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Traverse City street performer takes the ultimate test

Harold Kranick Charlie Chaplin
Harold Kranick poses with Geraldine Ford, Charlie Chaplin's daughter. Photo courtesy of Harold Kranick

Harold Kranick says the idea to play Charlie Chaplin came from his dad on a family vacation in 2007. Harold stopped to watch a street performer playing Chaplin when his father took him aside.

“He looked at me and said, ‘You should do that!’ I am 14 at the time,” remembers Kranick, “and I was like, ‘No way Dad! I can't do that. I am going to get in trouble.’ And he’s like, ‘No, just dress up.’”

Soon after, Kranick started building his costume. He has it all - an adhesive mustache, a wig, a custom-tailored jacket ...

“I try to look exactly like him,” says Kranick.

He even has replicas of Chaplin’s size 14 shoes, specially made.

Photo courtesy of Harold Kranick

In 2015, something extraordinary happened to Harold Kranick. Charlie Chaplin’s daughter, Geraldine Ford, came to the Traverse City Film Festival. She asked to see Harold perform his act.

The actor’s daughter said Kranick was one of the best Chaplin performers she’d seen, for a guy. Ford said women do a better job because of mobility in the hips. But to Kranick she said, “You got it.”

“I just couldn't believe it,” Kranick recalls. “Holy smokes, here she is saying, ‘Yeah keep up the good work.’”