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Charlie Chaplin: Rags to Riches

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April 16, 1889 Charles Spencer Chaplin was born above his grandfather’s cobbler’s shop. His mother Hannah Chaplin, a struggling stage performer and a promiscuous woman, birthed her first son, Sydney Chaplin, just four years earlier. Always around the theatre where his mother worked, Charles was “bitten” by the acting bug at a young age. In a matter of time Charles was moving his way up the social ladder, leaving a life of poverty behind him. In the beginning, he took small jobs’ at local traveling shows. Almost everywhere he went people were leaving the theatres crying with laughter. Fame was inevitable for Chaplin.

His name grew faster than a California wild fire! Soon he found himself leaving his home in Britain and seeking fame in America. Of course he found it! Critics called Chaplin a genius. Some even went as far as to call him the funniest man in the world. Charlie Chaplin had a very successful career, making dozens of silent films and writing an autobiography. The story of Charlie Chaplin is almost as entertaining as the man himself. During Charlie’s childhood his mother was the only one supporting him and his brother Sydney (it is rumored that there was another Chaplin child but he disappeared soon after his birth).

His father, Charlie Chaplin Senior, was a drunkard and left the family soon after he found out Hannah was pregnant. Times were tough for this family of three, but the two Chaplin boys were hard workers. They would take on odd jobs receiving extremely low wages. Charlie knew he had a talent; he was just waiting for a time to show it. One day while walking around town, he saw a flyer asking for a young male clog dancer. It was the perfect opportunity because Charlie loved clog dancing. He auditioned and got the job.

The small group of boys traveled around the area, dancing in small theaters for about a year before the contract ended. After that Chaplin started looking for work again, and he found it at a real theatre where he could do comedy skits. Everything was going smoothly. The crowds loved Chaplin and his skits. A crowd favorite was “the tramp”. The tramp was a fictional character of Charlie’s alter ego. In the times of Chaplin films were silent, and the routines that Charlie did were to. He was the master of slap stick comedy, and his secret was over exaggerating every movement.

It didn’t take long for Charlie Chaplin’s name to spread. He began to experiment with silent films. He started work at a company not too far from where Hollywood, California is today. He switched from three different companies in the next few years. Chaplin dreamed of complete control over his films. He wanted to be the director, but it was impossible at the studios where he worked. Although he was doing extremely well with the companies he was working with (creating many hit films) he decided to take a chance and start his own studio. It was one of the best ideas he ever had.

With complete creative reign, Chaplin’s films were perfect. Out of the dozens of silent films he made only two were not popular. The story of Charlie Chaplin is very inspiring. From a very young age, Chaplin followed his dreams and was a hard worker. Anyone who has a dream or a goal can relate to him, and it makes accomplishing that dream or goal more realistic when you hear Chaplin’s story. Charlie was also a very honest man. As long as people still believe in things, Charlie’s story will always be relevant. Sid Fleischman did a wonderful job writing the biography of Charlie Chaplin.

The book was straight to the point, and easy to read. Children and adults can enjoy this book. In the book, Fleischman used some of the same adjectives repeatedly; which could get tiring to read at times. Besides that minor problem, the book was wonderful, and is recommended to everyone. Chaplin once said “I am for the people. I can’t help it. ” Charlie loved performing more than anything else in the world. He had a dream from a very young age and pursued it to the very end. He was a born comedian and had a very successful career. Charlie Chaplin was the funniest man in the world.

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