Charlie Chaplin- Karno Touring Poster (Fred Karno, 1910). Theater Poster (14" X 42"). Charlie Chaplin, one of the greatest screen comedians of all time began his comedy career in 1908, at the tender age of 19, with Fred Karno's Comedy Troupe, one of Britain's most famous music hall ensembles. In 1910, Karno sent a company to America, with future film legends Chaplin and Stan Laurel as headliners. The lead skit, entitled "A Night in an English Music Hall", featured Chaplin as "The Souse", a role for which he won rave reviews. The show played at Hammerstein's in New York for eight weeks and continued to run in America for the next three years. Booked throughout the Western states through the Seattle-based Sullivan & Considine vaudeville circuit, the show was a smash hit. Chaplin remained with Karno for several years before leaving the troupe to join Mack Sennett's Keystone Studios in 1913. He made his first film, "Making a Living", the following year. This stunning poster, to our knowledge the earliest Chaplin poster in existence and certainly the oldest to bear the performer's portrait, hails from Sullivan & Considine's Salt Lake City "Empress" Theater. The date "November 5, 1910" has been written in fountain pen in the upper left margin, and the poster shows signs of having been folded, but is in amazingly good shape for its age. Black and white portraits of the various artists, including a strikingly young Charlie Chaplin make this poster a true gem for collectors of film or vaudeville memorabilia. This is a rare opportunity that may never again present itself. REVISION AS GIVEN TO HERITAGE BY AUTHORITY ON CHAPLIN; We are grateful to English author "A.J" Marriot for the following information. In 1912 when Chaplin returned to the US for his second tour, the Karno Company's repertoire included "A Night in an English Music Hall", "The Wow-Wows", and a lesser-known sketch titled: "A Night in an English Club". This was similar to "Music Hall" but on a much smaller scale. Its premise was a prize-giving evening in a Club, after which certain members and a couple of guest artists give a concert. Sometimes the company worked seven nights out of seven, and did split weeks. i.e. They would be in one city Sunday to Tuesday, and another Wednesday to Saturday. The preferred sketch by most theatres was "A Night in an English Music Hall", but the company couldn't always perform this, because of the time it took to get the enormous "Stage-upon-a-Stage" set from one theatre to the next. On these occasions they would perform "A Night in an English Club". The poster is from Salt Lake City, Wednesday, 5th November 1913. The night before, the company had been playing at the Empress Theatre, San Diego and so, as there wasn't time to assemble the "Music Hall" set, they played "A Night in an English Club". As the latter sketch was played far fewer times on the tour than "Music Hall", its rarity value is even greater. Just four weeks later Chaplin left the company to go into films, and so the poster captures a moment in time just before that new era. Very Fine.

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    Auction Dates
    July, 2004
    17th Saturday
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