25 December 2008


Chaplin on the shoulders of Douglas Fairbanks at a Liberty Bonds rally in New York (1918).

Charlie Chaplin died on Christmas Day 1977 at his home in Switzerland. Although he was by no means a "communist", he departed the USA in 1952 feeling bitter and anxious about hysterical accusations that flocked around him. This clownish little man was a giant of the silent movies. His place in American history and the history of film should have been assured but it wasn't until he was an old man, two years before his death that he was finally knighted by our queen. Until then, the question of honouring Chaplin had been a thorny one, given America's post war witch-hunts. Similarly, it wasn't until the nineteen seventies that Chaplin was honoured with a star in the pavement on Hollywood's famous "Walk of Fame".

Clearly, Chaplin always had a social conscience. His famous bowler-hatted tramp gave more than a nod of sympathy to the downtrodden masses and some of his films - including "The Great Dictator" and "Modern Times" had political undercurrents beneath the ribald laughter they evoked. Chaplin once said, "The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish." These were not the words of a clown even though that is how he would often describe himself. There was more to Charles Spencer Chaplin than met the eye.

Chaplin met Ghandi in 1931.


  1. My grandad, real name Abraham, was known to everyone as Charlie because childhood rickets had given him a walk similar to Chaplin's and he did look rather like him. As you may imagine, my father was a big fan of Chaplin's both for his films and his politics.

  2. Nice little blog. Change from the tele. I am becoming fascinated with this blogging thing. I don't wish to be rude but why does someone blog on Christmas Day. (Why shouldn't you) Have you an end product in mind. When does one become a professional blogger. At what stage do people blog as a profession. It really is a world of its own. Forgive my curiosity but I am so naive regarding the whole thing.
    How often do you get to see Hull. I was jealous when you went up but got over it and am thrilled to bits for you now. has fagen ever come back after injury.Happy new year.

  3. DAPHNE - Childhood rickets = Charlie Chaplin. Small stature = Tom Thumb. Short sightedness = Batman. How insensitive can the ascription of nicknames be?
    GRUMPERS - I blogged on Xmas Day because the rest of the family were watching some crap on the TV that I wished to avoid.
    Professional blogger? Such people are as rare as hens' teeth. If you wish to know how to become a professional blogger send me £50 (cash only)
    Hull City? I am a season ticket holder. Craig Fagan was cruelly hacked down by Guthrie of Newcastle in September. His leg was broken and he is only now getting back to full fitness. Thanks to Derby for sending him back to us!

  4. Chaplin is brilliant! So misunderstood by the masses, but brilliant!
    The Marx Brothers are in the same league in my humble opinion. Duck Soup is outstanding:
    "If you marry me, I'll promise you'll have a Rufus over your head for the rest of your life." How this stuff got past the censors...

  5. Anonymous12:45 pm


  6. N.B., Grumpy Old Ken: You become a professional blogger when someone pays you actual money to do it.

    N.B., everyone else: even though I wish to, I don't know whether to say "Happy Boxing Day" to my new friends in England (Daphne, Pudding, Jay, Andy) because (a) I don't know whether that is what people say on Boxing Day or even if they say anything and (b) I don't know, Pudding, whether you observe it at all given your "ardent atheism", ardent enough to tell me to my face, sort of, that Christianity is based on a "hideous fallacy" and I don't want to offend you further when my having opinions that differ from yours is apparently offense enough and (c) it is the first time in my entire 67 (almost 68) years of living that I have ever had the occasion or opportunity to wish someone a "Happy Boxing Day" and I am almost giddy with excitement at the prospect.

    Ah, the perplexities of being alive at this moment....

    I do like Charlie Chaplin's movies, though.

  7. Whatever happened to Oona?

  8. Never mind. I looked up "Oona O'Neill" on wikipedia and found out what happened to her.

  9. Lets not forget he also wrote " smile" a favourite of my daughters when she was young.

  10. Anonymous4:27 am

    Although we have differences in culture, but do not want is that this view is the same and I like that!

  11. Anonymous12:45 am

    You these things, I have read twice, for me, this is a relatively rare phenomenon!
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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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