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May 29, 2007 > Chaplin Days are here again

Chaplin Days are here again

By Julie Grabowski

It's time to pull out your best penguin walk, cane spin, and mustache wiggle in honor of Niles's most famous and beloved son. On Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3, Old Town Niles pays tribute to Charlie Chaplin, instrumental in the film industry located at its quiet country gates in the early 1900s. His presence and influence will be breathed anew through hundreds of Charlies who will stroll along the streets, peer from posters, and inside Niles's unique antique, arts and crafts, and specialty shops. Come dressed like Mr. Chaplin or another old time movie star for your chance to win a prize. A look-alike contest will be held both days with participants meeting at the Essanay Silent Film Museum located at 37417 Niles Boulevard at 2:30 p.m.

The museum serves as a hub of Chaplin activity, running his five short films shot in 1915 Niles in the Edison Theater, as well as one made in Chicago to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Chicago Essanay Studios. Tickets are 50 cents (suggested donation); popcorn and snacks will be available. Saturday night at the museum offers "The Kid," made in 1921 and marked as one of Chaplin's most famous films. Seating is very limited, however, so the $5 tickets can be purchased in advance from noon to 4 p.m. The movie begins at 7:30 p.m. with the musical score provided by pianist Judy Rosenberg. Phillip Vaughan's paintings of silent film stars will also be on display at the museum, featuring images of Max Lindor, Gloria Swanson, Lillian Gish, Buster Keaton, and Harry Langdon as well as Charlie, the main man himself. Paintings may be purchased as well as admired.

For those with food on their minds, the restaurants of Niles will be open and prepared to entice. Get a fabulous pie at Bronco Billy's Pizza, or a taste of Italy from Cici's Italian Ristorante. Choose from gourmet burgers, fresh salads, and Paninis at the Essanay Cafˇ, or go straight for desert by ordering their Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Fresh Berries.

If a little excursion is in order, the Niles Canyon Railway will be in service on Sunday with four departure times, the first train leaving the station at 11:10 a.m. A round trip is approximately one hour and fifteen minutes in length, with tickets costing $5 for ages 3-12, $8 for seniors, and $10 general (ages 2 and under ride free). You might even find Charlie Chaplin as your seatmate! Visit for more information on the steam train.

The Niles Main Street Association and the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum jointly bring you the 2007 Charlie Chaplin Days, a great opportunity to enjoy a charming historic setting and support Old Town Niles. Find a unique treasure in one of over 40 stores, have a laugh at a Charlie impersonator, catch an old movie, and treat yourself to a slice of hometown Americana.

For more information call (510) 742-9868 or visit Information about the silent film museum can be found by calling (510) 494-1411 or visiting

2007 Charlie Chaplin Days
Saturday and Sunday, June 2 and 3
11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Old Town Niles, Fremont
(510) 742-9868

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