Sometimes just seeing very short clips of Chaplin really shows how funny he was.
I found this video through Pat Cashin and his Captain Kangaroo Blog
I had never heard of this fellow Gene Sheldon. He opens the act with the mannerisms of Harry Langdon, then does a short leg/long leg bit I recently saw Chaplin do in “Limelight.” He finishes with a cute pantomime of sewing his fingers together.
Chaplin biographer David Robinson wrote this passage about English music hall, where Charlie learned his craft. It contains good advice for makers of short animation.
“A music hall act had to seize and hold it’s audience and to make it’s mark within a limited time – between six and sixteen minutes. The audience was not indulgent, and the competition was relentless. The performer in the music hall could not rely on a sympathetic context or build up : Sarah Bernhardt might find herself following Lockhart’s Elephants on the bill. So every performer had to learn the secrets of attack and structure, the need to give the act a crescendo – a beginning, a middle, and smashing exit to grab the applause.”