Friday, June 20, 2014

Round The Lot With Charlie



The following quotes plus the first two photos are from "Round The Lot With Charlie," Picture Show, September 20th, 1919 (the author's name is not given). The man in the photos with Charlie is boxer "Snowy" Baker (thanks to Dominique for the I.D.):
I was told before I met him that I should find him shy. He's nothing of the sort though possibly, not being an awe-inspiring sort of person, I didn't impress him that way. I only know him as a man of charming manners and very rare mentality who possesses a fund of interesting conversation and a social ease  which would place him on an equal footing with any man on earth. 
I told him of his reputation for shyness, and he smiled.
"No, I'm not shy," he said, "only timid; a big difference, you know."

The reporter went on to describe Charlie as
...a little chap, slender and beautifully proportioned, with small feet and exquisite, expressive little hands. His most striking feature are a pair of clear, deep-blue eyes, fringed with long, dark eyelashes — eyes that reflect every passing thought and emotion, that alternately dream and twinkle, eyes that have the candor and sincerity of a child, but also the fire of a real man's enthusiasm for real big things.
It is very grateful to English ears to listen to Chaplin's well-bred English voice and clear-cut speech in the midst of every variety of American accent. Beyond the use of an occasional transatlantic idiom, he talks like the average cultured Englishman who has just landed in the States.

Although Charlie was in the process of filming Shoulder Arms, the Sunnyside set, including the church from the opening shot, was still standing. [Correction: Charlie was not in the process of filming Shoulder Arms because SA was filmed after Sunnyside. This is my own error. However it appears from the photographs and the content of the article that parts of both sets were still standing.]
"We're keeping it up as long as we can, he explained. "It's so pretty that I hate to pull it down but I'm afraid that it will soon have to go to make room for another set."
"We're keeping it up as long as we can, he explained. "It's so pretty that I hate to pull it down but I'm afraid that it will soon have to go to make room for another set."

Chaplin with Snowy Baker in a photo from the Chaplin Archive
Image Bank.

11 comments:

  1. Now I can't understand something... Shoulder Arms was done earlier than Sunnyside, wasn't it? Then why does Charlie say that they will need place for another set soon?
    Domi

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    1. That's my own goof. Shoulder Arms isn't mentioned in the article. I was confused. The stairway set in the first photo looks like it's from SA though, so perhaps parts of both sets were still standing.

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    2. Now I see. Yes, it can easily happen that both sets were standning, but - although I can't see it quite well - the house on the first picture seems to be bigger than the one used in Shoulder Arms. I'm not sure about it, though...
      Your blog is great, one can always find great peaces of information in it!
      Domi

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  2. I guess this is Australian boxer, then actor Reginald Leslie "Snowy" BAKER. Strange the article doesn't even give his name! D.

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    1. The first photo is in the "Photo Diary" book. For some reason I didn't think it mentioned who the man was with Charlie but I just checked it and it DOES. If I had only taken two seconds to look...

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  3. Yes, something's off with the chronology here. Shoulder Arms was released long before this article appeared, and the next film after Sunnyside was A Day's Pleasure, which was mostly shot on location and outside the studio, so maybe the sets didn't have to come down until prep for The Kid. It seems that he had a plethora of guests on the set during the production of Sunnyside.

    Phil

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    1. What threw me off was the caption to the first photo which looks like the set to SA. "Showing a visitor round a scene for a new comedy." Now, had I been thinking clearly this morning I would have realized, as Dominique pointed out, that SA came before "Sunnyside." Sorry to confuse everyone.

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  4. I do think sometimes there was a quite a long lead time--sometimes several months--between when an interview was done and when it was published. They certainly didn't have the kind of instantaneous publishing abilities we have now!

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  5. Shoulder Arms and Sunnyside are two of my favorites! They have two iconic scenes which I remember most; The makeshift wood street signs that say Broadway and Rotten Row and the other, with the wood fairies that resemble the William-Adolphe Bouguereau painting of satry and nymphs
    http://ifyouseekpeace.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/william-adolphe_bouguereau__nymphs_and_satyr_1873-02.jpg

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