Friday, October 31, 2014

Chaplin mimics Jean Harlow, Greta Garbo, and others aboard his yacht, Panacea, 1933


From the Alistair Cooke home movie, All At Sea.

The bench photos

Located at the end of a row of offices near the studio screening room, this bench was a popular spot for photos at the Chaplin Studio.

The building straight ahead is a corner of the studio laboratory. I believe the studio entrance gate is around the corner
 from the bench, between the screening room and the lab.

A few photos of Chaplin and others with the bench:

Chaplin posing with an airmail package, 1927

Posing with Kono, 1927
 (taken at the same time as the "airmail" photos above)

With Harry d'Arrast, 1923
With Chuck Reisner (left) and Konrad Bercovici, c.1924
With ballerina Anna Pavlova, 1922
Betty Morrissey (left) and Merna Kennedy, c. 1926

Thursday, October 30, 2014

"There's Always One You Can't Forget"

Written by Charles Chaplin

From Oh! That Cello by Thomas Beckmann

This song, plus two other Chaplin compositions (“The Peace Patrol” & “Oh! That Cello”), were published by the short-lived Charlie Chaplin Music Publishing Company in 1916.

The song's lyrics tell a sad story of lost love:
I sit alone at twilight gazing in the firelight glow
And my mem'ry takes me back again, to days of long ago
Those happy days when you and I would share the sun and rain
Ah! What I would give, if I could live those happy days again
There's always one, you can't forget, There's always one, one vain regret
Tho' grief is dead--mem'ry survives. Fate linked we two, mated our lives
Why did we meet only to part, love comes but once into the heart
Tho' it may cause pain and regret, there's always one you can't forget
Tho' destiny decreed that we should live our lives apart
Yet your mem'ry dear will ever be engraven in my heart
The pain and anguish were endured, unspoken and unseen
Why it nearly breaks my heart to think of what might have been

Sheet music for "There's Always One You Can't Forget"

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Chaplin on the witness stand during the Charles Amador trial, Feb. 26, 1925

Los Angeles Times, February 27, 1925
On this particular day of testimony, Chaplin was asked whether an actor's success affects his personal life. "I cannot answer that," he responded with a smile. Had his own popularity been impaired during the past six months? "I don't know," he said.

He was then asked if the booking of his forthcoming film, The Gold Rush, had been canceled because the Club Women Of Los Angeles objected to it. He sat with his lips tightened while his attorneys objected and argued. Chaplin was finally given permission to answer. "Positively untrue," he replied, leaning forward. "It's a lie."

Read more testimony from the trial here.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

DOUGH & DYNAMITE, released October 26th, 1914

The idea for Dough and Dynamite emerged out of a sequence intended for Those Love Pangs. Chaplin wisely chose to expand the scenes into a separate film (which was completed before Those Love Pangs but released later). The result is one of the best films Chaplin had made up to that time.

Although Chester Conklin was only three years older than Chaplin,
 he always seemed much older to me because of his costume.
The great Phyllis Allen.
The dough in this film seems to take on a comedy life of its own--
sort of like Charlie's cane in his other films. 
"The Fatal Loaf"
Charlie makes bagels by swinging the dough around his wrist like a bracelet.

Chaplin & the Kengeki

In the summer of 1928, Chaplin was invited by his secretary, Toraichi Kono, to see his first Kengeki, a Japanese sword play. It was performed by members of the Imperial Theater of Tokyo in a small Japanese theater in downtown Los Angeles. So captivated was Chaplin by the performance that he wanted to give the Kengeki a wider audience. Therefore he enlisted the help of showman supreme Sid Grauman to have a Hollywood showing of the plays at Grauman's Chinese Theater, with invitations being sent to every big name in the film colony. The evening was a huge success and Grauman and Chaplin immediately arranged for  two-night engagement at the Windsor Square Theater, followed by a week-long run at the Music Box Theater, with the latter engagement under the sponsorship of not only Chaplin and Grauman, but also Sam Goldwyn, Cecil B. DeMille, and Joseph Schenck.

Chaplin with Kengeki performers, c.1928

A year later, to show their appreciation for Chaplin's furtherance of the Kengeki, the Japanese businessmen of Los Angeles arranged a party for him at a cafe in the Japanese section of the city. Kono recalled that 300 guests assembled to pay their respects. The cafe was lavishly decorated with synthetic cherry blossoms. An elaborate meal was served and they were entertained by dancers recruited from local Japanese theaters. The photo below, from Charlie Chaplin: King Of Tragedy by Gerith Von Ulm,  a book written with the help of Kono, is supposedly from this party. Another photo from this gathering can be seen here. In her book, Georgia Hale describes being Chaplin's guest (on their first date) at a party in Little Tokyo that was arranged by Kono. I believe this is the same party. Whether it was arranged by Kono or the Japanese businessmen (or both) is anyone's guess.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Chaplin hosts a luncheon at Harry Sugarman’s Tropics in Beverly Hills, November 1936

Paulette is wearing the same dress that she wore in these famous publicity photos of her and Charlie that were taken the previous month.

CC, Anita Loos, Paulette, and Loos' hushand, John Emerson.
Loos was one of Paulette's closest friends and was best known for writing the novel, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
She attempted to write a biography of Paulette in the 1970s called The Perils Of Paulette but it was never finished.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Charlie Chaplin: Hero

During location filming for The Adventurer, which was released 97 years ago today, Chaplin dove into the rough waters off Topanga Canyon to save a young girl named Mildred Morrison from drowning. The articles below describe Charlie's heroic efforts to save the seven-year-old. Although he is described as diving in with his cane and "ancient derby," he was most likely wearing the prison garb we see at the beginning of the film (and above).

Chicago Tribune, August 12, 1917

Motion Picture News, September 1, 1917
Charlie did not receive a medal.

With Will Rogers on the set of his film Unwilling Hero, 1921

More photos of his visit here.

Rogers wrote the following about Chaplin in his weekly newspaper column in 1924:
I consider Charlie Chaplin not only the funniest man in the world, but I consider him to be (and this comes not from hearsay but from personal observation and contact with him) to be one of the smartest minds in America. Any man that can stay at the absolute head of his profession as long as he has, can’t do it on a pin head. It’s an education to be associated with Charlie Chaplin. He is a student of every form of government, and well informed on every national and international question. And human nature? What that guy don’t know about that! He never puts a bit of business or gag into his picture until he has studied out whether it will hit every man, woman and child, be they American, Chinaman, or Zulu. He is the only man, actor, statesman, writer, painter that has ever been able to please the entire world. (Washington Post, December 14, 1924)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Edna Purviance in her final film Education de Prince (1927)

Edna's last film was made in France and directed by Henri Diamant-Berger. It was shown in Europe but apparently not in America. Sadly, the film has become hard to find but, according to one reputable source, is not lost.

Happy birthday, Edna Purviance (October 21, 1895)

From Picture Show, June 21, 1919:

Some of the information in this article is incorrect, such as Edna's birth year (1895) and how she met Chaplin.
But I did enjoy the interview excerpts. Edna always had a sense of humor.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Chaplin with performers from the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, Nogales, AZ, October 1924

Photo property Roy Export S.A.S.

Chaplin was in Nogales en route to Guayamas, Mexico to marry Lita Grey. This was their first attempt to get married. When they filed the application they were told that by Mexican law they had to wait 30 days before the marriage could take place. So they returned the following month.

Another photo of Chaplin at the circus here.

SHOULDER ARMS, released October 20th, 1918

This was Chaplin's second film for First National and his most successful up to that time.

Chaplin signs the opening title card and then mimics shooting at the Tramp.
"The Awkward Squad"
Soldier Charlie dreams about home.
Chaplin deleted this "three-on-a-match" sequence when he re-released the film as part of
the Chaplin Revue in 1959. 
Filming this scene was "anything but comfortable" for Chaplin
due to the heat wave in Los Angeles that summer.
Charlie awakens in an abandoned cottage to find Edna, a French girl, tending
to a wound on his hand.
Albert Austin (left) and Henry Bergman each played at least three roles in the film.
 Syd Chaplin (right) portrays both Charlie's army pal and the Kaiser (above).
He can also be seen as the latter in The Bond, a short film Chaplin made
 for the Liberty Bond effort that was released shortly before Shoulder Arms
Charlie helps Edna disguise herself as a German soldier.
Charlie captures the Kaiser, or was it all a dream?