ISSUE DATE: July 6, 1925
ALSO APPEARED: Feb. 9, 1931
His first efforts to be funny in celluloid were dismal. Keystone directors feared that he was overpaid, offered to cancel the contract. Chaplin told Roscoe Arbuckle, the now deposed cinema clown, that he needed a pair of shoes. Arbuckle tossed him a pair of his own enormous brogues. “There you are, man,” he said. “Perfect fit!” Chaplin put them on, cocked his battered derby over his ear, twisted the ends of his prim mustache. His face was very sad. He attempted a jaunty walk which became, inevitably, a heart-breaking waddle. He put his hand on the seat of his trousers, spun on his heel. Arbuckle told him that he was almost funny. Such was the research that led him to “create a figure that would be a living satire on every human vanity.”
In three months, the U. S. raved; in six, England shrieked; in a year his hat, feet, waddle and harrassed, insouciant smirk were familiar to South Sea Islanders who pasted his picture on the walls of their bathhouses; to lamas in Tibet who chucked each other in the ribs at a mention of his name; to bushwackers, coolies, Cossacks, Slavs, Nordics. His salary became $1.000, $2,000, $3,000 a week.
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