Time Essay: Re-Enter Charlie Chaplin, Smiling and Waving

HIS entrances and his exits are what linger in the eye's mind. Half a century later, when the plots have disintegrated like old nitrate-film stock, the comings and goings remain indestructible.

Entrance: The Tramp. His mustache, bowler and jacket are all from the Salvation Army of Lilliput. The pants and shoes are Gulliver's discards. The step is shy, tentative, then jaunty. He is going for a walk in the jungle of the city. Titters, Howls and Boffos hang from every bough.

Exit: The girl has fallen for someone else. The Tramp sets off, his back to the camera, his bamboo cane a parenthesis...

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