One Day to Make You Happy. Chaplin’s World in Vevey
“Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though its breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through, for you”
“We love Switzerland more and more each day.” That Charlie Chaplin, a legendary comedian and a star of silent cinema wrote in his letter to Clifford Odetts in 1954. He spent more than 25 years in Vevey, which apparently became his lifetime home.
SUISSEPIC got a chance to experience Chaplin’s World, a museum that was opened in 2016 at Le Manoir de Ban, where maestro passed his last years.
The Chaplin’s World Museum opened its doors in Vevey in April 2016. The event was dedicated to the 127th anniversary of the cinema legend. Four of his 8 children – Eugene, Michael, Victoria and Christopher combined their efforts with Yves Durand, a cultural entrepreneur from Canada; and the architect Philippe Meylan to place the museum among the vineyards of Vevey, Chaplin’s beloved place.
Here, in Corsier-sur-Vevey Charlie Chaplin spent his last 25 years of his life from 1952 until 1977.
The charming museum complex consists of three sections: a splendid manor, a modern Studio and a green park. Chaplin’s World shows a film star, a director, a composer and a family member. Each room of the mansion is dedicated to a certain period and decorated with furniture from his family house.
Each hall is interactive as all of them are equipped with screens, showing movies, photos and film sketches. Next to the mansion there is a large mock-up of a Hollywood studio dedicated to Chaplin’s movies. There is a collection of artifacts, including a cane and a hat with famous shoes.
You can visit the barber shop from The Great Dictator or the restaurant where he ate his shoe in The Immigrant. You can also see 30 wax figures created by Paris Grevin wax museum. All of them are Charlie Chaplin’s different characters, his wife Oona; numerous actors and actresses from his films, friends and his meetings with famous people like Albert Einstein, Michael Jackson, Woody Allen, Sophia Loren and Mahatma Gandhi.
To complete the Chaplin unforgettable experience, take a peaceful walk in the green park and visit the cafe-restaurant “The Tramp”.
Chaplin’s World is open 7 days a week except December 25th and January 1st
From January 1st to March 30th: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.*
From March 31st to September 30th: 9 a.m to 6 p.m*
From October 1st to December 31st: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.*
*Tickets can be bought until 1 hour before closing
Entry cost: Adults – CHF 25, Youth (6 – 15) CHF 18, Children under 6 years old – free.
His dream was always to make people happy. This could be easily felt when you follow his steps through the halls of the museum. Each tells a dramatic story of an actor, a director, a producer, a composer, a scenario writer, an artist and a beloved husband and father.
Charles Chaplin was born in London in 1889 in a family of music hall actors and inherited acting and singing talents from his parents. His stage career began in 1894 at the age of 5. Charlie got first serious task (probably it was one of the most serious) to replace at the perfomance program his mother Hanna Chaplin, a singer who lost her voice that day. There was no body left untouched at the hall that day.
Everything seemed to begin well but you could hardly play drama before you really face it in your own life.
Since the age of 10 young Charlie learned how to fight for living as his mother got desperately ill and the father was absent. He tried almost everything: sold newspapers, assisted a doctor, helped in a printing house and hardly visiting school. But he never lost his dream to became an actor.
His first permanent contract at the theatre he got in 1903, where he appeared as “Billy” the page boy, in support of William Gillette in “Sherlock Holmes”. Surprisingly at his 14, the boy could hardly read, so his elder brother Sidney assisted him to learn the role. He never stopped developing his talents, playing violin, acting and learning about the world and people. Some years he passed between the USA and England and finally got his contract with Keystone studios for USD 150 per week. Chaplin grew up very fast and 3 years after Keystone’s offer he got his fisrt 1m contract with First National Pictures.
He never stopped during WWI, the Great Depression, and even in Hitler’s time, driven by the desire to make things perfect, to make people smile.
Text: Kristina Pominova & Maria Talanova