class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-30497″ title=”Chaplin A Thief Catcher” src=”×150.jpg” alt=”” width=”220″ height=”150″ />A 16MM print of a 1914 Keystone Cops short, purchased last year at a Michigan antiques sale, turned out to contain an early ‘lost’ 3 minute appearance by Charlie Chaplin as a bumbling Keystone Cop.

Film historian Paul Gierucki thought the Keystone short ‘A Thief Catcher’ he bought was of no particular significance and did not watch it for months after acquiring it. When he finally did lace it up it he was startled to see a figure emerge from the bushes whom he was quite certain was Chaplin, and consultation with another historian confirmed the mustachioed cop’s identity.

The discovery is the first new addition to Chaplin’s roster in 60 years. The film screens this weekend at the annual Slapsticon festival at the Rosslyn Spectrum Theater in Arlington, VA, just outside Washington, DC.

Gierucki, head of restorations for CineMuseum LLC,  plans to make ‘A Thief Catcher’ available to other festivals and on DVD. Hopefully, he’ll keep digging and will turn up that darned elusive director’s cut of ‘The Magnificent Ambersons’.

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I've worked in entertainment product development and sales & marketing in the U.S., UK and my native Canada for over 20 years, and have been a part of many changes during that time (I've overseen home entertainment releases on VHS, LaserDisc, DVD and Blu-ray). I've also written and commentated about film and music for many outlets over the years. The first film I saw in the cinema was Mary Poppins, some time in the mid-60s: I was hooked. My love of the moving image remains as strong as ever.