Author Topic: Charlie Chaplin as Peter Pan  (Read 1425 times)

Hannah Grippo

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Charlie Chaplin as Peter Pan
« on: March 02, 2021, 08:54:37 AM »
Just a little anecdote.

My students and I were watching "Modern Times" for History class yesterday. My course in American History goes from the Civil War to the Moon Landing or around there. Even though we have lots of fun, since we start at 1860, I tell my students at the beginning of the year that we'll get into dark and depressing stuff (slavery and war), I say, "Sorry, kids, nothing will really be funny again until Charlie Chaplin comes along". They don't know who he is, but we finally reached him today when we talking of 20s and 30s in all changes (and art's response!). There was such excitement: "Is this where things get funny, Ms. Grippo?" I was glad they remembered. I put Chaplin's movie on the tv screen, and the children laughed and laughed, but they also seemed to get the point of the societal and personal pain the Little Tramp was exploring.

Anyway, as we were watching it, one boy raised his hand and told me, "Charlie can really move! If he wasn't a grown up, he could play Peter Pan!" The others echoed, "Hey, yeah!"

They all love the Peter Pan stories I share with them (they don't know yet that Peter is almost always played by an adult), and they seem to understand the wild boy way better than I did at their age. I certainly agreed with this comment.

Then I seemed to remember Chaplin being mentioned in Andrew's book or was it Barrie being mentioned in Charlie's book (or was it both?). So as they watched the film, I quickly went on the database and found Nico's letter to Sharon Goode, and was delighted that my student was spot on! Barrie had wanted Chaplin to play Peter. That would've been something, I'm sure. I also enjoyed Nico's thoughts on Chaplin being one of his "greatest person" he met or "so called greats".

No real point or question to this post. Just love when we find an unexpected connection.


Brutus

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Re: Charlie Chaplin as Peter Pan
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2021, 04:02:42 PM »
How wonderful your students can enjoy and appreciate Chaplin's film Modern Times. And they're right: he would have made a splendid Peter Pan in the film, and it's a great shame it never materialised. Betty Bronson was a lovely Peter in the silent movie, but it would have been nice to see it played by a boy for his first appearance on screen.

If you're interested, I have added on the database Charlie Chaplin's account of meeting JMB in 1921 and how he missed his opportunity (just search for "Charlie Chaplin meets JMB")

PS. I have also uploaded the complete film scenario which Barrie proposed for the silent film but in the end wasn't taken up by Paramount.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2021, 05:47:25 PM by Brutus »

Dani1923

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Re: Charlie Chaplin as Peter Pan
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2021, 08:30:13 PM »
Great story Hannah! Though I really like Chaplinís work, Iíve never seen Modern Times! Youíve made me want to see it soon!

And thank you SO much Brutus for posting the Peter Pan film treatment written by Barrie! Iíve been wanting to read this FOREVER!

Hannah Grippo

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Re: Charlie Chaplin as Peter Pan
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2021, 03:01:17 PM »
Wow, Brutus! Thank you so much for the upload. I was delighted to read Chaplin's description of meeting Barrie (and then saddened to think how not far after it was from losing Michael, and how it showed!). Now off to read the film scenario. Thank you for that too. This website is full of treasure.