Thursday, December 3, 2015

Charlie & "Pet"



According to Georgia Hale (leading lady from The Gold Rush), Charlie's parrot, named Pet, was bright green and red and he kept him on a large enclosed porch:
[Pet] greeted him with a warm 'Hello Charlie' every evening on his return home. Charlie said, "I’ve had Pet for many years. He’s now part of the family, and I just love him. He has cheered my heart many times with his happy 'Hello'"1
Another person to witness Chaplin with his pet parrot was Austrian journalist, Arnold Höllriegel, who visited Chaplin's Beverly Hills home in 1928:
When our talk was over he took us to the garden. My traveling companion, Max Goldschmidt, begged to be allowed to take photographs, and Chaplin allowed him to take several dozen yards of film.2 And I was director of this latest film--I myself. "Now, please, in the hall where you wrote the story of The Gold Rush! Now with your parrot!" Holding the parrot on his arm, he said to him, "Be a good parrot now. Come to Papa."3
Chaplin, Pet, and Höllriegel.
Charlie is holding a copy of Höllriegel's 1927 book Hollywood Bilderbuch.

Chaplin gave Pet away during the parrot fever scare of 1930. However Pet was not his last parrot. He acquired another one later in life named Edward. Roddy McDowall photographed Chaplin talking to the bird for  the July 1967 issue of Harper's Bazaar magazine (below). The description read: "The Silver Fox is shown in his Swiss villa with his parrot, described by an undisclosed source as a talkative, rather nasty molting little bird named Edward, whose former master was reputedly a fickle English nobleman."

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1Georgia Hale, Charlie Chaplin: Intimate Close-ups
2Where is this footage now?!
3Arnold Höllriegel, "Charles Chaplin At Home," The Living Age, July 1928. The rest of Hollriegel's account of Chaplin fooling around for the camera didn't fit in with the parrot story but was too delightful not to share: 
Then I said to Max Goldschmidt: "Take Charlie's feet to show how they look in ordinary life." For Charlie Chaplin's feet are small and graceful.
Finally he stood on a little bridge in his garden. Supporting himself on two handrails, he swung himself up in the air like an acrobat on the parallel bars. Laughing like a boy, he waved his feet in the air at the camera, and for just a flash the proprietor of the villa disappeared and Charlie the lusty vagabond emerged.

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