Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Day By Day: 1936

Monday: March 23rd: The gang leaves Singapore at dawn for Batavia, Java.

CC, Qantas captain Russell Tapp, Paulette, and Alta

Charlie, Paulette, her mother, Alta, and valet Frank Yonemori traveled on an Australian Qantas mail plane called "Sydney." This was ironic since the last time Charlie was in these parts it was with his brother, Sydney, in 1932.

They arrived at Tjililitan airfield in Batavia (Jakarta) at 10:30am, Paulette was the first to "jump out" wearing what a Batavian newspaper described as "eerily large" sunglasses and a "sporting costume" consisting of light blue skirt, light brown shirt, and "no socks." The rings on her left hand were also still noteworthy (I should start calling this "ring-gate"). According to De Indische Courant (and Google Translate), it was reported that "Paulette, craftily partially hidden under a silver ring with a giant jade stone, wore a platinum and diamond ring." Alta was next to exit the plane. Then came Charlie, who was dressed in a white linen suit and greeted the reporters with a jovial "morning."

"The gray-haired movie star" declared himself pleasantly surprised at the absence of public curiosity about his arrival and that he was not being asked too many personal questions, except if he still intended to charter the Sea Belle II (aka the "honeymoon yacht"). To which he replied that he had "no intention" of doing so. He was also asked if he would still make a movie about Napoleon. He answered: "I have not absolutely made up my mind."

Chaplin was excited at the prospect of a ten-day tour of Java and Bali, a place that held pleasant memories for him. He planned to replay his 1932 trip and travel by car across Java, arriving in Surabaya on Saturday where they will take the K.P.M. steamer to Bali.

From the airport the travelers went to the Hotel des Indes for breakfast where it was noted that Paulette ate a generous amount of food but Charlie ate very little. Following breakfast, they drove 11 hours to Bandung, where they planned to spend one day.

Source: De Indische Courant, March 23, 1936

Road trip!

Stay tuned for more in Day by Day: 1936

7 comments:

  1. Great find! There's one confuses me, though, the Hotel Java, not sure there was such hotel in/near Jakarta by that time. Around 1930s, known hotel with rijsttafel food were Hotel Des Indes in Batavia and Savoy Homann Hotel in Bandung (this one even claims Charlie was once stayed there). I'm Indonesian, btw :)

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    1. You're right. It was the Hotel des Indes. Thank you!

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  2. Did Charlie ever travel to the Southern Hemisphere?

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    1. To my knowledge, the closest he ever got was his trip to Kenya in 1958. But something I didn't mention above was that when he arrived in Java in 1936 he was given a personal invitation to come to Australia (I don't know by whom). He actually considered it but eventually decided not to go. Of all the traveling he did in his life, I'm a little surprised that he never went there.

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    2. Am I missing something? Aren't both Java and Bali south of the equator?

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    3. I didn't think they were but I could be wrong.

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