Forty years before the nation’s great improvisational performers — Bill Cosby, George Carlin, George Burns, Milton Berle and more — were touring the country and causing trouble in restaurants across the country, superstar Charlie Chaplin and his famous “chaud en bess” coterie went to the Maine resort town of Waterville to break in a new golf club that later became his second home.
“Chaplin was shooting stuff all the time,” says James Fairweather, a professor emeritus at Bentley University in Waltham, Mass., and author of the book “Playing For Change: Charlie Chaplin and His Real Life Friendship with George Burns.” Fairweather says Chaplin came to Waterville as a young member of another local golf club, “just to embarrass the old guy who owned it.”
It didn’t quite work out. Chaplin, a well-known amateur golfer, went on to become a regular visitor to the Waterville Golf Club.
“He became a regular at the club. He almost played a full round there every time he came up,” says Fairweather. “He loved the place.”
The book is based on Fairweather’s almost 30 years of work researching Chaplin’s friendship with Burns and their close working relationship, a lesson the 87-year-old comedian apparently never learned: “There’s nothing good about golf,” Fairweather says.
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