Charlie Chaplin, where are you?

“Movie stars such as Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin visited the Queen City to generate enthusiasm [for war bonds]. Charlie Chaplin’s stimulating 10-minute speech on April 11, 1918, succeeded in raising $20,000 to $25,000 in subscriptions. He promised to kiss any woman in the audience who subscribed $5,000 worth of bonds…. Several $1,000 pledges were made….

“Shouts of ‘Hi Charlie!’ ‘Hoorah for Charlie!’ were heard amid cheers as he rode through [Camp Greene] …. He visited one company at a mess hall and had a picture taken with the boys circled about him. Chaplin holds a plate of dollar bills, calling attention to the [need for] money to put something to eat in the soldiers’ pans.

“As he returned to his car Chaplin assumed his famous waddle. His hat flew up and with his familiar expression he glanced up, reached out and caught it.”

— From “The Echo of the Bugle Call: Charlotte’s Role in World War I” (1979) by Miriam Grace Mitchell and Edward Spaulding Perzel

Curiously the book’s illustrations don’t include one of Chaplin, nor is there one in the collection of the Robinson-Spangler North Carolina Room at the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County. I haven’t checked microfilm for the Observer and News. I do have a (flea-market-found) photo of soldiers at Camp Greene lining a dirt road and “Waiting for Charley Chaplin” taken by “Watson / Army Navy News.”

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