Drama. By Paul Peditto.
Cast: with 2 actors doubling. Sounds of Silents is a celebration of the birth of movies and the early days of the famous Essanay silent film studio, whose illustrious celluloid stars included Wallace Beery, Gloria Swanson and Charlie Chaplin. Setting up Essanay Studios in Chicago, founders George K. Spoor and "Broncho Billy" Anderson at first have a difficult time finding actors willing to be seen in movies, considered "intellectually inferior" to vaudeville. However, film becomes a force. Essanay lures Charlie Chaplin away from Mack Sennett. Chaplin's slapstick, daring and innovation create a new character called The Tramp. His films are a huge success and Essanay attains new heights of popularity. But with success come problems, including jealousies from original Essanay actors left behind in the throes of "Chaplinitis." A rift forms between Spoor and Anderson which grows more serious when it is found out that Chaplin is looking to get out of his contract. The climactic finale finds Anderson, Spoor and Chaplin revealing brutal truths which break apart the world-famous Essanay Studios. Area staging. Approximate running time: 2 hours, 15 minutes.