The appearance of “Comedy’s Greatest Era” in Life magazine, September 3, 1949, received one of the greatest responses in the magazine’s history. The surprising element was the reaction from people who could have seen few, if any, of the silent comedies, simply because they were too young. The article makes it possible for everyone to be nostalgic for something that perhaps they have never known.
The Tramp. The Little Fellow. Naturally the obituaries were full of those terms, full of references to the bowler-hatted, cane-swinging, corner-skidding outsider who had become one of the perdurable icons in the collective mind of the world. All true; still it’s not quite enough. Yes, the Tramp is now a deathless image. Yes, he made us laugh and cry and presumably always will.