Chaplin Music Timeline

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Gerard Carbonara born

Gerard Carbonara
Born in NYC, Carbonara studied at the National Conservatory of Music under Antonin Dvořák and later composed several cues for Chaplin’s 1942 sound version of THE GOLD RUSH.

Alois Reiser born

Alois Reiser

Born in Prague, Reiser was the assistant conductor at the Strand Theatre in New York. When the theater cleaned house at the end of 1927, Reiser became musical director in time to conduct Arthur Kay’s compilation score for the world premiere of THE CIRCUS on January 6, 1928.



Little did the world know that on this day, in East Lane, Walworth, a subsection of London, a cinematic giant was born.


Chaplin’s father was a comedian and described as a “dramatic and descriptive singer.” The year brought new fame to his career with the publication of numerous songs Chaplin Sr. sang on stage, a practice that was awarded only to stars whose image could help sell sheet music.


Carli D. Elinor

Silent film music arranger and conductor Elinor (née Carol Einhorn) was born in Bucharest, Romania, and studied at the Bucharest Conservatory of Music before emigrating to New York City in 1910. He worked as an interpreter for a bank, was a vaudeville violinist, and became the general music director for D. W. Griffith Productions, compiling scores for the West Coast premiere of THE BIRTH OF A NATION, as well as HEARTS OF THE WORLD and BROKEN BLOSSOMS. Elinor later helped Chaplin compile the score for the premiere THE GOLD RUSH in 1925.


Max Terr

Born in Odessa (present-day Ukraine), Terr led a popular dance band in the early 1920s and began his film career in 1930 at Paramount Pictures, working on early sound musicals like THE LOVE PARADE and THE VAGABOND KING. He provided choral arrangements for SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS and THE GREAT VICTOR HERBERT, and conducted a 110-person chorus for Max Fleischer’s animated version of GULLIVER’S TRAVELS. He also conducted the chorus on Meredith Willson’s radio broadcasts and served as Meredith assistant on THE GREAT DICTATOR before working again with Chaplin on the score for the 1942 sound version of THE GOLD RUSH.


Little is known about the life of this songwriter (“Someone”) and composer. Along with Roy Chamberlain and Carmen Dragon, Falk arranged for Meredith Willson on his radio broadcasts. Willson brought the three with him to arrange cues for THE GREAT DICTATOR.


Philip Sainton

Born in Arques-la-Bataille, Seine-Maritime, France, Sainton served as a chemist in the Middle East during World War I. He later became principal violist of the Queen’s Hall Orchestra and the BBC Symphony, where he remained until 1944. As a composer, Sainton gained notoriety with Sea Pictures (1923) and his 1939 tone poem, The Island. As part of the revolving door of arrangers on A KING IN NEW YORK, his working relationship with Chaplin was tense and short-lived.


Boris Sarbek

The final—and permanent—arranger on A KING IN NEW YORK and the original arranger on A COUNTESS FROM HONG KONG, Sarbek was born Boris Saarbecoff in Russia (date unknown). He made his fortune as a violinist and society bandleader on the Riviera and radio circuit. Sarbek spelled his name in a number of ways—Sarbekoff, Sarbeck—and when he played Latin American music, he used the pseudonym “Oswaldo Berkas,” the last name being an anagram of Sarbek.


Abe Lyman

The popular Chicago-born bandleader was a fixture at the Cocoanut Grove in The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, which Chaplin frequented often. Lyman and his musicians played offscreen during the filming of THE GOLD RUSH and co-penned with Chaplin and the pianist in his band, Gus Arnheim, two promotional songs for the film—”Sing a Song” and “With You, Dear, In Bombay.”

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