Charlie Chaplin Wooden Cutout

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NotSoSilent

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Charlie Chaplin Wooden Cutout

PostMon May 29, 2017 9:56 am

While visiting my in-laws in Florida, I bought the following Charlie Chaplin wooden cutout at an antique store. The problem is, I'm not entirely sure what it is - its age, original use/purpose, etc. As you can see, it's life size (or very close), plus there was something attached across his waist (see second image). Additionally, you can see at the bottom that there was a cutout/slot for a stand (see third image). It appears to be made out of pressed wood and has slight wear/tear. The oval cutout is intriguing; it seems to be the right size to hold a newspaper (or flyers?).

I will admit that there is not a 100% likeness to Chaplin, but it's close. Additionally, it's odd that there is no cane. Maybe there was one originally, or maybe there is a cane connection to the oval shape? I'm excited to add this to my collection, but I'm scratching my head trying to figure out why it was made. Was it for a film festival? Was it made by a fan and used for decoration? I realize it could be "nothing" - just a fun find at a antique store, but I'm still interested in hearing any thoughts/ideas. (I'm also trying to locate the owner of the booth at the antique store to see if they can provide a little history.)

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Brooksie

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Re: Charlie Chaplin Wooden Cutout

PostMon May 29, 2017 4:07 pm

Looks like the hole might have been designed to hold some kind of rolled-up newspaper or newsletter.
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oldposterho

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Re: Charlie Chaplin Wooden Cutout

PostMon May 29, 2017 5:33 pm

Mebbe used by a theater to display posters?
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missdupont

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Re: Charlie Chaplin Wooden Cutout

PostMon May 29, 2017 7:21 pm

Looks like someone took an image, blew up with computer, and made something new.
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Jim Roots

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Re: Charlie Chaplin Wooden Cutout

PostTue May 30, 2017 6:21 am

My first thought was that it was a door decoration of a type that enjoyed a brief popularity in the middle-late 1960s. These were life-size figures that you could hang on your bedroom door to liven it up. The hole would have been to allow the doorknob to fit through the cardboard.

However, on this Chaplin figure the hole is too high for a North American doorknob's location. And it is too far away from the edge; Chaplin's elbow would get crushed when you closed your door.

I seem to remember my brother had a clown version, but it didn't last long.

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jjbluecaps

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Re: Charlie Chaplin Wooden Cutout

PostWed May 31, 2017 1:24 pm

I'm sure that there was a cane on that hand...
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s.w.a.c.

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Re: Charlie Chaplin Wooden Cutout

PostWed May 31, 2017 1:41 pm

Maybe the oval contained rolled up menus, from a restaurant with an old-timey theme? I recall similar decor at a '70s chain called The Old Spaghetti Factory, or some such thing. The kind of place that showed Keystone films in the foyer, to watch while waiting for a table.
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NotSoSilent

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Re: Charlie Chaplin Wooden Cutout

PostFri Jun 02, 2017 7:44 am

Thank you all for your thoughts and ideas. I have yet to hear back from the antique store. If they end-up responding and have information on its history, I'll report back here.
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Jim Roots

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Re: Charlie Chaplin Wooden Cutout

PostFri Jun 02, 2017 3:15 pm

s.w.a.c. wrote:Maybe the oval contained rolled up menus, from a restaurant with an old-timey theme? I recall similar decor at a '70s chain called The Old Spaghetti Factory, or some such thing. The kind of place that showed Keystone films in the foyer, to watch while waiting for a table.


The Old Spaghetti Factory still thrives in Toronto, and I've been told there are franchises in other cities. The last time I went there was about three years ago. A cut-out like this, and the Keystone films too, would fit right in with the decor and theme of that restaurant, so Stephen may well be correct.

Jim
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martinola

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Re: Charlie Chaplin Wooden Cutout

PostSat Jun 03, 2017 10:36 am

It could have been a photographer's amusement park/fair "photo op" cut out. Perhaps that hole is for linking arms with Charlie. Look where his eyes are focused. (I know it's a lame thought but I'm still working on my first cup of coffee.)

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NotSoSilent

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Re: Charlie Chaplin Wooden Cutout

PostSat Jun 03, 2017 1:30 pm

martinola wrote:It could have been a photographer's amusement park/fair "photo op" cut out. Perhaps that hole is for linking arms with Charlie. Look where his eyes are focused. (I know it's a lame thought but I'm still working on my first cup of coffee.)

I think you are onto something! I thought the same thing about an arm going through the oval, but didn't even consider it could have been used for posing with Charlie, especially given where his eyes are looking. I just assumed it was a somewhat popular pose he used (see below), but I'm thinking you likely figured it out.

There are no signs of where a cane was on Charlie's other side, no missing paint or markings, so maybe that was a detail that didn't matter much to the creator of the piece. Or maybe it was a separate item that no longer survives (or maybe they used an actual cane?). Also, the marking going across his waist could have been used to post a sign noting the event and date. It seems logical to me!

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