The Little Tramp still has a big following.
Legendary comedian Charlie Chaplin died in 1977 in his adopted Swiss hometown of Corsier-sur-Vevey and tourism authorities are preparing to pay homage to him in a major way through the Chaplin’s World museum, slated to open in 2016.
It will use scenography, animated décor, multimedia elements, 3D and HD imagery and other high-tech methods to recount the life of a man who rose from modest beginnings to reach the pinnacle of the entertainment industry.
“It will be housed in his former estate,” Francois Michel, marketing director for Switzerland’s Leman region, said during a Monday Toronto visit. “It will be a showcase of his life, his work, his different movies.”
The British-born Chaplin relocated to Corsier-sur-Vevey in part because of what he said was a political climate in the United States that he increasingly disapproved of and Michel said Corsier-sur-Vevey residents were happy to welcome him. Pictures of Chaplin are commonplace in the town, which also has a Chaplin statue.
Michel gives away film reel-shaped metal containers bearing an image of Chaplin and containing chocolate miniature replicas of the entertainer’s show business shoes while promoting the Leman region abroad, underscoring Leman’s ties with the movie star.
Authorities predict the museum will draw between 250,000 and 300,000 visitors a year, with Michel saying Chaplin has particularly big followings in North America and Asia. “You talk about Charlie Chaplin in Asia and people immediately click.”
A four-star hotel called the Modern Times Hotel and which will be “devoted to Chaplin” will also be part of the project. The 147-room property is slated to open in fall 2015 or the following winter.
Local tourism authorities say it’s fitting that a museum paying tribute to Chaplin will be found in a town in which he lived in for years and was ultimately buried in.
“There are a lot of special links between Charlie Chaplin and Vevey,” Michel states.