32¢ Charlie Chaplin
Celebrate the Century – 1910s
Issue Date: February 3, 1998
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Charlie Chaplin made his American debut as a vaudeville clown in 1910. However, it wasn’t until he put on the tattered derby hat and ill-fitting clothes that he began to win the hearts of millions of people worldwide.
Chaplin debuted The Little Tramp in 1913, and seemingly every year after, both his immense popularity and salary grew. In the beginning, Chaplin commanded a salary of $175 per week, but within a few short years signed a million dollar contract with First National Films. By this time no other studio could afford him, so along with Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Mary Pickford, and D.W. Griffith, Chaplin formed the United Artists Corporation.
Despite the widespread success of The Little Tramp, it was not until 1972 that he was given an honorary Academy Award for his work.
In films such as The Adventurer, The Immigrant and The Gold Rush, Chaplin’s Little Tramp became one of the most popular and easily recognizable figures of the twentieth century. Using his wild imagination he was able to transform dinner rolls into ballet shoes, or a worn boot into a feast fit for a king. Perhaps it was this characteristic, the ability to make something out of nothing, that endeared him to us.