Friday, May 29, 2015

Chaplin christens a boat called Nomad before its trip around the world

L-R: Daniel Blum, CC, Georgia, Captain Edward Stetson, & Stephens Miranda

The 50-foot Nomad, in which Stephens Miranda & Daniel Blum were planning a four-year-long, round the world trip, was christened by Chaplin at a ceremony in San Pedro on April 21st, 1929.

Accompanying him to the christening was his leading lady in The Gold Rush, Georgia Hale, carrying a bouquet of red roses--a traditional prop for such an occasion. Before the ceremony the two had made a quick excursion to Catalina Island on Chaplin's boat The Kid. They returned to the mainland by airplane just in time for the christening.1


Grace Kingsley wrote that "Charlie was immensely interested in the [Nomad]--went all over it and congratulated the boys on being able to seek adventure while they are still young & full of enthusiasm. He said, very wistfully, we thought, that he wished he were going with the boys on their trip. Charlie is crazy about boats...And when we told Charlie that the boys expected to be sailing on the boat for four years, he confessed to us that he thought two people in that small cabin might quarrel."2

Breaking a bottle of ginger ale disguised as champagne (this was during prohibition) on the bow of the boat, Chaplin declared: "In the spirit of adventure, I christen thee Nomad."3

The christening. Note that Chaplin's hair is dyed black for the filming of City Lights.
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1I was unaware that Chaplin ever had a boat named The Kid but this tidbit is mentioned in both the Los Angeles Times (May 12, 1929, "Ho! For The Life Of A Sailor" by Grace Kingsley) and the June 1929 issue of Motor Boat magazine ("Charley Chaplin's Mysterious Cruise"). The reason for their dash to Catalina before the christening is unknown, although it is mentioned in both sources. The Motor Boat article, which seems to veer between fact and fiction, made it sound like this was some sort of race. The magazine also states that rough seas may have been the reason Charlie and Georgia returned to the mainland by airplane.
2Los Angeles Times, May 12, 1929
4Los Angeles Times, "They'll Sail Into The Sunset," April 22, 1929

7 comments:

  1. Daniel Blum! Author of many books on film and theater later on, including "A Pictorial History of the Silent Screen" (https://archive.org/details/pictorialhistoryof00blum) and "A Pictorial History of the Talkies", which was the first film book I ever bought.

    Phil

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    1. I saw that a Daniel Blum had written books on film and I wondered if it was the same person! Stephens Miranda was also a writer. One of the articles I read said this was a "literary expedition." One of them (I think Miranda) was going to write about the voyage but I couldn't find the article--or really much about the actual voyage at all.

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    2. Definitely him. The pic matches up nicely with the (older) portrait on the book flaps.

      Phil

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  2. Charlie's hair dye makes him look as if it's 1939 instead of 1929. That's amazing, since dye jobs are supposed to make you look younger. He looks years older than he actually is in these photos.

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    1. I agree. Strange as it sounds, he looks younger with gray hair.

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    2. I reckon when Charlie dyed his hair black and dressed as the Tramp character that made him look a fair bit younger but with out the charters costume (in some photos) he looked older (with dyed hair).

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  3. Is it just me or does Georgia kinda look like Edna Purviance in the bottom photograph?

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