MONTREAL — A bewildered Charlie Chaplin rambles into a packed hall with his umbrella and guided by a flood light saunters to the front platform. As the laughter and the applause subside, a voice in the dark starts a dialog with Chaplin. It is Fred Karno, his mentor, who brings up the highlights of his protégé’s tumultuous life from rags to riches as a pioneer of the earliest black-and-white, silent-movie stars in the early 1920’s. The dialogue ended when the aged Chaplin was invited to receive the honorary Oscar: he declares, “Charlie did not need the Oscar, the Oscar needed Charlie.”
He then performed brief episodes of his trademark clips — the dance with the loaves, the ruthless storm that almost blows him off the ground with his umbrella, etc., scenes that brought smiles and hope to a generation struck by two devastating World Wars and a devastating Depression.
The second part of the program featured the screening of the famous film “Gold Rush,” a Silent Era clas- sic, starring Chaplin.
Most appropri- ately, since Chaplin paved the way of the movie industry in the early years of the 20th century, his reincarnation, played by the young comic Jerry Arzoumanian, inaugurated the Montreal Tekeyan Cultural Association’s new visual arts “Vision Créative Tekeyan” center, whose aim, as declared by master of ceremonies Marie Laure Cimitier, is to encourage the young lovers of art and culture to get involved in creative projects. She also announced that the next activity will be dedicated to the late French-Armenian movie producer Henri Verneuil on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of his death. Verneuil’s masterpiece, “Mayrig,” will also be shown.
This endeavor was the brainchild and the production of Demci Arzoumanian, an accomplished professional artist in his own right and a member of the Executive of TCA Montreal. Lighting was conducted by Mike Bajakian, the sound engineer was Dr. Levon Ketchian and technical managers were Roupen Boyadjian and Eddi Husseindjian, chairman of the Executive of TCA. The photographer was Sarkis Ekizian. Clips of this event can be seen on YouTube.