David, I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the book. But I did want to say, regarding Chaplin's coverage in the biography section (which I also stated in the introduction to that chapter) the reason I had shorter bios for well-documented people like Chaplin, Fields and Crosby, was due to the fact they already had (particularly in Chaplin's case) so many detailed books about their lives--and many of the other people covered in the book were getting the first and only biography they'll likely ever have in print.
As for the the history section though, in the Keystone-Mutual chapter, I think Chaplin's films get a lot of coverage. I include a lot of details about the production and events behind a number of Chaplin Keystone films such as GENTLEMEN OF NERVE, A BUSY DAY, MABEL'S BUSY DAY and MABEL AT THE WHEEL, which have never published in any Chaplin book (or any book at all) before. And in the filmography, there are many performer credits for Keystone Chaplin films that have never been discovered or documented before--or even discussed on silent comedy or Chaplin forums. One drawback with such a big book is that there are "mini-books" inside of the book that aren't publicized or documented as such, and probably could have been "parted out" as individual books. For instance, my book has what I think is the most complete Chaplin Keystone filmography ever published. I probably could have extracted just that information and published a book titled "Charlie Chaplin at Keystone"--but that wasn't my goal. Also, as you surmised, I didn't want to make the book even larger by reprinting a lot of stuff about Chaplin that has already been covered in other books, such as David Robinson's.
As for stills, I honestly didn't have any Chaplin Keystone stills in my collection until I got the one that I used (which was from a frame blow up--which in general I tried to avoid using but is just so hard to find non-blow-up Chaplin Keystone stills that haven't been published many times). But again, so many books have included so many stills of Chaplin in Keystone films versus stills of anyone else at Keystone, that I felt the other people deserve some face time. I actually have more regrets that I wasn't able to include stills that contained a few people I wasn't able to depict, such as Rube Miller. You already said it eloquently in your post, but besides the one or two or 20 Chaplin books in everyone's collection, there will probably be 10-20 new Chaplin books still forthcoming in future years before the first book is published on the life of Mack Swain, Chester Conklin, or Billy Bevan. Heck, we're still waiting for the first "real" Roscoe Arbuckle book (which I know some folks on this list--not me--are more than qualified to write). I probably could have written another book on Mack Sennett's studio that was all about Chaplin, Langdon, Normand, Arbuckle, Swanson, Fields, and the other "greats," in the process sacrificing information on the "little people," and I probably would have a more mainstream book that would be a much bigger seller. But I guess like Rick in CASABLANCA I'm attracted to fighting for "lost causes"--and my main goal in writing this book was in bringing some notice to the unsung or little-sung people.
By the way, ironically after the book was printed, I discovered that I actually may have a never-before-published photo of Chaplin in the book. On p. 54, in the still from the Keystone 1915 barbecue, I believe it may be Chaplin sitting at the second table back, facing the camera at the very left of his row, in a white shirt and a striped tie. His hands are in front of him and he appears to be chewing, which makes his face a bit distorted. (Chaplin was at the event--see the text on that page and the next.) Joe Bordeaux also appears to be sitting at the same table on the opposite side, with his cheek full of food two people to the left of Roscoe Arbuckle (and yes, I did call him that in the caption). Clarence Badger may be to the left of Bordeaux, Slim Summerville to the right and Phyllis Allen directly across from him.
David B Pearson wrote:
Agnes McFadden wrote:I also assumed that David meant that the "F" work for Arbuckle was "Fatty".
Also, the "Where's Charley" probably indicates that he was looking for more of the short stint done by Chaplin at Keystone than may have been listed in your book.
is some other
comedian working at Keystone!
But yeah, I do think Charles Spencer Chaplin gets short changed in the book. Certainly in the history and bio sections anyway. It's easy to understand why that happens though. Glen Mitchell's Silent Comedy book makes the same overcompensation. It's not like anybody getting the book doesn't already have one or two or 20 Chaplin books already that cover that 10 month stint. Nevertheless, Chaplin certainly had a huge impact, (even while still on the lot) and even Charlie's toughest critics would concede the man deserved more than one photo -- which he shares with Conklin -- out of the 280 images presented in the book, especially when Arbuckle, Swain, Turpin, Langdon, Bevan, and most every other comic on the lot get such superb photo coverage. Heck, Mary Ann Jackson get shown to better advantage than does CC.
Did I mention I think this book is absolutely splendid
(Imagine if I hated it)