Monday, April 18, 2016

Day By Day: 1936

Saturday, April 18th: "Sak Lo"* arrives in Phnom Penh.

Chaplin and his companions left Saigon on the 14th en route to Siem Reap to see the temples and ruins of Angkor Wat. Not much is known about their stops along the way until they reach Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capitol, on the 18th.

At the Hotel Le Royal, Chaplin chatted with reporters for two hours at a bar table. They reported that he received them with "much courtesy and charm." It seems he had been misinformed in Saigon about what he would find once he reached Cambodia. He had arrived in Phnom Penh "expecting to camp in a broom closet." Instead he was "put up at a superb hotel where we had perfect service."

What were his impressions of Phnom Penh?  “The Cambodian capitol is a charming little town," Chaplin said. "The Royal Palace as well as the Silver Pagoda are delightfully pretty.”

Asked if he would be doing any big game hunting during his visit, he replied that he had never fired a rifle in his life and had no desire to kill. The only game that interested him was an elephant which he only desired to capture but not kill.

"Sak Lo" with the elephants

Chaplin concluded the evening interview with the observation that his drive through Indochina had been productive, in terms of new and unexpected sights. He offered to carry out intensive publicity on behalf of Indochina tourism on his return to the United States. The next morning the Chaplin party departed for Angkor Wat.

Sadly there aren't too many photos from this leg of the trip. But there will be more coming after they reach Angkor Wat.

* "Sak Lo" is the Cambodian pronunciation of "Charlot."

Day By Day: 1936

Sources:
"Chaplin In Cambodia," Phnom Penh Post
Darryl Collins, "Chaplin in Cambodia," Sarika Magazine, 2002
"The Tramp Lives On," Southeast Asia Globe

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