Tag Archives: American Clowns

American Clowns – Charlie Chaplin & Red Skelton

Charlie Chaplin

Clown charlie-chaplinCharlie Chaplin brought laughter to millions around the world as the silent ‘Little Tramp’ clown. From England originally, Charlie joined the Karno troupe working alongside his brother Sidney and Stan Laurel touring the United States’ vaudeville circuit. He left the stage to join Mack Sennet’s Keystone Films Studio. With Keystone films, he made eight films in two months. He developed his tramp character and became a world-wide star.

In 1915, Chaplin joined Essanay, with greater control over his short films. The Tramp, A Night in the Show, and The Immigrant were a few of them.  With Mutual he made The Floorwalker, The Vagabond, The Pawnshop, Behind the Screen, and The Rink.

The Kid was his first full-length movie and an incredible success in 1921. It was followed by one of the classics of the silent era – The Gold Rush.  Modern Times was his last ‘tramp’ film in 1932. City Lights and The Great Dictator followed later.

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin

Red Skelton

Clown - red skeltonOne of America’s greatest clowns, Red Skelton, starred in at least 23 movies, and had his own radio and television shows. During his television career, every week millions of people saw his tramp clown character Freddy the Freeloader, as well as his other clown characters Clem Kadiddlehopper and Sheriff Deadeye.

His father, a clown with the Hagenbeck & Wallace Circus died before his birth. By the time he was sixteen, Red had also clowned in the same circus, and acted, sang, or did stand up comedy in medicine shows, minstrel shows, and on board a river showboat. He entered Vaudeville, and by 1936 he had made it to Broadway.

“If some day you’re not feeling well, you should remember some little thing I have said or done and if it brings a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart then my purpose as a clown has been fulfilled.” – Red Skelton

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