The Little Tramp, the enduring, mustachioed character brought to life by Charlie Chaplin, is celebrating one heck of a birthday this year: 100. The character first appeared in a Keystone comedy short called “Kid Auto Races at Venice” in 1914, where he plays a bumbling spectator constantly getting in the way of the camera’s attempts to focus on the action. Another film, “Mabel Behind the Wheel,” was technically the first Tramp film shot, but “Kid Auto Races” was released first, so it gets the permanent claim to fame. Of course, this being 1914, that difference is only a matter of days, so it’s really only a distinction for the record books. Both films are very charming and recognizably set up the many iterations of the character that were to follow–and not just in costume, but the Tramp’s personality that we’d come to know as well.
The Tramp has already received centennial birthday treatments at theaters around the world, including Film Forum in New York and the Castro in San Francisco. Here in Los Angeles, we can appropriately depend on the Silent Movie Theatre, aka Cinefamily, to provide an appropriate fête for the funny little guy. Starting on January 24, and continuing through February 15, Cinefamily will be offering many of the Little Tramp’s most famous films, all projected in the increasingly rare 35mm format.
Tickets are $12 each, or free with a Cinefamily membership, and can be purchased in advance at the links listed below:
The Gold Rush: Friday, 1/24, 7:20pm, Saturday, 1/25, 2:15pm
The Circus: Thursday, 1/30, 7:30pm
Modern Times: Friday, 1/31, 7:30pm, Saturday, 2/1, 5:00pm
Chaplin Shorts: Monday, 2/3, 7:30pm
The Kid & A Dog’s Life: Friday, 2/7, 7:30pm
City Lights: Friday, 2/14, 7:30pm, Saturday, 2/15, 5:00pm