tangles appears only briefly in the opening scene where a couple is dancing what appears to be a parody of a tango which metamorphosis into a ballet style movement…Charlie Chaplain plays an inebriated dandy who shows up at the “Dark Town Strutter Ball”, a  masked affair, makes a pass at the hat-check girl played by Sadie Lamp….

***

Her favors however are being sought by two other characters, the orchestra leader played by Ford Sterling and the clarinetist Roscoe Arbuckle, all legends of the silent movie era…there is of course the requisite slapstick, with the long punches and the inadvertent falls, a genre created by director Mack Sennet which would lead to stellar success for his Keystone Studios; it was he who discovered Chaplain about whom George Bernard Shaw would say, “he was the only genius to come out of the movie industry”…Chaplain’s role was one of the few where he did not appear as his signature “tramp and mustache” character…Mack Sennet, Canadian born actor, comedian, musician and director, would produce more than 1000 silent films in his 25 year career …his short “Wrestling Swordfish” won an academy award in 1932…..in the final scene of Tango Tangles, Ford Sterling and Charlie Chaplain have punched each other out and are lying on the floor exhausted and Sterling finally says, “I don’t want her, you can have her”

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