through Khyle deen. Posted Tue Jun 15, 2021 8:26 PM

Chaplin was a London-born actor, filmmaker and composer best known for his comedy silent films.

He was also someone who had such an effect on the film industry that he received a 12-minute standing ovation at the Oscars in 1972 after receiving an honorary award for “the incalculable effect he had. by making cinema the art form of this century “.

But what a lot of people don’t realize is that Chaplin, who died in 1977 at the age of 88, actually lived in Liverpool when he was a young boy.

A special 100th anniversary screening of Chaplin’s 1921 film The Kid will be screened this month at the Angel Field Festival, an annual arts event hosted by the University of Liverpool Hope.

And now, author and historian Ken Pye has revealed what brought Chaplin to Merseyside – and how the great artist never felt “more welcome or cared for” than when he was at his school in Liverpool.

Ken, a respected speaker and history consultant, explains how Chaplin was born to a couple of London-based touring vaudeville artists – Charles Chaplin Sr. and his wife Hannah.

Chaplin Junior’s life was turned upside down when his alcoholic father abandoned the family, including his older half-brother Sydney, forcing them to spend time in a work house. Mum Hannah also suffered from recurrent episodes of mental illness that necessitated stays in mental asylums.

Describing how Chaplin emerged from those dark beginnings, Ken adds: “In 1900, at the age of eleven, young Charlie joined ‘Eight Lancashire Lads’ – a troupe of popular hoof dancers – and he toured in British theaters and music halls.

“Charlie’s father, who had virtually no contact with his children, died the following year. The troupe has appeared in theaters in the North West often, including the Argyle Theater in Birkenhead and the Hengler’s Music Hall in Everton, Liverpool, which later became the Hippodrome Theater.

“Indeed, it was in 1900, when he was running for a long engagement with Hengler, Charlie stayed in digs in the neighboring district of Everton, at No 9 Salisbury Street. As he was of school age, the young boy had to register and attend the school closest to his place of residence.

“It was the Saint-François-Xavier Roman Catholic School, run by the Jesuits, also on Salisbury Street.”

The school buildings still stand today, but are now part of the ‘Creative Campus’ of Liverpool Hope University in Everton. Indeed, the Capstone Theater where the film will be screened as part of the Angel Field Festival is located on the same site where Chaplin attended the school.

And Chaplin’s stay in Liverpool deeply marked him.

Ken says: “In his later life the artist would say that of all the schools he attended during his complex and demanding youth he never felt so welcomed or cared for as he did during the few weeks. that he spent in Liverpool, at SFX.

“This is to the credit of his comrades, priests and school staff, as well as the people of Liverpool; especially because the boy was Jewish.

Chaplin rose to prominence as a gifted dancer, acrobat and clown, and quickly became a stage actor and comedian.

Ken describes how in 1910, at the age of 17, Chaplin joined Fred Karno’s Circus – a famous touring music hall and comedy troupe, where he achieved great success.

Ken adds, “The company then went on tour to America, where in 1912, and at the age of 23, he was spotted by Mack Sennett, the famous film producer, director and comedic actor.

“In 1913, Charlie signed his first film contract with Sennett Studios to appear in the silent films ‘The Keystone Comedies’. In just a few short years, his salary went from $ 500 to $ 10,000 per week, with an annual bonus of $ 150,000 based on sales, which were phenomenal and global.

“Between 1912 and 1919 he made 60 silent short films and invented his unique character and comedy character, which he named ‘The Little Tramp’. Chaplin and this character quickly became world famous.

It was in 1919 that Chaplin formed a partnership with three other famous and successful Hollywood personalities; Mary Pickford; DW Griffith; and Douglas Fairbanks. Together, they created the film production and distribution company United Artists, with the goal of gaining greater control over the way their films were made and broadcast.

And Chaplin never lost sight of his roots either.

Ken says, “By 1921 Charlie was now wealthy and influential enough to move his mother to California. Here she was cared for in a house in the San Fernando Valley until her death in August 1928. Known, loved and respected around the world, Charlie was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1975, but died , in 1977, at the 88 years old.

“And so, the young boy who had spent happy times at school in Liverpool – even briefly – had become, arguably, the greatest, most famous and most popular of comedians of the first half of the 20th century.

“He left behind a great legacy and, who knows, maybe the people and the city of Liverpool, and St. Francis Xavier School, played a small part in that.”

** The screening of The Kid by Charlie Chaplin takes place on Saturday June 26 at 11 a.m. at the Capstone Theater in Liverpool.

Free entry.

To book tickets click: https://www.ticketquarter.co.uk/Online/the-kid-21



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