Friday, February 7, 2014
100 years ago today, KID AUTO RACES AT VENICE, the first film featuring the Little Tramp, was released
Chaplin biographer David Robinson refers to the “extraordinary phenomenon” that Kid Auto Races At Venice is, noting in particular that “at the time it was shot, the Chaplin persona had still not appeared on the screen. The spectators at the races were therefore the first people anywhere to glimpse the figure that was to become universally famous. We can observe this first audience, as they progress from initial bewilderment and embarrassment at the antics of this obstreperous little vagabond to uninhibited laughter as they realize he is an entertainer. Kid Auto Races is thus incidentally a documentary record of the world’s first encounter with its greatest clown.”
Friday, January 10, 2014
The first film in which Chaplin appears as the Little Tramp onscreen was filmed January 10th, 1914 at a Venice "Kid Auto Race."* What exactly is a Kid Auto Race? Film historian John Bengston wrote a wonderful piece which answers this question. There are also some great "then and now" location photos as well.
*Chaplin may have filmed Mabel's Strange Predicament in his Tramp costume first but it was released after Kid Auto Races At Venice.