7 Feb: Chaplin: Birth of The Tramp

The first film to feature Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Tramp’ character was filmed on 7th February, 1914: the Keystone comedy short, ‘Kid Auto Races at Venice’. 

Remarkably, Chaplin had created the character only three days earlier, on instruction by studio boss Max Sennett to inject more gags into another film, ‘Mabel’s Strange Predicament’. In the costume cupboard, he put together Fatty Arbuckle’s old trousers, a tight coat, a small hat, and large shoes. To age his youthful face, a moustache was added – and a legend was born. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how the Tramp had roots in Chaplin’s earlier stage career as ‘the inebriate’; marvel at the activities teenage boys were encouraged to do on the streets of Los Angeles in the 2010s; and reveal how a documentary called ‘Olives and their Oil’ may have increased the impact of his Hollywood debut… 

Further Reading:

Charlie Chaplin, Legendary Movie Comedian (ThoughtCo, 2019): https://www.thoughtco.com/charlie-chaplin-4769059

• ‘The rise and fall of Chaplinitis: How Charlie Chaplin changed the film industry forever’ (Far Out Magazine, 2020): https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/the-rise-and-fall-of-chaplinitis-how-charlie-chaplin-changed-the-film-industry-forever/

• ‘Kid Auto Races at Venice’ (Keystone, 1914):