Saturday, August 17, 2013

Charlie with fellow music hall comedian, "Wee" Georgie Wood, c. 1924


From The Chaplin Encyclopedia by Glenn Mitchell:
Wood had been asked to visit Alf Reeves on behalf of one of the latter's in-laws and, on arrival, at the Chaplin Studio, was assured that Mr. Reeves 'would see anybody and anything from London.' Reeves duly appeared, whispering, 'Would you like to see Charlie? He is in a very good mood today.' Wood declined, explaining a reluctance either to 'genuflect' or  to risk his admiration of Chaplin by not necessarily liking him as a man. 'Thank God for someone who does not want to meet me,' said Chaplin, stepping out from behind a screen. Chaplin recognized him instantly, the result of a long-forgotten encounter in Oldham, Lancashire. Wood had been touring in Levy's and Cardwell's 1907 production of the pantomime Sleeping Beauty--with, incidentally, Stan Laurel also in the cast--and had been 'sprayed' by Chaplin when standing next to him at a public convenience. 'You could not have been more than 3 feet high,' recalled Chaplin, 'but you looked up with all the dignity in the world and said, "Young man, haven't you learned to pee straight yet?"...Having met again in somewhat drier circumstances, the two comedians formed a lasting friendship...despite such incidents as Wood stomping around the music hall set of Limelight claiming, 'it was not like that!'
Wood also seconded Chaplin's initiation into the Grand Order Of Water Rats, a society of British music hall performers, in London in November 1931. More on that in my "World Tour Revisited" series later this year.



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