Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dinner for One

It is a new year, and let me celebrate my newest post with a little dinner.

Dinner For One to be precise.

I was watching an episode of QI today and was introduced to this wonderful little bit. According to Stephen Fry (and QI) this sketch is the most repeated television broadcast of all time. My American sensibilities find that hard to believe. Every year since I can remember, Marry Christmas Charlie Brown, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas have been broadcast on American television.

Im sure few Americans have ever heard of Dinner For One, but if you are from Germany this might be a different story. The sketch is broadcast on every German television channel on December 31st, and it has been since 1972. Like David Hasselhoff, this British sketch from the 1920's is truly a German cult phenomenon. I couldn't imagine every television station broadcasting the same television show at the same time on the same day every year. I find that aspect of the tradition a bit creepy.

There are a few things that really appeal to me as an animator. The sketch involves a lot of repetition. To a point where some of the actions become a bit stale. Especially when the butler trips over the head of the tiger skin rug. But that repetition forces the actor playing the butler to vary his acting choices in order to keep the actions fresh and interesting.

Another thing I find really intriguing about the piece are the choices that the butler makes when he embodies each of the dinner guests, and how they change as he becomes increasingly more intoxicated through the scene. The different gestures and mannerisms are fun and interesting to watch.

I have uploaded the sketch in full. Enjoy!

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