The best feeling of happiness is when you’re happy because you’ve made somebody else happy. A standup comedian who makes everyone happy and rolls them off the chairs laughing may not be happy inside but they make us happy. The doctor says that “Laughter is the best medicine” and these comedians give us that medicine daily. Making anyone laugh by telling jokes is difficult but makes them laugh just by your acts and expression is way much difficult, we are talking about silent comedy here. When it comes to the silent comedy, only one character comes to our mind, and that is a man with the loose pants, the tight coat, the small hat and the large shoes with a small mustache, and that man is Charlie Chaplin.
A Day Without Laughter Is A Day Wasted – Charlie Chaplin
Charles Spencer Chaplin, also known as Charlie Chaplin or Charles Chaplin is a very famous and successful standup comedian, Director and silent films actor. He was born on 16th April 1889 in London, England and he is the child of two singers and movie stars, Charles Chaplin Sr. and Hannah Chaplin. At the time of Charlie’s birth, both of his parents work at the music hall tradition. His father was even applauded on the stage in England. His struggle story is so motivational and interesting that the writer who wrote his biography stated it as the “the most dramatic of all the rage to rich stories ever told”.
Charlie first performed on stage when he was five years old, It was a very sweet moment, one day while performing, his mother lost his voice in the middle of the performance, venue’s manager force five-year-old Charlie to go on the stage. Charlie wrote in his autobiography that “And in the turmoil I remember the manager leading me by the hand and, after a few explanatory words to the audience, leaving me on the stage alone. Before a glare of footlights and faces in smoke, I started to sing, accompanied by the orchestra, which fiddled about until it found my key”. He sang Jack Jones and the audience liked him so much because of his innocence. That day two things happened there, first Charlie discovered his voice and second is that his mom lost her voice and never sang again.
Two months later, Charlie performed a comedy work in the school that his mother taught him and everyone likes it, because of this he became a celebrity in the school. Later, he faced his first failure when he tried to participate in his school’s Christmas musical. Charlie said that “I was better able…than those who had been chosen”. He began his career through his father’s connections, he became a member of The Eight Lancashire Lads clogs dancing troupe. Charlie worked very hard in this troupe in 1899 to 1900 and his acts became very popular.
Charlie also had a brother whose name is Sydney Chaplin and his mother raise both the child by herself. Her mother had no source of income but she earns occasionally by nursing and by making dresses, his father provided no support to them. Because of the poverty, Charlie was sent to the workhouse when he was seven years old. He studied in the charity schools. His mother became mentally ill in 1898 and sent to the mental asylum and Charlie and his brother was sent to his father’s. His father used to drink a lot and because of this, he died two years later in 1901. Then his mom returned from the asylum but becomes critical again after some time. Charlie took care of his mom until his brother came returned from the navy and then his mother died in 1928.
Charlie drops his education at the age of 13 and searched for the jobs but he never loses the hope to become an actor. At the age of 14, he registered with a theatrical agency in London’s West End. Due to his talent, he got his first role as a newsboy in H.A. Saintsbury’s Jim. The show doesn’t become successful but closed after two weeks although Charlie’s performance was praised. Then from October 1903 to June 1904, he toured with Charles Frohman’s production of Sherlock Homes and performed as Billy the page boy for two tours. He became so successful that he is called to play a role along with William Gillette.
In 1906, he joined the vaudeville act Casey’s Court Circus. He plays the role of the character known as Dr. Bodie which becomes so popular that makes the Charlie the star of the show. He remained unemployed for several months after and decided to make a solo comedy act. In 1908, Sydney Chaplin, who now became the star of Fred Karno’s prestigious comedy company arranged a two weeks trial for his brother. Karno thought that this guy must be a small and shy type of guy but Charlie impressed everyone at his first night at London Coliseum, then after the show, he was quickly contracted.
Next tour with Karno didn’t become successful because other members fell sick but something amazing happened after that, Charlie’s manager received a telegram from New York Motion Pictures that “Is there a man named Chaffin in your company or something like that”. They want Charlie for the replacement of Fred Mace. Charlie said in his autobiography that “I wanted everything to be a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large … I added a small mustache, which, I reasoned, would add age without hiding my expression. I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the makeup made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked on stage he was fully born.”
Charlie then adopted the Character and started working in the movies. Later, he became director of Keystone’s films and directed his first movie “Caught in the Rain” which becomes the most successful release to date. Charlie then became the king of the comedy independently even after facing so many obstacles in his ways. He died on 25th December 1977.
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