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Charlie Chaplin: What A Career Essay

2889 words - 12 pages

From his first appearance on stage, Charlie Chaplin was destined to have a great career. Both Charlie's mother and father acted or sang, so it was not at all surprising that Chaplin went into the field of acting and being a comedian. From his early films to his later ones and through every film company, Charlie Chaplin was always a star. Most people thought that Chaplin was a professional at making people laugh, although he thought differently. "That's all any of us are - amateurs. We don't live long enough to be anything else. What a sad business this is - being funny" ( Maland 331 ). Even at age eleven or twelve, while touring with William Jackson's Lancashire Lads, Charlie Chaplin had an ambition to be a star. "I would have liked to be a boy comedian - but that would have taken nerve to stand on the stage alone," ( Robinson 43 ) said Chaplin. Charlie's chance came when at the age of fourteen Chaplin registered with one of the theatrical agencies on Bradford Street. Chaplin already had the looks, vivacity and charm of a later age. Within a short time of registering, the Blackmore agency sent a postcard asking Charlie to come in about a job. Mr. Saintsbury, a play writer for Blackmore, clearly took to Charlie on sight and gave Charlie a part in his play. Charlie could not read the words from the script so his step-brother Sydney read the part to him and Charlie new the part word perfect in three days. Although the play was not a success, Charlie earned his first press notice. The critics said that Charlie showed promise in his work, " a bright and vigorous actor" (Robinson 53). Charlie Chaplin came to work for the Keystone company at the beginning of 1914. Charlie thought he would dress in baggy pants, big shoes, a cane and a derby hat for the films at Keystone. Charlie was undecided weather to look young or old when he remembered Mr. Sennett, one of Keystone's top directors, had expected him to be much older. Chaplin decided to add a small mustache, which would add age without hiding his expression. His clothes and make-up made him feel the character. The "Tramp" was fully born by the time he had walked on the stage. For days Charlie Chaplin wandered around the Keystone Studio in Los Angeles. Keystone was a dilapidated place with a green fence around it. At last Charlie's moment came from Henry Lehrman. Lehrman, Keystone's top director besides Sennett, started a new picture and wanted Charlie to play a newspaper reporter. Making a Living was the first of thirty-five short films Chaplin made while at Keystone during 1914. In November 1914 Charlie signed a contract with G.M. Anderson, also known as Bronco Billy, and George K. Spoon of the Essanay Company in Chicago. Chaplin was to receive twelve hundred and fifty dollars a week. Charlie was not only to write and direct films but also act in them. Charlie made sixteen movies for Essanay and most of them stared the beautiful Edna Purviance. The first...


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