Showing posts with label Alta Goddard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alta Goddard. Show all posts

Sunday, May 29, 2016

DAY BY DAY: 1936

Friday, May 29th: The Coolidge, en route to San Francisco, makes a brief stop in Honolulu

Sailing from Yokohama, the President Coolidge, carrying Charlie, Paulette, her mother, Alta, and valet Frank Yonemoridocked for only a few hours in Hawaii before sailing again at ten that evening. Fellow passenger, Jean Cocteau, recalled that the ship was met with a native band and singers upon its arrival. When Charlie and Paulette disembarked they were "waylaid by the American colony, led off on a leash of flowers."1 The couple were here once before back in February, at the beginning of their tour.

Below are photos aboard the Coolidge, between Yokohama and San Francisco.

Alta and Paulette
L-R: Geoffrey Rootes, William Rootes (British car manufacturers), Lady Furness, Paulette, Charlie.
Back row: Jean Cocteau, Alta, Victor Sassoon (with mustache), and Water Lang, the director.
Chaplin with Frank Murphy, U.S. High Commissioner to the Philippines.
Alta, Mr. Murphy, and Paulette
In a photo album, Paulette describes her sleeping mother in this photo
as "the perfect chaperone."
More photos here.

Coming up on June 3rd: Arrival in San Francisco.

1 Cocteau, Round The World Again In 80 Days


Day By Day: 1936: A document of one year of Chaplin's life.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Day By Day: 1936

Wednesday, April 29th: Charlie, Paulette, and her mother, Alta, pose with the local press in Hanoi. 

These photos were probably taken outside the Metropole Hotel where the Chaplin party was staying.* The reporters were with the newspaper Dong Phap.

Charlie and his companions arrived in Hanoi on the 24th and will stay here until around the first of the month, then travel on to Haiphong.

* You can now stay at the "Charlie Chaplin Suite" at the hotel. The website wrongly claims Charlie and Paulette spent their "honeymoon" here. This isn't possible since they haven't even been to Canton yet, which is where Charlie says they were married (but it's coming up).

Day By Day: 1936.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Day By Day: 1936

(circa)April 21st-April 23rd: Annam

Page from photo album in Chaplin Archives.

Following their visit to Angkor, Chaplin and his companions traveled east to the area along the coast of then-French Indochina formerly known as Annam, visiting the cities of Tourane (now Da Nang) and Hue.

Charlie & Paulette at the Hotel Morin in Hue.

On April 23rd, rumors began to circulate worldwide that Chaplin had "dropped dead in Indochina." The rumors began, according to the Singapore Free Press, when American and British news sources had tried to locate Chaplin in Tourane to no avail. Wrote the Free Press: "Film circles in Hollywood believed all the rumours at first and American newspapers prepared Mr. Chaplin's obituary." 1 The rumors were put to rest when Chaplin responded to a cable he received in Hue.

"Are you dead, as reported?"
"Not yet," Chaplin promptly replied. 2

Chicago Tribune, April 24th, 1936

From Hue the group will travel north to Hanoi where they will spend several days. More on that to come in Day By Day: 1936.

Note: Paulette died 54 years later on April 23rd, 1990.

Below: Charlie, Paulette, and Alta in Tourane (Da Nang).

1Singapore Free Press, April 24th, 1936
2Chicago Tribune, April 26th, 1936

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Day By Day: 1936

(circa) Monday, April 20th: Charlie & Paulette visit the ruins of Angkor

It was around this time 80 years ago that Charlie, Paulette, her mother, Alta, and Chaplin's valet, Frank Yonemori visited the ruins of Angkor, once the capital city of the Khmer Empire, and its famous temples: Angkor Wat & Angkor Thom.

With tour guide, Victor Goloubew (left)

Their tour guide was archaeologist Victor Goloubew of the EFEO.* Sadly, I could find little information about this visit or Chaplin's impressions of the place. They spent at least two days here, staying at the Grand Hotel d'Angkor in Siem Reap, the closest city to Angkor.

See many more photos of the visit here.

*EFEO aka École française d'Extrême-Orient is a French institute dedicated to the study of Asian societies

Coming up: The Chaplin party continues east toward Tourane (Da Nang), and Chaplin is reported dead. Stay tuned...

Day By Day: 1936: a document of one year of Chaplin's life.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Day By Day: 1936

April 10th-April 12th: En route to Indochina (Vietnam)

These photos show Charlie, Paulette, and Alta aboard the French ship, Aramis,* between Singapore and Saigon, exactly eighty years ago. Charlie's valet, Frank Yonemori, who is traveling with the group, probably served as photographer.

For the first time on this long trip, Chaplin was traveling to a place he had never been (nor had Paulette). Perhaps it's no coincidence that this leg of the trip was scheduled to coincide with his birthday.

*This ship has a rather sad history. In 1942, it was seized by the Japanese and renamed Teia Maru. It served as a repatriation ship in 1943, and then as a transport between Singapore and Japan. In 1944, it was torpedoed & sunk by a U.S. submarine killing over 2600 people.

Day By Day: 1936

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Day By Day: 1936

March 29th - April 6th: Bali!

Very little is known about Chaplin's second trip to Bali.1 Four years before (almost to the day), he had visited the island with his brother, Sydney (here and here) & was taken with their natural way of living. This time, however, he found it "a changed place." It was more "civilized" and more "commercialized." 2 Nevertheless the place still inspired him. Before he returned to the States in June, Chaplin was already thinking about a film with a Balinese setting. It would be a talkie and would star Paulette as a native girl.3 In fact, an unfinished screenplay for the film still exists in the Chaplin Archive.4

After a week in Bali, the group will sail back to Java on April 6th.

Stay tuned for more in Day By Day: 1936.


1Chaplin evidently made one more trip to Bali in 1961. Even less is known about this visit. His impressions of his first visit can be found in his travel memoir A Comedian Sees The World and My Autobiography
 2Singapore Free Press, April 8, 1936
3Los Angeles Times, June 4, 1936. Chaplin also discussed the Bali film with Jean Cocteau aboard the Tashima Maru in May 1936.
4The film is referred in the Archive as "The Bali Story," but according to Maurice Bessy, the film at one point had a name. In late 1936, Chaplin told him: "I've abandoned The Wild Woman of Bali, but I've still promised Paulette a script, which I'll direct." (Bessy, Charlie Chaplin, 1985). It should also be pointed out that Chaplin began the script following his first visit in 1932. He continued to expand upon it for the next ten years. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Day By Day: 1936

March 26-27: Garut to Djokja

From Garut, the travelers' headed northeast to Wonosobo, a town in Central Java. Here they spent the night at the Dieng Hotel and Chaplin was interviewed by the Bataviaasch Nieuwsblad (Batavia Newspaper).

Asked about the local hotels, he replied that they were "extraordinarily good" and "the best in the Far East." He added that the Dutch cuisine was "exquisite" and expressed his love of their mangosteens. "How delightful they are!"

"Is your itinerary too tiring? In many places you stay only one night."

"Indeed it is quite tiring but I always make sure there is enough bed rest."

The reporter told Chaplin that he looked young for his age and asked how he kept fit. Charlie replied that he enjoys tennis and swimming, but added that he was starting to get a bit of a tummy (there was a laugh when Charlie slapped his belly) and feared that once he left the Dutch East Indies he will have put on several pounds due to their excellent food. As for Paulette, Charlie said that she is fortunately not affected by it and does nothing special to preserve her slender figure, but of course they regularly play tennis or swim.

Paulette and her mother at the Ruins of Borobudor.

The Javanese took a particular interest in Paulette's clothing. In Wonosobo, it was reported that she came to dinner wearing white flannel trousers, a white flannel jacket with large lapels, and with her bare feet in ordinary Indian leather sandals (without a heel) which she had purchased in Garut. "They are so hygienic and healthy," she enthused.  The paper also noted that Paulette and her mother did not wear skirts during their travels but "pajama pants abound!" Paulette was described as being much smaller in person and with a figure that any woman would envy.1

On Friday, the 27th, the group spent the day at the Borobudur Ruins in Magelang, then traveled on to Djokja where they will spend their last night of the Java road trip.

Tomorrow: the gang departs for Bali.

©Roy Export Co. Est.

Day By Day: 1936

1Bataviaasch Nieuwsblad, April 2nd, 1936

Friday, March 25, 2016

Day By Day: 1936

March 24-25: Bandung and Garut

When we last left our travelers (Charlie, Paulette, Alta, and Frank), they had begun their road trip across Java--from Batavia to Surabaya. Chaplin makes many of the same stops along the route that he made in 1932. Unlike that trip, however, we sadly do not have a first-hand account of the experience.

Their first stop is Bandung.

See enlargements here.

Tuesday, March 24th: After waking up at the Hotel Praenger in Bandung, the group visits the Craters of Prahoe that morning, then set off for their next destination: Garut. Along the way, they will stop at the lakes of Leles and Bagendit. They arrive exhausted at the Hotel Ngamplang in Garut at 4:00pm. 1

Wednesday, March 25th: The tourists, along with their guide, attempt to see the Kawah Kamojang or the Kamojang crater but were delayed by a fallen tree along the road. They passed the time at the nearby Radium Hotel, where the manager served them strawberries and whipped cream while they waited for the road to be cleared. Much to their disappointment, they never got to see the crater. When they finally left the hotel at 1:00AM, Chaplin told the hotel manager that if he ever returned to the area he would "spend a fortnight at Kamojang." 2

Even in a place as remote as Garut, people were curious about whether or not Charlie and Paulette were married. A reporter for the Indische Courant, who interviewed the couple, observed that Paulette never referred to Charlie as "my husband" but as "Mr. Chaplin." While Charlie only said "Miss Goddard" or "the ladies." At the beginning of his interview, the reporter said "your wife" in reference to Paulette, just to see how Charlie would react to it: "He pretended that his nose bled and didn't move a muscle in his face." 3

From Garut, the gang will travel on to Djokja where they will spend two days.

More from Java later this week in Day By Day: 1936.

1De Indische Courant, March 30th, 1936. 
One of my favorite stories from Chaplin's 1932 visit to Garut was his (and his brother's) introduction to the "Dutch Wife." 
3De Indische Courant, April 2nd, 1936. Keep in mind that I am translating these stories from Dutch to English. I'm wondering if "pretending that his nose bled" meant that he just had his head tilted back.

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

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Day By Day: 1936

Sunday, March 22nd: Charlie, Paulette, and Alta are the guests of the Sultan of Johore. 

I could find no details about this visit. It was mentioned only in passing in a Singapore newspaper. There are a number of photos in the Chaplin Archive that are labeled "Johore"* and in some of them Paulette and her mother are wearing different outfits, so they could have had more than one visit with Sultan Ibrahim, including during their return to Singapore in April.

The Sultan is second from left next to Paulette. Behind Charlie is Julius Fisher with his left arm around Alta.
Second from right is Prince Purachatra of Siam who was also a guest.
Charlie, Paulette, and Julius Fisher posing with Sultan Ibrahim and his nephews.
With Prince Purachatra and Julius Fisher.

This was the gang's last day in Singapore. Tomorrow they they head to Java.

Stay tuned for more in Day By Day: 1936 

*Johore (or Johor) is a state in southern Malaysia linked to Singapore by causeway.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Day By Day: 1936

Thursday, March 19th: Paulette's first rickshaw ride

Paulette & Charlie on the rickshaws

Accompanied by Charlie, her mother, Alta, and Chaplin's valet/secretary, Frank Yonemori, Paulette took her first rickshaw (or ricksha) ride through the Chinatown section of Singapore.

The following description of the ride from the Singapore Free Press is filled with the usual speculation about the Chaplin/Goddard marriage:
Paulette was fascinated with the rickshas. As her puller carried her a few paces, she cried out excitedly to Charlie, who laughed back a reply. 
 The party went down North Bridge Road and many who saw it wondered--was it making its way to the Office of the Registrar of Marriages, not a quarter of a mile away?
The curious followed them. 
They were disappointed. But the rickshas turned down Upper Nankin Street which runs by the Registrar's office. 
The pullers' trot developed into a slow walk---but it was only because Paulette Goddard was anxious to have a closer look at the Chinese houses. 
As usual, Charlie removes his glasses before being photographed. 

 As the rickshas turned into New Bridge Road, Paulette reached out a hand to Charlie, whose vehicle was alongside. She was trying to shake hands, but the vehicles were too far apart. 
Was there any significance in this action? The rickshas had already passed the Registrar's office.1 

Charlie (2nd from right), Alta, Paulette, and Frank on the rickshas

Earlier in the day, Paulette was asked in an interview with the Straits Times, if she had been wearing a wedding ring on her arrival in Singapore the previous day. She replied: "Oh, yes, I might have been."
"Does that mean you are married to Mr. Chaplin?" she was asked. 
"I cannot say. I never discuss my private affairs...I have my career to think of."
The article noted that Paulette was wearing "on her engagement finger" a large turquoise platinum ring.2

That afternoon Charlie and Paulette attended a luncheon party, along with Singapore showmen, Joe and Julius Fisher, in the Tiffin Room of the Raffles Hotel.

Raffles luncheon. L-R: Mrs. Julius Fisher, CC, Paulette, Joe Fisher, Alta, Julius Fisher.

Tomorrow on Day By Day:1936: Charlie visits the Singapore Reformatory.


1Singapore Free Press, March 20th, 1936
2Straits Times, March 19th, 1936

Friday, March 18, 2016

Day By Day: 1936

Wednesday, March 18th: Arrival at Singapore

The Chaplin party left Hong Kong on March 14th aboard the Suwa Maru. They arrived in Singapore amid a swirl of gossip about their possible nuptials.

The Suwa Maru docking in Singapore

The Singapore Free Press (March 19, 1936) described their arrival:
Although the Suwa Maru arrived earlier than was expected, there was a large crowd at the wharf to see Mr. Chaplin. Miss Goddard, who has a trim figure and vivacious personality to go with her pretty face, and Mr. Chaplin, who was dressed in his usual faultless style, were at the rails when the ship berthed. 

Alta, Charlie, and Paulette at the rails of the ship
Mr. Chaplin was given a rousing reception. A Malay police corporal, who had been limiting the numbers of sightseers wanting to go aboard, saluted Mr. Chaplin as he stepped from the gangway. 
Mr. Chaplin held out his hand to the Malay corporal, who shook it heartily. The corporal was so pleased  at Mr. Chaplin's friendly gesture that he gripped Mr. Chaplin's hand in both his own hands. 
Of course, Chaplin was asked by a Free Press reporter about his marriage plans and replied that they were his personal affair. There was a silence that was soon broken by a Chinese reporter who had not heard the Free Press question and asked: "Mr. Chaplin, is it true what they say--that you will be married here in Singapore?"

Chaplin replied politely but definitely: "That question has already been asked and answered."

Autographed photos of Charlie and Paulette at their arrival in Singapore

Prior to their arrival it had been reported that Chaplin had radioed his agent while en route to Singapore to "do your utmost to arrange for our marriage." It was also announced that they faced difficulty getting a license under local laws due to Chaplin's two previous divorces in the U.S. Encouraging the marriage rumors even further was the fact that when Paulette appeared in Singapore she was wearing a large sapphire ring on her left ring finger.1

Paulette (showing the famous ring), Julius Fisher, and Alta

Asked about their schedule, Chaplin said that they planned to visit all the places of interest. "We will look at Malaya through ordinary tourists eyes. I don't know much about your tin and rubber  and I'm not interested in big game hunting. I should be petrified if I was called on to shoot wild animals. However I hope to see some of your famous Malayan fauna. I am keen on fishing and I have heard there are lots of fish in these waters. I should like to catch tuna, swordfish, and sharks. As I will be here for four days I might get a chance to do a little fishing....We intend to play around in this part of the world for three months and make our plans as we go. We are touring in a perfectly aimless way."

Paulette was also asked about their itinerary: "We are making our plans as we go along and we find each day far too short. There is so much to see. We had no idea we should come as far as this, but we are enjoying ourselves so much that we have just come on. We shall probably go back the same way we came after seeing Java and Bali, but, as I said before, our plans are indefinite."

Even Alta, who was described by the Free Press article as the "head of the party" who "looked after everything" chimed in: "Mr. Chaplin is so fond of these parts. He loves Bali, the island, the people, and their customs."

Front page of the Singapore Free Press, March 19th, 1936

After they disembarked, the Chaplin party went to the Swimming Club and then out to dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Julius Fisher. Fisher was co-owner of the Amalgamated Theaters in Singapore.

Paulette at the Swimming Club

Two suites were prepared for the travelers at the Adelphi Hotel. Onlookers noticed their suitcases, some of them with the initials C.S.C., being brought in and taken upstairs. Charlie and Paulette registered separately. The Free Press noted that "Miss Goddard and her mother are occupying the same room."

That evening, the group went dancing at the New World amusement park, a place Chaplin remembered from his previous visit to Singapore in 1932.2 They returned to the hotel shortly before midnight.

More from Singapore in tomorrow's edition of Day By Day: 1936


1Los Angeles Times, March 18-19, 1936
2Chaplin's first visit to Singapore was almost exactly 4 years before on March, 27th, 1932. He arrived here with his brother, Syd, stayed at the Adelphi for a couple of days, then the two traveled on to Bali. Three weeks later he returned to Singapore sick with Dengue fever & spent a week in the hospital. Chaplin recalled this with a laugh during his current visit. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Day By Day: 1936

Saturday, March 14th: Leaving for Singapore

After a couple of cold, foggy days in Hong Kong (including Friday the 13th) the Chaplin party embarked for Singapore aboard the Japanese ship, Suwa Maru.* They'll arrive at their destination on the 18th.

Charlie, Paulette, and her mother, Alta, on the Suwa Maru.
Posing with crew members

*This was Chaplin's second voyage on the Suwa Maru. He sailed on the ship from Naples to Japan (via the Suez canal) in 1932.

Stay tuned for more in "Day By Day: 1936." Catch up on previous posts here.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Day By Day: 1936

Friday, March 6th: The Chaplin party arrives in Yokohama, Japan.

Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, her mother, Alta, and Chaplin's valet Frank Yonemori, arrived from Honolulu aboard the SS President Coolidge. The group immediately took a train to Tokyo where they are shown engaging in three of Chaplin's favorite activities from his previous trip to Japan (with brother Sydney) in 1932: eating tempura (deep fried prawns),* attending a kabuki theater performance, and watching the sumo wrestling matches.

The Chaplin party will return to Japan once more at the end of May before heading home to California.

Above: The group eating tempura in a Tokyo restaurant (the date on the video is wrong).

Below: At the Kabuki theater & wrestling matches. These are pages from a photo album in the Chaplin Archives. I believe the handwriting is Paulette's (see enlarged versions here and here):

The Chaplin entourage will sail for Shanghai the next day, arriving on the 9th.  More on that coming up in "Day By Day: 1936".

*During his 1932 visit, it was rumored that Chaplin ate 30-50 prawns in one sitting. Read more about Chaplin's previous visit to Japan from my "World Tour Revisited" series here and here