Charlie gets the death sentence, 1918

“Charles Spencer Chaplin, the most famous man in the world, stood with his hands tied behind his back, sentenced to death. He wore a blindfold which had slipped up over his forehead.
‘You have to shut your eyes, Mr. Chaplin–you have to shut your eyes!’ shouted the bigger of two boys, who was squinting behind a gun. The other one was bringing up ammunition. Mr. Chaplin did as he was told. There was a great shout from the children on the lot when the small, tailored figure swayed gently and then toppled over realistically. When he lay still for the space of ten seconds, the boys ran over and shook him in genuine alarm, followed by all the other kiddies in the yard of the studio. Mr. Chaplin sat up, slipped the bandage from his forehead, and laughed good-naturedly as the children squatted around him on the grass and demanded a story.” (Picture Play, December 1918)

The above photo was taken when Charlie was casting for children for what would have originally been the opening scenes of Shoulder Arms. According to an article in Picture Play magazine, Charlie enjoyed playing with the children but also watched over them as if they were his own.

Below are a few more photos. You can read the article here.


  1. This is so cute. They all look really excited and he seems to be enjoying himself. But it's weird. He always seemed so good with children and seemed like he genuinely wanted them around but seemed so reluctant to be a Dad. Meh. Perhaps he liked kids but just didn't want any of his own?

  2. I agree…everything I've read from his children's point of view said basically the same thing. A remote father, very formal and distant, or as Sydney Chaplin so succinctly put it in an interview later in his life…"my father was a constipated man".

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