Showing posts with label 1920s. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1920s. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Chaplin gives his first radio broadcast to promote A Woman Of Paris

Chaplin was extremely nervous about his radio debut, which took place on October 3rd, 1923 at WOR in Newark, NJ. Before going on he paced the studio and continuously mopped his brow. "You can face the camera," he told J. M. Barnett, director of WOR, "knowing that if you make a mistake, if you slip up, you can try again; you can make over the picture. Think of all the thousands of people out there in the world hanging onto everything I say." Charlie frowned, mopped his brow again, and said pitiably, "I don't know what to say, I haven't prepared a speech."

Seated before the microphone, he nervously squirmed, gulped, buttoned and unbuttoned his coat. Finally he braced himself and opened his mouth: "My friends, this is all way beyond me. I’m glad you can’t see me—I am nervous as a witch.” He continued: "It is to me ghastly to think of you out there in your homes with Tom, Dick, Katherine, Harry and the baby all gathered around, and me here by this funny little thing perforated with holes (the thing, not I), my knees trembling, my hands tightly clasped."


In the course of the broadcast, which lasted half an hour, he did some imitations, including an imitation of a jazz band. "I can play any instrument of the orchestra," he declared, "Just listen." Then, one by one, he signaled the various members of a jazz band specially engaged for the occasion and made each man do his bit. "Now I'll play them all at once," he said, and the orchestra broke into "The Blue Danube." Chaplin concluded the broadcast by telling the listeners: "If you have nothing else to do, go to see my new picture, which I directed, A Woman Of Paris."

Afterward, Charlie told the studio director that he "lost nine pounds in fifteen minutes" (due to stage fright) and could sign a statement to that effect.

"As he left the studio, he asked anxiously, 'Did I talk sense into that thing?' Then he shook his fist at the microphone, grinned the grin that has earned him a fortune and went on his way."

Radio Digest, October 27th, 1923
Pictures & The Picturegoer, May 1924

Monday, October 20, 2014

Chaplin with performers from the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, Nogales, AZ, October 1924

Photo property Roy Export S.A.S.

Chaplin was in Nogales en route to Guayamas, Mexico to marry Lita Grey. This was their first attempt to get married. When they filed the application they were told that by Mexican law they had to wait 30 days before the marriage could take place. So they returned the following month.

Another photo of Chaplin at the circus here.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Chaplin arrives in Cherbourg en route to England, September 1921

A mob of reporters and cameramen came aboard to interview Chaplin and bombarded him with questions in both French (which he didn't understand) and English.

Charlie recalled the deluge of questions in My Trip Abroad (1922):
"Are you visiting in London?"
"Why did you come over?"
"Did you bring your make-up?"
"Are you going to make pictures over here?"
Then from Frenchmen :
"Will I visit France?"
"Am I going to Russia?"
I try to answer them all.
"Will you visit Ireland?"
"I don't expect to do so."
"What do you think of the Irish question?"
"It requires too much thought."
"Are you a Bolshevik?"
"I am an artist, not a politician."
"Why do you want to visit Russia?"
"Because I am interested in any new idea."
"What do you think of Lenin?"
"I think him a very remarkable man."
"Because he is expressing a new idea."
"Do you believe in Bolshevism?"
"I am not a politician."
Others ask me to give them a message to France. A message to London. What have I to say to the people of Manchester? Will I meet Bernard Shaw? Will I meet H. G. Wells? Is it true that I am going to be knighted? How would I solve the unemployment problem? ...
I am rescued by my secretaries, who insist that I go to my cabin and lie down. Anything the newspaper men have to ask they will answer for me. I am dragged away bewildered.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Chicago, August 1, 1925

Chaplin literally skidded into Chicago when he tripped and fell as he stepped off the train at Dearborn Station. He arrived from California en route to New York for the premiere of The Gold Rush. During his overnight stay at the Blackstone he was interviewed by a local reporter who asked about his wife (Lita Grey) and newborn son, Charlie, Jr., whom the interviewer referred to as "Spencer" (his middle name). Charlie was asked if he would like to make an actor of "Spencer":
"Oh no, I will not handicap the lad like that. We'll wait until he grows up and let him choose his own career."
"Mrs. Chaplin and the boy are fine," he continued. "But they weren't up to the trip to New York yet, so I left them at home." 
The reporter also remarked on Charlie's gray hair:
The beloved actor was found in his room, rather sad faced, his countenance deeply lined, and his eyes somewhat sunken. And he is getting distinctly gray, he admitted it ruefully, the while stroking the curls once so black and now streaked so abundantly as to make them iron-gray.
But the Chaplin smile was still with him, and when he registered it, he looked like the old time Charlie again." (Chicago Tribune, Aug. 2nd. 1925)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Chaplin and his attorney, Nathan Burkan, New York City, January 14, 1927

Notice that Charlie is sitting on one foot. He enjoyed sitting this way according to interviewers and friends.

"Sometimes he would sit, one foot tucked under him, slashing at the leather cushion with one of his limber bamboo canes, as if in an effort to whip out an idea." --Harry Crocker describing Charlie sitting on a divan in his bungalow during a story conference, "A Tribute To Charlie," Academy Leader, 1972

"At first he sat quite formally, both gray-topped shoes on the floor. As he grew more interested in the discussion, he curled his left leg up under him." (Katherine Eggleston Roberts, "Charles Spencer Chaplin: What Makes The World Laugh," Success Magazine, October 1925)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Charlie, his second wife, Lita, and British novelist Elinor Glyn, October 1925

Both Charlie and Lita describe a story in their memoirs about a roadtrip to Mexico they took with William Randolph Hearst around late 1925 when Lita was pregnant with their second son, Sydney. About twenty people went along for the ride including Elinor Glyn. It was an unpleasant experience because the roads were unpaved and they had to spend the night in a dilapidated Mexican farmhouse.

In My Autobiography, Charlie remembered taking the trip "when my second wife was pregnant. A parade of ten cars followed Hearst and Marion [Davies] over bumpy roads and I was cursing the whole outfit because of it." In Wife Of The Life Of The Party, Lita wrote that Charlie was concerned that the bumpy roads would affect her pregnancy. "A couple of times the terrain was so bumpy Charlie held me in the air so I would not feel the jolting. He was afraid I might miscarry." Both recall how there were not enough beds but that Lita was given one because of her condition (Charlie claims he slept on a couch, but according to Lita, he slept in the bed with her.) Glyn slept on a broken-down couch. Lita remembered that everyone tried to find humor in the situation but Elinor. "She saw nothing funny about anything that removed her from her elegant surroundings." Charlie wrote that Elinor was "dressed as though she were going to the Ritz," wearing a hat, veil, and gloves. "She lay with her hands folded across her chest like a supine figure in a tomb, and slept undisturbed in that one position. I knew for I did not sleep a wink all night. In the morning, from the corner of my eye, I watched her get up as she had lain down, with everything intact, not one hair out of place, her skin white and enameled, as ebullient and spry as if she were walking through the tea room of the Plaza Hotel." Lita recalled that Elinor "had always worn a stiff corset, and it was comical to see her stretched out on the couch with her arms folded over her chest, her white makeup still on, and wearing her hat. 'I won't even take my hat off in this dreadful place,' she said. Charlie and I laughed so hard and so long at Miss Glyn's remark it seemed like it took us forever to fall asleep."

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Chaplin with members of Anna Pavlova's ballet company, c. 1922

I don't believe Pavlova herself is in this photo but it was probably taken the same day as the more commonly-seen photos of Charlie and "Pav" by themselves.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Charlie with the French cartoonist, Cami (2nd from right), Paris, 1921

Chaplin remembered in My Trip Abroad that their meeting was difficult because neither spoke the other's language. The two would meet again ten years later when Charlie returned to Paris during his world tour but that meeting did not go as well.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Two Giants

Screenland, 1924

The caption reads: "The giant of the screen on the right and the gentleman on the left is the giant of the Hagenback-Wallace Circus. He stands 8 ft. 4i in. tall and in Nogales, Arizona."

Chaplin's height was around 5' 6 1/2".

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sculptor Jo Davidson creates a bust of Chaplin, New York City, August 1925

From Between Sittings by Jo Davidson (1951):
From a diary kept at this time I see that on August 12, soon after I arrived in New York, I went to a dinner for Charlie Chaplin at Conde Nast's. Chaplin and I took to each other and he agreed to sit for his bust.
Making a bust of him was no easy task. He has a very sensitive and mobile face. It was fascinating to watch the rapid play of his many expressions. He would sit there and never move a muscle and yet his face was constantly changing. He would look gay or sad, wise or silly, at will. It seemed to come from the inside out. He was a wonderfully stimulating companion.

The finished bust, cast in bronze, is on display at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Chaplin at the Devon Horse Show in Devon, PA, 1927


On the first photo someone has written: "Hollywood's greatest comic, sans moustache."

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Photo from French film magazine, 1921

Cinemagazine, Dec. 1921
"Le Sourire De M. Chaplin" = "The Smile of Mr. Chaplin"

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Charlie & German director, Ernst Lubitsch, 1923

Lubitsch had just seen a rough cut of A Woman Of Paris, which he hailed as “a great step forward…a picture that left something to the imagination.” Some believe that Lubitsch's next film, The Marriage Circle, which also starred Adolphe Menjou, was influenced by A Woman Of Paris. I'm not sure exactly when Lubitsch saw the preview, but AWOP was released on October 1st, 1923 and Marriage Circle was already in production by then.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A game of "Dougledyas" at the Fairbanks Studio, 1923

Dougledyas, or simply, Doug, was a game that was invented by Douglas Fairbanks. The rules were similar to tennis but six could play instead of four and a shuttlecock was used instead of a ball.

Front: CC & Douglas Fairbanks.
Standing (L-R): Raoul Walsh, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jack Pickford, C. Carlton Bingham