Sunday, March 25, 2018

Podcast: Interview with Biographer David Robinson on Charlie Chaplin (1985)

(from left) Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith.

From 1981 to 1989, I was assistant producer and co-host of the radio show On the Arts, at CJRT-FM (today Jazz 91.1) in Toronto. With the late Tom Fulton, who was the show's prime host and producer, we did a half-hour interview program where we talked to writers and artists from all fields. In 1985, I sat down with film critic and biographer David Robinson about the recent publication of his book on the life of Charlie Chaplin, Chaplin: His Life and Art (originally published by McGraw-Hill in 1985, revised in 1992 and 2001, and currently in paperback by Penguin).

Along with Chaplin's own My Autobiography (1964), Robinson's official biography would later be used as source material for Richard Attenborough's 1992 biopic Chaplin, which starred Robert Downey Jr. as the famed comedian and film director. Robinson was the main film critic for The Times of London from 1973-1990, and his books include Hollywood in the Twenties (1968), a 1970 volume on Buster Keaton, and World Cinema: A Short History (1981).

– Kevin Courrier.

Here is the full interview with David Robinson as it aired on CJRT-FM in 1985.

Kevin Courrier is a freelance writer/broadcaster, film critic and author (Dangerous Kitchen: The Subversive World of Zappa, Randy Newman's American Dreams33 1/3 Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica, Artificial Paradise: The Dark Side of The Beatles Utopian Dream). Courrier teaches part-time film courses to seniors through the LIFE Institute at Ryerson University in Toronto and other venues. His forthcoming book is Talking Out of Turn: A Collection of Reviews, Interviews and Remembrances currently being assembled on Blogger. 

Tom Fulton was the host and producer of On the Arts for CJRT-FM in Toronto for 23 years, beginning in 1975.

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