Charlie Chaplin - Fake News!

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Brooksie

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Charlie Chaplin - Fake News!

PostSun May 07, 2017 10:35 am

This very peculiar article came up on the UK's Daily Mail website recently. I know it's hardly the Washington Post, but yeesh - ten minutes' of Googling would have revealed it as a very obvious fabrication or inside joke. It would barely pass muster as an April Fool's gag. See how many inaccuracies you can count! The winner receives the Kenneth Anger Lifetime Achievement Award ...

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From http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4480118/Film-moguls-told-Chaplin-Drop-silly-walks-moustache.html:

Film moguls told Chaplin: Drop the name, silly walks and moustache in newly discovered message from Universal studio

Hollywood executives told Charlie Chaplin, then 23, to lose the funny walk
Instructions came from Universal to Charles Austin, a comedian who recommended Chaplin as a new star to replace Buster Keaton
But the executives didn't want to offend 'people who are bow-legged or crippled'
A year after the failed audition without his quirks, he made his first silent film


By David Wigg For The Mail On Sunday
PUBLISHED: 17:00 EDT, 6 May 2017 | UPDATED: 21:47 EDT, 6 May 2017

As a piece of career advice, it might be describe as comically misguided – and it could have deprived the world of a cultural icon.

Thankfully, Charlie Chaplin was not easily deterred.

Newly discovered correspondence reveals that the then 23-year-old was advised by Hollywood executives to change his name and hat, lose the funny walk – and even shave off his trademark moustache.

The instructions from film studio Universal in 1912 came in a letter to London-based comedian and impresario Charles Austin, who had recommended Chaplin as a new star to replace the increasingly 'demanding' Buster Keaton.

The studio wrote: 'The moustache must go and Chaplin will have to change name. Too easily confused with another comic Charlie Chase. Also Chaplin sounds Jewish.'

The memo added: 'Please send in new ideas and new name in case tests are successful. Also, do not allow Chaplin to walk comically. This may look alright on English Music Hall stages but for mass audience we must try to avoid offending people who are bow- legged or cripples. DO NOT let him over-act. Try other hats and caps, possibly even beret.'

Springing to Chaplin's defence, Austin replied: 'Chaplin strongly objects changing make-up and style.'

Nevertheless, the studio still paid for him to travel to Hollywood in January 1913 for a screen test.
He performed, as requested, without the comic quirks that would later make him world-famous.
Universal's verdict was scathing: 'Test unsatisfactory. Very bland style, no personality and too short. Please keep looking for comics. Keaton becoming impossible.'

The following year, Chaplin made his first silent film, Making A Living, for the Keystone Studios.

Shortly afterwards he introduced his Little Tramp character in Kid Auto Races At Venice and a star was born.
Chaplin went on to win three Oscars during a 75-year career as an actor, writer, director and producer. The correspondence was found in the archives of London showbusiness charity the Grand Order of Water Rats, of which Austin was chairman.

Mike Martin, secretary to the Water Rats' trustees, said: 'It's a great thrill that these letters about Chaplin's early days, when he was trying to get a film contract, have suddenly come to light.'

The charity plans to display them at its museum in Gray's Inn Road, along with his famous bowler hat and cane.
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WaverBoy

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Re: Charlie Chaplin - Fake News!

PostMon May 08, 2017 1:22 am

Yeah, Keaton was getting pretty uppity at Universal by 1912, five years before he made his first film at Comique with Arbuckle.

Amazing.
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Re: Charlie Chaplin - Fake News!

PostMon May 08, 2017 9:29 am

Wow, read the comments there!!!
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Brooksie

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Re: Charlie Chaplin - Fake News!

PostMon May 08, 2017 11:04 am

A few poor souls have attempted to correct the record in the comments - including one who sensibly points out the likelihood of a gag letter specificially designed to amuse Chaplin - but they're drowned out by people who barely skimmed the headline.
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Gumlegs

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Re: Charlie Chaplin - Fake News!

PostWed May 10, 2017 5:47 pm

The whole thing is hilarious. I'm afraid the Mail swallowed this one hook, line, and sinker.
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Arndt

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Re: Charlie Chaplin - Fake News!

PostThu May 11, 2017 1:03 am

What do you expect? It's the DAILY MAIL!
The most hateful and stupid rag in the UK.

Please confirm here (nb these are genuine, irony-free front pages from the last twelve months):

http://www.businessinsider.de/brexit-high-court-article-50-judges-mail-express-front-page-2016-11?r=UK&IR=T

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/daily-mail-front-page-crush-the-saboteurs-general-election-2017_uk_58f702e2e4b029063d351410
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Re: Charlie Chaplin - Fake News!

PostSat May 13, 2017 2:31 am

The story was even featured (briefly) on Have I Got News For You last night. Paul Merton, rather unsurprisingly cast doubt on it's authenticity although he didn't rubbish it outright, but it just shows the level of fact checking in this age of fake news at the BBC.
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Arndt

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Re: Charlie Chaplin - Fake News!

PostSat May 13, 2017 3:59 am

JumpingFrog wrote:The story was even featured (briefly) on Have I Got News For You last night. Paul Merton, rather unsurprisingly cast doubt on it's authenticity although he didn't rubbish it outright, but it just shows the level of fact checking in this age of fake news at the BBC.


I saw it. I think the only reason Merton let it rest was because it just won't do to be a smart aleck on British TV.
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silentfilm

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Re: Charlie Chaplin - Fake News!

PostMon May 15, 2017 6:21 am

Pamela Hutchinson has a pretty spot-on rebuttal of this article on her Silent London blog.
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missdupont

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Re: Charlie Chaplin - Fake News!

PostMon May 15, 2017 8:06 am

Non silent film lovers won't be seeing that though.
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Re: Charlie Chaplin - Fake News!

PostFri May 26, 2017 10:43 am

silentfilm wrote:Pamela Hutchinson has a pretty spot-on rebuttal of this article on her Silent London blog.


Thanks. And the real story is here now.

https://silentlondon.co.uk/2017/05/26/t ... universal/

Apologies for the delay in posting this.

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