For a little quiet Sunday entertainment today we have a little something out of the ordinary as usual. Our video shows the film debut of Charlie Chaplin’s immortal Little Tramp character, although it was his third film for Mack Sennet’s Keystone Film Company. The scene of the production was in Venice, California on January 10, 1914, during the Vanderbilt Junior Cup, an actual event unrelated to the filming.
Sennett himself owned a high-powered Fiat race car that was driven by famous driver Terrible Teddy Tetzlaft, which can be seen here in The Speed Kings, that was made around the time of the 1913 Santa Monica Road Races.
A number of magazines in the period covered the building of pushmobiles but the best to be found is just above. In the article George H. Kendall, Expert Pushmobilist of Worchester, Massachusetts tells all about how he built his car and also illustrated it with his own drawings. His car won the Grand Prix in that city in 1912 and also finished second in 1913.
The Jackson number 14 above shows some outstanding lettering and scroll work. Below, the barrel hood on the Alco number 6 shows some outside-the-box thinking. Both indicate that these little fellows had their favorite makes amongst contemporary race cars and were also trying to imitate their favorite drivers who were the sports idols of the day. Note the reel and rope steering on each.
In our research, we found that some of the first recorded pushmobile races took place in New York State during 1906. On November 17th, The Murray Hill Pushmobile Club named the race they held after William K. Vanderbilt, who was said to have donated ten dollars for the winner’s cup. Below in The Automobile of Nov. 6, 1906, is coverage of a race at Mineola, New York. Period newspaper reports describe similar events taking place literally from Maine to California in following years.
Photos courtesy of the AACA Forum. You can also see many other interesting photos here on The Old Motor from both the Junior Vanderbilt and the The Junior Racing Series of America.