Kid Auto Races at Venice: The Public’s First Glimpse of Chaplin’s Tramp

Kid-Auto-Races-at-Venice

Today marks the anniversary of the release of Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914), the film which provided the public with its first glimpse of Charlie Chaplin’s “Tramp” character. This was technically his second film as the Tramp, but the first to be released (the first had been Mabel’s Strange Predicamentreleased a few days later). After floundering a bit in his first film Making a Living, Chaplin found his footing by putting on a derby hat, slapshoes, tiny mustache and carrying a flexible cane. It was an immediate smash with the public.  Kid Auto Races at Venice was shot at an actual soap box derby (the titular “kid auto races”) held on the streets of the seaside suburb of Venice. Thousands of onlookers were on hand, and the plot, such as it is, concerns Charlie’s efforts to get in front of a newsreel camera being operated by an increasingly frustrated Henry “Pathe” Lehrman, who directed the film. They are the only two characters in the movie. Watch it here!

maxresdefault.jpg

For more on silent and slapstick comedy film history, including Charlie Chaplin classics like “Kid Auto Races at Venice” see my book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.