Photo Essays
1. Exile’s Return
2. Chaplin’s Parents
3. Hannah Chaplin’s Femmes Fatales
4. Playing Dress-Up  In The Land of Make Believe
5. Teenage Girls and Fear of Aging
6. Chaplin’s Three Teenage Wives
7. Mildred Harris
8. Lita Grey
9. Oona O’Neill
10. Chaplin’s Father
11. A Royal Lion
12. Vesta Tilley as Bertie
13. Ella Shields as Bertie
14. Making A Living
15. The Lion Comique’s Son: Dressed Like A Bum
16. Monsieur Verdoux as a Lion Comique
17. Calvero as a Lion Comique
18. The Lion Comique’s Son in the Limelight
19. Charlie as a Child
20. The Kid’s Lucky Break
21. Syd Chaplin
22. A Family Album of Theatrical Drunks
23. Chaplin’s Family Romance
24. Edna Purviance
25. Purviance’s Influence on Chaplin’s Character
26. Essanay
27. Chaplinitis
28. Chaplin’s Predecessors
29. Eye Contact: Audience-Performer Intimacy
30. Chaplin the Auteur
31. Chaplin’s Two Autobiographies
32. Going It Alone
33. The Circus
34. Autobiographical Starvation Scenes From The Gold Rush
35. Autobiographical Madness Scenes in Modern Times
36. Two British Music Hall Traditions and Topical Comedy
37. The Great Dictator
38. Fatal Attraction: Joan Barry
39. Monsieur Verdoux: Guillotine or Hatchet Job?
40. Limelight
Chaplin: A Life In Film
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 The Circus

Jeffrey Vance Collection

Chaplin’s father, Charlie Chaplin Sr. was a lion comique stage character who portrayed himself as an elegant man-about-town with a fondness for the grape and a way with the ladies. The lion comique character was loosely modeled after The Prince of Wales, whose lifestyle embodied these traits. In the democratic era of British music hall the unstated motto was “every man his own monarch.” While Charlie Chaplin Sr. was neither the first nor foremostof his ilk, he actually billed himself The Lion Comique. The Little Tramp—his namesake son’s screen character—was an affectionate memorialization and witty, tongue-in-cheek parody of Charlie Chaplin Sr.’s stage character.

Strutting onstage in formal evening dress with a walking stick in one hand and snifter of brandy or flute of champagne in the other, Charlie Chaplin Sr. offered his working class and middle class audiences a chance to identify vicariously with his lah-di-dah life-style and comic adventures as a suave ladykiller. But Charlie’s father’s real job (off-stage) was to whet the thirst and lighten the wallets of his fans and admirers at the theatre bar during intermission and after the show. The large sums he earned for performing were ear-marked to be spent at the bar in order to encourage his fans to follow his convivial example.

The most well known lion comique drinking song of the era was “Champagne Charlie"
© 2008 All Essay Rights Reserved.

All images from Chaplin films made from 1918 onwards, Copyright © Roy
Export Company Establishment._Charles Chaplin and the Little Tramp are trademarks and/or
service marks of Bubbles Inc. S.A. and/or Roy Export Company
Establishment, used with permission.

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