Newspaper reports at the time of Will Onda’s death in 1949 mention a connection between Will Onda and the great Charlie Chaplin! They state that he was one of the Fred Karno’s Mumming Birds in which he appeared with Charlie Chaplin. This has so far been very difficult to confirm with any certainty. Chaplin was in Fred Karno’s company in Britain before going to America in 1910. He played the part of the drunk in the Mumming Birds which had a supporting cast of performers. If Onda was on stage with Chaplin it could only had been in 1908 or 1909. Onda would have been 39 and Chaplin 19. Onda certainly went on to show Chaplin’s movies in Preston and the Chaplin posters we have discovered in the Harris Museum are likely to have been commissioned by Onda. Very intriguing!
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