As one of the most universally recognizable people of all time, Charlie Chaplin has been part of popular culture for over a hundred years now. Since he first appeared on screen in 1914, countless media references have been made to his "Little Tramp" character. Usually the shout-outs consist of one or more of these elements:
- Iconic Outfit: Bowler hat, tiny black moustache, baggy pants, big shoes, wooden cane.
- Silly Walk: A character will be seen twirling a cane and wiggling his nose. He will wobble around in a manner that seems to be a cross between a drunk and a penguin. Usually he will balance on one leg while holding on to his hat before taking a U-turn. Often combined with walking into the sunset.
- A parody of a famous Chaplin scene. Can be Eating Shoes (The Gold Rush), getting stuck between large factory wheels (Modern Times) or sitting next to a little child (The Kid) or a dog (A Dog's Life) on a doorstep.
Examples can be found in:
open/close all folders
- The original advertising for the IBM PC (circa 1980-1984) featured just such a character, explicitly licensed from the Chaplin estate and performed by a professional mime Billy Scudder and modeled on Chaplin's classic movies.
- The Powerpuff Girls story "Drama-O-Rama" (DC, issue #48) has Sedusa staging a reality TV show in Townsville so she can rob the city blind while everyone hams it up for the cameras. A bank of TV monitors shows a number of Townsville notables doing their thing for the cameras; Charlie Chaplin is on one of the monitors.
- De Kiekeboes:
- In Kies Kiekeboe a clip from A Dog's Life is shown on TV. Konstantinopel seats himself next to his dog and says: "I like a Chaplin movie more than [watching a political advertisement]."'
- In Een Dagje Dédé while Balthazar talks to the prison warden a photo of Chaplin in prison outfit can be seen on the wall. This is a reference to the Chaplin short The Adventurer (1917).
Films — Live-Action
- In the film Benny & Joon, Johnny Depp's character, a silent film enthusiast and Cloud Cuckoolander, reenacts the 'bread roll dance' Chaplin does with his forks in The Gold Rush, among a few more of Chaplin's routines and mannerisms.
- Zombieland briefly features a zombie Chaplin cosplayer once the main characters reach Hollywood.
- Shanghai Knights: The titular characters meet a little boy in 19th-century London who introduces himself as Charlie Chaplin. Near the end of the film, he travels along with them to the United States and puts a fake Chaplinesque moustache under his nose.
- Mister Lonely: One of the lookalikes is dressed up like Chaplin.
- One of the celebrities Mathilda dresses up as in The Professional is Chaplin. Leon doesn't get the reference.
- Norma Desmond does an impersonation of Chaplin in Sunset Boulevard.
- The animated intro of The Return of the Pink Panther has the Pink Panther imitating Chaplin as well as other famous movie stars.
- The climax of the fantasy film The Imaginary Voyage (1926) takes place in a Paris wax museum. A figure of Charlie Chaplin (seen next to a figure of a child) comes to life.
- In Wyrd Sisters, one of Hwel's inspirations involves "a little bandy legged man walking along a road. He had a little black hat on and he walked as though his boots were filled with water". He knows this is funny, but can't convince anyone else.
- In Blue Adept, Stile has a mime routine that is very similar to the Little Tramp.
- The wheelchair patient in Little Britain is watching TV in one sketch and mentions "he loves Charlie Chaplin", though in reality he's not watching one of Chaplin's movies, but archive footage of Adolf Hitler.
- In one episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Ashley dresses up like Chaplin for a costumed ball.
- In the fourth Blackadder series, we learn that Edmund really, really hates Chaplin films, and of course, everyone else likes them. He sends Chaplin some hate mail, and the actor responds with a letter to General Melchett suggesting they have a big comedy film festival, with Edmund specifically requested for projectionist.
- On Sesame Street, Sonia Manzano created a series of inserts in which she appeared as Chaplin.
- According to actor Burgess Meredith, the Penguin's waddling walk on the 1960s Batman show was modeled after Chaplin's Tramp walk.
- As early as the 1910s and 1920s, novelty songs were written about Chaplin.
- Michael Jackson was a huge Chaplin fan and once dressed up like him for some publicity pictures. He also covered Chaplin's song "Smile".
- Soup du Jour includes the production number "Mr. Chaplin, Wait Your Turn," which eventually culminates in a full-cast impersonation.
- Felix in Hollywood: Felix the Cat meets Chaplin in Hollywood and strikes the same pose and walks like him, all while twirling his tail like a cane.
- Balloon Land: One of the balloons resembles Charlie Chaplin.
- Classic Disney Shorts: Chaplin is seen in Mickey's Gala Premier and Mickey's Polo Party.
- Mickey Mouse imitates Chaplin by dressing up like him in Mickey Plays Papa (1934).
- Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner: One cartoon, "Soup Or Sonic" (1980), has Wile E. Coyote wobbling to the horizon, while twirling a cane.
- The Simpsons:
- One couch gag has Homer dressed as Chaplin, imitating Chaplin in the process.
- In "Oh Brother Where Art Thou", Herb Powell sits around a campfire alongside other beggars. One of them is Chaplin eating a shoe.
- Grandpa imitates Chaplin's bread roll dance from The Gold Rush in "Lady Bouvier's Lover". He is then forced to quit on order of a lawyer acting on behalf of Chaplin's estate.
- Chaplin is seen again in the slums of Springfield in the episode "The Day the Violence Died". In a deleted scene from that same episode, Homer wants beggar Chester Lampwick to eat a shoe for him.
- In "Million Dollar Abie", Grampa thinks he's dead and thinks he's in Heaven. His notion is further proven when he sees a Chaplin impersonator holding an advertising sign, and is amazed that he can talk.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold: In the episode "Emperor Joker!", one of the Joker's mooks is a huge, muscular version of Chaplin.
- Several Looney Tunes shorts have either caricatures of Chaplin or a character trying to imitate Chaplin (such as Daffy Duck in Hollywood Daffy).
- Hanna and Barbera have said that Chaplin was a big influence on the slapstick and mostly wordless comedy in Tom and Jerry. Jerry sometimes displays the same mannerisms as Chaplin.
- Chaplin makes a brief cameo in The Powerpuff Girls episode "Silent Treatment", where the girls get trapped in a silent movie. His appearance is perhaps modeled after his cameo in Felix in Hollywood.
- In the Futurama episode "The D'uh Vinci Code", Fry gets stuck between factory wheels, in homage to Chaplin in Modern Times.
- Il était une fois...: In the series Once Upon A Time... Man in the episode about the interbellum the characters watch a Charlie Chaplin movie in the film theater.
- Archer: In flashbacks during the episode "Jeu Monégasque," the young Archer is dressed as Chaplin for Halloween. Except Archer and Malory both misrember the costume as Hitler.
- The former segment of Baggy Pants & The Nitwits revolves around the adventures of Baggy Pants, who is basically The Tramp as a cat.