The Little Tramp and the Little Trump both entered public view with a bang and continued to entertain long after their climax.
Two events worth remembering occurred on February 7: In 1914, the silent film Kid Auto Races at Venice premiered in theaters, featuring the actor Charlie Chaplin in his first screen appearance as the “Little Tramp,” and in 2016, the GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump held a campaign rally at Plymouth State University in Holderness, New Hampshire, solidifying his status as the “Little Trump”. Their careers are astonishingly similar.
Born in England on April 16, 1889, Chaplin became a professional performer by the age of 10. Born in Jamaica Hospital Medical Center on June 14, 1946, Trump also became a performer at a very young age. He founded the Society for Alternative Facts at age ten, earning special notice for his stance on household guests when he stated, “There were millions of people in the kitchen—literally millions, more than any kitchen in the world—and any of them could have taken the cookie.” This despite the kitchen being big enough to hold three people.
Chaplin joined the Fred Karno pantomime troupe, earning special notice for his portrayal of a character known as “The Drunk.” Trump spent years honing his craft, developing the “Little Trump” persona on stage at corporate events, in front of paid crowds at his golf courses, and on his television show, The Apprentice, which was the highest rated show in the galaxy for twelve years running—really, believe me, the entire galaxy, that is what it reads in the Alternative Facts Handbook.
Chaplin created the Little Tramp for Kid Auto Races at Venice by combining baggy pants, tight coat, small hat, large shoes, and a mustache—the combination and Chaplin’s comic genius made the Little Tramp the most famous actor in Hollywood.
Trump combined crazed hair, a super long tie, and the hand gesture for ‘okay,’ with tweets about “FAKE NEWS” and “Bad!” reporting—the combination, along with Trump’s entertainment genius turned a questionably liberal media and an otherwise apathetic electorate into a seething sea of disdain, making the Little Trump the most infamous and talked about president in history.
After 35 Keystone comedies, Chaplin moved on to ever-more lucrative contracts with Essanay Studios, Mutual and First National before founding the United Artists studio in 1919 with his fellow actors Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford and the director D.W. Griffith.
During his first few weeks in office, Trump moved from one tweet to another, maligning the American system of checks and balances, defending his daughter from evil businesses—without noticing the irony—and defending his appointees from ravenous liberals, while his fellow actors Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway, and Senator Mitch McConnell developed increasingly creative means of explaining his actions.
Chaplin wasn’t the tramp in all of his movies, but the characters he played always had a bit of the Little Tramp in them. Trump on the other hand always plays the Little Trump, day or night, rain or shine, he never breaks character.
It’s possible I’ve over estimated the parallels between the Little Tramp and the Little Trump. If so, we’ll have to keep searching for some comparative historical figure to reveal himself—or herself. Until then, recognizing the Little Trump’s contributions to the entertainment world is the best we can do.
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Unless otherwise noted, I drew or took the photographs in the article—as lame as they may look. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is probably planned. Copyright can be found here for my original work.
Information about the Little Tramp courtesy of history.com at http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-appearance-of-little-tramp (accessed 6 February 2017).
Template for the Trump silhouette courtesy of https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/46/Donald_Trump_by_Gage_Skidmore_13.jpg.