Christmas with Charlie, Vol. 2: Charlie’s Strange Predicament

The following story is related by Eric James, Charlie’s music associate for the last twenty years of his life:

I cannot leave the downstairs cloakroom without referring to a most amusing incident that occurred one Christmas. It had been the custom, just prior to Christmas Day, for members of a local choir to trudge up the steep hill from Vevey and position themselves by the main door of the Manoir to give a performance of carols. On this occasion Charlie had an urgent need to use the lavatory, where he sat on “the throne” but unfortunately had forgotten to pull over the curtains.

Happily engaged with the business at hand and in deep contemplation, he failed to notice the arrival of the choir until they burst into song just a few feet from the window. He was absolutely taken aback because although while sitting they could only see his head and shoulders, if he were to stand up the “herald angels” would take off in alarm! The choir was obviously quite impressed by the sight of him in the window because they mistakenly thought that he was so eager to hear them sing that he had stationed himself at this vantage point well in advance of their arrival. As it was, he had to sit there with his trousers down for half an hour, beaming at them every now and then and clapping animatedly after each carol.

It wasn’t until the last of them had passed into the house that he was able to get up, pull the curtains and adjust himself before joining them. The leader of the group expressed their great satisfaction at having found Mr. Chaplin so impatiently awaiting their performance! Charlie’s reply could not have been bettered. He thanked them and said that their singing had literally rooted him to the spot! –Eric James, Making Music With Charlie Chaplin, Scarecrow Press, 2000


  1. It's stories like this that remind you that no matter how larger than life, how mystical Charlie may have seemed on screen or in photographs he was only human like everyone else.

  2. OMG I love this story. I can just see him now a smile glued on his face and his pants down around his ankles. Totally Chaplinesque

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