Happily, the videos themselves ended up a few blocks away at the Durham County Library, where they may be checked out for a week. The library's stewardship of this collection is pretty timely, because many classic titles have yet to be released on DVD.
Now the folks at the library have scheduled a monthly series of screenings culled from their collection. It's called A Year At the Movies: Rediscovering Classics, and as the name implies, the series seeks to introduce audiences to the extraordinary talents that thrived in the days before special-effects blockbusters--with their inevitable multi-disc boxed DVD sets with multiple endings--made film experts out of everyone, while simultaneously shortening our memories of older films.
The series kicks off this weekend with a double bill of Charlie Chaplin features, appropriately enough. First, there's A Dog's Life, a 40-minute saga of the Little Tramp, down and out in the company of a lounge singer and a dog. Next up is the much-loved 1921 flick The Kid, which at 68 minutes, was an early foray into feature comedies. Here, Chaplin's Tramp starts a money-making racket with a little hellion he encounters, played by Jackie Coogan.
Rediscovering Classics will take place at Durham County Library, Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. Call 560-0171 for more information.