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Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914)

This Keystone comedy Kid Auto Races at Venice, released on 7 February 1914, was only Charlie Chaplin’s second ever appearance on film and the screen debut of his famous Tramp character. Although it was the first film released involving the Tramp, Chaplin had actually devised the outfit for the film Mabel’s Strange Predicament produced a few days earlier but released a couple days after Kid Auto Races at Venice, on 9 February 1914. Mack Sennett had requested that Chaplin “get into a comedy make-up”. As Chaplin recalled in his autobiography:

I had no idea what makeup to put on. I did not like my get-up as the press reporter [in Making a Living]. However on the way to the wardrobe I thought I would dress in baggy pants, big shoes, a cane and a derby hat. I wanted everything to be a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large. I was undecided whether to look old or young, but remembering Sennett had expected me to be a much older man, I added a small moustache, which I reasoned, would add age without hiding my expression. I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the makeup made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked on stage he was fully born.

In The Kid Auto Races at Venice Chaplin takes the Tramp to the races where he annoys a director, who is trying to film there, by continuously trying to sneak into shot.

Housed at: Internet Archive
Underlying Work: PD U.S. | Digital Copy: No Additional Rights
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