Showing posts with label Henk Aalsem. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Henk Aalsem. Show all posts

Friday, April 18, 2014

World Tour Revisited: The brothers say goodbye to Bali and return to Singapore

Charlie and Syd at the airport in Batavia, April 18th, 1932

Before leaving Bali, the brothers' immediate plans were to backtrack through Java and return to Singapore where they would catch the boat to Japan on the 24th. So on the evening of Sunday, April 17th (the day after Charlie's 43rd birthday), they departed from Buleleng, in northern Bali, aboard the SS Van Der Wyck and sailed to Surabaya, arriving the next morning. In order to avoid a hot, 13-hour train ride to Batavia, the brothers chose to fly over Java instead. Charlie, who was never a fan of flying, later told a reporter that the loud engines made him nervous but he enjoyed the scenery.

At the airport in Batavia, they were greeted by the Sultan of Pontianak and his wife. The Swedish cameraman Henk Aalsem once again filmed their arrival. An article in the Bataviaasch Nieuwsblad (Batavian Newspaper) noted that Charlie was very warm. "Above his blue shirt, his red face and salt and pepper hair formed a peculiar combination." The reporter also noticed Charlie's luggage which was "plastered with all kinds of labels from the most famous hotels in the world--from London, Paris, Berlin, and Amsterdam."

Before driving to Tanjung Priok to catch the boat for Singapore, Charlie suddenly remembered that he needed to purchase a helmet, telling the reporters that he couldn't go to Singapore without a hat.*

In Priok, a small crowd, consisting mostly of women, had gathered at the quayside to see the boat off. From the rail of the Ophir, Charlie waved goodbye to the crowd--and to Java & Bali. He was so moved by the departure that he was seen dabbing at his eyes with a handkerchief.

Henk Aalsem's footage of Charlie and Syd's return to Batavia.

Coming up on the 20th: The voyage to Singapore is a rough one for Charlie and their plans to sail to Japan are temporarily put on hold.


*Charlie had a pith helmet in Bali, so I'm not sure why he needed a new one--perhaps he left it there.

Bataviaasch Nieuwsblad, April 18, 1932
De Indische Courant, April 18, 1932

Sunday, March 30, 2014

World Tour Revisited: Batavia, Java, March 30th, 1932

From Singapore, we traveled on the Van Lansberge for Batavia, the capital of Java in the Dutch East Indies. Upon arriving we were greeted by a large crowd at the dock and presented with a wreath of welcome.1

According to one newspaper report, while Charlie was being presented the wreath of welcome (by local film producers), children were gazing curiously under the table at his famous feet.

Charlie smiles from the Van Lansberge at Batavia's Tanjong Priok harbor.

Charlie was not the only celebrity on this Asian tour, however. Here in Tanjong Priok, there were enthusiastic shouts of "Charley's Aunt!" coming from the crowd (referring to Syd's 1925 film).

After tea with Dutch cameraman Henk Aalsem at the Java Hotel, Charlie and Syd "arranged to motor through Java to Soerabaja."2 Their first stop on the journey will be Bandoeng.

Charlie checks out Henk Aalsem's camera

Charlie and Syd in their Packard touring car before heading to Bandoeng.

Aalsem filmed the brothers' arrival in Batavia (including the wreath presentation mentioned above). This footage is shown below. Unfortunately it is not chronological and opens with Charlie and Syd's return to Batavia a couple of weeks later (also filmed by Aalsem) following their visit to Bali (more of this is seen at the end as well). Nevertheless, this is rare footage with some nice close-ups of Charlie.

Note: Charlie must have really liked that zipper-front shirt. He has worn it at every port stop since Ceylon and we will see it again when he visits Bali.

(Music: "My Star," "The Deb Shakes," and "Bonjour Madame" from the original soundtrack to A Countess From Hong Kong composed by Charles Chaplin).

Coming up in my next WTR post: Syd describes the Dutch feast, rijstafel, and Charlie has his first encounter with a "Dutch wife."


1 & 2Chaplin, "A Comedian Sees The World," 1933