The idea for The Floorwalker, Chaplin’s first film for the Mutual Film Corporation, came to him during a visit to New York in February 1916:
One day when time was desperately short he was walking up Sixth avenue at Thirty-third street when an unfortunate pedestrian slipped and skidded down the escalator serving the adjacent elevated station. Everybody but Chaplin laughed. But Mr. Chaplin’s eyes lit up. Also he lit out — for the studio in Los Angeles.
Thus was “The Floorwalker” born. Mr. Chaplin did not care a whoop about the floorwalker person as a type — what he sought were the wonderful possibilities of the escalator as a vehicle upon which to have a lot of most amusing troubles. “The Floorwalker” was built about the escalator not the floorwalker. (Terry Ramsaye, “Chaplin and How He Does It,” Photoplay, Sept. 1917)
The film also marked the screen debut of our favorite Chaplin film villain, Eric Campbell.