Douglas Fairbanks lifting up Charlie Chaplin
at a war bonds rally in New York City
By Allan R. Ellenberger
During the Great War, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and other film stars spoke at bond rallies that helped sell $18.7 billion in Liberty Bonds.
Shortly before the end of World War I, it was speculated that comedian Charlie Chaplin may be drafted as of June 1, 1918. “I’ve always been ready and am still ready to serve my country and the cause of liberty whenever it was necessary for me to go,” said Chaplin just before he left on a Liberty Bond rally in the south.
Chaplin appeared in four towns daily for the Liberty Loan cause, passing up Pullman cars and travelling chair cars, resorting to autos and freights for the purpose of making towns on time. In some towns where there were no public halls, meetings were held in tobacco warehouses. At Raleigh, North Carolina, Chaplin raised $92,000 for Liberty Bonds and offered to kiss all little girls who bought bonds. While he enjoyed the osculator ceremonies, he had to discontinue the practice merely on the account of the time consumed. The age limit was not stated.
Below is Charlie Chaplin’s World War I registration card, dated June 5, 1917. At the time he was living at the Los Angeles Athletic Club and working for Lone Star Co. (click on image to enlarge)