It started with the tightrope. That was Charlie Chaplin’s original idea as he developed his feature-length comedy The Circus—his iconic character, the Tramp, forced into a high-wire act, defying death and injury on a rope stretched taut far above the ground. It was later, shortly before production started, that the monkeys came into the picture. Those mischievous animals, those gremlins, would crawl over his arms and body, wrap themselves around his face, and pull down his pants as the Tramp struggled to maintain his balance on the wire. From what we know of his off-screen life at the time, it’s easy to imagine why Chaplin felt bedeviled. His second marriage, to Lita Grey, still a teenager, was fundamentally unhappy. He spent his time away from home with divorce on his mind, and it was around this point he learned that Lita was pregnant with his second child. He also kept an eye out for the detectives he was sure had been hired to investigate his affair with Hearst’s wife, Marion Davies.