For the scene in which the Kid is taken from the Tramp and nearly carted away to a workhouse, Charles Chaplin stated in his autobiography that the young Jackie Coogan was made to cry by his father, who told him that if he would not cry in the scene, he would be sent to an actual workhouse.
The production company tried to cheat Charles Chaplin by paying him for this six-reel film what they would ordinarily pay him for a two-reel film, which was about $500,000. Chaplin took the unassembled film out of state until the company agreed to the $1.5 million he was supposed to be paid, plus half the surplus profits on rentals, along with reversion of the film to him after five years on the rental market.
The off-screen chemistry between Charles Chaplin and Jackie Coogan was just as strong as their onscreen relationship. Every Sunday, during the first few weeks of filming, Chaplin would take Jackie to amusement parks and pony rides and other activities. Some have seen Chaplin's relationship with Coogan as an attempt for Chaplin to reclaim his own unhappy childhood, while others have interpreted Chaplin's attention toward the boy as recasting Coogan into the child he had just lost.
The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second, or third, generation (or more) copies of the film.
Charles Chaplin decided to make a film around Jackie Coogan after seeing him in a vaudeville performance with his father Jack Coogan Sr.. The elder Coogan essentially put his career on hold to coach little Jackie through filming. Chaplin, in turn, rewarded Jack Sr.'s role in coaching the boy, as well as assuaged his performer's ego, by paying him $125 a week, almost double the $75 a week Jackie was getting to costar. Jack Sr. also played several roles in the film, as a bum who picks the Tramp's pocket, as the Devil in the Heaven sequence and as a party guest.
Production of this film ran so long that Chaplin's film company contracting him, First National Pictures, complained. To placate the company, Chaplin invited executives and theater exhibitors to a grand tour of the studio to review the production and to meet the stars. The result was that the visitors were so charmed with what they experienced, especially with the players such as Jackie Coogan, that they agreed to be patient. Ultimately, that patience was proven worthwhile with the film becoming a major critical and commercial success.
In the scene where Charles Reisner's "Bully" is trying to beat up Charles Chaplin's "Tramp," it is obvious that the Bully's upper body has been heavily padded to make him look far bigger and more threatening than he really is, physically.