Saturday, April 16, 2011

Charlie Chaplin gets birthday 'doodle' from Google

Charlie Chaplin gets birthday 'doodle' from GoogleCharlie Chaplin gets birthday 'doodle' from Google
Doug Gross

By Doug Gross, CNN
April 15, 2011 -- Updated 1954 GMT (0354 HKT) | Filed under: Web
Google Doodle team member Mike Dutton portrays Charlie Chaplin in a tribute video posted on the site's search page.
Google Doodle team member Mike Dutton portrays Charlie Chaplin in a tribute video posted on the site's search page.

* Charlie Chaplin is commemorated with a Google "doodle" for his 122nd birthday
* Honor for the iconic silent film star is the first time Google has done a video doodle
* The short black-and-white film stars members of the Google Doodle team

(CNN) -- He's a comedy and cinema legend, a man still cited as an inspiration decades after his death.

And now, in honor of what would have been his 122nd birthday, Charlie Chaplin has inspired one of the most ambitious Google "doodles" ever.

On Friday, the space on Google's homepage that usually contains its multicolored logo instead featured a black-and-white YouTube tribute to Chaplin, whose birthday is Saturday.

The short "silent" film is Google's first-ever video doodle and was created with the help of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum.

"True pieces of art, Chaplin's films still feel fresh today even though some of them are nearly a century old," Ryan Germick, a member of Google's Doodle team, wrote on the company's official blog. "We hope that our homepage gets people talking about his work and the many virtues of silent film."

The project is the work of the Google Doodle team, which is devoted to sprucing up Google's plain search page with colorful images to commemorate holidays or other noteworthy dates or events.

For Google, doodles are oodles of fun
The art of the Google doodle

The video was shot in Niles, California, the site of several of Chaplin's iconic silent films, including "The Tramp," and features the entire Google Doodle team.

Team member Mike Dutton mimics Chaplin, who, in the two-minute video, attempts to make money by drawing his own doodle before tricking a mean police officer into buying him breakfast.

* Google Inc.
* Charlie Chaplin
* Cartoons and Animation
* Movies

The video will remain on Google's page through Saturday, according to the blog post.

In a recent interview, Doodle team creative leader Ryan Germick told CNN that the drawings started out as a way to humanize the search page, but became more elaborate as time went on.

"It's definitely something we try to mix up and keep surprising," said Germick (who doubles as the aforementioned mean cop in the video). "Our hope is you come to the Google homepage, and we're really thankful for that. We want to give back and try something fun."

See some behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot.

Some other notable doodles in recent months have honored novelist Jules Verne, Google's 12th anniversary, the emergence of coding language HTML5 and, perhaps most notably, the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man, the '80s arcade game.

Chaplin is arguably the most iconic and recognizable star of early silent films, including such classics as "City Lights" and "Modern Times." Born in London in 1889, he was most known for his Little Tramp character, who sported a bowler hat, moustache, cane and baggy pants.

Chaplin died in Vevey, Switzerland, on December 25, 1977, at the age of 88.

CNN's Dan Simon in San Francisco contributed to this report.


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