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How does one make it to 23 having never heard of Chaplin?


yanceycravat
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I spoke to a 23 year old guy today who never heard of Buster Keaton. When I made the natural comparison to Charlie Chaplin,  he said, "Who?". He was quite serious. I was simultaneously shocked and depressed.

I would have continued explaining but I sensed a complete lack of interest in something that happened before he was born.

Kids!

 

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2 minutes ago, yanceycravat said:

I spoke to a 23 year old guy today who never heard of Buster Keaton. When I made the natural comparison to Charlie Chaplin,  he said, "Who?". He was quite serious. I was simultaneously shocked and depressed.

I would have continued explaining but I sensed a complete lack of interest in something that happened before he was born.

Kids!

 

I worked with some young people in the film industry! who had never seen a black and white movie in their life and had no desire to either.

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When I was 23 (and before then too) I knew who Chaplin and Keaton were.  

While the "it's before my time, therefore it's not important" attitude seems prevalent among the latest generation, I've talked to people of all generations who have no interest in anything that happened before they were born.

It's sad to me that so many people remain pridefully ignorant of the past.  I've read countless Reddit threads (and other forums) where people make the erroneous claim that technology is only getting better, therefore, films are getting better.  In some online circles, old films are seen as archaic and unimportant.  While yes, the more technical aspects of filmmaking (cinematography, sound, picture quality, special effects, etc.) are improving every year (though I would argue that in some cases, like special effects, it's getting a little too refined, thus looking fake), people are not taking into account the art of filmmaking.  Storytelling, camera angles, editing, set decoration, costuming, etc. are classic and can be appreciated in any era. 

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25 minutes ago, Gershwin fan said:

If it makes you feel better, I'm younger than that and know who Chaplin is.  :) 

It does make me feel better. What makes me feel even better is you're a fan of Gershwin!

I had the pleasure of meeting Irving Caesar when he was 95. I was tasked with accompanying him to a Gershwin celebration at Lincoln Center. It was a memorable moment in my life.

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I am surprised that the 23 year old in question hadn't at least heard of Chaplin via the 1992 biopic starring Robert Downey Jr (who did a fantastic job, by the way).  But I guess maybe even 1992 is before his time.  Even though I was only 8 in 1992, I remember my parents renting this film from the video store and I watched it.  While I'm sure some parts went over my head, I remember really liking it. I saw it again a few years ago as an adult and appreciated it even more. 

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There are people on this site, probably in this thread who have never heard or actors making movies today !

Cinema is over 100 years old. Lots of material to go over. No one can know it all. Just because someone is important to you doesn't mean that someone is important to someone else.

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5 minutes ago, GGGGerald said:

There are people on this site, probably in this thread who have never heard or actors making movies today !

True. I sometimes watch part of the Kelly Ripa show in the morning. Her audience frequently goes wild over some star plugging a new movie. I think, who the hell is that? And sometimes when Ryan is away and Kelly has a guest co-host, I think, "Who the hell is that?" I thought that yesterday, when a woman named Tiffany Haddish was guest co-host.

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34 minutes ago, GGGGerald said:

 Just because someone is important to you doesn't mean that someone is important to someone else.

Not that I disagree with you on that point but it seems there are certain people and events that are cultural touchstones. Chaplain is one of them.

While I hope Tiffany Haddish, and many others working at this time, have a wonderful life and career unless they do something spectacular they will not be remembered past their time on the screen. Not unless they achieve the cultural significance of someone like Chaplin.

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A local radio personality I listen to was bemoaning how his two sons, both born after 2005, totally crush his soul every time he tries to introduce them to a pop culture concept that he loved by asking, "Is that from the 1900s?" To him, the 1900s literally means 1900, the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Teddy Roosevelt. But to his kids, the 1900s means Mariah Carey, the original Jurassic ParkSeinfeld and Nirvana. That is so extreme ancient history for them, they consider it the last century and stare blankly at their father and have zero comprehension why their comments make him feel old. So, I am not surprised Chaplin draws blank stares when Mariah Carey and Nirvana draw blank stares. It's just the way of things with the young.

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How does one make it to 23 having never heard of Chaplin?

I could see this happening during the years when they literally mothballed old movies, and before the "home video" boom in the early 1980s.  Now with that AND the Internet, there is no excuse.  Well, no externally imposed excuses, though most of us probably know at least one real person firsthand who is a bag of excuses.

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22 minutes ago, sewhite2000 said:

A local radio personality I listen to was bemoaning how his two sons, both born after 2005, totally crush his soul every time he tries to introduce them to a pop culture concept that he loved by asking, "Is that from the 1900s?" To him, the 1900s literally means 1900, the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Teddy Roosevelt. But to his kids, the 1900s means Mariah Carey, the original Jurassic ParkSeinfeld and Nirvana. That is so extreme ancient history for them, they consider it the last century and stare blankly at their father and have zero comprehension why their comments make him feel old. So, I am not surprised Chaplin draws blank stares when Mariah Carey and Nirvana draw blank stares. It's just the way of things with the young.

Add to that the dilemma between calendar year and century:  "they are 100 years off!"  "how could that be?!!"

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6 hours ago, yanceycravat said:

Not that I disagree with you on that point but it seems there are certain people and events that are cultural touchstones. Chaplain is one of them.

While I hope Tiffany Haddish, and many others working at this time, have a wonderful life and career unless they do something spectacular they will not be remembered past their time on the screen. Not unless they achieve the cultural significance of someone like Chaplin.

The entertainment industry has become decentralized and on top of that overrun by cottage industry Youtube posters.  Look up PewDiePie for instance, most popular Youtube poster ever:
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=PewDiePie&ia=web

Not that any of that is a "bad" thing, but all that makes TCM a very good thing.

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I'm not surprised that a 23 year old wouldn't know Chaplin. That's expecting too much. And Swithin, there are many 73 year olds who wouldn't know Chaliapin (which was probably close to your point). Back in 1980, there was a 21-year-old in the office who didn't know the significance of Pearl Harbor and I was amazed. This person claimed the usual, "How would I know that, I wasn't even born yet." There was no Internet, but damn ... Pearl Harbor???

:o

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3 hours ago, MovieCollectorOH said:

How does one make it to 23 having never heard of Chaplin?

I could see this happening during the years when they literally mothballed old movies, and before the "home video" boom in the early 1980s.  Now with that AND the Internet, there is no excuse. 

Well, there was an excuse for not knowing Chaplin, as TV was never really comfortable with showing silent comedy (except for Chaplin's 1940 sound Gold Rush), and Chaplin's Mutual shorts were never seen outside of film-study collections on A&E in the 80's and PBS in the 70's.

Now, as for making it to 23 without ever having heard of the Marx Brothers, THAT'S just plain sloppy.  And a complaint we can make about the entire cable/TV industry's deliberate amnesia toward any movie made before 1983.

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In a few years 9/11 will be ancient history to those not born then, if it isn't already.  I find this lack of curiosity about history kind of disheartening and depressing.   Even if "history" is boring to some, cultural history including art forms like cinema or music, is fascinating.  To work in the film industry but have no interest in even seeing a black and white movie, like Bogie56 said, shows a lack of imagination about one's own career and learning about where all this began.

5 hours ago, Bogie56 said:

I worked with some young people in the film industry! who had never seen a black and white movie in their life and had no desire to either.

  Well, some younger people must be interested in classic cinema or the future of TCM would be in real trouble.    

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7 hours ago, laffite said:

I'm not surprised that a 23 year old wouldn't know Chaplin. That's expecting too much. And Swithin, there are many 73 year olds who wouldn't know Chaliapin (which was probably close to your point). Back in 1980, there was a 21-year-old in the office who didn't know the significance of Pearl Harbor and I was amazed. This person claimed the usual, "How would I know that, I wasn't even born yet." There was no Internet, but damn ... Pearl Harbor???

:o

Yeah.  And D-Day befell the same fate.  I even know one twentysomething who thought the battle depicted in the beginning of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN was made up for the movie! 

And just as bad is my daughter's 42 year old latest "squeeze", who's HEARD of folks like CHAPLIN, but not KEATON( except maybe Diane) and LAUREL AND HARDY, MARX BROTHERS etc., but never saw any of their films. :huh:

In fact, there's PLENTY of movies this guy never saw.  He's admitted to having never seen THE GODFATHER! :o a movie even my daughter saw several times.

Sepiatone

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The idea that millennials, and perhaps even the generation before them, in general lack both the knowledge and an appreciation of cultural touchstones and the entertainment giants that came before them, and the idea that this is seems an ever increasing social phenomenon, does not surprise me at all.

For many decades now, family members simply do not sit down together and watch the same program that was broadcast to that one television set which was sitting in the living room. The concept of the collective and communally shared entertainment viewing experience within a familial group now days would seem as strange and old fashioned to the younger people today as it would to, say, someone in the Boomer generation hearing of their parents sitting around the radio and listening to Jack Benny cracking jokes coming from that media source.

Due to the vast numbers of different and varied electronic entertainment options which have become available in recent years, I believe this fragmentation of the family unit's sharing common viewing experiences and thus an opportunity for an older generation to perhaps impart their appreciation for an entertainer who was popular before a younger person was born, has diminished greatly in recent times.

(...well, at least I know I was probably seven or eight when I first heard of and saw Charlie Chaplin on that old Philco TV set when Pop had me change the channel to it after he read in the TV Guide that some old movie of Charlie's was about to start on a different channel than what that TV set was tuned to, anyway)

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I recall once talking to the head of personnel of a small company. He was, at a guess, around 30.

At one point in our conversation I made reference to Captain Bligh.

"Who?" he asked.

"You know," I said, "Captain Bligh. Mutiny on the Bounty."

"Sorry," he replied, "Before my time."

I recall being annoyed by his self satisfied smugness, the arrogant assumption that anything that occurred prior to his birth isn't really worth knowing.

"Well, Abraham Lincoln was before your time, too," I said, "but I assume you've heard of him."

He said nothing but still seemed vaguely amused the I would have expected him to have heard of Captain Bligh, "whoever he was."

That's the irritating thing about a lot of the younger people today (and, at age 30, he was hardly that much of a youth), the assumption that anything worth knowing pretty much had to have happened during their own lifetime. They proudly, arrogantly wallow in their own ignorance.

 

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11 hours ago, laffite said:

I'm not surprised that a 23 year old wouldn't know Chaplin. That's expecting too much. And Swithin, there are many 73 year olds who wouldn't know Chaliapin (which was probably close to your point). Back in 1980, there was a 21-year-old in the office who didn't know the significance of Pearl Harbor and I was amazed. This person claimed the usual, "How would I know that, I wasn't even born yet." There was no Internet, but damn ... Pearl Harbor???

:o

No offense but your story reminds me of that one vignette in 1987's Radio Days, where a man breaks the news about Pearl Harbor to a whole radio studio on December 7, 1941, and everyone is mourning greatly aside from the bewildered character played by Mia Farrow who plainly asks "Who is Pearl Harbour?" thinking the famous port was an actual person.

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1 hour ago, Dargo said:

The idea that millennials,...

Dargo, what great writing! Not that I thought you incapable, far from it ; but it is a departure from yer ole crackerbarrel  persona what we are so used to and fond of. My Heavens!! But yes, all true what you say and I bet the boomers probably believed that Jack was 39. The term "household name" no long exists for your very reason above, i.e., there are no more households in that traditional sense. The new household is the individual and his/her device, zeroing in on what interests them personally, everything else lost in the clamor.

 

4 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Yeah.  And D-Day befell the same fate.  I even know one twentysomething who thought the battle depicted in the beginning of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN was made up for the movie! 

And just as bad is my daughter's 42 year old latest "squeeze", who's HEARD of folks like CHAPLIN, but not KEATON( except maybe Diane) and LAUREL AND HARDY, MARX BROTHERS etc., but never saw any of their films. :huh:

In fact, there's PLENTY of movies this guy never saw.  He's admitted to having never seen THE GODFATHER! :o a movie even my daughter saw several times.

Sepiatone

Returning something to the library, I noticed something nice about her face saying that she had Olivia de Havilland eyes. She did know who Olivia de Havilland was. A librarian. On the other hand, if one is not interested in old movies, it should be no surprise, I guess. But is jarring nonetheless. I'm just getting old.

20 minutes ago, Hepburn Fan said:

So, I know what DuckDuckGo is, but how many don't?

That's my favorite one.

22 minutes ago, CinemaInternational said:

No offense but your story reminds me of that one vignette in 1987's Radio Days, where a man breaks the news about Pearl Harbor to a whole radio studio on December 7, 1941, and everyone is mourning greatly aside from the bewildered character played by Mia Farrow who plainly asks "Who is Pearl Harbour?" thinking the famous port was an actual person.

Why would I be offended? But wow, that's a funny line.

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