Saturday, March 9, 2013

World Tour (1931-32) Revisited: Berlin, March 9th, 1931

Illustration from "A Comedian Sees The World."
Thousands of fans waited in the snow to greet Charlie who arrived at dusk. When he visited the city in 1921, he was little known because his films had not been shown in Germany during the war. But this time it was much different. The police had to use "anti-mob tactics" to control the frenzied crowds. One report said that Charlie was nearly crushed on the railroad tracks and the police had to club their way through the throngs to save him. Nevertheless, he later recalled that this was the most exciting reception of all, "even greater than London."

Later at the Hotel Adlon, where Charlie had a suite, a large crowd gathered outside chanting "komm hormus! (come out)" until he finally appeared at the balcony.  He was later photographed with Marlene Dietrich, who was there to greet Charlie on behalf of the German film industry.

Charlie arrives at the Hotel Adlon.
He is carrying a bouquet of violets which were given to him by a group of children.
Charlie is mobbed by reporters in his hotel suite.
When asked what he intended to do during his visit, he said that he would like to visit
 the local theaters and a prison: "I think I can judge a people very much by the sort of prisons it has."  

With Marlene Dietrich. (I apologize for the watermark, but
this is a slightly different pose than you normally see from this meeting)

Later that evening, Charlie saw a performance at Carow's Lachbüehne, a vaudeville house, by German slapstick comedian, Erich Carow:
That evening we visited a rathskeller, a place of amusement, where we saw Garro [sic], a popular favorite of Berlin. He is a comedian of the slapstick type--very unctuous and full of rough and tumble, and an artist.
During the performance he heard that I was in front and so made an announcement. I was brought onto the stage. He said something in German. Suddenly he turned and embraced me, and before I knew it I was kissed. Then he waxed eloquent. I heard "circus" and "gold rush" mentioned. 
Then he mimicked some gesture of mine and the audience went into gales of laughter. Then again he became dramatic, punctuating his remarks with effective pauses and with modulated voice. Tears, came to his eyes. Then with a dramatic gesture he pointed to me. The house went into rounds of applause. 
Then with rapid transition he spoke an aside and again embraced me with a kiss which brought another roar of laughter. We then left the stage amidst tremendous applause. I haven't the faintest idea what he said. I only know that he played upon the emotions of the audience at will. ("A Comedian Sees The World, Vol. 2," A Woman's Home Companion, October 1933)
Two photos of Charlie at Carow's Lachbüehne:
At far left is Czech writer Egon Erwin Kisch, whom Charlie met in Hollywood in 1929.
Chaplin's press agent, Carlyle Robinson is seated second from right.

1 comment:

  1. That last photo offers me An oppresive sensation, all that people around, standing...i wonder how did he feel in that situation.

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