Thursday, December 06, 2007


Last weekend I was in a shop on the bustling rue d'Alésia which was well-stocked with clothes, toys, and accessories for all ages. In front of me in line, a happy papa and his two young boys were waiting patiently. The father remarked to his older son, about 4 or 5 years old, "Philippe, regarde!" pointing to a tote-bag on display by the cashier. The design was a black-and white silk screen image of Charlie Chaplin.

"Ah! CHARLOT!!" squealed the little kid in delight.

I think I know what Père Noel will be leaving for that youngster on Christmas morning. But I wondered how many American preschoolers might have the same appreciation for Charlie Chaplin? Not a cartoon version, either.

Incredible to believe, but it was 30 years ago this Christmas that Chaplin, then aged 88, died in his home in Switzerland. The Larousse Chronique du 20e siècle said of his death, "Il reste Charlot, éternel gentilhomme de la misère, poète, farceur, et qui, poursuivi de la mesquinerie et le malentendu, s'enfuit au bout de la route..."

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