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2. Kid Auto Races (1914)

Keystone 1914

Film still for Kid Auto Races

Kid Auto Races was restored at the bfi National Film and Television Archive. Read the Restoration Report.


This first outing for the Tramp character was an improvised affair shot at an actual children's push-car race at Venice. The Tramp character spends most of the film camera-hogging and obstructing the view of the cameraman (played by Frank D Williams) and the director (Lehrman) while the (real) audience - getting their first ever sight of the Tramp - seem to think he is a genuine nuisance and not an actor. The final shot is of Chaplin in close-up, mugging at the camera. The close-up at the end is effectively the performer's bow to the audience, which was a convention of the time adopted from the stage.


Henry Lehrman
Henry Lehrman; ?Reed Heustis
Charles Chaplin (Tramp)
Henry Lehrman (Film Director)
Frank D. Williams (Cameraman)
(Previous filmographies have listed Keystone players Billy Jacobs, Charlotte Fitzpatrick, Thelma Salter and Gordon Griffith as the young bystanders, but Brent Walker argues persuasively that all the children in the film are non-professionals)
Shooting day:
January 10
Negative sent from LA:
January 17
Received in New York:
January 26
February 7 1914
572 ft (released on a 'split reel' with an interest film, Olives and their Oil ).
Other titles:
Kid Auto Races at Venice, Kid Auto Races A Militant Suffragette, The Pest, Kid Auto Races (UK)