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People in a Theatre Balcony by Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell People in a Theatre Balcony
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October 14, 1916 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post


People in a Theatre Balcony, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published October 14, 1916.

An alternate title for this painting is Charlie Chaplin Fans.

This illustration was Rockwell's fifth picture featured on the cover of The Post. The Post featured Rockwell on the cover six times in 1916 and eight times during his first twelve months with the magazine.

This painting has been reproduced in two Rockwell commentary books, as illustration 91 of ***Buechener.shtml***and on page 74 of Norman Rockwell, A Definitive Catalogue by Laurie Norton Moffatt.

The location of the original oil on canvas painting is unknown.

This cover is hard to find in excellent or better condition. I have seen pristine original copies of this magazine cover sell for multiples of one hundred dollars on eBay. And it only cost a nickel when it was brand new.




A Night at the Theatre

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In this picture, we see a family of six people seated in a theater balcony.

It is dark inside the theater, except for the stage lights. We see darkness painted all around the family, their faces illuminated only by the stage lights.

Grandpa is here in theater. So is Mom and Dad. Also treated to the show are Little Sister and Brother, seated in the front so they can see. Big Sister is seated in the back.

The whole family is enjoying the show. All are smiling broadly except one. Little Sister has a look of amazement on her face.

What is the theatre entertainment that has this whole famly captivated.

Watching Charlie Chaplain as The Tramp

Theatre Program showing Charlie Chaplain as The Tramp

The playbill being held by two members of the family appears to be called "TONIGHT."

The playbill features a picture of Charlie Chaplin on the cover. The picture depicts Chaplin as The Tramp, the character he made famous.

In 1916, Charlie Chaplin appeared in ten films. The films of that day were often no more than 15 minutes long.

The only 1916 film listing Chaplain playing the character of The Tramp is The Floorwalker. This film is also called Shop or The Store.

Chaplain's portrayed The Tramp as a vagrant with the refined manners and dignity of a gentleman. He wore a tight coat, with oversized pants and shoes, a derby or bowler hat. He carried and swung a bamboo cane. On his face was his signature square mustache.

Charlie Chaplin was one of the most creative personalities of the early silent film era.

He acted in, directed, wrote, produced, and eventually even wrote the score for his own films. He eventually appeared in 87 films.

Norman Rockwell periodically included popular culture in his paintings. Including a reference to Charlie Chaplain ensured that most of his audience related to this painting.


The Norman Rockwell cover for the October 14, 1916 issue of The Saturday Evening Post entitled People in a Theatre Balcony

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Norman Rockwell's People in a Theatre Balcony (1916)

(Image Only) Copyright © 1916 Saturday Evening Post & Curtis Publishing Company

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Norman Rockwell Quotes:


I'll never have enough time to paint all the pictures I'd like to.

No man with a conscience can just bat out illustrations. He's got to put all his talent and feeling into them!

Some people have been kind enough to call me a fine artist. I've always called myself an illustrator. I'm not sure what the difference is. All I know is that whatever type of work I do, I try to give it my very best. Art has been my life.

Right from the beginning, I always strived to capture everything I saw as completely as possible.

The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they're always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back.

I can take a lot of pats on the back. I love it when I get admiring letters from people. And, of course, I'd love it if the critics would notice me, too.

You must first spend some time getting your model to relax. Then you'll get a natural expression.

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