Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Chaplin brothers' bios in Stars Of The Photoplay, 1924


The inaccuracies found in these bios are not necessarily the fault of the writer but of Charlie and Syd themselves who, in early interviews, often fabricated their background to reporters. Unfortunately, these fabrications were repeated over and over again for many years. Neither place of birth is correct (both brothers were born in London). Syd was born March 16th, not 17th (he liked to give St. Patrick's Day as his birthday). Charlie's height, as usual, is wrong (and Syd's, too, perhaps). Charlie was closer to 5' 6 1/2" & the brothers were about the same height (see here). Charlie usually underestimated his height to reinforce his image as the "Little Fellow." To clarify some of the other information. Syd's role in Sherlock Holmes was obtained for him by Charlie who was playing Billy, the Page Boy at the time. The company never toured America. Charlie did more than just "some clog dancing in a London Theater." He toured the provinces with the Eight Lancashire Lads for two years.

The bios include beautiful photos of the brothers by Albert Witzel (Charlie) and Clarence Sinclair Bull (Syd).

7 comments:

  1. It's hard to see any resemblance between the brothers through this set of photos.

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    1. There's a slight resemblance with their noses and ears (which lie flat against their heads). And maybe the shape of their eyes. But looking at them head on, you wouldn't even know they were related.

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  2. I saw a photo of the Lancashire Lads last month. Charlie was singled out as a 90 % sure. All the boys were in clogs. Now I can't remember what site.

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    1. There are a couple of photos of the Lads floating around that allegedly include CC but I don't think he is in either one. I included links to the photos below. In the first photo CC is supposed to be on the far left but it's definitely not him. The latter photo is included in A.J. Marriott's book (CC: Stage By Stage) and while it's never been officially confirmed, he feels Chaplin could be the child standing 4th from left.

      http://www.leodis.net/discovery/images/200371_697408021.jpg

      https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5534/9135596785_9dc0ed5b17_b.jpg

      Feel free to compare with this photo we know is Charlie from his Lancashire Lad days;
      http://in1.ccio.co/4D/n5/VE/c4bfd8bcd133a7968a9bce720de72a7b.jpg

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  3. The 'CC Stage by Stage' article was the one I saw. Wow, a closer look at those clogs in your links there. My friends used to be cloggers.
    Thankyou

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    1. I was a clogger for 20 years--the American kind. Although its roots are in the kind of clog dancing that Charlie did. I could relate to his stories of spending hours trying to learn the steps and his nervousness performing in front of an audience for the first time.

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  4. As we discussed, Syd used these attributes in his listing in Motion Picture Studio Directories, 1919 & 1921 (ancestry.com). Whether they exhibit any aspect of the truth, however, remains suspect.

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