THE MOVIE(S): Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp movies
THE HAT: In 1914, Charlie Chaplin, a young Brit actor under contract to the Keystone Film company, was asked to get into “comedy make-up” for a short called Mabel’s Strange Predicament. As Chaplin recalls in his autobiography: “On the way to the wardrobe I thought I would dress in baggy pants, big shoes, a cane and a derby hat…. I added a small moustache, which I reasoned, would add age without hiding my expression. I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the makeup made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked on stage he was fully born.” And thus, was created The Tramp, Chaplin’s perpetually down-on-his-luck (but always dignified) Everyman, whom Chaplin portrayed in dozens of subsequent short films and several truly classic features.
OTHER DERBY/BOWLER-WEARING CHARACTERS: See: Alex Delarge