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Chaplin in City Lights (1931)

Charlie Chaplain is trending today on Twitter in the UK, in celebration of what would have been the great silent movie comedian’s 122nd birthday, which is actually tomorrow, April 16.

But that only means that there’s been more time to observe it.

The widespread interest in such an off-year anniversary was sparked by Google, which put a video tribute in the form of a mock Chaplin film on its homepage. The website called it a “Google Doodle,” with one of its employees playing the Tramp. The Internet version of the famous character, who’s seen reading a Google newspaper, faces the same kinds of pitfalls, especially with a policeman, that Chaplin’s original Tramp encountered.

Whatever you think of the results, it’s a nice homage to Chaplin, and it could encourage untold numbers of people to rediscover his movies.

Chaplin was born in London, and it’s often said that both The Tramp and his comedic style were infused with a British sensibility.

In the 1950s, Chaplin went back to England before eventually settling in Switzerland, after facing political harassment in the United States. J. Edgar Hoover personally saw to it that Chaplin was banned from re-entering the U.S. after he left for the premiere of Limelight in London, where the movie was made. Chaplin decided not to challenge his exile, and only returned once more to America, in 1972, to receive an honorary Oscar.

The Google Doodle meant that today Chaplin was remembered everywhere.

wilburysteve‎: charlie chaplin would be 122 & he’s still in the limelight!

MJMcKean: Happy Birthday, Charlie Chaplin! You had me at ” “.

OlanRogers: “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” Charlie Chaplin

Herring1967: Charlie Chaplin day tomorrow. Hope you will all wear a toothbrush moustache at some point in the day. For Charlie and for democracy.

BFI: “Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-short” – Charlie Chaplin #wordsonfilm

MrsStephenFry: In honour of Charlie Chaplin’s 122nd birthday, this tweet is silent, black and white and not particularly funny.

bigaldinho:‎ Blimey, Charlie Chaplin is 122 today. He doesn’t look a day over 40

Chaplin and Paulette Goddard in Modern Times (1936)
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By Paul Hechinger