Charlie Chaplin’s path crossed with many Hollywood greats such as Buster Keaton, Marlon Brando, and even Sophia Loren who shared the silver screen with him. However, one such name many people do not realize graced the music hall stages with Chaplin was none other than, Stanley Jefferson or Stan Laurel as he would famously be known. In Charlie and Stan: From Kennington to Keystone we’ll learn more about how they met.
“Charlie and Stan: From Kennington to Keystone” covers the developing friendship between Charlie and Stanley that flourished under the watchful eye of Fred Karno and his Fun Factory deep in the heart of Kennington, South London. The book expands the Chaplin’s story “Charlie’s London: From the East Lane to the Limelight”, and incorporates another great star of the Golden Age of cinema.
In 1908 Sydney Chaplin convinced Fred Karno to give a two-week trial to his younger brother Charlie. Charlie was a success and signed a contract for a year with Fred and the Karno Company. At that time he was only 19 and dealing with the mental illness of his mother. He didn’t want to talk to anybody and wanted to be alone.
“Charlie and Stan: From Kennington to Keystone” was written by Ayse Behcet. The 24-page book was drawn and lettered by William Crawford Harle creator of Ailsa Dark Werewolves and Bampots. The book is printed on high-quality paper in a stapled floppy-like format with a glossy softcover. This time there are no numbered or colored pages. The art is presented in white and brownish colors.
The story starts in 1910 when Stanley Jefferson just joined the Karno Company. Fred asks Charlie to show him the ropes. Charlie is currently preparing to perform in a show where he is the lead but tells Fred that he doesn’t want to play the part. Fred proceeds to give Stan the role which for him would be his debut at the Karno’s Fun Factory. We learn that both men had similar work experience.
With Charlie guiding him in his preparation, his debut show on April 18 was a complete success. Charlie realizing his mistake requested Fred to give him the role back and so he did. Stan was a complete sport about it and wished Charlie the best. Around September of the same year, Charlie and Stan would become part of a group of selected artists that will go to America on a tour organized by Alf.
As Chaplin is wooed by the bright lights of America, Stan becomes interested in doing a comedic double act. Upon their return to London in October 1912 Charlie longs for the Transatlantic life he left behind as a solo star. In 1913 he parted ways with Alf and was on his way to Keystone to start a new life in the pictures. His journey will take him from East Late to the Limelight. Stan with his talent will continue with his craft and would find more success with his comedic partner, Oliver Hardy which he would meet later on in his career. These decisions made by both men would pave the way for the movie personas they would later carefully cultivate.
EXPERIENCE WITH THE CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN
Charlie and Stan’s book was part of the “Charlie’s London: From East Lane to the Limelight” crowdfunding campaign. This was my second time backing the project because I somehow missed this book the first time. Feel free to look into my previous publication where I shared my experience backing CHARLIE’S LONDON: FROM EAST LANE TO THE LIMELIGHT.
The main story of Charlie’s London was written and edited by Ayse. The three covers on the campaign of the main book were created by the following artists:
- Donal DeLay, who worked on Death Of Love and many other projects, gives us a beautiful young and vulnerable child Chaplin and his iconic tramp his ever-constant in the London rain. With Colors by Kyle Ritter, this cover is a totally different take on the Tramp we used to know.
- Vinnie Tartamella, co-creator of Through the Woods, brings the classic Tramp image together with the Victorian streets of his youth in this stunning color variant.
- Karl Stephan, the creator of Mary Boys, brings the Tramp home and makes London town his playground in this stunning black and white cover.
This time I chose the tier with the Charlie & Stan book and another tier of the main book with the Donal Delay’s cover.
In addition to the books, as I expected, I also got some additional rewards known as stretch goals which include a beautiful art print in A4 size from Karl Stephan’s beautiful cover, the colored version, a mini “Silent Edition” format of the book with no words and random title cards with an incredible new cover by Peter Gilmore, three trading cards, a thank you card, and stickers by SIX AM Comics.
Shipping costs have made it challenging to back most projects these days but I had to get the Charlie & Stan book. The book and the prints are collectible items. I don’t think people realize the value of this art and I sincerely hope it gets the recognition it deserves. Even though there was no tracking number provided this time due to a shipping handling change, everything arrived in great condition. Once again kudos to the project management team.
The story about Charlie & Stan was interesting. I bet it was very difficult to keep it this short. The art looks great. It is so detailed in the costumes, the scripts, newspapers, and billboards. Everything is perfectly drawn to detail. The Charlie’s London project is good on its own merit and officially licensed by the Chaplin Estate which gives this project an additional added value.
The crowdfunding campaign for “Charlie’s London: From the East Lane to the Limelight” has already been closed, and the main book will be available at the Charlie Chaplin’s Museum in Switzerland or wherever the Estate decides to distribute it.
Keep note that the three covers won’t be available for sale later like we see with other creators. However, there may be an opportunity to get a copy of this book with another cover during the next campaign which will cover another part of Charlie’s life: Charlie’s London: From Walworth to Wartime.
“Charlie’s London: From Walworth to Wartime” launches its mailing list on April 16th on IndieGoGo and the crowdfunding campaign for the book launches on May 8th, 2022. Looking forward to it!
© Roy Export S.A.S. All Rights Reserved. CHARLIE CHAPLIN, the LITTLE TRAMP, certain images on this publication, and the names of some of Mr. Chaplin’s films are trademarks and/or service marks of Roy Export and/or Bubbles Inc. S.A. All Rights Reserved.