Twelve-year-old violin prodigy, Yehudi Menuhin, visits the Chaplin Studios, 1928

Chaplin and Menuhin on the City Lights set.

Menuhin’s father, Moshe, recalled the visit in his autobiography The Menuhin Saga (1984):

Yehudi’s recital at the Shrine Auditorium [on December 17th, 1928], which brought him new acclaim, was attended by Jascha Heifetz and many other celebrities, including Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin invited Yehudi, [his teacher, Louis] Persinger, and me to spend a day with him at his studios in Hollywood. Chaplin cancelled all his work that day, declared a holiday for his employees, and then, on our arrival, gave us a personal tour and a private performance, complete with the famous Chaplin moustache, cane, hat and walk. But he also showed us his serious, philosophical side. It was a fascinating experience. This was on the day of our departure, and I began to get agitated about the possibility that we might miss our train. Yehudi and Persinger thought it was absurd to suggest giving up a minute of Charlie Chaplin to wait in a railway station. Chaplin himself would not let us leave until the very last moment. Then his chauffeur whisked us and our baggage to the railway station at top speed. Twice we were stopped by police. We barely made it to our train.

Almost twenty years later, in December 1947, Menuhin filmed a performance at the Chaplin Studios called Concert Magic. It is supposedly one of the first-ever concert films. The following are a few clips from the film showing some of the different background sets (None looked immediately familiar to me but feel free to comment if you recognize something):

Menuhin plays Bach – Praeludium Partita

Nicolo Paganini

Bach’s “Erbarme Dich” with Eula Beal

Mendelssohn violin concerto


  1. Sets elements from "The Great Dictator" would be the obvious candidates. The backdrop outside the window in the Paganini clip looks like it could be from the rooftop barbershop scene, but it's hard to tell.

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