Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 1
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
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Keaton and Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy Coming to Arts Council’s Comedy Cavalcade

Linda Arntzenius

Bruce Lawton fell in love with the classic comedy routines of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin long before he became a film historian and archivist.

The devotion to early film that began in his childhood has resulted in presentations of silent film series at festivals and in schools across the country.

This Saturday, January 5, at 3 p.m., Mr. Lawton will come to Princeton to host the Arts Council of Princeton’s eighth annual “Classic Comedy Cavalcade.”

He will introduce a mix of short films featuring Charlie Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy, Buster Keaton, among others, as well as animated cartoons. The films will be shown using a 16-mm projector to recreate the experience of seeing them as they were originally intended to be seen.

In addition to providing “behind the scenes” snippets about the movies and the artists, Mr. Lawton will take questions from the audience following the program.

As a motion picture and video specialist, Mr. Lawton has produced and consulted on numerous documentaries and assisted in the restoration of Chaplin’s The Gold Rush and Keaton’s The Cameraman, among other classic films.

For the past five years he has co-hosted “The Silent Clowns Film Series” at The New York Historical Society.

The 90-minute program is intended to appeal to all ages. Mr. Lawton has found that the material immediately engages the children in the audience, who are frequently moved to scream out warnings. As Mr. Lawton points out, many of the on-screen exploits are real and not computer-generated “special effects.”

“It’s an active, not a passive, kind of engagement,” said Mr. Lawton. “A lot of the elements of the joke are there, but you have to add what’s missing from your imagination — the color, the sound, the dialogue.”

The show will begin on Saturday, January 5, at 3 p.m., at the conTEMPORARY Arts Center in the Princeton Shopping Center.

Admission to the program — including popcorn! — is $6 at the door ($5 for Arts Council members); children under 5 are free. The Arts Council is currently located in the Princeton Shopping Center at 301 N. Harrison Street.

For more information, please call (609) 924-8777 or visit the Arts Council’s web site:

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