Friday, December 21, 2012
IBM Christmas card from the early 1980s.
In 1983, IBM bought the rights to the Tramp image from Bubbles, Inc.,* the Chaplin family organization that controls the rights to the Charlie Chaplin name and image. The company then hired Billy Scudder, a mime, to imitate Chaplin’s tramp in television commercials and advertisements for IBM computers.
*I read somewhere once that the origin of the name "Bubbles" came from the nickname of Charlie's grandson, Charly Sistovaris, the son of daughter, Josephine. When he was a child, his aunt, Annie Chaplin, christened him, "Charlie Bubbles" because when Charly drank from his bottle he always blew milk bubbles.