Did Charlie Chaplin Enter the Charlie Chaplin Look-A-Like Contest and Fail Miserably?

There is a good chance that you heard the story about how legendary actor and director Charlie Chaplin entered Charlie Chaplin look-a-like contest and failed miserably. But did that really happen, or is it just one of those myths and legends that people like to believe in?

As the story goes, Chaplin visited an unnamed fair in the United States and noticed there was a competition to determine the best impersonation of his famous character, “The Tramp”. As a joke, Chaplin decided to enter, but his act didn’t impress the judges. Some versions of the story say he finished third, while others indicate that he finished 20th or even lower.

The origins of the story can be traced back to the 1920s, when it appeared in different versions as articles in newspapers in Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand. Chaplin himself never confirmed or denied this story.

The story is later mentioned in the book My Father, Charlie Chaplin, written by Chaplin’s son, Charles Chaplin Jr. According to the author, Chaplin really participated in a contest that took place at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood and finished third.

On the other hand, the Association Chaplin, an organization dedicated to preserving the work and legacy of Charlie Chaplin, believes that the story is most likely a myth, considering only anecdotal evidence about it exists, but it doesn’t rule it out completely.

“There are no other references to such a competition in any other press clipping albums that I have seen, so I can only assume that this is the source of that rumor, urban myth, whatever it is. However, it may be true,” said an Association Chaplin representative in a mail when asked about the story by one researcher.

So, there you have it. The story might be true, but it also probably isn’t. But it is an amusing one, regardless.

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