Many snakes were hired during the making of The Circus – costing from $5 to $30.
On July 17th 1926 the daily production report states “waiting for snakes from Texas” - so the $12.50 ones used during rehearsals on July 12th 1926, for example, cannot have been up to scratch.
On 20th July 1926 two men with two snakes (presumably from Texas) are used, at the cost of $55 a day, for “shooting snake episode”.
The only trace of a snake in photographs on The Circus set is this one - the snake is just visible in the basket beside Chaplin.
The document detailing the scenes shot for The Circus describes a scene filmed on Tuesday July 19th1926. Charlie is eating – a long bread loaf, and “balogne” (obviously a kind of long sausage) and mistakes the snake for the sausage, putting salt on its head, and almost eating it.
Another idea for the use of snakes: the circus boss needs Merna to die before she reaches 21 so that, according to her will, he will become owner of the business. He puts a snake in her dressing room which bites her.
A doctor cannot be found, so Charlie rushes to church to pray, and on the way back is knocked over by a car, which happens to be driven by a doctor.
One storyline proposes that workmen are fond of playing jokes on Charlie, and give him a “lunch basket” – which he opens to find that it belongs to the circus snake charmer.