Michigan Charlie Chaplin impersonator started at age 14
Traverse City — Charlie Chaplin walked, or bobbled, along the streets of Traverse City for nearly a nearly a decade but he racks up the miles during Film Fest.
Harold Kranick has been adorning his own version of Chaplin’s hat and cane since he was 14 years old.
“It was my dad’s idea,” Kranick said. “We were in Venice, Italy, and saw all of these people pretending to be statues. One was Charlie Chaplin and my dad told me that I should try it.”
Chaplin, an actor, comedian, filmmaker and composer who was one of the most influential figures in the early years of the movie industry, died in 1977 at age 88.
Because of his work as the Tramp, Kranick has been aired on the likes of CNN, “Larry King Live” and other news outlets.
“I spent four months right when I got interested in Charlie studying him,” Kranick said. “That’s when my mom helped me put a suit together.”
In the summer of 2007, Kranick stood outside of the space that was turning into the local food spot Red Ginger for his first go at being Charlie Chaplin.
On his very first day, word about Kranick got out among the Film Festival.
“Michael Moore came up and thanked me for what I was doing,” he said.
Since that day, Kranick never once looked back.
In the summer of 2015, Chaplin’s daughter Geraldine Chaplin visited the Traverse City Film Festival.
When Kranick started his bout as Charlie, it was a dream of his to meet a Chaplin, and because of Geraldine, he finally did. He’s a firm believer that “dreams really do come true.”
Though being Charlie Chaplin is something he looks forward to every single year, it’s not the only reason Kranick loves the Film Festival.
“To me, Film Festival is just a big welcome to the family,” Kranick said. “We get to spend a whole week sitting back, watching movies, and hanging out.”
Kranick also commented on how not only is Film Festival good for the town’s morale, but also it makes memories.
“It makes people want to come back.”