Chaplin’s father, Charlie Chaplin Sr. was a lion comique stage character who portrayed himself as an elegant man-about-town with a fondness for the grape and a way with the ladies. The lion comique character was loosely modeled after The Prince of Wales, whose lifestyle embodied these traits. In the democratic era of British music hall the unstated motto was “every man his own monarch.” While Charlie Chaplin Sr. was neither the first nor foremostof his ilk, he actually billed himself The Lion Comique. The Little Tramp—his namesake son’s screen character—was an affectionate memorialization and witty, tongue-in-cheek parody of Charlie Chaplin Sr.’s stage character.
Strutting onstage in formal evening dress with a walking stick in one hand and snifter of brandy or flute of champagne in the other, Charlie Chaplin Sr. offered his working class and middle class audiences a chance to identify vicariously with his lah-di-dah life-style and comic adventures as a suave ladykiller. But Charlie’s father’s real job (off-stage) was to whet the thirst and lighten the wallets of his fans and admirers at the theatre bar during intermission and after the show. The large sums he earned for performing were ear-marked to be spent at the bar in order to encourage his fans to follow his convivial example.
The most well known lion comique drinking song of the era was “Champagne Charlie"