I remember watching an old Roscoe Arbuckle film “The Rough House” when I noticed this scene:

At first I thought he was was mocking the dinner roll dance done by Chaplin in “The Gold Rush” If you watch it that way, it’s kind of funny. But then I realized “The Gold Rush” was made after Arbuckle was no longer making movies. Arbuckle had done this bit first. For comparison sake, here is the Chaplin performance.

Clearly, Chaplin’s version better. It is also more of a centerpiece, while Arbuckle’s is a bit of a throwaway. But it goes to show, even the famous Chaplin was not above appropriating material. Making dinner rolls dance may have been a common gag for all I know. The point is, he took the idea and added enough to it to make it his own. He built it up into something special. That’s a good thing. It’s not a rip off. That’s how art grows. Keep your eyes open for small ideas that you can build on.

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