“It’s a dirty old man!” The tramp first time out (Mabel’s Strange Predicament 1914).
One of the biggest mysteries in film comedy, is how Chaplin came up with his tramp character. However, contemporary reviews of his early films, suggest that his walk was more important to audiences, rather than who he was, or who he represented. A master-stroke? You bet, and he lived off the back of the walk for decades. In general, we now accept the story of the advent of the flat-footed tramp, as ‘given’ but how did the little guy actually come about? Let’s look at the evidence.
From Music Hall to Keystone Comedies.
The first mystery that we have, is that of how Chaplin came to be at Keystone. Mack Sennett said, in his autobiography, that he’d seen Chaplin in his English Music Hall show and thought he’d be just right for his slapstick…
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