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BERKOWITZ ENVELOPE CO., K. O., MO. 




DATE DOE: 




TO A FEW FRIENDS 
AND TO MY MOTHER 

IN GRATITUDE AND WITH 
DEEP AFFECTION 

. I DEDICATE THIS BOOK 



Foreword 



CHAELES SPENCER CHAPLIN, film comedian ex 
traordinary and the most widely known figure in 
the history of motion pictures, holds the distinc 
tion of enduring for twenty-five years as the out 
standing, if somewhat enigmatic, personality of 
the screen. To retain such universal popularity, 
in its deeper sense, in an industry gradually but 
surely taking its place as an integral part of the 
arts, an industry which all too often raises its 
favorite to stardom overnight only to hurl him 
back into oblivion with equal celerity, this achieve 
ment of Charlie Chaplin s becomes worthy of 
serious consideration. 

What manner of man is this who sits securely 
upon his golden throne of millions poured into his 
coffers by a world-wide audience? What sort of 
man can defy any challenge to the universal ap 
peal of a single characterization, who can resist 
for ten years the more modern medium for ex 
pression, the transition of silent films into talking 
pictures? 

Surely this sustained hold upon the public taste, 



8 FOREWORD 

the public affection, implies a certain artistry 
genius, if you will. And there are few to deny 
that Charlie Chaplin has brought into bold relief 
the ancient art of pantomime as a portrayal of 
modern, human life. 

Chaplin has been the subject of more writing 
and fewer accurate delineations than most of his 
contemporaries throughout the years. He has en 
joyed the paradoxical status of being the man ev 
erybody knows yet nobody knows. Protected by a 
self-imposed isolation in his private life, he has 
had, nevertheless, certain dramatic phases in his 
life, two marriages and their subsequent dissolu 
tions, emblazoned on the front pages of American 
newspapers for weeks and months at a time. And 
when we reflect upon the adverse publicity to 
which he was subjected at these times, some of it 
careless of the truth, it is small wonder that 
Charles Chaplin is wary of revealing himself to 
the serious biographer or that he bends over back 
ward in expurgating any story about himself 
which is submitted to him for his approval. A 
true biography of him must, of necessity, be an 
unauthorized one to survive with any value as an 
accurate chronicle. 

Because of this consistent discouragement to 
biographers, few stories of any length, or what is 
more important, strength, have been uncovered in 
this writer s search for material pertinent to this 
book. One, a mild little book written by W. Dodg- 



FOREWORD 9 

son Bowman in 1931, makes no effort to trace the 
pattern of the man behind the artist and succeeds 
in not tracing it. It can be assumed that the manu 
script of this book was either censored by its sub 
ject or prepared with the wish uppermost in the 
mind of the writer not to off end. Consequently, it 
has scant value in depicting the living, vital Chap 
lin. The most colorful and dramatic, the most re 
vealing and not always creditable, episodes in the 
life of the King of Comedy are veiled by meager 
paragraphs or ignored with an airy sycophancy 
which destroys the value of the book as a true 
biography. ^ ^ 

Another, a magazine serial written in a state of 
pique by Carl Robinson after his dismissal by 
Charlie in Algiers in 1931, can be considered only 
as a slap on the wrist. That Robinson received a 
goodly sum in advance for "telling all" (he could 
not tell it) is not surprising, for revelational ac 
counts of Charlie Chaplin are as rare as blue-and- 
white-checked nightingales laying polka-dot eggs. 
And Carl Robinson, never in the intimate confi 
dence of his employer, knew him only as well as 
the average acquaintance could. 
<j* Throughout eighteen years of Chaplin s twenty- 
* five years on the screen, there has been one em 
ployee, one person who actually knows Chaplin, the 
man. That this employee has little understanding 
of the complex nature of an artist, takes nothing 
from the facts. That employee is "Kono," as he is 



10 FOREWORD 

known in Hollywood, in New York, over Europe, 
by all who know Charlie Chaplin. 

Kono, Chaplin s Japanese secretary, has seen 
through the years, promises broken, obligations 
evaded, a ruthlessness toward women, a cowardice 
of the practical mechanics of life all beyond his 
understanding. This biographer sees a man an 
artist who, with the whole courage of a sorely 
tried heart and unquenchable ideals, has again and 
again mastered a bitter fate and recaptured the 
essence of his life. 

Helpless to combat the simple forces of practical, 
everyday living, Charlie Chaplin has, nonetheless, 
demonstrated a stupendous ability to grow upward 
stormily, to put down internal revolt, to produce 
the living form of his art controlled to a precise 
measure and to an austerity removed from all 
uncertainty. 

George Moore has said, "For the true picture of 
a man, give me the disrespectful biography." This 
unauthorized story of Charles Chaplin is intended 
to be "disrespectful" only in so far as is necessary 
to depict the truth. It is far from the author s 
intention to disparage the subject; rather is it her 
desire to guard scrupulously the character of the 
artist from any implication of baseness. And it is% 
because the man belongs not to the hour but to 
posterity that the writer maintains the right 
to embody the hitherto unknown facts of Charlie 
Chaplin s life within the covers of a book. 



FOREWORD 11 

As to the sources of material which went into 
the preparation of this book, the reader may be 
assured that the writer did not depend upon idle 
rumor or vague gossip but obtained by legal con 
tract, information and documents belonging to 
Toraichi Kono. And Chaplin, himself has described 
his secretary in his accounts of his travels in 1931 
as follows : "Kono is my man-Friday. He is every 
thing nurse, valet 1 , private secretary, and body 
guard." 

In addition to this source, public records and ad 
ditional private documents have been carefully 
scrutinized, the latter with the owner s consent and 
co-operation. 

In portraying the chain of events resultant "of 
the inner urge to greatness that converted an ob- 
secure, poverty-ridden Cockney boy into one of 
the greatest artists of his day, the writer has 
made no effort to please Chaplin, nor to placate his 
friends; but has endeavored to reveal as much of 
the truth as is compatible with good taste. If the 
record should show that in his various amours and 
in his other private dealings, Mr. Chaplin has ex 
ceeded the bounds of convention, what artist has 
not? It will also show that he has through his own 
merit and his own development attained an envi 
able place in the artistic world. We cannot have 
art without artists ; and their modes of life are not 
ours to criticize but rather is it our pleasurable 



1 Charlie employed another valet at the time. 



12 FOREWORD 

duty to come to an understanding of such natures. 

Charlie Chaplin has shown in 1939 unquestion 
able courage in his determination to satirize the 
dictators of the totalitarian states. A box adver 
tisement appeared in the Los Angeles Daily News 
on March 20, 1939, as follows : "Owing to errone 
ous reports in the press that I have abandoned my 
production concerning dictators, I wish to state 
that I have never wavered from my original de 
termination to produce this picture. ... I am not 
worried about intimidation, censorship, or any 
thing else. . . . " 

Surely the writer can show no less courage than 
the subject of her work. She has "not wavered 
from (my) determination to produce this picture," 
is "not worried about intimidation, censorship nor 
anything else." 



{Contents ) 



Page 
KONO : A Biographical Note 19 

Chapter 

1. THE ROAD BEGINS 29 

2. YOUNG LOVE 47 

3. To AMERICA 60 

4. EDNA PURVIANCE 82 

5. FIRST MARRIAGE _ 96 

6. DIVORCE The Kid " 112 

V 7. NEW YORK AND LONDON _. 128 

L, 8. PARIS, BERLIN, AND LONDON 145 

ij 9. CLARE SHERIDAN 169 

10. POLA NEGRI AND CARLOTTA 185 

11. SECOND MARRIAGE The Gold Rush FIRST 

CHILD 197 

12. SECOND SON BROKEN MARRIAGE 212 

13. NEW YORK ATTACK DEFENSE 221 

14. INTERLUDE DIVORCE SETTLEMENT The Circus 238 

15. MOTHER S DEATH City Lights 256 

16. NOSTALGIC JOURNEY 269 

17. LA JANA SOCIOLOGICAL AWAKENING 292 

18. A BOAR HUNT 312 



14 CONTENTS 

19. THE RIVIERA MAY REEVES MARSEILLES 318 

20. PRINCE OF WALES _ 334 

21. SWITZERLAND 345 

22. JAPAN 350 

23. HOLLYWOOD Modern Times PAULETTE 

GODDARD 370 

24. THIS AND THAT 384 

25. BON VOYAGE : 394 



List of Illustrations 



Charlie Chaplin, a recent photograph Frontispiece 

Following Page 

Charles Spencer Chaplin, Sr 32 

Charlie as one of the Eight Lancashire Lads 60 

Charlie at the age of twenty-one 60 

Francis X. Bushman, Charlie, and "Broncho Billy" 

Anderson 76 

Edna Purviance 76 

J. D. Williams, Edna Purviance, and Charlie in 1917.. 96 

Charlie in a still from The Rink 96 

Charlie speaking in the streets of Los Angeles 96 

A crowd in front of the Statler Hotel, Detroit 96 

Mildred Harris, Charlie s first wife 116 

Founders of United Artists Charlie, Douglas 

Fairbanks, Mary Pickf ord, and D. W. Griffith 116 

Charlie and Jackie Coogan in The Kid 124 

Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie, and Jack Dempsey 124 

Charlie, John Barrymore, and Douglas Fairbanks 152 

Pola Negri _ 152 

Charlie s house in Beachwood Drive 180 

Charlie weaving tales for young Dick Sheridan 180 

Lita Grey signing a contract to appear in The Gold 

Rush - 200 

Georgia Hale, who replaced Lita Grey in The Gold 

Rush 200 



16 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Following Page 
Charlie and his mother, Hannah Chaplin 260 

Charlie and his secretary, Toraichi Kono, in 1927 260 

Virginia Cherrill, the blind girl of City Lights (1929) 260 
Charlie is met by Lady Astor at Southampton, 1931.. 304 
Winston Churchill as host to Charlie 304 

La Jana, Viennese dancer whom Charlie met in 

Berlin 304 

Albert Einstein attending the theater -vmh Charlie, 

Berlin 304 

May Reeves 328 

Charlie, May Reeves, and Emil Ludwig on the 

Riviera 328 

Charlie, May Reeves, and Siamese Kitty II 344 

May Reeves at St.-Moritz 344 

Charlie in a scarf dance at St.-Moritz, 1932 344 

Party given for Charlie by Japanese businessmen 360 

Kono, Charlie, geisha girl, and Syd Chaplin, Kobe, 
Japan 360 

Kono and Charlie in a Tokyo restaurant 360 

Kono, Charlie, and Sydney Chaplin leaving Tokyo, 

1932 360 

Charlie s present home, Summit Drive, Beverly Hills 372 
Charlie romping with his two sons, 1930 372 

Recent photograph of Paulette Goddard (Estelle 
Levee) 392 

Charlie and Paulette Goddard attend a preview 392 

Autographed "crest" given to the writer 396 



CHARLIE CHAPLIN 

KING OF 
TRAGEDY 



KONO: A Biographical Note 



TORAICHI KONO sprang from an old and wealthy 
middle-class Japanese family of Hiroshima, Ja 
pan, a family substantial, and prominent in mer 
chandising for nearly one thousand years by actual 
genealogical records in possession of the present 
generation. 

There were three children born to his parents, 
SuM and Huyemon Kono, two sons and one daugh 
ter. Toraichi was the elder son. 

Now it is the custom in Japan for the eldest son 
to assume, upon his father s death, the given name 
of his male parent. Toraichi, modern-minded, a 
materialist, and given to flouting the old order, 
was to be denied this privilege. 

At fourteen, while still in junior high school in 
Hiroshima, young Kono gave every evidence of 
becoming the undutif ul son who was to be cut off 
with the proverbial yen. He refused to train him 
self in self -discipline and the rigid conduct ex 
pected t of him or to take seriously his future 
responsibilities in regard to entailed wealth. 

Toraichi admired geisha girls, who were, after 



20 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

all, the only girls a very young man about town in 
Japan could admire save at a discreet distance. 
He had a school friend, the son of a banker, who 
was of the same mind about the fleshpots of 
Hiroshima. This lad seemed always to be plenti 
fully supplied with money, but it never occurred 
to young Kono to question its source; he merely 
considered his own father penurious in not allow 
ing him proportionate yen to spend in the tea 
houses and at geisha house dancing parties which 
were his and his friend s constant indulgence. 

Before long their indiscretions were discovered. 
The storm broke. The banker s son had been filch 
ing from his father s safe, and Toraichi must ac 
cept his share of the blame. Had he not enjoyed 
the stolen fruits? Well, then, he must pay. The 
two boys were asked to leave school, were made to 
feel pretty uncomfortable, each in his respective 
home, until tfie fathers, feeling that the ends of 
discipline had been served, asked that the boys be 
reinstated in school. This was granted, but they 
were transferred to another school across town. 

Young Kono, having had more than a taste of 
gay life, had no idea of relinquishing it. By some 
youthful, quixotic reasoning he decided that al 
though it had been wrong for his chum to steal 
money, it would be quite ethical and most expedient 
for him to filch not money, but bamboo ! Among 
his father s various holdings was a vast bamboo 
farm, and bamboo, used extensively in Japan for 



KONO : A BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 21 

building, was immediately marketable. So at reg 
ular intervals, and surreptitiously, he ordered his 
father s field workers to cut and turn over to him 
enough of the tall graceful growth to keep the two 
of them, his friend and himself, in several hundred 
yen each month, sufficient funds for very young 
men about town. 

This, too, was inevitably discovered at about the 
time the boys were to be graduated from junior 
high school. The wrath of his father knew no 
bounds. Terrified, young Kono hurriedly wrote a 
cousin in Seattle urging him to invite his father 
to send him to America for a year. This the cousin 
did, and Kono, pere, not suspecting the ruse of his 
son, looked upon this letter as a direction from the 
spirit of one of his ancestors. Toraichi was shipped 
off to Seattle, where he remained and went to pub 
lic school. At the end of the year he was allowed to 
come home for another try at obedience. 

If the youth had been inclined to flout tradition 
before he went to America, his rebellion at au 
thority was the greater now that he had tasted the 
freedom of American youth. Once he had got home, 
he refused to listen to his f ather s plans for him to 
enter high school, go on to college, and eventually 
marry the girl to whom he had been promised since 
he was five, the girl, three. He felt that his former 
social activities had seriously handicapped him for 
the stiff examinations he must pass to enter the 
upper school; he had his eyes upon a future wife 



22 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

of his own choosing. His father was adamant. His 
son would obey his orders or 

The upshot of it was that Toraichi ran away. He 
got as far as Kobe on the way to the port of Yoko 
hama and sent home for money. His father sent 
him one thousand yen. This was spent in five days 
of riotous good time, and he wired his mother for 
more. She sent him five hundred yen. He pro 
ceeded to get rid of all this but a hundred. Then 
he went to Yokohama, where he inquired the fare 
to Seattle. First class, he was told, was over six 
hundred yen; second, over four hundred; steerage, 
sixty-five. He took steerage passage on the Em 
press of China. 

Aboard the boat he was dismayed to find that 
steerage passengers were expected to bring their 
own blankets. Only cots and mattresses were sup 
plied. He had no blanket, nor could he wheedle one 
out of a steward. What to do? He looked around 
and discovered a likable young chap older than him 
self but of a class beneath him, who was going to 
America for the first time and who was obviously 
frightened at the prospect. Putting on his most 
worldly air, young Kono talked volubly of the 
strange, exciting land and its agreeable customs : 
talked with his mind s eye on the blankets of his 
new acquaintance. Soon he saw the chap was prop 
erly impressed by his volubility; in fact, he clung 
to Kono, who with his English could steer him 
through the narrows of the dread immigration or- 



KONO : A BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 23 

deal ahead. Kono promised. And, now, how about 
a division of blankets? This was effected, and each 
found himself with half enough covering to keep 
warm. 

In his own nonchalance in embarking, Kono had 
neglected to learn that no alien could enter an 
American port by steerage unless he possessed the 
equivalent of at least fifty dollars. He had, after 
having had food sent down from the first-class 
kitchen for himself on the voyage, exactly seventy- 
five cents left. His new acquaintance had barely 
the sum required for his own entrance. This re 
quired some ingenuity. He had no wish to be sent 
back steerage and blanketless to an irate father. 
He decided to try at bluffing through. 

Luck was with him, for upon disembarking at 
Seattle he caught sight of a man he had once seen 
in his father s office in Hiroshima who seemed to 
be acting as interpreter. Catching his eye, young 
Kono winked at him and in a rapid fire of Japanese 
gave him an inkling of his plight. The interpreter 
in turn gave the immigration officials a glowing 
account of the respectability of the Kono family 
and added that the poor boy had started out with 
much money but had lost it on shipboard. His 
father would send him more immediately. Kono 
was passed. His protege, who had had nothing to 
fear all along, had he known it, was admitted 
without challenge. 

Young Kono went directly from the boat to the 



24 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Furuye Company, Importers, in Seattle, using his 
seventy-five cents for the trip into town. The mana 
ger of the firm looked him over skeptically, seeing 
before him a boy in short trousers. He demanded 
to know why Toraichi was so far from home and 
why he needed a job. Toraichi told him the whole 
story. Hiding a smile, the manager agreed to give 
him a job but secretly he determined to make the 
work so arduous and menial that the boy would 
sicken of his "freedom" and be glad to go home. 
He informed the youth that his work would be 
opening the store every morning, sweeping the 
large rooms thoroughly before he went to school; 
after school he could work as apprentice sales 
man and errand boy until nine o clock at night, 
when he could assist in covering stock and closing 
up for the night. Kono was a bit dismayed at the 
remuneration he was to receive for this only his 
board and lodging but he accepted the conditions, 
not, however, without a wistful backward glance at 
his former good times. 

Many times during the year that ensued he was 
to reflect ruefully upon the price of freedom but 
when he remembered that had he stayed at home he 
would have lost face in his examinations and would 
have had to marry, eventually, the girl of his fath 
er s choice, he was somewhat reconciled. He would 
stay long enough, he decided, for his father to 
realize the prize he had lost. 

At the end of his year s work, the Furuye Com- 



KONO : A BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 25 

pany, better than their word, gave him two new 
suits of clothes as bonus, one with long trousers, 
the other with short, a sort of compromise between 
the comical maturity of the boy and his actual 
youth. He was fifteen and small for his age. 

Young Kono felt by this time that a mercantile 
life was not for him. He applied for a job as 
houseboy in a family and got it. This also left him 
time to go to school and gave him wages of one 
and one-half dollars each week. He knew as little 
about housework as he had known about business, 
but his duties were simple. He was to get up early, 
build a fire in the kitchen range, and take the 
family parrot for a stroll in the garden on fine days. 
He soon mastered the fire, but the bird and its new 
nurse took an instant and hearty dislike to one 
another. At the very sight of his enemy the parrot 
would open its mouth and emit a raucous screech. 
Kono did not screech back but he returned the 
feeling with interest. However, he swallowed his 
antipathy as best he could and, every morning, feel 
ing a bit ridiculous, he walked about the kitchen 
garden with the bird strutting grumblingly at his 
heels. 

All went well for several weeks until one rainy 
morning when Kono released Polly from her cage 
and allowed her to take her morning constitutional 
about the kitchen. The parrot proceeded to show 
lack of respect for the floor freshly mopped the 
night before, and for her guardian who had mopped 



26 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

it. Kono raised his foot to give Polly a long-looked- 
forward-to kick when his mistress walked into the 
room! Highly indignant, she berated Kono for a 
heartless brute. She had suspected all along, she 
told him darkly, a good reason for Polly s not liking 
him. He probably kicked her every morning. Poor 
dear Polly ! Kono was fired on the spot. 

Another house job without parrot or other un 
toward incident completed his school year. He de 
cided to return to Japan and apprised his mother 
of that decision. She sent him the money for first- 
cabin passage. 

It was 1905, and Toraichi was seventeen. 

Kono s father had given him up as a bad job, 
was concentrating upon his younger brother to 
carry on his name and businesses. Toraichi looked 
about for something to do. 

Bicycles were the luxury vehicles of Japan at the 
time. Automobiles were as yet unreliable convey 
ances and owned by millionaires as playthings ; jin- 
rikishas were the carriages of business; bicycles 
the desire of every young sportsman. Toraichi and 
his old school friend wished to go into the bicycle 
business. Their fathers agreed. 

Each boy was given two thousand yen. They set 
up shop. At the end of the first year the young 
merchants divided a net profit of twenty-one thou 
sand yen. This was too easy; they decided to quit 
the bicycle business and do something more star 
tling. They would inaugurate a bus line through 



KONO : A BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 27 

the villages between Hiroshima and Kobe. They 
bought a sixteen-passenger Winton motorbus. 

Now the inhabitants of rural Japan had never 
seen, at the time, a motorcar, to say nothing of hav 
ing ridden in one. Word was bruited about that the 
devil wagon was to run; the day was declared a 
holiday by all and sundry in surrounding towns. 
Lunches were brought to the scene and a gala time 
anticipated. 

Alas, the youthful promoters had reckoned with 
out Big Business the jinrikisha corporations. The 
latter would not sit idly by and allow this outland 
ish encroachment upon their territory. They or 
dered runners out to see that the bus did not run. 
It was to appear an accident. This plot, worthy 
of Chicago at its best form, the runners entered 
into with such enthusiasm that the huge car was 
ditched into several feet of soft mud, where it 
remained bogged down to the delight of the popu 
lace until the two partners could wangle machin 
ery from Kobe to hoist it and move it to Hiroshima. 
Kono promptly sold out his interest to some hardier 
soul for eight thousand yen. 

With a business career behind him, at eighteen, 
he now felt that it was time to retire and see more 
of the world. But his father, secretly delighted at 
the recent fiasco of the bus venture, returned to the 
fray. He was prepared to force the marriage con 
tract between his son and the girl, made years be 
fore. Toraichi must come into the family business 



28 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

and prove himself superior to his younger brother 
in responsibility. 

Toraichi refused on all counts. This defiance 
enraged his father, who called his recalcitrant son 
into his office and demanded that he sign papers 
relinquishing all rights to his father s given name, 
also his inheritance. Toraichi was given one thou 
sand yen. 

In complete disgrace, according to Japanese 
standards, Kono left for America to attend engi 
neering school in preparation for aviation, the 
natural progression in ambition for modern speed. 
.He sent for his fiancee, and they were married in 
Seattle before setting off for California, which was 
at the time the mecca for Japanese in America. 

Kono enrolled in the Hub Wilson school for 
aviation in Venice, a seaside suburb of Los Angeles. 

A son was born to the Konos, and Mrs. Kono, 
modern-minded in her ideas of a wife s rights, 
demanded that Kono give up all plans for flying. 
It was too risky for a husband and father. Kono, a 
bit in awe of this departure from a Japanese wife s 
customary meekness, acquiesced to her demand. 
He consulted a friend who was in the consulate and 
who advised him to learn to drive a car if he did not 
wish to start in the vegetable gardens as the ma 
jority of Japanese in California did. 

Another friend told him that the sensational new 
picture star, Charlie Chaplin, was in need of a 
chauffeur. Kono applied for the job and got it. 



The Road Begins 



IT is A BLEAK, late afternoon in England in the year 
1894. A young woman is hurrying across the 
downs beyond the last fringe of London, out High- 
gate way. With her are two boys, the elder strid 
ing manfully along as befits his nine years; the 
younger, a boy of five, shy, delicate, and wrapped 
in the secret torture of his own thoughts, strug 
gling to keep up with the longer steps of his mother 
and brother, dread of their destination further 
weighting his small feet. His is a child s face 
bereft of youthf ulness, without any of the heedless 
gaiety of the usual child of five. 

He looks back now as if trying to catch a com 
forting glimpse of the wretched huddle of buildings 
of the Kennington slums whence they have just 
come. But they are quite hidden; he sees only the 
vast expanse of rolling downs, the hills beyond 
beautiful in their grim contours and hates them. 

Rain has come with the west wind. The hills are 
drawn back behind thick sheets of glassy rain; the 
drops of rain scud swiftly along the yellowing 
grass before the wind. The young woman stops and 



30 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

makes a futile attempt to gather more closely about 
him the smaller lad s scant coat. She urges both 
boys to a quicker pace. 

At last there looms before them a building, a 
huge grey pile, its Ionic columns crazily distorted 
through the sheet glass of the rain. It is their 

destination, the Orphanage of S , or the 

"work us" school. The mother pulls the bell. The 
smaller boy shrinks back behind her. An attendant 
peers out, opens the door. They enter, Hannah 
Chaplin and her two sons, Sydney and Charles. 

There is a hurried explanation of their errand 
by the mother. She kisses both boys and scurries 
away out into the rain, as if to cut short the agony 
of shame which engulfs her. Hannah Chaplin has 
lost, temporarily, her battle with the grim, uncom 
promising poverty of the London slums. 

The small Charles gazes at the doorway through 
which his mother has disappeared. He does not look 
to his older brother for comfort nor does he see the 
master who has come to induct them into the 
charity home. Even in that moment when all of his 
attention seems to be fixed upon the awful fact of 
separation from his mother, we have the impres 
sion that with his thoughts, his dreams, he is far 
away and alone with them. He stands motionless, 
aloof, engrossed in his own dark world and un 
aware of any other ; on his delicately wrought face, 
the lines of acute suffering which has nothing to 
do with the happenings about him; in his great 



THE ROAD BEGINS 31 

dark blue eyes, the melancholy of his inner world. 

Curiously discomfited by some quality in the 
smaller lad, nameless and beyond his ken, the mas 
ter stares at the boy before him, who will not fit 
nicely, he senses, into the mold of "this is done," 
and "this isn t done." He sees a taciturn little boy 
with a broad, high, splendidly arched brow beneath 
a shock of unruly, almost black hair; large deep- 
set blue eyes, at once questioning and rebellious; a 
finely modeled straight nose and long chin, the 
latter indicative of indefatigable energy. And the 
mouth, the lips folded back over prominent frontal 
teeth, the corners sensitive and mobile. The whole 
modeling of the head and face on the undersized, 
frail body is old and self-reliant a challenge to 
standardization, the accustomed order. 

The master bears the two boys away for registra 
tion but not before he has, like all his ilk, marked 
the strangeling who does not respond to his 
patronizing cheerfulness, for future especial 
discipline. 

Hannah Chaplin had been a singer and dancer in 
London under the stage name of Lily Harley when 
she married Sydney Hawkes, a Jewish bookmaker. 
Of this marriage there was one son, Sydney 
Hawkes, Junior, who was to be known later in 
Hollywood as "Syd Chaplin." She divorced 
Hawkes. There followed an alliance with one 
Wheeler Dryden (no record of marriage could be 



32 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

found), a vague and shadowy figure in the annals 
of the family. Another son, Wheeler, Junior, came 
of this union. A separation followed, the small 
Wheeler being relegated to his father for support. 
Again Hannah took to the music halls, and it was 
there she met Charles Spencer Chaplin, a hand 
some, debonair singer and cellist. They were mar 
ried in 1888. Charles Spencer Chaplin, Junior, 
was born April 16, 1889. 

Chaplin, Senior, had earned them his wife and 
son and stepson an existence of sorts until shortly 
before his death, when ill-health and a recognition 
of falling short of his high hopes in music had sent 
him to the neighborhood "pub" for a certain f orget- 
fulness. Hannah had accepted this uncomplaining 
ly; she truly loved her gentle, music-loving hus 
band. She set to work to piece out their meager 
needs by home dressmaking. 

When Charlie was three, he stood with his 
mother in a little park across from the great City 
Hospital, His somber eyes searched her face for 
the meaning of her gaze as she stared at the lighted 
window of the room across and above in which his 
father, she told him, had just died. Too young to 
grasp the finality of death, he was capable only of 
a mute recognition of the suffering pictured in his 
mother s face, her mien. Unable to understand the 
fear mingled with that grief, fear of the actual 
want that hovered, always, over the mean streets 
and unsavory alleys of Kennington where he was 




COURTESY OF H. T. REED, PHOTOGRAPHER, LONDON 



Charles Spencer Chaplin, Sr. The only photograph extant of 
Charlie s father. 



THE ROAD BEGINS 33 

born and where they lived, he was a little embar 
rassed at her unwonted display of emotion as she 
sank down upon a bench in the park and gave way 
to her sorrow and despair. The small boy could 
only make a show of playing about on the grass 
until he heard her sobs stilled. He followed her 
look to the window above. The light was out. 

He took her hand, and together they went back 
to the cheerless little house in Chester Street, their 
home. ^ 

Touched by this first somber tragedy of his life, 
Charles Chaplin showed signs at three of the ata 
vistic essence of the ancestry which had selected 
him to gather up into his being all the reflections 
of passions, the sensibility, the love, the capacity 
for suffering which was to become the spring and 
source of his genius as a melancholy wit. He even 
acted out for his half-brother, Sydney, the event 
of the evening to such success that Sydney howled 
with grief mixed with hysterical laughter. >( 

Sydney threw oif , as a normal child does, the 
death of the only father he had known. He obeyed 
the truism, "Time heals all." Charlie stored it 
away in his consciousness as a never-to-be-forgot 
ten reminder of death and the pity of love. 

Installed at the Orphanage of S , there 

followed for the sensitive Charlie, with his impas 
sivity of countenance, who was cursed or blessed 
with a capacity for feeling far in excess of that 
of his fellows, two years of acute unhappiness 



34 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

within the rigorous confines of a "charitable" in 
stitution. 

Institutions for the poor in England, as late as 
that time, had not rid themselves entirely of the 
cruelty, both mental and physical, so vividly pic 
tured by Charles Dickens a few decades before. 
Discipline almost military, and not a little sadistic, 
was administered to the small derelicts washed up 
by the tides of ill fortune upon the shores of the 
state. With fine disregard for child psychology of 
which they could know nothing ; with like disregard 
for the simple precepts of human kindness to the 
merely unfortunate, the schools as a whole hewed to 
the line of rules made for all alike. The masters, 
apparently, were chosen for the quality of stern 
ness rather than for a natural understanding of 
the child mind and heart. 

Charlie s first Christmas at the orphanage is 
revealing. Huddled in the draughty hall outside 
the dining room, the children try vainly to warm 
themselves over the inadequate heaters. More 
warming are the thoughts of the Christmas joy to 
come. Each child is to be given a bag of sweets and 
an orange ; of all things, an orange. 

Charlie, on tiptoes, peeks over the heads of the 
taller boys. He has seen oranges but never in 
his short life has he tasted one. Sure enough, there 
they are! A bright splash of color against the 
prisonlike grey of the room. He is warned soberly 
by a boy standing near that an orange comes only 



THE ROAD BEGINS 35 

once a year. He speculates upon the manner of 
drawing the supreme pleasure from the glorious 
treat. He will, he tells himself defiantly, eat the 
whole orange at one time but he will save the 
peel! This can be nibbled away at for days and 
days to follow, bringing back the memory of the 
luscious fruit. The sweets, he admonishes himself 
sternly, will be hoarded and apportioned to himself 
by himself one every day. He can scarcely con 
tain his rapture, is quivering with joyous excite 
ment. 

Finally the gong is sounded. The boys crowd 
toward the door, a jubilant, noisy throng. They 
march in. Each child as he passes the master at the 
door is handed his treat. But not Charlie! He 
reaches for his orange and sweets ; the master puts 
him aside. "Oh, no," he tells the boy, and Charlie 
fancies now that he saw a look of unholy joy upon 
the face of the man. "You ll go without for what 
you did yesterday." He referred to some minor in 
fraction of a house rule, by a boy of five. 

There is little doubt that his experience in such 
a place with, at best, its atmosphere of gloom and 
implied reproach for being there at all, its stern 
discouragement of laughter and joy, had a lasting 
effect upon the shy, sensitive Charlie. He could not 
rid himself of the implication of imprisonment, dis 
grace, for many years. Poverty was indelibly 
stamped upon his mind as the contributory reason 
for his being there at all. The experience was at 



36 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

one and the same time the root of his later penuri- 
ousness and the source of his tragic laughter and 
the purging melancholy of his wit. 

That this interlude, and her subsequent strug 
gles to provide food and shelter for them, had its 
effect upon their mother, is proved by the tragedy 
of her later years. Hannah Chaplin was to live to 
see her son the screen idol of millions, to be sur 
rounded by every material comfort that money 
could buy, but she would not be able to take in the 
true import of her son s greatness or her own good 
fortune. Her mind already fogged by a mild in 
sanity when she was fetched by Tom Harrington 
to California in the early nineteen-twenties, in 
stalled in a comfortable cottage in Hollywood, and 
tended by nurses and servants, she grew steadily 
worse until her death in the Glendale Sanitarium 
in August, 1928. 

Hannah Chaplin, though of immediate Cockney 
origin, was not of pure Anglo-Saxon lineage. She 
was blonde, of the coloring of northern Spain, 
whence her forbears came. 

Charlie s father, whose origin was surely 
French, was less English than his wife. Capeline, 
from which the name Chaplin is derived, can be 
traced back to the horde of French-Norman in 
vaders and conquerors of the Saxons. The name 
denotes "mailed hood." There is the implication of 
aristocratic blcfod in his father s name. 

The alchemy of birth and proof of environment 



THE ROAD BEGINS 37 

are enigmatic now as always. But reaching back 
four or five generations, both his mother and his 
father seem to have given Charlie features curi 
ously Latin, as well as a mastery of the Latin style 
in his art. In studying the French portrait painters 
whose conceptions hang on the walls of the smaller 
rooms of the Louvre, Henry III, Francis I ; from 
Jean de Paris down to Clouet, it is not hard to 
discern a procession of such faces as Charlie Chap 
lin s. Subtle, ironic, both sensual and sentimental; 
at once acute and unheeding a sardonic wit over 
all. 

There is no premise for the popular belief that 
Charlie Chaplin has Jewish blood. 

He inherited the gift of mimicry from his 
mother. Throughout her life she retained her sense 
of the dramatic in the simple everyday acts of 
people about her. "I often wonder if I should ever 
have made a success of pantomime," he has said, 
"if it had not been for my mother s driving its 
value into my consciousness." As a small boy he 
would watch her, fascinated, for hours, as she sat 
at a window, gazing at people in the street and re 
producing to his intense delight, with her hands, 
her facial expressions, all that occurred. Observing 
her, he learned the possibility of translating simple 
actions into significant meaning. 

One morning when she was at her favorite diver 
sion, she saw a neighbor come down the street. 
"There goes Bill Smith," she told her small son. 



38 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

"He s dragging his feet, and his boots aren t clean. 
He is angry. His walk is dejected. Til wager he s 
had a row with his wife and come away without his 
breakfast. Look, he must have ! He s turning into 
the baker s for a roll." Sure enough, in the course 
of the day, it would become general neighborhood 
knowledge that Bill Smith and his wife had had a 
row. And, more important to the embryonic and 
atavistic young future mimer, he was able to grasp 
that this interest on the part of his mother had 
significance beyond the idle curiosity of neighbor 
hood gossip, that it was an outlet for her own 
frustrated ambitions for the stage. 

Mentally and physically ill-nourished, too poorly 
clad to go regularly to school, Charlie and his 
brothers found most of their early education as 
well as their amusements in the back streets of 
London. Their infrequent baths were had, in sum 
mer, from an old wooden tub outside a livery stable 
near their home. The tub is still there. What were 
Charlie Chaplin s thoughts when he retraced his 
steps over the scenes of his boyhood in 1921? Well- 
clad, from luxurious living quarters, the world at 
his feet, he stood before the old tub and caught the 
nostalgic flavor of the days of hunger and misery 
so long ago. 

The average man who has attained worldly suc 
cess uses each remembered privation of his earlier 
struggle to savor more completely the happier cir 
cumstances materially of his present life. Charlie 



THE ROAD BEGINS 39 

Chaplin appreciates the freedom his wealth gives 
him, the right to eat when he pleases, to come and 
go as he will. And there the analogy ends. 

The sordidness of his surroundings penetrated 
the senses of the boy, Charlie, to another contra 
dictory degree. He was never to feel the longing 
of the average Londoner brought up in city squalor 
for the English countryside and its natural beauty. 
His one conscious urge was to escape the ugliness 
and fetters of poverty. His deeper and unconscious 
urge was to express himself. That he was marked 
by a curious insensitiveness to the beauty of the 
countryside has had nothing to do with his art. 
He became the sculptor who works in a garret from 
living subjects; in the way that Frangois Villon 
was the poet, he modeled his own body, his own 
features, from their impassivity into the living pic 
ture of the melancholy and the ironic wit of the 
world. And all the while there lay in his eyes the 
somber tragedy of yet unfathomed life. 

Even as the young Shakespeare had held the 
heads of horses for the theatergoers of London long 
before him, young Chaplin earned a few pence 
each evening by opening carriage doors of the per 
sonages who drove up to these same theaters. 
Bringing his instinct of mimicry into play, he 
would send the other boys into hilarious, if stifled, 
laughter at his imitations of the pompous figures 
entering the lobby. There was no one quite like 
young Chaplin, they agreed, but they could not 



40 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

guess that the half-starved lad s mimicry, even 
then, contained the seeds of his later perfection in 
pantomime. 

The themes of pantomime are as limited as those 
of the great tragedies of the world. Agamemnon 
and Electra, worked on for upwards of three thou 
sands of years by our greatest poets, remain the 
fundamental tragedies that they are : pantomime 
works away on the simple themes of its imagery to 
remain the true portrayals of the foibles of exter 
nal worth. The tragicomedy of the singer who gets 
ready to sing but never does ; the dignified drunk 
who is so pathetically desirous of proving that he 
is not drunk; the wistful spawn of poverty who 
looks at the rich or great with a sardonic clarity of 
perception that strips them of their accoutrements 
and shows them as they actually are : all these are 
the themes of imagery reduced to its fundamentals 
pantomime. 

When time came for young Charles Chaplin to 
go into steady employment, there were no funds 
and little inclination upon the part of his mother 
to apprentice him to a trade which would meet the 
demands of his station cobbling, barbering, or 
the like. For a short time, however, driven by the 
immediate necessity of eating and the stark want 
of his family, he did serve as lather boy in a neigh 
borhood barbership. But the urge to act was deep 
within him and the work of lathering men s faces 
was hateful to him who, by his gift of genius, saw 



THE ROAD BEGINS 41 

so clearly into their minds and hearts. He must, he 
felt, somehow escape. But how? There were no 
influential friends, no patron to aid him in that 
first essential step above the level to which he was, 
apparently, condemned. 

It was only natural that he should turn, while 
yet a child, to the music hall, the cheapest and most 
poorly paid form of the theater but the only ave 
nue at all accessible. 

By sheer persistence he won a try-out with a 
group of juvenile dancers known as the Eight 
Lancashire Lads. Blindly at first and with no other 
thoughts than the escape from apprenticeship to 
trade and the few pence he could bring home to his 
mother, Charlie worked long hours in the hall and 
longer ones at home, practicing for the perfection 
which marked him from the beginning. He was 
eight years old. 

Years later in Sunny side, one of his earlier films, 
he can be seen dancing with the light grace of a 
faun; this was learned from his mother in an un- 
heated house in the cold of a London winter by a 
boy of eight who tired easily because of insufficient 
food. 

Within four years the seriousness with which he 
approached his work and his tireless perseverance 
for perfection of detail were recognized. This rec 
ognition proved to be one of those happy accidents 
which give managers the reputation for having a 
certain flair in discerning talent. 



42 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

At the Duke of York s Theater in St. Martin s 
Lane, Charles Frohman presented Clarice, a 
comedy starring William Gillette, who was sup 
ported by such memorable names in the theater 
as Lucille La Verne, Adelaide Prince, Marie Doro, 
and Thomas H. Burns. The premiere performance 
was dated October 17, 1905, and the programme 
was of heavy white satin, heavily fringed with 
gold. 

Preceding the play at eight-thirty was a piece, 
The Painful Predicament of Sherlock Holmes, with 
the cast of William Gillette, Irene Vanbrugh, and 
the new find, Master Charles Chaplin. The part 
of Billy the page boy gave young Chaplin full scope 
for portraying a crafty young rascal who under 
stands his master perfectly and accords him a sort 
of critical devotion. He was a natural for the 
Cockney role. 

It soon came about that theater lovers were 
going again and again to St. Martin s Lane and 
were in their seats well before time for the curtain 
on the opening skit. As for Charlie, for the first 
time he won bursts of spontaneous applause and 
ripples of anticipatory laughter each time he, not 
seven other dancers and himself, appeared on the 
stage. It was sweet to his ears, and this approba 
tion did much to build up his confidence in himself. 
But at the same time he strove for more minute 
perfection of "business" to drain the last drop of 
artistry from the slender part. The volume of 



THE ROAD BEGINS 43 

applause grew commensurately with his efforts. 
He was a success ! He was gloriously happy! 

Charlie was but thirteen when Sir Arthur Conan 
Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes books, 
dropped in one day at rehearsal. He singled out for 
a bit of chaffing the youngster who stood out with 
such clarity as the page boy. In the course of the 
conversation, Charlie, with gamin insouciance, 
astounded the writer with the suggestion that they, 
Sir Arthur and he, enter into an agreement on 
the spot to divide equally their incomes for the 
rest of their lives. (Charlie was getting two pounds 
a week.) Sir Arthur burst into delighted guffaws 
as he declined the ridiculous offer. But his laughter, 
no doubt, turned a little sour in later years when 
he ruminated upon half the income from fifteen 
millions of dollars which the former page boy was 
enjoying. It is interesting to indulge in conjecture 
as to the probable effect of this quixotic proposal 
upon Charlie s career as an artist. 

Though he was not yet fourteen when the run of 
Sherlock Holmes ended, we see the forerunner of 
the originality which must create its own peculiar 
outlet an the melancholy, sardonic humor of 
which he was to become master in later years. 

Small wonder that Charlie Chaplin has held fast 
to his faith in the art of pantomime. He became a 
member of a variety company that, after a certain 
success in the cheaper halls of London, was to tour 
the Channel Islands. The members of the troupe, 



44 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

all impressionable youths in their teens had high 
notions of bringing their London sophistication to 
the benighted Islanders. 

What was their surprise and humiliation, there 
fore, to find in their first Island performance that 
their acts fell quite flat ; their witty sallies, couched 
in Cockney slang, were met with stolid indifference 
and never a smile. 

Charlie s spirits sank with the rest of the boys , 
but unlike the others who chafed to get back to 
London, where their colloquial catch phrases and 
jokes elicited noisy appreciation from a Cockney 
audience, he must dig into the cause of this unre- 
sponsiveness. He found it purely a matter of 
language! The Islanders who spote a patois, a 
curious mixture of French and English, simply had 
not understood a word of the dialogue of the acts ! 
Charlie assumed leadership and called a meeting in 
their dressing room. He explained to the restless, 
uninterested cast that if words were useless, they 
would use gestures. 

All that day he sweated and struggled with the 
boys who were, after all, only boys; they could not 
see that their mentor, who was actually younger 
than most of them, was "as old as a thousand yes 
terdays." He did not falter. Here was something 
he could create. 

He dug back into his memory for his mother s 
interpretation of emotion by gesture; he called into 
play a sort of slithering walk he had learned from 



THE ROAD BEGINS 45 

an old cabby in Kennington Road. The old fellow 
had had bad feet, wore boots of enormous size, and 
slipped along in the street in a painful manner 
ludicrous to the cruel sense of humor of youth. 
Straight through the acts, he substituted panto 
mime for the spoken word, throwing himself into 
his creations with fervor until the others caught his 
enthusiasm and followed suit. Their tour of the 
Channel Islands was an unqualified success. 

So, by accident, by determination and keen per 
ception, by creative instinct, or what you will, this 
callow and inexperienced youth of the music halls 
had hit upon the oldest art of expression, the panto 
mime. And Charlie Chaplin s pictures, today, are 
primarily an appeal to the simplest of human emo 
tions, which after all may be the basis for their 
greatness. In each country of the entire civilized 
and half -civilized world, they speak the language 
which the natives of these countries can under 
stand. The lift of an eyebrow, the hitch of a shoul 
der, the outward fling of hands, perhaps most of 
all the remarkable flexibility of facial expressions, 
can say with no words more than the speaking 
actor can convey through reels of dialogue. The 
interpretation of this pantomime is a challenge to 
sophisticated audiences. They must bring their 
own lines to the theater. 

Returning to London, Charlie felt that his pro 
fession was definitely chosen. All half-hearted 
intent on the part of his mother to seek some means 



46 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

of apprenticing him to a trade was forgotten. What 
more natural than that Charlie should succeed in 
the work of the theater? His father had been, in 
his youth, a prime favorite with music-hall audi 
ences ; she herself had enjoyed her brief career in 
the sun. 

Charlie threw himself wholeheartedly into the 
business of provoking laughter. Applause was 
music to his ears. The color and a certain glamor 
of the music halls crept into his veins. He loved the 
theater. The money he earned, though pitifully 
little, was lessening the cramped poverty of the 
whole family. 

He eventually obtained booking with the Fred 
Karno Comedy Company and, before he was 
eighteen, had taken rooms with his mother and 
brothers in Glenshore Mansions, in Brixton Road, 
a more prosperous neighborhood and more re 
spectable than that of Chester Street in Kenning- 
ton. Of his new quarters, he said, "Glenshore Man 
sions was a step up for me. I had my Turkish 
carpet and my red lights. It was the beginning of 
my prosperity." 

All credit must be given to the weedy, half- 
nourished youth who had achieved his "Turkish 
carpet." The streets and a cheerless hovel had been 
his school of dramatic art; the passers-by had af 
forded the only models of his mimicry. 



Young Love 



IN 1908, when Charlie was nineteen and playing 
the halls of suburban London as a "vaudeville 
sketch artist," as they were termed in that day, 
there began for him the one real and idealistic 
romance of his life. 

Perhaps it was because of his socially starved 
existence that the episode took on more than the 
usual significance of such first, or "puppy" loves. 
Perhaps it was because the object of this first ro 
mantic desire became to him the symbol of the un 
attainable which is, many times, the fixation of a 
mind carrying the weight of genius. 

At any rate, Charlie, with the other members of 
his act, was standing in the wings of the theater 
one night, awaiting his turn to go on. A troupe of 
girls was dancing on the stage. One of them slipped, 
almost fell; the rest smiled, appearing to take the 
audience into their confidence to cover the break in 
the rhythm of the number. One girl, dark and 
graceful and slender, with laughing brown eyes, 
glancing into the wings, caught Charlie s eyes and 
smiled at him. 



48 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

It seemed to the lonely youth that there was an 
especial significance to that smile. He was sud 
denly enthralled, lifted up from the actual cheap 
ness of his surroundings. His exaltation must have 
shown in his face, for the girl, flushing with em 
barrassment, turned her glance quickly away. 

When she came off the stage, however, before she 
ran back for the finale of their act, she threw her 
wrap to Charlie, asking him rather breathlessly, 
to take care of it until her return. Charlie could 
not believe that it was he who had been singled out 
for this honor. He stammered his willingness to 
mind the cloak. When, he was sure there was no 
one looking, he buried his face in the lavender- 
scented garment which had so recently enfolded 
this heavenly creature. 

When she came to reclaim her cloak, the girl 
thanked him provocatively, but Charlie was speech 
less. They stood and smiled at each other, the girl 
waiting for him to grasp the opportunity for 
further acquaintance, Charlie too timid to do more 
than grin inanely. 

The manager of the girls troupe hurried them 
away to another theater in a near-by suburb where 
they were to go on immediately. Charlie, seeing 
in her departure an act of finality, came to life, and 
sprang to open the door for her. "See you tomorrow 
night/ she said to him shyly. Charlie could only 
nod wordlessly. "Don t forget/ she flung over her 
shoulder more boldly, now that she was disappear- 



YOUNG LOVE 49 

ing through the doorway. Charlie found words at 
last. "I won t forget/ he repeated soberly. 

Leaving the theater for his rooms in Glenshore 
Mansions, he trod on clouds; all his life, he was 
sure he would remember her look, her smile, the 
shy words, and the scent of lavender that clung to 
her clothes. 

For weeks there was no meeting with Hetty 
Kelly (he learned her name from others of the 
troupe) other than the few passing moments in 
the theater each evening. He had learned that she 
lived with her mother and brother and another 
sister. He wanted desperately to ask her to go 
somewhere with him. At long last he screwed his 
courage to the sticking point; he did not fail. She 
agreed to meet him at Kennington Gate on the next 
Sunday afternoon. Her ready acceptance of his 
invitation sent him into a flurry of mixed emotions, 
contempt for his cowardice of the past weeks and 
a new fear that he would not please her on further 
acquaintance. 

The appointment was for four o clock; Charlie 
was at the gate well before the time. He was dressed 
in the height of theatrical fashion of the time 
double-breasted coat pinched in at the waist, bowler 
hat, stick, and yellow gloves. He rattled thirty 
shillings in his pocket. 

As he waited, he became the prey of vague ap 
prehensions about the girl. What would she look 
like in the daylight without makeup? Would he 



50 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

even be able to recognize her? People looked dif 
ferent off stage. Was she really as beautiful, as 
ethereal as she had seemed in the glamor of lights 
and makeup? He discovered to his dismay that 
he could not even actualize her features. His im 
pression was a mist of scent and laughing brown 
eyes and personality. That must be it. 

On the alert, despite these fearful musings, he 
saw a young woman approaching. She was the size, 
the build of Hetty, he was sure. She came nearer. 
His heart sank. There were the brown eyes and the 
dark hair, but the girl was homely, without a trace 
of the beauty he had visualized. He squared his 
shoulders. The incident must be met and got 
through somehow; the girl must never suspect his 
disillusionment. He looked up, saw her looking at 
him, prepared to smile, and after a brief, in 
curious glance she walked on. 

The suspense, beginning again, seemed to last 
hours, but in reality it was only a few minutes 
until a tram approached and stopped. Among the 
passengers alighting Charlie was overjoyed to 
recognize one, a radiantly beautiful creature in a 
neatly tailored navy-blue suit. It was Hetty. She 
was far more lovely in the harsh light of the 
blustery afternoon than she had been in the half- 
light of the theater. 

That night after seeing her home Charlie s heart 
was bursting with the emotion of a dreamer of 
dreams. Hetty liked him ! He wanted to run along 



YOUNG LOVE 51 

the Thames embankment and shout his happiness 
to the world. He looked about him and found an 
outlet for his exuberance the derelicts hanging 
wistfully about the coffee stall across from the 
great quiet buildings that were sleeping by the 
river. The hungry-eyed down-and-outers obvious 
ly did not have the price of the steaming coffee or 
tea which sent their aromas out into the dank, chill 
night. He called them about him and ordered the 
vender to hand out hot drinks and buns until the 
nineteen shillings remaining from his evening with 
Hetty were exhausted, and all the money he would 
have for a week was spent. 

Perhaps Charlie s love for Hetty was for her 
but an episode, a not unusual incident; but to 
Charlie, the recent waif of the streets, the youth 
starved for tangible beauty, it was as if he had 
never been wholly alive until now. His exuberance 
probably wearied her, for she was too young to 
understand that she was the vessel for the outpour 
ing of all his lonely years. She was too inexperi 
enced to feel the adoration underlying his clumsy 
attempts to show her that she was a goddess and 
he her slave. Young girls are apt to grow impa 
tient with slaves and slavish worship; they are 
more often flattered by older men, suave men of 
the world. Hetty tired of Charlie. 

The youth suffered all the pangs, real and 
imaginary, of unrequited love. Hetty left for the 
Continent with her troupe. They did not see one 



52 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

another again for two years. But never for a 
moment did the delicious agony of his passion for 
her abate. 

Crossing Piccadilly Circus one day, about two 
years after Hetty had left London, Charlie was 
aware of the insistent screech of an automobile 
horn. He looked to see who was in the path of a 
car. No one. He glanced at the car, a long, shining 
town car with liveried chauffeur and footman on 
the box. Certain that the horn was not meant to 
attract his attention, he passed on. As he did so, 
he caught a glimpse of a small gloved hand waving 
to him from the window. A well-known voice 
called, "Charlie!" It was Hetty! 

Dazed over this evidence of wealth and bitterly 
certain that the worst had happened, he reluctantly 
got into the car at her insistence. As they drove 
through the streets toward the suburbs in which 
her mother lived, she laughingly explained her lux 
ury to the grimly suffering Charlie. Her sister, she 
told him, had married an American millionaire. 
That was all. Charlie, released from his fears, 
was buoyantly happy that, his Hetty was still the 
creature of his dreams, even though there per 
sisted the disturbing thought that the glitter with 
which she was surrounded served only to push 
them more hopelessly apart. 

"Now, tell me about yourself/ she commanded, 
looking at him with affection. 

"There is very little to tell," he replied. "I am 



YOUNG LOVE 53 

still at the same old grind, trying to be funny. I 
think I shall try my luck in America soon." 

"Then, I shall see you there," was Hetty s 
prompt rejoinder. "I m going to New York with 
my sister and her husband." 

Charlie fancied he saw an eagerness in her man 
ner. Perhaps but then she had tired of him, he 
remembered, and sank into gloom. He roused him 
self, assumed a cynical air. "I ll have my secretary 
fix that up," he said, and laughed to hide his own 
effrontery. 

"But, Charlie, I mean it," Hetty insisted, ap 
parently hurt by his ironical tone. "You know I ve 
thought of you a great deal since the good old 
days." 

(It struck neither of them as absurd, this refer 
ence to the dim past of two years ago. They were 
both very young.) 

Charlie was lifted again into the ecstasy of hope. 

She had really missed him. Someday perhaps 

He must restrain himself. 

He spent the evening with the Kellys Hetty, 
her mother, and her brother, Arthur Kelly, known 
to his intimates as "Sonny." None of them could 
guess, that evening, that Charlie was to become the 
sensational impetus to motion pictures or that 
Sonny would come to Hollywood to work for Char 
lie, become foreign manager for United Artists in 
Europe, and eventually vice-president of the 
wealthy corporation organized by the ineffectual, 



54 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

shy-appearing youth who sat now before their fire, 
inarticulate and ill at ease. 

Hetty and Charlie said good-by once more. She 
was to return to Paris the next day. She promised 
to write, but after a desultory exchange of letters 
the correspondence died. 

Charlie left for America with the Fred Karno 
Company. Soon after his arrival he read of Hetty s 
being in New York; she was staying with her sister 
and new brother-in-law in the house in Fifth Ave 
nue opened up for their residence in America. He 
wanted terribly to telephone her or send her a note 
but was overcome with shyness. After all he was 
only a vaudeville "artist," while she, with her 
sister s marriage for background, was thrown with 
the most eligible men of Manhattan and of Long 
Island. 

Many nights after he had finished his stint at 
the theater, he walked up and down, back and 
forth, before the imposing town house, never quite 
able to summon the courage to ring the bell and ask 
for Hetty. Finally A Night in a London Music Hall, 
his act, left for the road, and, at least, the torture 
of his indecision was brought to a stop. He tried 
to put all thought of her away. 

There followed then, within three years, Char 
lie s miraculous rise to motion-picture fame. He 
arrived in New York to sign the first and note 
worthy "million dollar contract." Now, he thought, 
I can meet Hetty on her own ground, on an equal 



YOUNG LOVE 55 

footing. I will look her up and can offer her the 
things she should have. 

All very well for this decision made in his hotel 
rooms ; diffidence and indecision had their way. He 
was unable to bring himself to the point of seeking 
her out. 

Because of his sudden and spectacular f ame, it 
had been necessary to register himself incognito at 
his hotel as a protection against a constant stream 
of interviewers from the newspapers and motion- 
picture magazines. Most of the days when avid 
young men and young women were scurrying mad 
ly about in pursuit of the elusive star in order to 
give to a gasping public the momentous news as to 
whether or not he liked cabbage and purple ties, 
Charlie might have been found, had anyone looked, 
sitting in a taxi, across the street from the house in 
Fifth Avenue. He hoped to meet Hetty and at the 
same time, have the meeting "accidental." 

At last his patience was rewarded to a degree. 
For, not Hetty, but Sonny, one evening about six, 
came out of the front door and through the grilled 
gate to the street. Telling his driver to give him 
a few steps, then overtake him, Charlie hailed 
Sonny "by accident." Sonny was genuinely glad 
to see him, invited him to dinner at a restaurant. 

Throughout the first courses, the name of Hetty 
was studiously avoided by them both, Charlie be 
cause he wished to appear indifferent, Sonny for 
the reason that he knew Charlie s feeling for his 



56 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

sister. Over their coffee, Charlie could stand it no 
longer. Assuming a grand indifference, he asked 
casually, "By the way, how is your sister? Hetty, 
I mean/ 

Sonny, as if glad to have it over, drew a long 
breath. "She is quite well. Of course you knew 
that she was married, and living in England ?" 

The blow that Charlie had dreaded for years had 
fallen. Hetty was married. The shock was none 
the less sharp for its having been half -expected all 
along. Somehow, he got through the remainder of 
his visit with Sonny. He rushed to his hotel, threw 
his things into his bags, and left on the first train 
for Hollywood. His sensational triumph over 
poverty and obscurity had lost its meaning for 
him. Hetty would not share it. 

Every day of the year that ensued, Charlie ex 
amined the envelope of each of the hundreds of 
letters that came to him daily searching for the 
peculiar "e," the outstanding characteristic of 
Hetty s writing. One day he found it. With trem 
bling fingers he opened the letter. Sure enough the 

signature was "Hetty" with "Mrs. " in 

brackets. 

Hopelessness seized him anew, and it was quick 
ly turned into futile regret, and contempt, once 
more for his cowardice. "I have thought of you so 
often, dear Charlie, but never had the courage to 
write. And you? Perhaps it was that you did not 
care to see me again " The irony of it ! She 



YOUNG LOVE 57 

had been waiting for him to take the initiative, 
and he, because of his miserable inferiority com 
plex, had let slip without an aggressive move the 
one thing he wanted most in life. Hetty was not 
happy, he was sure. Though she did not say as 
much, everything in the letter signified dissatis 
faction with her marriage, to the highly imagina 
tive Charlie. "When you come to London/ the 
letter went on, "as you will, one day, look me up." 
Though he would not admit it to his associates, 
hardly to himself, and though he had been married 
and divorced, seeing Hetty was the underlying 
motive of his visit to London in 1922 the first 
time since he had left it in 1911. All the way across 
the Atlantic as he walked interminable miles 
around the deck, his arguments with himself con 
vinced him, almost, that Hetty was happily mar 
ried, that her letters had been just kind, friendly. 
He tried desperately to prepare himself for another 
in the series of disappointments which seemed in 
evitable in his clinging to the ephemeral dream of 
happiness with Hetty. And then, he argued with 
himself, he had grown up, matured; he had be 
come an international celebrity. Women were 
throwing themselves at his head. Why, he could 
have his choice of a hundred beauties for a wife. 
He didn t want them; he wanted Hetty. But she 
was married, perhaps happily married. Still, run 
ning through the cool philosophical reasoning, 
there persisted the words from Hetty s letter, "I 



58 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

have so often thought of you, dear Charlie/ which 
set his heart pounding and his imagination aflame. 

At Southhampton, his port of disembarkation in 
England, the welcome to Charlie was noisy and 
exciting; never had such crowds assembled to wel 
come anyone, save England s royalty, as greeted 
Charlie at the port and all along the way to Lon 
don. Hundreds of letters and telegrams were 
handed him, thousands of people broke through the 
police cordons in a hysterical mass, attempting 
frantically to see him, speak to him, touch him. In 
the melee he felt a firm hand upon his arm and 
found himself in a railway carriage on his way to 
London. He turned, curious as to who had been so 
dexterous; it was Sonny Kelly. Sonny talking ner 
vously about the excitement of being a world cele 
brity, of the crowds lining the streets in London 
on the route from the station to the hotel. All this 
while Charlie sat preoccupied, trying to savor the 
thrill beforehand of seeing Hetty once more. Stern 
ly he reminded himself that he must be a man of 
the world, that he was no supplicating vaudeville 
artist now; he was a success. He would be natural 
and disarming. He had learned that, once one is a 
famous personage, one can afford to be his simple 
self. 

He jerked his thoughts back to the present, to 
Sonny, who was, now, he noticed, wearing an air 
of strain, sadness. Something was wrong. He ven 
tured to ask, "Is Hetty in town?" 



YOUNG LOVE 59 

And then he watched Sonny s eyes shadow over 
with grief and he knew. "I thought you d heard," 
Sonny said quietly. "Hetty died three weeks 
ago." 

Charlie was to know in that moment the differ 
ence between mere separation with its hope that 
sometime, somewhere, there might come the reali 
zation of the dream he had held so long and to 
which he had desperately clung; and the awful 
finality of death. He sat stunned, the fine flavor of 
his holiday gone, his wealth and success become 
ashes in his mouth. He realized in that brief jour 
ney into London, with piercing clarity, the power- 
lessness of money and fame to bring to him the 
simple happiness accorded the average man. He 
knew the futility of success when weighed against 
the joys of the spirit. 

London welcomed him warmly and entertained 
him generously, the little waif of Kennington who 
had come home to them, the screen idol of the 
world. He found himself playing to London the 
hardest role of his life, that of a celebrity who by 
casual standards had everything money, fame, 
public affection. Yet all his life he knew he would 
long for the clean, happy dreams of the years when 
he had been too young to know they would not 
come true. 



To America 



CHARLIE S ADVENT in America came about, as he 
had predicted to Hetty with such bravado, in 1911, 
though it was more the accident of circumstance 
than his own doing. At seventeen he had by dint of 
hard work become a member of Fred Karno s well- 
known, almost classic, pantomime troupe. In 1910 
Karno had sent out a series of vaudeville acts from 
London, known to the profession as The Birdies. 
There was The Early Bird, The Mumming Birds, 
and "numerous other groups, since forgotten, all 
tagged with "bird." 

The Mumming Birds were the first to become 
popular in America, but in deference to a different 
audience angle, they were billed as A Night in a 
London Music Hall. The act made its first New 
York appearance at Hammerstein s Victoria Mu 
sic Hall, later to become the Rialto Theater. Billy 
Reeves, brother of Alfred Reeves, present manager 
of the Chaplin studios in Hollywood, was star of 
the act. Reeves played the drunk in the box who 
heckled the cast on the stage and constantly in 
terrupted the show, to the huge delight of the 




Charlie (in center) as one of the "Eight Lancashire Lads." Their 
skit at this time was called "Casey s Circus. 




Charlie at the age of twenty-one as a member of the Fred Karno 
"Mumming Bird" troupe (1910). 



TO AMERICA 61 

audience. The set itself depicted a stage within a 
stage. 

At about this time, that genius at glorifying the 
American girl, the late Flo Ziegfeld, was casting 
about for comic talent to enliven his first Follies. 
He dropped into the Victoria and saw Billy Eeeves 
in his hilarious comedy work. He knew no rest 
until he had lured him away from the Karno 
Company at a breath-taking salary, according to 
English standards. This, of course, disrupted the 
act. Alfred Reeves, who was acting as American 
manager of the troupe, left for London to recruit 
a comic to take his brother s place. He realized that 
as Billy was making a tremendous hit in the Follies, 
he was forever lost to them. 

The wistful albeit humorous pantomime of the 
young Chaplin recurred to Alfred Reeves s mind. 
He suggested his name to Karno, who demurred : 
"Why, Alf, you know we ve got to have a finished 
actor for that role. Chaplin won t do. He s too 
young and callow for the part." 

Reeves was insistent. "Nonsense/ he argued. 
"Young Chaplin has something in greater degree 
than my brother originality. The boy s going 
far." 

Upon such slender threads of chance are great 
careers woven. Reeves had his way, and Charlie 
was rushed to America by the first boat, to take 
his place in the stage box and annoy the performers 
in the act proper, of A Night in a London Music 



62 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

. Hall Oddly enough, this was just after Hetty had 
arrived in New York with her sister. Shortly after 
ward the act was routed over the Sullivan and 
Considine circuit which extended to the Pacific 
Coast. Charlie left New York. 

In 1913 motion pictures were struggling to 
emerge from the stage of crude, one-reel thrillers : 
Buffalo Bill pursuing strange-looking Indians over 
the plains, or the subtle and durable story of the 
sheriff in hot pursuit of the bloodthirsty cattle 
rustlers of the cow country. When the pursued of 
either plot was captured, the picture died of mal 
nutrition. 

The Karno troupe drifted down the circuit well 
received, and eventually reached Los Angeles. 
Mack Sennett, who was directing the crude come 
dies of the loosely thrown together organization 
later to be known as Keystone Comedies, missing 
an appointment with a friend one evening, dropped 
into a vaudeville house. His eye, trained to catch 
possibilities for the screen, picked out the over 
weening dignity of the little drunk in the box and 
stored it away in his mind for future reference. 
Mack Sennett had the vision to see that pictures 
would not always be the disjointed, jerky records 
of a chase. 

A year passed. A Night in a London Music Hall 
was playing in the suburbs of Philadelphia. One 
night a telegram came to Charlie Chaplin reading : 
"ARE YOU THE MAN WHO PLAYED THE DRUNK IN 



TO AMERICA 63 

THE BOX IN THE ORPHEUM THEATRE THREE YEARS 
AGO STOP IF SO WILL YOU GET IN TOUCH WITH KES- 
SEL AND BAUMANN LONGACRE BUILDING NEW 

YORK." It was signed by Mack Sennett. 

Charlie was puzzled. He inferred that Kessell 
and Baumann were solicitors. Perhaps some rela 
tive of his in France or Spain had died and left 
him a legacy. Upon his arrival in New York, he 
went to see Mr. Kessell and was considerably let 
down to find that he was a motion-picture producer. 
Mr. Kessel told him that Mack Sennett, one of his 
directors, had assured him that he, Charlie Chap 
lin, had a future in pictures. 

Charlie went home to his hotel and thought over 
the offer he felt Mr. Kessel was sure to make him 
the next day. He consulted with Alf Reeves, always 
his adviser. 

"I hate to leave the troupe/ he told Reeves. "How 
do I know that pictures are going to be a successful 
medium for pantomime? Suppose I don t make 
good? I ll be stranded in a strange country." 

Reeves tried to calm his fears. "Pictures are 
here to stay," he assured the slightly frightened 
and bewildered Charlie. "You ll never get any 
where in vaudeville. You ve reached the top now 
and what have you? Seventy-five dollars a week 
and no outlet for your talent." 

The next day Charlie was asked what salary he 
was getting with the Karno Company. "Two hun 
dred and fifty dollars a week," he told Kessel 



64 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

shamelessly. After a bit of haggling he agreed to 
accept $150 a week for his year s tryout in pic 
tures, though he assured Mr. Kessel solemnly that 
only the prospect of life in the open air in sunny, 
mild, southern California could induce him to 
make such a monetary sacrifice. 

Mack Sennett, by this time, was directing stories 
containing slightly more plot than the first 
"chases" but still far removed from convincing 
human action and reaction. It was the day of the 
"custard-pie" school of comedy, still the "knock- 
the-hell-out-of- em" stage of dramatics on the 
screen. 

It was 1914 when Sennett attempted the ambi 
tious film of two reels, Tillie s Punctured Romance, 
in which Mabel Normand was starred. Marie 
Dressier was co-star. A slight wisp of a comic, 
affording a ridiculous contrast to her size, was 
slipped into the part opposite her. Sad-eyed and 
wistful, Charlie Chaplin began his film career, 
stopping custard pies with his face. 

All Europe was in the throes of war, the most 
horrible and devastating carnage in history. 
America sat restively on the sidelines bursing her 
jittery nerves. The world wanted desperately to 
laugh; the soldiers, when they came out of the 
trenches for a brief respite, were eager for some 
thing which would take them, if only for an hour, 
from the mud and horror of war. Tillie s Punctured 
Romance was a decided hit both in America and 



TO AMERICA 65 

Europe. In the pantomime of the little chap shrug 
ging his narrow shoulders at the futility of his 
struggles against fate; at his occasional triumphs, 
however brief, over the handsome romantic lead of 
the piece, the man in the trenches and the man in 
the street alike found a tragicomic symbol of their 
own attempts to retain some semblance of dignity 
and battered faith in a world suddenly gone mad. 

Charlie s belief in his own ability, a natural con 
ceit compatible with genius, came near to precipi 
tating a small riot in the Keystone studios and his 
dismissal from the lot. He felt, and rightly, too, 
as has been proved, that he knew better than any 
director the "business" he wanted to use to portray 
the soul of the character he was gradually evolving 
for the screen. As he himself expressed it, "The 
little chap I want to show wears the air of romantic 
hunger, is forever seeking romance, but his feet 
won t let him." 

Scripts not being written in those days, it being 
unheard of to film a published story or book, the 
scenarios were, for the most part, like children s 
make-believe, made up as they went along. The 
director had in mind some hazy thread of con 
tinuity, and the balance was left to chance. It 
followed that everyone on the lot, technical men, 
"props," on down to the office boy, stood around 
watching each sequence "shot" and feeling quite 
privileged to offer suggestions. In comedies, the 
success of the sequence was determined by whether 



66 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

or not the assorted onlookers laughed as the scene 
was enacted for the camera. 

Making a Living was the first one-reel picture in 
which Charlie appeared on the screen. In it he 
played the part of a reporter, in the conventional 
garb of the day. During production of this picture, 
he timorously suggested some bit of business. The 
director tried it out, just as he would have tried 
the suggestion of anyone interested enough to 
speak up. Actors as well as people might have an 
idea occasionally. Charlie went through the se 
quence; the group hanging about laughed heartily; 
the scene was left in. 

Encouraged by this and possessed of the deep- 
seated conviction that he was his own guiding 
genius, Charlie made further suggestions. The 
director decided that he was fresh. Actors were 
just a necessary evil to a picture anyway. He ig 
nored Charlie s suggestions. 

This did not deter Charlie from advancing more 
and more ideas that were rank heresy at the time. 
He thought it quite unnecessary, for instance, for 
half the cast to chase the other half over miles of 
country and hundreds of feet of film to inflict upon 
them the ignominy of suffocation in custard pie. 
Secretly he considered the custard pie superfluous, 
but realized that he must not question its impor 
tance as yet. However, he dared to tell the directors 
and anyone else who would listen that comedy 
could be more convincingly enacted standing still ! 



TO AMERICA 67 

His theory was met with incredulous stares. It was 
unheard of! It was too much! The ire of the 
director toward that "fresh little vaudeville ham" 
was unconfined. He was reported to Mack Sennett, 
who was now production head of Keystone. 

Sennett, exasperated with Charlie, called him in 
and laid him off for a week, reminding him that 
he was an unimportant factor in the business of 
making comedies. He went on to say that after 
his disciplinary period had ended, he must be less 
difficult to handle, must do simply what he was 
told to do, no more. Sennett could not be expected 
to know that his words were falling upon the 
crystallized belief of an artist in himself and were 
bouncing off even as water off the proverbial duck s 
back. 

Charlie, not in the least convinced that he was 
at fault, was merely noncommittal. At the end of 
his week s punishment (his salary had not been 
suspended), he was put to work in the picture, 
Tillie s Punctured Romance. 

For some time now, Charlie had been toying 
with tentative costume combinations, seeking to 
evolve one which would be permanent. Selecting a 
garment now and then from the studio wardrobe, 
trying this combination and that, laying them 
aside and saying nothing. He was not going to lay 
his ideas upon costume open to condemnation until 
he had an ensemble which satisfied him; then he 
would have something definite to fight for. He was 



68 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

sure there would be a fight. Finally he appeared 
in full regalia of the oddly assorted and bedraggled 
garments he had assembled. An Oxford grey cut 
away coat bound in black tape, one size too small; 
under this a brown and yellow checked gingham 
waistcoat over a cotton shirt of black stripes on 
white; white stiff wing collar held by a blue and 
white polka-dot bow tie. 

Trousers, light grey and bouffant from the fact 
that they were much too large for him ; patched tan 
shoes almost twice the size of his feet clad the 
nether man. 

The nervous little mustache, the small bowler, 
the soiled pink carnation as a boutonniere, the 
crumpled rag of a handkerchief peeping from his 
breast pocket, and fine jointed bamboo cane com 
pleted the ridiculous ensemble. 

To Charlie the costume spoke with fine restraint 
of the man who is debonair and man of the world 
though his club consist of the sidewalks, his haber 
dashery, the ashcan. 

The costume was previewed by all and sundry 
and pronounced not extreme enough ! Charlie stuck 
to his convictions and the outfit came to be an in 
tegral part of his famous single characterization. 
Today the original is on a wax dummy of Charlie 
in the Los Angeles Museum. 

The director assigned to the film being made 
complained bitterly of Charlie s continued dis 
obedience. Serenely Charlie persisted in directing 



TO AMERICA 69 

himself in this picture, letting the other members 
of the cast fall where they might. It was agreed 
upon the lot that he was "difficult," "an upstart/ 
even "impossible." 

Soon the matter of his recalcitrance came again 
to a head ; Sennett felt that something drastic about 
it had to be done. He called Charlie into his office. 
"Now, listen, Chaplin, I ve had enough of this 
rowing. You d better decide to do what you re told, 
or quit," he told him curtly. Charlie, in spite of 
his convictions that he was right, was terror- 
stricken. His imagination played him direful 
tricks. What if he were fired? Could he even get 
back with the Karno Company? He drooped. He 
went back on the set to try to be as inconspicuous 
and unassuming as possible. His inner rebellion 
at taking direction that he knew was all wrong 
made him unhappy. But he shivered with appre 
hension. 

Somehow that day was endured. He changed 
into his street clothes and started home, the per 
sonification of dejection. Mack Sennett waylaid 
him. Charlie was wrathful at this second inter 
view, was about to tell him he didn t give a damn 
what he did in the picture or how rotten it was and 
where he could put the whole industry, when he 
sensed something in Sennett s manner. It was not 
the blustering wrath of that morning. He was 
placating, almost friendly ! Charlie waited. 

"Look here, Charlie," Sennett choked over his 



70 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

overtures, "you d n ^ want to ra * se ^ e antagonism 
of all these directors. They like your work and 
they like you personally. Whatever they tell you 
is for your own good. If you could just accept that, 
everything would be all right." 

Charlie had no intention of accepting their ideas, 
which were contrary to those he knew to be better, 
but he was at a loss to understand this sudden 
change of front on the part of Sennett. He put off 
going home, strolled nonchalantly in and out of 
offices only to find the same tolerance, almost ad 
miration expressed by the directors. Surely the 
atmosphere had changed. It was as if some gal 
vanic current had run through the studio on wires, 
toward him. Privately he reflected that if they all 
had liked him, they had used a peculiar method of 
expressing it. Still he sensed something, definitely, 
some force working for him. 

It was not until long afterward that Sennett 
cleared up the mystery for Charlfe, He told him 
that a telegram from Kessel and Baumann in New 
York had come that day, ordering the studio to 
"make more pictures with the little fellow with the 
big feet and the baggy pants" as there was a loud 
and increasing demand for these pictures from 
exhibitors all over the country. 

That evening, still not knowing his firm footing, 
Charlie bearded Sennett in his office. "I want to 
try directing my own pictures," he told the aston 
ished producer, who was struck speechless but who 



TO AMERICA 71 

remembered he was between two fires. This was 
too much ! It was all right to give out orders for the 
directors to get along with Chaplin, the strange 
little fellow who was so conceited, but direct his 
own pictures, forsooth! 

"Who s going to pay for the negatives if you 
spoil them?" Sennett demanded. Ah, he had him 
there! He was totally unprepared for the faith 
of creative urge in itself. 

"I will," came the prompt and succinct reply. 

Sennett did some quick thinking. "Box office" 
in New York demanded more pictures of "Baggy- 
Pants." "Baggy-Pants" couldn t or wouldn t 
get along with the directors. Why not let him run 
his own show for one picture ? It would either teach 
him he didn t know as much as he thought he did or 
there would be more pictures, because half the 
time now was consumed in quarreling. He gave his 
permission. 

Charlie, elated over his chance to show them, 
quickly recruited his first cast and props. A few 
Keystone cops, a pretty nursemaid and a handsome 
soldier, some of the hated custard pies. He ordered 
the dubious camera crew and his company to follow 
him to a near-by park. They caught some of his 
enthusiasm as he worked furiously. 

Within a few days In the Park was completed. 
The film had not much plot, was crude in construc 
tion, to be sure, but it was, nonetheless, a vast 
improvement on the comedies turned out by "ex- 



72 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

perienced" directors. Charlie s speed of production 
impressed Mack Sennett. 

Charlie, inarticulate, could not explain his help 
lessness in conveying to them all his own inner 
knowledge. He was in the first epoch of his art. He 
was not an actor as were those delineators of 
character soon to follow : William S. Hart, Douglas 
Fairbanks, Lillian Gish, Mabel Normand, Ford 
Sterling, and Jean Hersholt, the finest of them all. 
They could not have understood, had he found 
words to tell them that, like Nijinski in the dance, 
he interpreted himself; that even as Nijinski gath 
ered up into his being the frenzy of all the passions 
of the world and flung them into the dance, so he, 
Charlie Chaplin, ached to gather up all the sadness 
and frustration and pathos in the hearts and lives 
of men and release it in his portrayal of humor! 
Nijinski is mad. Directors who had been "shoe 
salesmen, wholesale grocers, soda-jerkers," ac 
cording to Grover Jones, now one of the foremost 
scenarists in Hollywood, then a painter of sets in 
the studios, could not be expected to do otherwise 
than characterize Charlie as "crazy," the usual 
epithet applied by the practical soul to whom art is 
a vague term and artists, anathema. They could 
not be expected to think other than that Charlie 
was a little mad; and they were right. He has the 
off-balance of genius, the somber nature of the 
artist in humor. But in- his pictures, as in the com 
pleted work of all genius, there is perfect balance. 



TO AMERICA 73 

Mrs. Jones, of Poughkeepsie, does not know why 
she comes away from a Chaplin picture with a 
sense of incredible rhythm, perhaps does not know 
that she has that sense of rhythm at all. But it is 
there. 

When In The Park was to be run off in the pro 
jection room, most of the directors on the lot as 
well as technicians came to see Charlie s downfall, 
to watch the discomfiture of "that fresh little squirt 
put back where he belonged." But within a few 
minutes the small room rang with their involuntary 
laughter. Charlie, seated modestly in the rear of 
the room, looking about surreptitiously, saw that 
even those who disliked him most were laughing 
heartily. He detected a sort of awe in their laugh 
ter. Sennett was laughing most uproariously of all. 

When the short comedy was received with in 
creased public enthusiasm, Charlie grew in self- 
confidence, was strengthened in his determination 
to do things his way. He had proved to his own 
satisfaction the importance of the technical pre 
cision of a creative- work. Perhaps the basis of all 
his work, reduced to its simplest terms, can be ex 
pressed as putting in a ridiculous and embarras 
sing position, a man of outer dignity, what we are 
pleased to term a "stuffed shirt" ; and oppose him 
to the little fellow with innate dignity who is des 
perately serious about getting out of the awkward 
situations in which he has been placed through no 
fault of his own. You will notice that Charlie s 



74 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

chief concern, when extricating himself from a 
position, however painful, is to pick up his stick, 
straighten his tie and retrieve his battered bowler 
even if he has just arisen from a fall on his head. 

Restraint and more restraint, the direct oppo 
site of the other pictures of the time, became his 
watchword, not only for himself but for the others 
in his company. His views, thought insane at first, 
were listened to with respect, once his popularity 
on the screen was noised about. He tried to make 
. the others feel, as he did, the mirth of a situation 
wherein the person in a ludicrous position refused 
to admit anything out of the ordinary was hap 
pening and was pathetically obstinate about one 
thing preserving his dignity. 

The intoxicated gentleman who, though quite 
betrayed by his speech and walk and actions, wants 
to convince us that he has not taken a drop, is far 
funnier than the frankly squiffy gentleman who 
acknowledges it and laughs with abandon with 
you at his own condition. The latter condition is 
likely to induce pity or contempt instead of 
sympathy leavened by laughter. 

Charlie took his small size into consideration in 
working out his effects. This brought an inclina 
tion to sympathy from the crowd. A bigger chap 
would have been deemed competent to look out for 
himself. He accentuates this weakness by working 
his shoulders, assuming a pathetic expression, a 
whole frightened air when confronted by the law 



TO AMERICA 75 

or any superior force and captures his audience. 
There is always, of course, the direct tendency of 
an audience to feel within itself the same emotions 
as the actor on the screen or stage. 

He had made great strides in showing himself 
to be the first full-fledged creator of the living pic 
ture. Of plastic expression, old as the world, he 
was becoming master. 

Nothing was more natural than that Charlie, 
instead of accepting the young actresses who had 
already come before the film public and were es 
tablished as types by other directors, should feel 
himself creative in this respect too. 

His selection of Edna Purviance for the picture 
Adventure was something more than merely at 
traction to a pretty face, of which he has been 
accused. He continued throughout twenty years 
the practice of choosing raw material for his fem 
inine leads, and this is consistent with his tempera 
ment. He, the sculptor, sees the clay, often of no 
fine texture, which he can mold into something 
approaching the perfection of his dream. That he 
has followed this course in each picture and that 
each leading woman who plays opposite him has 
failed to find success in her own right afterwards 
only confirms this fact. When the picture is fin 
ished, he is the true artist who cares not what be 
comes of the work which has served his purpose. 
He is the servant once more of the driving urge to 
create. 



76 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

With Charlie established as his own director, it 
was inevitable that a battle for larger salary for 
the coming year should ensue. Sennett offered him 
$250 a week, which he scorned. 

Thus the matter stood, with Mack Sennett tak 
ing every precaution to guard his treasure from 
the onslaughts of rival film companies, when, one 
day, there rode up to the Keystone studios in Glen- 
dale Boulevard, in Los Angeles, a cowboy. Dis 
mounting from his horse, he demanded to see Mr. 
Sennett. This aroused no suspicion in the minds 
of the special guards posted at the studio gate. 
After all, the cowboy had not asked to see Charlie 
Chaplin. 

Mack interviewed the debonair cowboy, who ad 
mitted that he was an excellent actor as well as 
cowboy. Sennett agreed to give him a test. And 
when the test was run off in the projection room, 
the unsuspecting producer gave him a job. Just 
two days later this same cowboy who had proved 
his claim to "hard ridin ," and who was "Broncho 
Billy" Anderson, telegraphed his bosses in Chicago, 
the Essanay Company, that he could secure for 
them the services of the new and sensational 
comedian of the screen, Charlie Chaplin, for one 
thousand dollars a week. Without further ado, 
Charlie was signed to such a contract. This was on 
January 12, 1915. We can well imagine the tearful 
chagrin of Mack Sennett afterwards as he watched 
the meteoric zoom to fortune and world-wide fame 



TO AMERICA 77 

of the treasure he had let slip through his fingers. 

Charlie left Keystone Comedies with fifty films 
to his credit, none of them more than a short two 
thousand feet of negative, and not all of them 
having been intended primarily for Charlie s char 
acterization. Nevertheless, these comedies are re 
membered today with the star, the leading man, 
the whole cast and story merely a background for 
his inimitable miming. 

He had learned the most valuable lesson a cre 
ative artist can learn ; for in the fifty pictures for 
Keystone he had found that those in which he had 
tried to please the public were mediocre, failed to 
please, while those in which he strove to satisfy 
his own high standards, in other words, to please 
himself, were unfailingly popular. 

With the Essanay Company aware of the value 
of his universal popularity, his pictures under 
their banner were wisely titled with the magic of 
his name. Charlie s Night Out, Champion Charlie, 
Charlie the Tramp, Charlie at the Show, to name 
a few, were simple studies of human emotions fil 
tered through the personality of Charlie Chaplin s 
wistful little vagabond. 

As soon as Charlie began to enjoy his spectacular 
success with Essanay, imitators of him sprang up 
in other studios. Billie Ritchie, Billy West, and 
Charles Amador were the most formidable, but at 
best they were only inferior impersonations of the 
character. It was not difficult, of course, to copy 



78 CHAKLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

the clothes and the make-up, but it was not only 
difficult, it was impossible, to be the somber, intro 
spective little personality, bred in poverty and 
schooled in sorrow, with that certain gift of pro 
jecting himself into men s hearts. The mechanics 
of his personification were carefully copied the 
slithering walk, the timid approach, but as with 
all imitations, the soul of their effort was conspicu 
ous by its absence. It is to the everlasting credit 
of motion-picture audiences that they rejected 
such imitators and soon sent these plagiarists 
scurrying into less sacred fields. 

An amusing incident came about, however, be 
fore the public awakened to the fact that these 
imitators were not Charlie Chaplin. Nat Spitzer, 
that imp of producers, who just a few years ago 
had all picturedom by the ears with Ingagi, the 
glorious hoax which laid Tarzan in the deep, deep 
shade; the picture so astounding as to give feature 
pictures released at the same time bad cases of 
box-office malnutrition; this same Nat Spitzer 
made a series of pictures in which he starred Billy 
West with the exact make-up and costume of 
Charlie and his antics copied to a nice degree. 
Spitzer s contract called for twenty-six Billy West 
films. He made twenty-four and tired of it all. It 
had been borne in upon him that there was some 
thing to Chaplin besides mere external effect. 

Spitzer s partner wired him frantically long 
after Billy West had been allowed to depart that 



TO AMERICA 79 

they must turn over the other two comedies to the 
releasing company or they would be sued for their 
nether garments. 

Spitzer sent out calls for West; they were in 
vain; he was not to be found. Spitzer was in a 
dither. He had two weeks in which to deliver the 
completed pictures. Grover Jones, painter-scenar 
ist mentioned before, although he had a profound 
respect for Charlie s work, hated to see Spitzer in 
trouble and realized that two more of these pic 
tures after twenty-four had been perpetrated 
would have no additional effect upon Charlie s 
career, so he suggested a young chap, Charles 
Amador, who was, in his opinion, the best of all. 
the imitators of Chaplin. 

Spitzer begged Jones to direct the two comedies. 
This Jones reluctantly agreed to do and was prom 
ised a substantial bonus for finishing them in time 
to save Spitzer s financial neck. So, Grover Jones 
made two comedies starring Charles Amador, who 
imitated Billy West imitating Charlie Chaplin. 
This, they hoped, ended the incident, but 

Amador, attempting to cash in on this fluke, got 
hold of a print of one of the films and toured the 
country calling himself "Charles Aplin." This 
reached Charlie in Hollywood, and he finally arose 
in his indignation and went to court. It was not 
long before his most flagrant imitator was ex 
plaining things to a judge. This skirmish left 
Charlie in sole possession, not only of any deriva- 



80 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

tions of his name, but of the costume which he had 
originated. 

When the year s contract at Essanay came to 
an end, Charlie refused to listen to any proposal 
for re-signing. He had enough money for his 
needs. He felt that his work at Essanay was at 
stagnation. He would not have been Charlie Chap 
lin if he had not reached out for swifter, more 
dangerous whirlpools of experiment. 

He was given a contract by the Mutual Film 
Company, embodying a cash payment of $150,000 
and $10,000 a week for twelve pictures during 
the ensuing year, a total of $670,000 for the year 
of 1916. 

Though this was a step forward in his develop 
ment and though the Mutual studio was willing, 
even eager, for him to try out his own ideas, it 
was not until he acquired his own studio that he 
could indulge his "infinite capacity for taking 
pains" and approach the perfection of technique 
that was his constant aim. When that time came, 
he could with impunity use 36,000 feet of negative 
to achieve 1,800 feet of completed picture; he could 
spend two months and "shoot" every scene twenty 
times if he liked. There would be no one to say no. 

Charlie s reaction to his astounding good for 
tune of the famous so-called "million dollar" con 
tract with Mutual was pathetic while amusing. 
He simply could not take in the meaning of such a 



TO AMERICA 81 

sum. Fingering the check for the bonus, $150,000, 
he remarked to his brother, Syd, "Well, I ve got 
this much if I don t ever get another cent." 

Syd, who had come over to assume charge of his 
impractical brother, had received $75,000 for his 
share in arranging the deal. 

Charlie remembered a small boy with his nose 
pressed against the show window of the Burling 
ton Arcade in London. This boy had promised 
himself that if ever he got rich he would recklessly 
buy the whole window display of colorful gar 
ments. He went out in New York and bought him 
self a dozen neckties. 

It was then that he began to haunt the street in 
which Hetty lived with her sister. 



Edna Purviance 



CHARLIE RETURNED from New York still dazed by 
his almost unbelievable wealth and unable to take 
in the full import of his popularity with the public. 
Shy and self-conscious, he shrank from his fellow 
motion-picture actors; he continued to live in a 
small room in the old Stowell Hotel in Spring 
Street, downtown Los Angeles. And at night after 
his stint before the camera he invariably escaped 
from his co-workers to wander the humbler por 
tions of the town. Strolling abstractedly, gazing 
into the windows of secondhand stores and pawn 
shops, he would stop for pancakes or a cup of 
coffee in haunts where a dime meant a meal to 
their habitues, avoiding the imposing uptown 
shops where he might have had anything they had 
to offer and avoiding especially the Hof brau House, 
the restaurant where stage luminaries from New 
York met and patronized the new and uncer 
tain stars of the cinema. It was as if he had vague 
premonition of the world of false social values 
which because of his quick rise to fame must in 
evitably claim him, and here in the district nearest 



EDNA PURVIANCE 83 

the sordid actualities of his youth he could escape 
for a while. 

Julian Eltinge, noted female impersonator, came 
to Los Angeles at this time, fresh from his tri 
umphs in New York and on the road in Cousin 
Lucy. He was under contract to Jesse Lasky*for 
three pictures, The Widow s Mite, Countess 
Charming, and The Clever Mrs. Carfax. 

Eltinge, together with all established stars of 
the legitimate stage, looked upon moving pictures 
as something to make hurriedly and try to forget. 
The attitude of the theater toward the new medium 
of expression was much that of merchants, a few 
decades before, toward the upstart five-and-ten- 
cent stores; these five-and-ten-cent movie houses 
offered a shoddy imitation of the more valuable 
commodity. 

Ford Sterling, the outstanding comedian of 
films until Charlie came along, Raymond Hitch 
cock, and William Farnum became Eltinge s 
cronies at the Hofbrau House. Charlie Chaplin, 
the new and exciting personality who had just re 
turned from New York where "foolish" Essanay 
had presented him with almost two thirds of a 
million dollars, was not in evidence. Eltinge s 
curiosity was aroused. He had seen some of 
Charlie s comedies, and there lay in the back of 
his mind the conviction that here, in the despised 
medium, was something one could not discard with 
the epithet, tawdry. He asked after Charlie and 



84 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

was rewarded with the information that he was 
a lone wolf, avoided his fellows, and hung about 
the meaner districts of the town. 

Coming away from the Hof brau House late one 
night, Eltinge saw the slight, inconspicuous figure 
standing before a secondhand shop window, his 
hands clasped behind his back, his whole attitude 
one of unawareness of where he was. Eltinge 
stopped and spoke to him, asked him to have a 
drink. Charlie uncertainly accompanied him to 
a near-by bar. 

They became friends. Eltinge s friend, a Mrs. 
Slater, an Englishwoman, gave a party. Sir Beer- 
bohm Tree was guest of honor. Eltinge escorted 
Geraldine Farrar and the little comic he had asked 
permission of his hostess to bring. Sir Beerbohm 
was immediately attracted to Charlie, pronounced 
him a "very intelligent young chap." As for 
Charlie, this impact of esteem from a knight of 
England, a great actor, was as a decoration of 
merit. It gave him a confidence in himself which 
adulation from the American public had failed to 
achieve. He expanded ; he bloomed. He was grate 
ful to Eltinge for his sponsorship and clung to 
their friendship. 

Most of all, this consideration in the flesh of the 
people who had reached realization of their powers 
had its effect upon his work. For, while criticism 
and opposition had never disturbed his tranquility, 
his sureness of craftsmanship, this human appro- 



EDNA PURVIANCE 85 

bation warmed and encouraged him to outstrip 
himself. 

One rainy evening soon after Charlie s introduc 
tion socially, at Sunset Inn overlooking the sea at 
Santa Monica, Gus Kerner, maitre d hotel of the 
resort, was discontentedly surveying the almost 
deserted dining room. (The place was usually 
filled with motion-picture people and their 
friends.) 

Mayor Berkeley, Chief of Police Ferguson, and 
Captain Clarence Webb, with Police Judge King, 
all of Santa Monica, sat at a corner table. At the 
other end of the large room another party occu 
pied a table with a view of the Pacific. The officials 
called Gus over. 

"We notice you re permitting that woman over 
there to smoke, Gus," said the Mayor. "You know 
it s against the law for a woman to smoke in a 
public place in this town." He looked toward the 
other party, where a smartly groomed woman 
puffed on a cigarette held in a long golden holder. 

Mr. Kerner s gaze followed the Mayor s. He 
hesitated. He stammered, "B-but, gentlemen, 
that s Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt, and the lady 
and gentleman with her are Sir Beerbohm Tree 
and his daughter Miss Iris." 

Chief Ferguson looked a little startled. He 
cleared his throat. 

"Well, Gus, the law s the law. I m sworn to up 
hold it." 



86 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Gus sighed. All he needed to round off a stupid 
evening was to insult prominent guests. "Okay, 

gentlemen, I ll I ll go right over " He stopped 

and clutched at what turned out to be a brickf ul 
of straws. "That other one, the little fellow at the 
table, is Charlie Chaplin!" he blurted out. 

Official Santa Monica raked the little one with 
a strangely unofficial look. "Oh !" they chorused. 
"Why didn t you say so? We didn t recognize him 
without his make-up." 

Chief Ferguson added sheepishly, "I guess, 
fellows, it ll be all right to make a sort of excep 
tion to the rule in this case. What do you say?" 

But the others had forgotten the blue laws and 
were intently watching every move of Charlie s. 

Unable to understand why Charlie clung to his 
dingy quarters in an obscure hotel, Julian Eltinge 
urged him to move to a better district. Finally in 
the fall of 1916, Charlie gave in to his importun- 
ings and took rooms in the Los Angeles Athletic 
Club. Syd Chaplin persuaded him to buy a motor 
car and take on a secretary. 

So it was at the Club that Toraichi Kono applied 
to Tom Harrington, the new secretary, for the 
job of driving the big Locomobile touring car 
Charlie had acquired. 

Harrington satisfied himself as to Kono s cre 
dentials, then took him into the bedroom to see 
Charlie. 

"I found a nice-looking, black-haired young 



EDNA PURVIANCE 87 

chap in bed, eating his breakfast," says Kono. 
"When Mr. Harrington told him what I wanted, 
Charlie stopped chewing long enough to ask me 
if I could drive a car. I assured him I could. Well, 
I can t/ he said and grinned. You re smart/ He 
then turned to Mr. Harrington and said, Take him 
out for a try/ and went on eating. 

"We drove about Los Angeles, which wasn t 
very crowded, for a few minutes, and Mr. Har 
rington informed me I was hired. My wife and I 
were to live near by, between the Club and the 
Engstrom Hotel where Miss Purviance, Charlie s 
leading lady, lived. I was to start at wages of 
thirty dollars a week." 

The arrangement which was to take Kono into 
far countries as confidential secretary to Charlie 
Chaplin, to mingle with nobility and royalty; to 
drag them both through wells of tragedy and offer 
him association with the best minds of the civilized 
world, for almost eighteen years, began as simply 
as that. That Kono remained stolidly indifferent 
to these minds and their ideas; that he was not 
able during all that time to learn to speak English 
intelligibly; and that he has regarded Charlie as 
little more than a Cockney upstart, speaks volumes 
for Charlie s lack of discrimination in choosing 
his immediate associates. Or it proves, perhaps, 
the unassimilability of the Japanese. 

Kono is a materialist. Genius, art, and tempera 
ment leave him unmoved. He did have a certain 



88 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

respect for Charlie s earning power, but secretly 
considered the public fools to shower him with 
their adulation and money. 

It is not to be denied that Kono s care of Charlie s 
personal affairs was excellent; that he never for a 
moment forgot his duty; that in every instance he 
put the well-being of his employer, as he saw it, 
above his own. He was trusted -by Charlie to a 
greater degree than any previous or contemporary 
employe. Personal letters and telegrams were al 
ways addressed to Kono, instead of to Charlie. 
Telephone numbers of Charlie s intimates were 
never kept by the star but by Kono. He was per 
sonal ambassador representing Charlie even to 
his wives, in instances that, could they be told in 
cold print, would be as funny as anything the 
master of comedy has ever portrayed on the screen. 

Kono s apprenticeship for the confidential po 
sition he was to enjoy later was exhausting, the 
hours long and uncertain. Underneath he bore 
resentment at being ordered about, for had he not 
given orders to servants in his father s household? 

At a few minutes to nine, each morning, he 
called for Tom Harrington and drove him to the 
Los Angeles Stock Exchange. Harrington held 
power of attorney for Charlie, to buy and sell on 
Change, transacting all trading with the strictest 
honesty and efficiency. 

Eeturning to the Athletic Club, Kono would 
pick up Charlie ; they would then drive to the hotel 



EDNA PURVIANCE 89 

for Edna Purviance and proceed to the Mutual 
studios in Lillian Way, Hollywood. 

Staying about the studio most of the day await 
ing orders for occasional errands, Kono imbibed 
a fair knowledge of the externals, at least, of the 
madhouses of that day politely called studios. He 
acquired a surface acquaintance with that intangi 
ble, all-important attribute of his artist-employer, 
temperament. 

The motion-picture industry was growing by 
leaps and bounds; its scope was widening faster 
than the actors and actresses, the directors and 
technicians, or even the producers could follow. 
Not the least striking was the evolution of the 
Chaplin comedies from the most elemental slap 
stick violence into an expression of restrained 
drama embodying that humor which is so deeply 
woven into the fabric of human life. 

The change was gradual but sure; Charlie knew 
that no sharp break could be made with the tra 
ditions of picture making, young as they were. 
With infinite pains he imposed upon himself more 
and more restraint, discouraging overacting, or 
acting at all, as he was wont to put it, on the part 
of other members of his casts. True humorist that 
he is, he studied laughter and its contrast, pathos, 
until he knew how to provoke the former with rare 
precision; how to give it the irony of the latter. 
Subtle, wistful, always charged with the under 
lying vein of pathos, the humor of each succeed- 



90 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

ing picture satiric and tender, stinging and ardent, 
dug more deeply beneath the surface of funda 
mental humon emotions and brought up for the 
vast and increasing audience for films, a savor of 
the sweetness of adversity, a taste of the frail 
triumph of the spirit over the forces of evil and 
superior physical strength. True, there has always 
remained an earthiness, a strong vein of vulgarity, 
Rabelaisian in its simplicity, in Charlie s pictures, 
with which there should be no quarrel. It brings 
into sharper relief the delicate, spirituelle mean 
ing of the basic theme, the spiritual and romantic 
hunger of the little chap who is "forever seeking 
romance, but his feet won t let him."* 

His astonishing progress was based upon no 
new and untried premise, but the proof of his 
originality was that he did not know the Italian 
comedies of the seventeenth century or the British 
pantomime of the eighteenth; he simply was sure 
that the custard-pie, blow-for-blow, senseless ac 
tions of a group of types brought together for just 
any film was no form of expression for an artist. 
And he constantly fumbled and blundered forward 
toward an intelligent ensemble of plausible char 
acters who portrayed living, breathing human 
beings. 

Edna Purviance had come from Reno, Nevada, 
where she had been a typist, to seek a job in pic- 

J ? e al T*y s speaks of his characterization in the third person. 
Me must be coaxed into doing what Chaplin the director wants 
mm to do. 



EDNA PURVIANCE 91 

tures. There were hundreds of young girls from 
over the country, coming to Hollywood and clam 
oring at the gates of the studios, and a need for 
them in inverse proportion. 

After months of discouragement and dwindling 
funds she had wandered into a crowd gathered be 
fore the gate of the Mutual studios. She gave in to 
an impulse born of desperation, demanded an in 
terview with Mr. Chaplin himself. 

Something in her manner arrested the attention 
of Charlie s secretary, and she, alone of the liberal 
sprinkling of girls in the crowd, was admitted 
and taken directly to Charlie. 

She was beautiful, Charlie saw at once, but so 
were many others. It was not that. There was 
something about her not actually existent but 
buried within her which he alone could sense. With 
the swift decision that is his invariable habit, he 
oif ered her a screen test. 

In the projection room he witnessed the test run 
off. She was terrible! Clumsy and self-conscious 
before the camera, no sense of dramatic values. 
But he was more interested than if she had been 
good. Here was a challenge to take her on, mold 
her to the form he must have. 

Patiently he persevered, and Edna, who was 
soon violently in love with him, strove hard to do 
as he bade. Together their efforts were, in good 
measure, successful, for in The Count, The Pawn 
broker, and Adventure she justified his belief in 



92 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

the plastic quality of her substance under his mod 
eling hand. 

Kono embarked on his own acting career in the 
picture Adventure, which was filmed at Santa 
Monica Beach. In this film Charlie is an escaped 
convict walking along the beach in his stripes, 
trying to find a suit left by some bather on the 
sand, when he hears cries of distress from a girl 
(Edna Purviance) floundering among the break 
ers. He plunges into the surf and rescues the girl. 
But the hero (?) of the piece (Alex Campbell) 
resents Charlie s bravery he is afraid to save her 
himself and promptly kicks him back into the 
ocean. It is here that Edna wrings her hands in 
sympathy for the brave little chap who has saved 
her and calls for her chauffeur to rescue Charlie, 
who, his strength gone with that one spurt of ef 
fort, is helpless against the force of the waves. 

Kono was given the part of the chauffeur at 
fifteen dollars a day. He was delighted. He could 
earn in two days the amount of a whole week s 
wages. But here the screen lost an actor and 
Charlie gained a future private secretary. For 
some friend of Mrs. Kono s told her of having seen 
her husband s features on the screen. Mrs. Kono 
went to view Adventure and then went on a search 
for her husband with fire in her eye. She reminded 
him that in Japan actors were rated the lowest 
form of animal life. She reminded him also of his 
ancestors who could not speak to him and of her 



EDNA PURVIANCE 93 

family who would not if he pursued this disgrace 
ful line of action. Kono retired from the screen 
after a very brief career, indeed. 

The Fireman, The Vagabond, The Rink, Easy 
Street, The Immigrant, The Cure, Behind the 
Screen, and One AM. completed Charlie s year s 
work at Mutual. By almost Herculean effort he 
accomplished them, for he had, by leaps and 
bounds, outgrown the simple two-reeler themes, 
and "in his head," as he does most of his "writing/ 
was forming the skeleton of a much more ambi 
tious picture. 

At the end of the year he refused to re-sign with 
Mutual studios or with any other. Startling them 
all, he formed his own production company, the 
Chaplin studios, and contracted with First Na 
tional Exhibitors for the release of eight films 
during the year for a total consideration of one 
million dollars. Alfred Reeves, the former man 
ager of the Karno unit, whose moral support had 
been Charlie s from the first step, was put in as 
studio manager, which position he holds with ef 
ficiency and loyalty today. 

Charlie now had the two things he had yearned 
for, financial independence and with it the free 
dom to work out his own destiny. He reveled in 
his right to be himself, unfettered for the first 
time in his life. 

His first films under his own banner, daring 
expansions of the former two-reelers, A Dog s 



94 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Life, Shoulder Arms, Surmyside, and A Day s 
Pleasure, are proof of his right to grow in his own 
way to the climax of the picture that will live, 
The Kid. 

Edna Purviance followed him as leading lady 
through The Kid. She had been Charlie s constant 
companion, mothering him as almost every woman 
desired to do, once she laid eyes upon him. Charlie 
tired of her, but he wanted to do something to 
show his appreciation of her companionship even 
though he had lifted her from obscurity and fash 
ioned her into a creditable actress under his sur 
veillance. He knew that she had no career ahead 
of her, realized, what he could not explain to her, 
that only under his tutelage could she act. Yet he 
was the type that must walk alone; could not suffer 
the cloying sweetness of a permanent tie. 

He cast about for a means of compensating Edna 
for what some inner driving force was compelling 
him to do, break his engagement with the woman 
who, had he not been Charlie Chaplin, destined to 
walk in lonely reaches, might have made him an 
excellent wife and, what is as important, a kindly 
counselor and sincere friend for the rest of his life. 

Charlie prepared a story for Edna, Woman of 
Paris. In this, her first starring vehicle which 
was to be her last picture, Edna Purviance was to 
reach a height of dramatic acting unknown on the 
screen at that time. She gave a splendid delinea 
tion of a Parisian woman of joy. Adolphe Menjou, 



EDNA PURVIANCE 95 

playing opposite her, was started upon his own suc 
cessful career. 

If Charlie felt any qualms after seeing Woman 
of Paris, over what he was determined to do, he 
gave no sign. Perhaps he knew better than anyone 
else that Edna was only Trilby to his Svengali. 
At any rate, he put through the plan to incorporate 
the picture under the name of "Regent Film Com 
pany/ 9 allotting Edna certain shares which would 
give her an income of $250 a week. Though the 
royalties from the film have run out through the 
past ten years, she still receives a comfortable re 
mittance from the Chaplin Film Studio. 

Apparently Edna was glad to leave pictures. 
Perhaps she recognized the truth of Charlie s eval 
uation of her as having no inborn talent as an 
actress. She went abroad to live. 

Miss Purviance has latterly returned to Cali 
fornia and now lives at Manhattan Beach, near 
Hollywood. True to her promise given Charlie at 
the time, she has demanded nothing from her for 
mer idol neither money nor influence. 



First Marriage 



To BE THE OBJECT of national, even international 
affection and adulation at the age of twenty-eight, 
surrounded by all the outward expressions of ad 
miration and a little envy is a pleasant enough 
experience for the average man. Charlie Chaplin 
did not bask and preen himself in public acclaim 
as lesser stars were wont to do. 

Within a bare four years much had happened. 
Lured from the comparative obscurity of an 
English vaudeville troupe by an opportunity he 
had failed to recognize as such, pulled up by the 
bootstraps of his own genius to an expression on 
the screen which placed him above the component 
parts of "a suburb [Hollywood] which has suc 
cessfully striven through the years to make a fine 
art of mediocrity,"* Charlie was now, if he chose, 
one of them, the idols of the day, Mary Pickf ord, 
Owen Moore, Mabel Normand, Helen Ferguson, 
Lew Cody, Ford Sterling, Charles Ray, and others. 

He was at all odds the best, even in the, as yet, 



* Cedric Belf rage in Black & White, a magazine ably edited by 
Wilbur Needham, critic on the Los Angeles Times. 



r 




Charlie in a still from The Rink. 




J. D. Williams, Edna Purviance, and Charlie in 1917. 




S 

Gj CD 
O OT 



jg* 



.S-o 






, 



II 



SI 

II 



*! 
oS 



FIRST MARRIAGE 97 

meager outlet he had found for the flame within 
him. He was not understood, of course; was not 
considered a "good fellow," but he was accepted 
for his obvious success with the motion-picture 
public and for the money he commanded. 

In the summer of 1917, Charlie, Mary Pickford, 
and Douglas Farbanks toured the larger cities of 
the United States, paying their own expenses, for 
the Liberty Loan. Together the three charmed 
hundreds of thousands of dollars from socks and 
from under mattresses, from bank accounts, to buy 
the government bonds which did much toward the 
successful outcome of the war for the Allies. 

Upon their return, Charlie was invited to the 
home of Mary and Owen Moore on Del Key Beach. 
It was there that he met Mildred Harris. She was 
fifteen at the time and had enjoyed an indifferent 
success in pictures as a child actress. Her best 
effort had been the role of a small sister to William 
S. Hart in Cold Deck, his starring film, in which 
Sylvia Breamer and Alma Rubens played the two 
feminine leads. Hart had picked up the youngster, 
Mildred, from her play about Triangle Studios, 
where he was under contract and where her mother 
was forelady of the sewing room, a part of the 
studio now dignified by the title "wardrobe." 

Mildred was under contract, at the time of her 
meeting with Charlie, to the late Lois Weber, 
then director of children s films. She photographed 
well; her golden hair and large blue eyes pictured 



98 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

child innocence; hers was the charm of extreme 
youth. 

Here, as in the case of Edna Purviance, was no 
great actress in the making, simply an average 
young girl with a certain -regularity of feature 
and nice coloring; and here she would have re 
mained, in all probability, until she became too 
mature for such parts and subsequently slipped 
back into the obscurity whence she came, had not 
Charlie Chaplin attended the party on that mem 
orable night at Owen Moore s. And the irony of 
the whole tragedy to ensue was that Charlie merely 
dropped in occasionally at such gatherings that he 
might not be considered an unsociable boor. 

Driven remorselessly by his mistress, Humor, 
Chaplin has lived a double life from the start of 
his achievements in Hollywood : the group life of 
the studio where he became a reasonable employer, 
producer, and director as well as star, inviting the 
co-operation of all of his assistants; and, under 
neath, another life, secret, passionate, and intense, 
involving a succession of bad-tempered days and 
troubled nights until the idea upon which he is 
working has emerged from its mental incubation 
and can be brought into the cold light of day. The 
underlying motif of the latter phase of his ex 
istence is escape. Always must he run away, 
break out of the net of circumstances which his 
own desires and actions have woven about him. He 
is assailed periodically by the realization that hu- 



FIRST MARRIAGE 99 

man relationships can never be wholly satisfying, 
but they are the tragic necessity of his life. 

Charlie has never, in the deeper sense of the 
term, been in love, save once, and that was the 
idealistic episode of his adoration for Hetty Kelly. 
But there is no doubt that he was infatuated with 
Mildred Harris at their first meeting. She was en 
raptured by the attention paid her by the richly 
gifted genius of the screen, in love more with the 
idea of being loved by one so famous and rich than 
with the man himself. Perhaps, in her youth and 
with her shallow nature, she was not only incapable 
of penetrating the dark, secret places of his mind; 
but it is doubtful if she even realized there were 
those recesses of his inner life. 

Charlie threw himself into his courtship of 
Mildred with all the ardor of the idealist who be 
lieves each time that perhaps this is the one. He 
endowed her with qualities, in his own mind, with 
which she did not have speaking acquaintance. She 
was content with surface appearances. 

Charlie s manner with women, attractive ones, 
has always been engagingly diffident. He has the 
air of a small boy with freshly scrubbed face and 
carefully brushed hair who has just escaped from 
the capable hands of his mother, and he engenders 
in each woman to whom he is especially attractive, 
the desire to continue the motherly ministrations 
apparently so recently left off . 

Mildred lived with her mother in the Cadillac 



100 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Hotel in Venice. Charlie sent great mountains of 
flowers each day to their rooms. The girl was no 
proof against this display of devotion. Her mother 
liked Charlie, admired him, but was worried about 
their association, especially when rumors reached 
her of Charlie s sitting for hours in his car in front 
of her studio, in the cold and rain, waiting for her 
to appear. Mrs. Harris was frankly averse to a 
marriage of any sort for Mildred, who was barely 
sixteen, and she told Charlie this. 

There is no certainty, of course, that marriage 
entered Charlie s plans at this juncture. However, 
it came about that in the fall of 1917 Mildred 
Harris and Charlie Chaplin were married. To this 
marriage a baby was born, a malformed infant 
which lived only a few hours. 

Miss Harris has stated that with the death of 
this baby Charlie s love for her died. This is far 
from the truth. But it is a conviction consistent 
with her desire to mold her husband into a typical 
man of family. Perhaps she shrank from ac 
knowledging to herself that this marriage was a 
sordid failure from the outset. Kono, who was 
bound by no sentiment, declares that Charlie s 
"love" for Mildred was dead long before their mar 
riage. Be that as it may, Charlie was irritable and 
apprehensive over the idea of parenthood and the 
responsibility it entailed. And he strained at the 
bonds which held him in semblance of the usual 
man from the start. 



FIRST MARRIAGE 101 

It would be easy for the average critic to cry, 
"Kotter!" at all this, but the truth remains that 
Mildred s white and gold beauty had betrayed him 
into something intolerable for him the dead level 
of the average. 

Charlie loves children, the child mind. He works 
for hours, days, to perfect one scene which he 
knows will delight the hearts of thousands of chil 
dren. Any genius loves humanity in the abstract, 
but historical biography proves to us the incapacity 
of the artist for normal companionship with the 
majority of his fellows. The trap of fatherhood and 
marriage was almost more than Charlie could con 
template with sanity. The path of the average he 
rebelled against instinctively with all his might. 

The situation for both Mildred and Charlie soon 
became intolerable. Frivolous and headstrong and 
emotionally undeveloped, Mildred expected an im 
mediate transformation into the average, common 
place husband, of the strange, melancholy, lonely 
soul she interpreted as "cold and indifferent." 

Charlie sulked and brooded over their mutual 
mistake. He wanted to escape; Mildred wanted to 
hold him, not as he actually was but as something 
she fancied he should be. 

A house at 2000 DeMille Drive in Lachman Park, 
on a lonely hillside, was leased as a home for Mild 
red and her mother. Charlie made a genuine effort 
to become one of the household. The young wife 
did not like the isolation of their home, wanted to 



102 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

be in the center of the gaiety of the movie colony, 
have parties and fun. Charlie ignored these wishes. 
The house was adequately staffed with servants, a 
car and her own chauffeur provided for Mildred. 
She was given unlimited credit at the stores and 
shops for the household and for clothes and luxu 
ries. What she did not realize, would not accept, 
Fas that this was all he could give her. 

Charlie rose early before daylight in the morn 
ings and walked. Often Kono would be called to 
come and get him, from the Biltmore Hotel, a dis 
tance of perhaps ten miles from his home. He had 
walked all the way. 

Mildred and her mother were left to rattle about 
the large house, breakfast alone, perhaps not see 
Charlie for two days at a time. Mildred was preg 
nant and more sensitive, thereby, to such cavalier 
treatment; her mother was worried over the prob 
able consequences of her unhappiness, the ill effects 
of grief upon the health of the prospective mother 
and child. Charlie, upon the rare occasions when 
he did dine with them, was irritable and moody, his 
mind upon one thing escape. Altogether not the 
idyllic dream of romance which had the sentimental 
women of the nation sighing ! 

Mildred tried to think of ways which might 
bring Charlie back to the fire of their early rela 
tionship, not realizing that she had been merely the 
symbol of something he was seeking, would always 
seek, and for which he would ever be condemned 



FIRST MARRIAGE 103 

by the unthinking. She telephoned his studio daily 
when he began staying overnight at his club. Tom 
Harrington was instructed by Charlie not to call 
him from his work, to tell Mildred that he was busy, 
could not be disturbed. 

The long weeks of unhappiness, her extreme 
youth, demanded their toll of Mildred and the child. 
The infant was born, its stomach upside down. Too 
frail to withstand an operation, it died after a few 
hours. 

The six-month lease on the house in Lachman 
Park expired. Charlie leased another at 674 South 
Oxford Drive, near Wilshire Boulevard, in Beverly 
Hills. Mildred still was given everything in ma 
terial comforts and luxuries for which she could 
wish. Charlie moved permanently to his club. 

After the death of the child which, paradoxically, 
saddened Charlie, he pursued his relentless efforts 
to goad Mildred into suing him for divorce. 
Mildred pursued, just as stubbornly, her idea of 
breaking him in to the role of husband. They got 
nowhere. Charlie began to be seen with various 
girls in public; he would drive Mildred, for her 
pride s sake, to divorcing him. She would, he be 
lieved, before long, take steps to extricate herself 
from the intolerable position of being wife and 
no wife. 

When Charlie had bought the property at the 
corner of Sunset Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, 
in Hollywood, as the site for the Chaplin studio, 



104 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

he had acquired with it the large house fronting 
Sunset Boulevard. It had been his plan to demolish 
the house and build offices in its stead, but he ran 
afoul of some building restrictions which pro 
hibited such offices within that distance from the 
Hollywood High School, several blocks away. He 
furnished the house expensively, then decided 
against living in it; it was too close to the studio. 
He preferred living at his club. 

Kono, with his wife and small son, was prevailed 
upon to occupy the huge house. It was soon appar 
ent to Kono that Charlie was guilty of an ulterior 
motive in wanting him to live in the house. He 
would arrive with various girls, ask Kono to pre 
pare them dinner, and serve it before the great 
fireplace in the living room. 

Mildred moped in her home. Many nights she 
would get into her car and have her chauffeur drive 
her to the corner of Oxford and Wilshire Boule 
vard, through which it was Charlie s custom to be 
driven by Kono to the Athletic Club in Los Angeles. 
Charlie, huddled in the tonneau of his car, would 
see the forlorn figure of his wife in the other, wait 
ing for a glimpse of him, perhaps a word with him. 
Rage at himself, at her, at the world, and at the 
futility of life, would overwhelm him. He would 
order Kono to "drive like hell." And Kono, torn 
with sympathy for Mildred separated from Charlie 
by eons rather than by mere physical distance, 
would, of necessity, "drive like hell." All this 



FIRST MARRIAGE 105 

intensified Mildred s role of the neglected wife. 

Accounts of Charlie s supposed erotic, nocturnal 
adventures seeped through to Mildred as he had 
intended. Finally she succumbed to the oft-repeated 
suggestion of Anita Stewart, her best friend, that 
she attempt to make Charlie jealous. She must 
invite some man to the house regularly, insisted 
Anita, let Charlie get wind of it, and see what effect 
that would have. Perhaps it would make him re 
alize what he was losing. It was the one sure way 
to wake up an indifferent husband, Anita naively 
assured her friend. 

Mildred half-heartedly agreed to the proposal. 
Together they hit upon Anita s brother, George 
Stewart. It would be safer, they agreed, to keep 
it, after a fashion, in the family. So, George good- 
naturedly came, with Anita and her current ad 
mirer, to dine several nights each week at Mildred s 
home. They saw to it that Charlie was apprised of 
the "goings-on." The plan worked, but not as they 
had intended. Charlie, hearing of Mildred s sup 
posed interest in another man, was cheered by this 
news. The brooding shadows which had pursued 
him for months were partly dispelled; he hated 
himself and the whole usual world less. For he 
wanted to believe that Mildred was infatuated with 
George Stewart. And he pounced upon this half- 
truth as the evidence he might be able to use to 
extricate himself from a marriage hateful to his 
soul. 



106 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Kono was driving him home to his club one eve 
ning, when Charlie proposed that they do a bit of 
detective work, sneak up in the yard of Mildred s 
home, and see for themselves what was going on. 
Kono remonstrated with him. If he really wanted 
evidence, he argued, why did he not go about it 
in the regular Hollywood way, get a private detec 
tive? But Charlie, less from penuriousness than 
from the fact that he wanted his drama, insisted 
upon their playing the sleuth. Kono gave in; he 
realized that Charlie must do certain things to see 
what would be the results. He stopped the car, 
got out, and hesitated. 

"Take off your shoes," Charlie ordered. Kono 
did so. "Now, you go ahead," Charlie continued 
generously. "Fll follow." 

"That s good of you," Kono muttered to himself. 
"If there are any bullets to be stopped, your skin 
will be safe." 

With catlike tread they reached the rear court of 
the house. There was not a car in sight. All was 
quiet about the place. There was a light burning 
only in Mildred s bedroom upstairs. They returned 
to their car. 

On three separate nights this performance was 
repeated, before final success (?) was theirs. 

Charlie was elated to see the house brilliantly 
lighted on this occasion. In stockinged soles he and 
Kono walked noiselessly into the court; sure 
enough there were two cars in the drive ! 



FIRST MARRIAGE 107 

Keeping well behind Kono, Charlie made his way 
toward a side door of the house. It was a glass 
French door, and they could see, he whispered, 
through the filmy curtains, but 

As they approached the door a heavy masculine 
voice rang out, peremptorily ordering them to stop 
where they were. Kono heard a scurry of stock 
inged feet behind him and knew that Charlie had 
scampered away, leaving him to face the music. 
He looked up into the gleaming muzzle of a 
wicked-looking revolver and made out dimly be 
hind it a sardonic smile on the face of what was 
practically the largest man he had ever seen outside 
of a circus. A detective! 

"What are you doing here?" the detective 
boomed. 

"Why why this is my home," Kono stammered. 

"Oh, yeah? Well, you don t live here any more. 
Get the hell out and tell that little runt you work 
for, to get out, too." 

Kono got. He transmitted the highly compli 
mentary message to Charlie, who grinned appreci 
atively at the man s description of him and prompt 
ly ordered Kono to put on his shoes and go back 
and talk to the detective, offer him money to come 
over to his side. 

Kono gingerly approached the door once more. 
He knew that Mildred s guard could shoot him 
and make it plausible in court, by designating him 
a prowler. The detective was on the watch. 



108 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

"What do you want now?" The words rang out 
like a shot. 

"Mr. Chaplin wants to see you/ Kono replied in 
what he hoped was a soothing voice. 

"Well, I don t want to talk to Mr. Chaplin or 
you either. His wife don t want him around here 
a-tall, so both of you git !" 

"But you don t understand/ Kono expostulated. 
"Mr. Chaplin will pay you money if you ll just tell 
him what his wife is doing and " 

"You tell Mr. Chaplin to go plumb to hell," was 
the emphatic rejoinder. "I ve took on the job of 
protectin this little lady, and that skunk of a actor 
hasn t got money enough to make me double-cross 
her." 

Kono retired from the scene with the best grace 
he could muster. Perhaps, he comforted himself, 
this fiasco would bring Charlie to his senses, show 
him that discretion, in the end, would be best. He 
relayed the unflattering sentiments of the officer to 
Charlie, who was, he suddenly realized, enjoying 
the whole thing. However, for several weeks Kono 
heard no more of their becoming eminent detec 
tives. Charlie, he hoped, had dismissed the whole 
matter from his mind. But such was not the case. 

He rushed into Kono s home a few weeks later, 
excited. Mildred had chartered a yacht, he told 
him, and her party of eight had stayed out all 
night. He had learned the names of some of the 
guests which included Anita Stewart and her 



FIRST MARRIAGE 109 

brother George. He had telephoned his attorney, 
Arthur Wright (the brother, now deceased, of his 
present attorney, Lloyd Wright), and Tom Har 
rington, told them to be on hand. They were all 
going to San Pedro, the harbor town of Los An 
geles, and get some information from the skipper 
of the boat. 

The three of them drove to San Pedro, where 
after a great deal of questioning of boat agents, 
they learned the name of the Norwegian captain 
and owner of the yacht. They dug him out of his 
home and asked him to come out on the boat where 
they could talk undisturbed. 

The captain gathered the crew together at 
Charlie s suggestion, and they all repaired to the 
small craft tied up to the dock. They sat about a 
table in the dining room, and Charlie broached with 
diffidence, using more finesse than he had with 
Mildred s protector-detective, the purpose of their 
visit. He was struck with the thought that liquor 
might succeed where he could not, and dispatched 
Kono back to the studio for whisky and champagne. 
That was the glorious era of Prohibition in Ameri 
ca, and he was loath to drink the firewater and 
varnish remover they might find down some of 
the back alleys of San Pedro. Perhaps if he could 
loosen the tongues of the seamen they would be 
more susceptible to his importunings. 

It was a stormy late afternoon. Kono reached 
the studio, some thirty miles away, without mishap, 



110 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

but as he reached the Union Railway viaduct, on 
his return, near Torrance, a huge ttee crashed 
down directly across his path- He jammed on the 
brakes, but the car skidded and, swinging about 
parallel with the fallen tree trunk, in some unac 
countable manner, straddled it. He was helpless 
to go either one way or the other. 

Remembering the liquor he had in the tonneau, 
loosely covered with a blanket, Kono shuddered. 
He pictured himself in jail. 

Dozens of cars had come up but were stuck in 
the congestion started by Kono s mishap. Police 
men on motorcycles appeared as if by magic and, 
together with a few stout-hearted motorists, finally 
succeeded in pulling the tree out from under the 
Locomobile. Now, thought Kono, this is where the 
fun starts. But, much to his relief, they waved him 
on without even a casual survey of the interior of 
the car. 

Arriving in San Pedro after an hour s delay, he 
found Charlie indifferent to the load of liquor, ap 
parently not even interested in getting the infor 
mation on Mildred s supposed unfaithfulness. He 
and Tom Harrington and Arthur Wright were 
having a wonderful time, listening to the old salt s 
tales of sailing the high seas. Kono served the 
drinks and more drinks. Charlie informed Kono 
that the Captain had assured him there was noth 
ing to tell about Mildred s party. Miss Harris had 
conducted herself with the utmost propriety. No 



FIRST MARRIAGE 111 

one had been drunk on board; they had eaten din 
ner, danced to a gramophone, and gone quietly to 
bed at a decent hour, the young women pairing off 
together m. cabins, the men likewise. 

Kono heard no more of personal sleuthing. 
Charlie went about his*wdrk of making pictures, 
relieved somewhat, apparently, by the thought of 
Mildred s getting some enjoyment apart from him. 



TOWARD THE EI 
riage Mildred Cl 
that the desire 
thoughts was abed 
frightened. The 
pendent upon pul 
quite well, an unst 
at the slightest 
riot too much bac 
brities in Hollywo| 
this, by advice of 
by their own ment 
more dramatic and 

the whola*transact 
/> 

settlement into a 

word^/ blackmail.i 

this;fncreased 

arlie s fortui 
mnion-dollar 

j^ frightened ah 
his wealth, j 
one thing: how mi 



scond year of their mar- 
suit for divorce. Now 
lain so heavily in his 
a reality, Charlie was 
| of a public figure de 
lation was, a& he knew 
; at best, ready to topple 
Young women "witli 
o married rich cele- 
pt to take advantage of 
^rupulous attorneys or 
Their charges, often 
lal than true, resolved 
divorce and property 
l form of the ugly 
Ipractically aware of 
prehensions. - 
ag since, passed the 
parked by penurious- 
y threat of onslaught 
; thoughts dwell upon 
| he have to give Mil- 



DIVORCE THE KID 

|at effect would the sensational 

his career? 

[ to his attorney. Mr. Wrigl 
He urged Charlie to k 
attorneys for a genei 
mrred. He was 
[ildred comfortably 

spirit of f i 
ime convinced 1 
idvice in this tre| 
Eildred would 
on all visible I 
for a wifel 

prop^HwHHa, at this 
attorn^H^H^Hdiber, 
fildred, sa^H^^^^and 
lonths of recri 

Bf used to lisl^HHHHkood 
Wright that 
|rs cash balance 
it. Wright advis 
to fight it out, 
lediately, to the ac 
It, beyond the reach o: 
Id seem that Tom Ha 
le to accept the respo: 
tut whether he -refused to 
pher Charlie did not sugge 

led. 
?rate, the hundred thousand f e 



113 

^ 

16 



114 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

ft 

of a yditog writer employed at the ChapMp studio, 
who ireadfly agreed to the transfer, toq pfeafUy, as 
Charlie could see afterward, looking bad. 

Then there was the matter of The K td^tito^^gt 
eight-reel picture in which Charlie was stored and 
which he directed and produced the film ixt w|aieh 
four-year-old Jackie Coogan rose to almost over 
night acclaim. 

"Painstakingly and laboriously, Charlie /had 
workBd on The Kid. He was m full realfcatiop of 
his own power, his ability to ! give otit that ulystieal 
quality ^hich, for want of a bfettc?r name^^1#jm 
His own invention of himself *yn& m- 
by time or expense or any 
0s ,f ervor to escape Jjato, the f rustr^^i- 
Igurfi f ;df*his characterfeatlan on the 

intqr dimax of expression 



What r if he did ^pd|d two weeks sho^fe^ fJie 

ill Which tfefa sBfall Jackie stirs up 
Ms stepfather^ 0iarlie, who reclii^ I 
in f rleka^.firon bed, spread 

%^kets? Two cameras 
n^fe^t of negative daily; 




Tthoipid feet of film in all were ,to 
fbef precigiQii 4 of the seventy-five feet 

as Charlie arises f r 
him as if for his fur-lined 
his head through the 





DIVORCE THE KID 



|orth the fortune spent in its making? 
iCoogan, who could not act, was proof 
Charlie s creative genius. With his large, 
[he looked the part, and Charlie fashioned 
f ong hours of patient labor into the per- 
or his own inimitable artistry. Jackie 
I Paramount, in a^^j^iffi^J^me, with 

; though 
arity 
Bother 

pas under contract, as has been stated, 
itional for eight pictures to be released 
iip sum of one million dollars within the 
|n had been completed and distributed: 
f e, Shoulder Arms, Sunnyside, A Day s 
Day, The Pilgrim, and Woman of 
1st National expected The Kid to com- 
intract. 

|explained to them the high plane of 
jit he had reached in this picture without 
ense, that he had spent in making The 



116 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 








would immediately give them the eighth 
but it most certainly would not be 
National was puzzled as to how this cot*J*| 
complished, but they soon found out ! * * ; 

Charlie, in impish glee, gathered 
scraps cut from the seven preceding 
were pieced |ogether into 
and the i^jffifrwatf, pi 
sanity elated 

room. First National, siMnefi %K %j 
yelled, "Chicanery!" Hollywood lau, 
Charlie s pantomime, involving nose 
directed at them, was explicit in its 

While the releasing company was 
digest this, Charlie was busy. He gather* 
Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, 
Griffith, producer of Birth of a Natio* 
riedly organized United Artists, a cor 
the release of pictures.*? First Natio 
again in protest. Charlie smiled. If t 
to pay him a sum commensurate with tl 





#** 



id the^compj 




fe, ^-iiiiSM 

4$* wife, at the age of sixteen. 




I 



DIVORCE THE KID 117 

First National agreed to pay a million and a half 
dollars for the picture and at this figure made a 
substantial profit from its world release. 

The Kid was just barely completed, had not been 
"cut"* when Mildred sued for divorce and division 
of property. Charlie was warned by his attorney 
that an attachment would in all probability be 
clamped on the negative from which numerous 
copies are made for distribution. He must remove 
it from the state of California. 

Kono was sleeping soundly in his bedroom on 
the second floor of the studio house, one night, 
when he awoke with a start to hear someone calling 
his name from the garden below. He stuck his head 
out of the window. It was Charlie in a high state 
of excitement. 

"Come on down/ Charlie called in a stage whis 
per. "We re going for a ride." 

Dazedly, Kono hurried into his clothes and, 
leaving a note for his wife to expect him when she 
saw him, he joined Charlie at the garage in the 
rear of the house. 

"We ve got to get The Kid out of the state," 
Charlie went on to explain. "I thought of Mexico, 
but the attorneys say to keep it in this country, but 
to get it as far as Utah." 

Together they jammed the reels into the first 
thing at hand, an old suitcase of imitation leather. 

* Many sequences are cut from the liberal footage of film shot for 
each picture. Film cutters work from the script and the director s 
final criticism. 



118 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

But when they lifted it, to carry it out to the car, 
the handle broke under the heavy weight. Kono 
quickly caught up some rope and wound it round 
and round the suitcase. They hoisted it into the 
back of the car and, jumping in, drove out through 
the back streets of Hollywood, peering into the 
night for possible followers, through Los Angeles 
to the state highway leading to Barstow. 

It was the summer of 1919. Gasoline conserva 
tion laid down for the public, that year, allowed 
the purchase of only three gallons of gasoline at the 
time; if the tank had as many as three gallons in 
it when measured by the rulestick kept handy at all 
service stations, the driver could not buy more. 
Charlie and Kono were in constant fear of running 
out of fuel between stations, for the big car con 
sumed it at a fearful rate. They were also haunted 
by the constant fear of pursuit by deputy sheriffs 
ready to serve Charlie with papers and bring him 
back to Los Angeles. And the heat through Im 
perial Valley and the desert was well-nigh in 
tolerable. 

No one appeared to be following them, however, 
as they crossed the California state line and slowed 
down to take stock of their situation. They realized 
that neither of them had a change of clothes and, 
worse, neither was supplied with enough money 
to reach Salt Lake City, Utah, or to feed the car 
and themselves adequately. Moreover it was nerve- 
racking trying to keep the automobile fueled be- 



DIVORCE THE KID 119 

tween scattered stations. They decided to pool 
their remaining cash and buy railway tickets for 
Salt Lake City. 

They arrived in the Utah city, a seedy, rumpled, 
unshaven pair, their only luggage the disreputable- 
looking suitcase tied about with rope. Taking a 
taxi to the Hotel Utah, a hostelry noted for its 
splendor of appointments, they found, after paying 
the taxi fare, that eight cents was their total re 
maining assets. Even shaves were out of the ques 
tion. 

The hotel clerk took one look at the unshaven 
pair approaching the desk, followed by a bellboy 
carrying a battered rope-trimmed paper suitcase, 
and hurried into the manager s office. He reap 
peared reinforced by that worthy resplendent in 
morning coat, white piping on waistcoat and 
striped trousers. There was a significant look ex 
changed between them after a glance by the mana 
ger at the prospective guests. It was evident that 
Charlie and Kono were a superb composite picture 
of everything they did not want in their hotel. "I m 
sorry," said the clerk, "but we have no cheap 



rooms." 



This was too much for Charlie, who strolled 
away striving to control his mirth. 

"Nobody asked for cheap rooms," Kono tried 
snubbing the sartorial elegance before him, but 
felt that the odds were against him. The manager 
eyed him speculatively. The assurance in Kono s 



120 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

manner did not go with his beard. He gave the 
clerk a signal. The latter pushed a registry card 
toward Kono, doubtfully. Kono signed "Charles 
Hill and "Toraichi Kono." 

He then hoisted the suitcase containing the 
precious contents into view. 

"Put this in your vault. It s worth a million dol 
lars/ he laconically told the astonished clerk. The 
clerk took hold of it gingerly as if he expected it 
to go off any minute, and placed it under the desk. 

"No, no !" Kono protested. "Put it away in your 
safe!" 

The clerk lifted a haughty eyebrow and ignored 
Kono s protestations. "The rooms will be fifteen 
dollars a day apiece," he informed Kono, "payable 
in advance" 

"What you mean in advance ?" Kono came back 
indignantly. "We got baggage !" He heard a muf 
fled snort from Charlie s direction. The remem 
brance of the impressive luggage had been too much 
for him. Kono sent him a reproachful look. 

Looking dubiously from the suitcase to Kono, as 
if he expected the former to explode under his feet, 
the clerk gave up and struck a bell for a boy to show 
these two tramps or crooks to their rooms. 

Still worrying a bit about the safety of The Kid 
kicking about under the hotel desk, Charlie and 
Kono found themselves in two back rooms facing a 
dreary court. "And fifteen dollars a day," sput 
tered Charlie through his laughter. They took 



DIVORCE THE KID 121 

stock of their finances again, searching every 
pocket, turning them inside out. Still eight cents ! 
And not until they had obtained legal advice on the 
safety of the precious lead-encased reels in the 
"luggage" could they risk disclosing Charlie s 
identity. 

After much-needed baths, but putting on the 
same soiled linen and rumpled coats, they ordered 
a hearty lunch and cigarettes sent up to their 
rooms. 

"I think I ll tip the waiter a dollar," Kono said 
nonchalantly. 

"Yes, do," returned Charlie. "What do we care 
for expenses?" 

So Kono signed the luncheon check with a flourish 
after adding to the items on it, a dollar. "They re 
going to be madder n hell," he reflected comfort 
ably. Charlie nodded complacently. 

Replete with the first satisfying meal in days, 
Kono went down to the desk and with the same 
grand manner he had employed in informing the 
clerk that the ratty-looking suitcase was worth a 
million dollars, he now asked for the name and 
address of the best, most prominent attorney in the 
city. It was difficult for him to keep a straight face 
now as the clerk s horrified expression told him 
only too plainly that it had been a grave mistake to 
harbor two such suspicious-looking characters, 
whose first need was a lawyer. However, instinc 
tively obeying the unwritten law of hotels, "the 



122 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

guest is always right/ he grudgingly gave Kono 
the name of the outstanding attorney of Salt Lake 
City. Kono set out, on foot, for his office. 

It may be wondered why Charlie delegated to 
his chauffeur a mission of such importance, but 
Kono had demonstrated already an ability to con 
duct business which, though not brilliant, was su 
perior to Charlie s in grasp of details, and Kono s 
patience and Oriental fatalism were a balance to 
his own volatile temperament. It was scarcely a 
year later that Tom Harrington resigned as con 
fidential secretary to Charlie and Kono took over 
the post to hold it until 1934. 

The attorney, after he had spent the better part 
of an hour consulting impressive tomes of law, 
assured Kono that The Kid was safe from any legal 
proceedings instituted in California. Kono hurried 
back as fast as five cents of the eight would carry 
him on the streetcar; he and Charlie sprang into 
action. Wires were sent to the studio, collect, for 
money, for film cutters, and for a projection man, 
but even this was not accomplished until after a 
final battle between Kono and the hotel clerk, aug 
mented by the manager. The victory was Kono s; 
the hotel would stand for the telegrams if they 
were refused at the other end. 

Revenge was sweet. Kono enjoyed writing the 
telegram requesting the studio to forward to 
Charles Hill, Hotel Utah, Salt Lake City, a large 
sum of money; another asking for clothes to be 



DIVORCE THE KID 123 

sent for both of them. Of course, the telegrams 
were read at the desk before being sent, and the 
members of the hotel staff were impressed in spite 
of themselves, albeit still a bit skeptical. 

A money order for ten thousand dollars was duly 
received the next morning, and it was necessary 
to disclose Charlie s identity to cash such a sum 
at the bank. The bank teller telephoned the hotel, 
and the management of the latter awoke with a 
shock to the fact that they had, in the person of 
the diffident-looking figure who had walked timidly 
about their lobby and whom they had relegated to 
back rooms facing a court, the one and only Charlie 
Chaplin ! 

The best suite in the hotel was proffered them at 
once, at no advance in price, with fear and trem 
bling by the management. Charlie maintained a 
straight face and accepted this attempt at amends 
graciously, but back in his room he enjoyed the dis 
comfiture of the staff, imitating them for Kono s 
amusement and ending up with howls of glee. 
Wasn t this proof of his pictures? Human reac 
tions to money and influence? They dashed out for 
shaves. 

Upon their return to the hotel they found the 
lobby swarming with reporters from every sheet 
in the vicinity. What a story! And what was that 
color on the face of the manager? And of the clerk? 

Brisk, well-groomed studio technicians arrived 
by the first possible train, carrying good bags. 



124 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Charlie and Kono blossomed out in well-pressed 
suits and clean linen. 

Cutters were set to work under the direct super 
vision of Charlie on the stupendous job of reducing 
a half million feet of negative to nine thousand 
feet of picture. A temporary projection room was 
rigged up in the hotel ballroom and the film run off 
repeatedly to show each step of progress. At last 
it was accomplished to Charlie s satisfaction; the 
hotel staff and their families were invited to a 
sub rosa preview of The Kid. 

Mildred, as it turned out, was not overgrasping. 
Arthur Wright apprised Charlie, from Hollywood, 
of her agreement to a reasonable financial settle 
ment out of court. The amount involved was only 
one hundred thousand dollars, a fair share of any 
community property the court officers had been 
able to find. There were flurries of adverse pub 
licity in the newspapers, but on the whole Mildred 
had been rather discreet and not vindictive in the 
matter. 

Charlie wired Tom Harrington to retrieve the 
hundred thousand dollars in the keeping of a studio 
writer. But when Harrington went to collect, the 
writer returned only ninety thousand, keeping ten 
thousand as fee or perhaps as balm for his under 
paid feelings, writers being looked upon, at the 
time, as super office boys and paid but slightly more 
than the actual flunkey. Charlie, when he learned 
of this loss, merely shrugged. It was all in the day s 




Charlie and Jackie Coogan in The Kid. 



DIVORCE THE KID 125 

work of being a target at whom anyone who had a 
weapon was privileged to shoot. 

Another financial blow descended upon Charlie 
when the attorney in Salt Lake City presented his 
bill. Lawyers apparently in some cases fix their 
fees according to the value of the property under 
litigation or discussion rather than according to 
the amount of time and labor spent. Twenty thou 
sand dollars seemed a large amount for less than 
an hour s work. Charlie objected and naturally 
to the fee, but in the end he had to pay or be 
subjected to more unfavorable publicity just when 
the debut of The Kid was to be held in New York. 

Kono returned to Hollywood, and Charlie and 
his small company, with The Kid properly housed 
in good crating, proceeded on to New York for the 
world premiere. 

The overwhelming success of the picture added 
new and exciting laurels to the already firmly 
placed crown of the King of Comedy. He was the 
hysteria of the moment; New York practically 
mobbed him as the newspapers with psychic powers 
of prediction reported the places in which he could 
be seen each day. Crowds followed him in the 
streets, robbing him of the privacy of an individual. 
At intervals this expression of public approval and 
affection was welcomed by Charlie. It was the 
stamp of appreciation of all his months of exhaust 
ing work at such cost to his physical resistance. But 
always after just so much of it, he must escape 



126 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY . 

from the overpowering attention of the crowds. 
He realizes, as a more superficial celebrity does not, 
that he is only the tangible symbol of his art. To 
retain the capacity for that art he must lose himself 
either in work or in the normal companionship of 
a few congenial fellows. 

Charlie went back to Hollywood imbued with the 
idea for another picture a short one to be named 
The Idle Class. The company was engaged, the 
picture cast, Charlie s hieroglyphics jotted down 
on reams of Los Angeles Athletic Club or Chaplin 
studio paper, arranged into the semblance of a 
script. Sets were hurriedly prepared. It was to be 
the first picture since his own company was formed 
not carefully "written" and worked out with pains 
taking preliminary care. 

This procedure can be credited to nervous ex 
haustion rather than an inclination to revert to his 
former length and style of picture. It was, he dis 
covered, as preparations went ahead, against the 
grain. Never again would he make a "quickie," 
which is a picture thrown together within a few 
weeks in which, usually, a star on the peak of popu 
larity is "borrowed," the "name" giving impetus to 
an otherwise cheap production. He abandoned the 
making of The Idle Class. We shall never know 
whether this picture was to be his conception of 
the wealthy "lion hunters" who had captured him 
in New York, Connecticut, and Long Island, or a 
portrayal of the actual idle class of America, the 



DIVORCE THE KID 127 

hoboes who roam the country stopping in woods or 
on the banks of streams to rest and cook their 
mulligan, a stew concocted of meat and vegetables 
past their pristine freshness and donated by kindly 
merchants. 

Charlie was tired. An attack of influenza had 
weakened him. Depression of the spirit followed 
the impulse he had been guilty of to cheapen his 
work. Underlying all this was the gnawing desire 
to see Hetty again. He could not accept the tricks 
of fate which separated them, could not forgive 
himself his own lack of courage. He went to bed. 



New York and London 



THE LATE MONTAGUE GLASS, author of Potash and 
Perlmutter, invited Charlie to dinner at his home 
in Pasadena. There was, besides the happy family 
atmosphere of the Glass home, a steak and kidney 
pie for dinner which evoked with its aroma memo 
ries of occasional "good days" in Kennington Road, 
and added to his nostalgia for England. 

Driving back to Hollywood, he took stock of him 
self. He was restless and irritable, unsatisfied by 
the grind of picture making relieved only by an 
occasional trip to New York. 

The Kid was to have a gala English premiere. 
He had never seen one of his pictures outside a 
studio projection room, felt that he had missed 
something vital and stimulating. He wanted to 
be patted on the back by his fellow countrymen in 
England; to meet his contemporary fellow artists 
there. Why not? And who could tell what emo 
tional upheaval had occurred which might give 
Hetty back to him? As he sat slumped in the back 
seat of his car he even dared picture to himself, 
Chaplin, the man, married to Hetty Kelly; wind- 



NEW YORK AND LONDON 129 

ing the clock at night, putting out the cat, even as 
the genial Montague Glass, who had certainly made 
a success of his life both artistically and domesti 
cally, had done that night. He thought of the small 
daughter of Glass who had come in for a few 
minutes to say good night. He remembered the 
little pat Glass had given his wife, the look of per 
fect understanding they exchanged. 

"I m going abroad!" he yelled to Kono. "I m 
going to see England and let England see me. I m 
going to France and Germany and Russia." 

Preparations were rushed, and the next night 
Charlie, accompanied by Tom Harrington and Carl 
Robinson, took the train for New York. Carl Rob 
inson, stepson of William Fox, one-time owner of 
The Police Gazette, was to act as his publicity 
director. 

Most of Hollywood was at the station. Charlie 
Chaplin was suddenly going abroad! Reporters 
beseiged him. Why was he going? What had hap 
pened? 

He was going on a secret mission, he told them 
gleefully.* There, that would give them pause. 
They wouldn t believe him anyhow if he told them 
the truth, that he was simply going for an emo 
tional holiday. 

They pounced upon the words "secret mission." 



* Charlie s propensity for giving out information dictated by his 
moods led to an article in Collier s, March 16, 1940, replete with 
misinformation, and a subsequent break in diplomatic relations 
with its author, Kyle Crichton. 



130 CHAELIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

They dashed for telephones. Charlie Chaplin was 
going to Russia, they informed their avid editors. 
He was a Bolshevik. He was going on a mission 
for the United States Government ! 

The train finally pulled out, Syd Chaplin shout 
ing, to the amusement of the crowd, Tor God s 
sake, don t let him get married, Carl !" 

More reporters, all along the line, tipped off by 
the news over Associated Press that Charlie Chap 
lin was coming through, besieged him. Charlie 
Chaplin, the man, trying to escape from Charlie 
Chaplin, the celebrity. 

"Mr. Chaplin, why are you going to Europe?" 

"Just for a vacation." 

"Are you going to make an pictures in Europe?" 

"No." 

"Are you going to get married in England?" 

"No." 

"What do you do with your old moustaches?" 

"I throw them away." 

"What do you do with your old walking sticks?" 

"Throw them away, too." 

"Have you got your costumes with you?" 

Charlie smiled at the absurdity of the questions. 

"No," he replied. 

"Why not?" was the query. 

"I don t think I ll need them." 

One reporter yelled louder than the rest. "Mr. 
Chaplin, do you ever expect to get married again?" 

"Oh, yes." 



NEW YORK AND LONDON 131 

"To whom?" 

"I m sure I don t know/ 

"Mr. Chaplin, are you a Bolshevik as reported?" 
another inquisitor dared. "Now, watch the guy 
clam up," he threw as an aside to a colleague. 

But Charlie met this with equal imperturbabil 
ity. "I am an artist. I am interested in life. Bol 
shevism is a new and challenging phase of life. 
Therefore I must be interested in it." 

There were more dashes for telephones. Charlie 
Chaplin is not taking his hat and stick and mous 
tache with him. Charlie says, "I won t need them 
in Buckingham Palace." Charlie Chaplin is, by 
his own admission, a Bolshevist. Charlie Chaplin 
is going to Europe in search of a wife. He says 
Hollywood girls are not beautiful enough. Charlie 
Chaplin will make pictures after this in Russia ! 

In New York he found Mary Pickford and 
Douglas Fairbanks, who had not been married 
long. They were anxious for his vacation to be a 
success. He must get away from pictures, they 
told him. Why not come with them tonight to see 
Doug s new picture, The Three Musketeers? 
Charlie sighed; he was nettled; he did not want to 
see anybody s new picture, any picture at all. He 
went with them to The Three Musketeers. Doug 
explained earnestly that he wanted Charlie s hon 
est, unprejudiced criticism. Charlie gave it. Doug 
las listened politely and let the picture remain as 
itwas. 



132 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Next, he was invited to see Mary s new picture, 
Little Lord Fauntleroy; was again asked to give 
his honest opinion. Weakly he went. The changes 
he suggested were smilingly ignored. He finally 
escaped his good friends, the Fairbankses, and 
turned his efforts toward escaping New York, but 
that was not easy. 

Word had got about that he was in town and 
ready to play. There were old friends eager to 
help him, new acquaintances to be met. He must 
see Eva LeGallienne and Joseph Schildkraut, both 
of them splendid artists, in Liliom; there was a 
breakfast for him at the Coffee House Club where 
he met Heywood Broun, Frank Crowninshield, and 
Edward Knoblock, Conde Nast, and the lovable 
if caustic critic-wit, Alexander Woollcott. He 
lunched next day with Max Eastman, radical and 
editor of The Liberal, an old friend. There was a 
party that evening at Eastman s. 

Charlie gave a party at the Cafe iSlysee. The 
Coffee House list was augmented by the Fair 
bankses, whom he had forgiven, Neysa McMein, 
who wanted Charlie for a subject of one of her 
distinctive portraits, and Madame Maeterlinck. 

Madame Maeterlinck, who had been Georgette 
Leblanc, a great dramatic actress until she sub 
merged her talent to become the ideal mate of 
Maurice Maeterlinck, was no longer with the poet. 
A woman of rare intellect and charm, aside from 
her dramatic gifts, she had produced The Blue 



NEW YORK AND LONDON 133 

Bird when no other producer would touch it, and 
to great success. She herself had played the part 
of "Light." A young girl, fifteen, one Renee Lahon, 
had played "Cold in the Head." Despite the un- 
romantic appellation of this latter part, Maeter 
linck had been strongly attracted to this lovely 
child, and, eight years later, in 1919, two years 
before this meeting with Charlie, Georgette 
Maeterlinck, her great heart broken, had moved 
aside to make way for Renee Lahon as the young 
wife of the middle-aged poet. 

Through the pages of Wisdom and Destiny, his 
book which may yet be posterity s declaration of 
Maeterlinck s highest genius, there moves a wom 
an so gracious, so loved, that one can only think 
of the Maeterlincks as the Brownings of this cen 
tury. This is Georgette Leblanc, who stood be 
tween her poet-mate and the warring world in the 
early days of his struggle for recognition, inspiring 
him and strengthening him in his belief in him 
self. Maeterlinck, who was to feel the loss of such 
a love when it was too late, has written, "Man is 
granted in his short life, only one love." 

The high light of Charlie s party at the filysee 
was the impromptu rendition of Camille with 
Georgette Maeterlinck in the title role and Charlie, 
asArmand. It was well different! In the great 
death scene, Camille coughed as she had done 
through countless vivid declines, but as she 
coughed, Armand unexpectedly caught the dread 



134 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

disease and died before Camille, completely taken 
by surprise, could really go into her death. This 
turn of the tables, to which Georgette played with 
rare comedy, sent the party into convulsions. It 
is at these spontaneous outbursts of parody that 
Charlie is at his social best. 

The next morning, the day of sailing, a reporter 
yelled through his hotel room door, "Mr. Chaplin, 
why are you going to Europe?" It had begun all 
over again. 

An exasperated Charlie shouted back, "To get 
away from you damned pests!" That was not 
quoted. 

Once on the boat, Charlie consoled himself, he 
would be alone and obscure, a man free and alone 
with the sea and the sky and his thoughts. But he 
had reckoned without the newspaper cameramen ! 
There were droves of them assigned to catch his 
every mood and action until they must take the 
pilot boat back to shore. Charlie hated "stills," 
had no use for cameramen except when they were 
on the lot recording the sequences for his pictures. 
He eluded them, as he thought, and went to the 
promenade deck from where Edward Knoblock, 
whom he had met at the Coffee House Club, was 
watching the maneuvers with some amusement. 
Knoblock s play Cherry, recently produced, had 
brought him a measure of recognition, but Lullaby, 
on which he was working and which was to be 
produced in 1923, was to increase that measure. 



NEW YORK AND LONDON 135 

They talked of plays. A news photographer found 
them and asked Charlie to pose waving and throw 
ing kisses to the Statue of Liberty. Charlie, en 
raged at being asked to do anything so obvious and 
cheap, refused fierily. Knoblock tried to shoo away 
the ubiquitous photographer before Charlie flared 
into a state promising him bodily harm. 

Other newsmen swarmed upon them, and the 
ordeal lasted until the pilot boat drew away and 
set out for the pier. Relaxing, thinking that at 
last he could be himself, he turned to find, of all 
things, a photographer who had been assigned to 
cross the ocean with him! The man talked fast. 
Charlie listened with growing resentment. 

"Listen, Charlie, Fm sorry; but it s my job. We 
may as well get together on this thing. It will 
make it easier for both of us. Let s see, today I ll 
take you with the third-class passengers. That ll 
show you re democratic, see? Then the second- 
class playing games with " 

"You go to hell," was Charlie s succinct reply. 
He called for reinforcements. Knoblock and Rob 
inson responded. They explained to the newsman 
that it would be a violation of Charlie s contract 
with United Artists to allow exclusive photograph 
ing. The photographer was unimpressed. He was 
sent by his paper to get him and get him he would 
in spite of hell and a great deal of water. Charlie 
flared up at his effrontery. He would, he informed 
him, stay locked in his stateroom the whole way 



136 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

across. The press-appointed recorder of his actions 
smiled knowingly. Mere walls of a stateroom 
would not dismay him, he declared. Hadn t he been 
assigned to get the King of England at one time? 
And had the walls and guards of Buckingham 
Palace stopped him? They had not! 

A compromise was effected eventually. The 
newsman would have to catch his own poses, but 
Charlie would not deliberately avoid him. 

Charlie forgot the cameraman. He was ap 
proaching England and Hetty. 

Southampton and its welcome! Charlie in 
England at last! Overcome by the spontaneous 
affection of the crowd, he forgot his carefully re 
hearsed speech of reply to the mayor s declama 
tion of welcome. He was rescued from the good- 
natured crowd, the jostling, milling mass of ad 
mirers. Then came the dread news from Sonny. 
Hetty was dead. 

Gone was the happy anticipation of being lion 
ized by the England he loved. He took refuge in 
the melancholy pleasure derived from hours spent 
in his childhood haunts. 

Kennington Gate. It was here that Hetty 
stepped down from the tram that first time, and 
sent him so close to heaven that he came back to 
earth with a handful of stars ! 

Kennington Cross. It was here that music first 
entered his being, wakened him to its beauty and 



NEW YORK AND LONDON 137 

meaning. On that night so long ago, he had wan 
dered, alone, an adolescent youth, dreaming 
dreams far up and beyond the sordid actualities 
of his existence. Suddenly the strains of a clarinet 
and harmonica drifted out from a house. He 
stopped and tried to capture the lilting rhythm of 
The Honeysuckle and the Bee. He hummed it to 
himself, became conscious of some sweet mystery 
of sound of which he had been, hitherto, unaware. 
Years later, in The Vagabond, he takes a violin 
from the gypsies he has stumbled across in camp, 
and plays. * He moves them, with their own instru 
ment, to tears. He is thinking and feeling all the 
great music in which he has immersed himself 
since that awakening. He is drawing great round 
ed, sobbing tones from the violin. The music which 
had come to him from his father s being had been 
lying dormant in his consciousness until that night 
in Kennington Cross. 

It was arranged, soon after his arrival in Lon 
don, for Charlie to meet Sir James Barrie. It was 
on common ground that these two men trod. 
Barrie, more infallibly an artist in his comedy 
than in his pathos, like Hans Christian Andersen, 
blends the everyday world with the fairyland of 
his own imagination. Yet, like Dickens with his 
kindly humanity, he entices us to a borderland of 



* The instrument is strung in reverse, for Chaplin is a left- 
handed player. 



138 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

laughter very near tears. His characters invari 
ably display a tendency to make life a game with 
the angels. Barrie always preferred a heavenly 
failure to a too-worldly success. 

In Peter Pan, a poetical pantomime, he more 
nearly approaches the perfect balance of fantasy. 
The ruling idea was an infinite tenderness for the 
child with stars in his eyes, not the depiction of 
the problem play. Yet Robert Louis Stevenson has 
written perhaps the aptest criticism of his con 
temporary, the author, "There was genius in him, 
but there was a journalist on his elbow." 

Charlie was taken aback when Barrie informed 
him that he wished him to play Peter Pan. He 
was immensely flattered. He appreciated Barrie s 
genial if not incisive satire, his bizarre fancy. 
But he was also frightened at the very thought of 
attempting a part so delicate and fragile, a part 
to which Maude Adams had given an unearthly 
poesy; a part which he himself had not created. 

Charlie was less flattered but not at all fright 
ened at the unmerciful lashing Sir James gave 
The Kid. "The heaven scene was entirely unnec 
essary and crudely done," Barrie declared. "It 
should have been suggested rather than portrayed. 
You stressed that to the undoing of other fine sit 
uations. And why the meeting of the mother and 
father? It was the child s story and yours. The 
other was dragged in " 

"I cannot agree with you, Sir James " 



NEW YORK AND LONDON 139 

Charlie, stung to defense of his dramatic con 
struction, lost his self -consciousness, forgot to be 
embarrassed. He enjoyed Barrie; they became 
good friends upon Charlie s return to England 
ten years later. 

The high light, perhaps, of his London stay was 
the meeting with Thomas Burke of Limehouse 
Nights fame. Through his love for Burke s stories, 
he had a strong feeling of kinship with the man; 
saw London through the same glasses, as it were. 
They arranged to spend a whole night roaming 
the Limehouse district together. 

From Burke s books, his accounts of lusts and 
elemental passions, Charlie expected to see a man 
of larger physical size. He was mildly astonished, 
therefore, when he beheld a slight, nervous chap 
with a thin, almost peaked face. His mouth was 
mobile and sensitive, his eyes glowing with a warm 
tenderness for the foibles of the human species. 
Charlie imagined he detected a twinkle of amuse 
ment buried in their depths as Burke regarded him 
soberly. 

"You don t care much for motion-picture actors, 
do you?" Charlie inquired with directness. 

"I d hardly say that," was Burke s rejoinder. 
"And you re not just another actor. But I ve been 
reading of your hectic doings, and I ve always 
wondered at people s inordinate passion for meet 
ing celebrities. To me, it s a sort of admission of 
mediocrity." 



140 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

"My God, I hate it all/ 7 was Charlie s fervent 
exclamation. And, at the time, he meant it. 

"I think/ Burke continued as if Charlie had 
not spoken, "it s simply being able to tell their 
friends they have met So-and-so, to acquire a vi 
carious prestige." 

"And the irony of it is," Charlie pointed out 
glumly, "that they never see the real chap. They 
see only a mask oh, sometimes an impressive one 
but never know the human being behind it." 

Burke nodded agreement. There was silence for 
a while as they strolled toward the starting point 
of their exploration. Charlie found himself unable 
to control for much longer, though, his praise of 
Burke s stories of the districts which beat a strange 
pulse in the heart of London. Burke retreated 
from this onslaught of appreciation behind a wall 
of reserve. And Charlie, fresh from the hyperbole 
and superlatives of Hollywood, caught himself up, 
remembered that writers in England were Eng 
lishmen first, then writers. His enthusiasm did 
sound fulsome, he realized, but it was sincere. He 
shut up. 

They walked on in silence, in a communion of 
feeling, a sort of intimate desolation together not 
withstanding the verbal barrier, into the narrow 
streets and shadows of Limehouse. There slipped 
noiselessly by the timorous, secretive, or skulking 
forms of all Burke s characters from out Lime- 
house Nights. There in the murky gloom, fresh- 



NEW YORK AND LONDON 141 

ened by the tang of the river, touched by a remote 
promise of the sea, Charlie became aware of some 
thing moving and vital that had its being only in 
a district where white and yellow and brown 
swarmed in conglomerate mass yet were unassim- 
ilable. Behind the dim lights of attic windows 
were taking place the actual dramas of the place 
where love goes hand in hand with death; where 
poetry, exquisite and yearning, sings in the hearts 
of ugly Mongolian outcasts; where knives are 
buried in white breasts or in swarthy necks with 
never a backward, fleeting regret. Limehouse. 
The place of pity and terror; of degradation and 
beauty; and the wonder of primitive love which 
has nothing to do with the laws or morals of the 
world outside. 

Slowly they walked, Burke occasionally lifting 
his stick to point out some seemingly meaningless 
happening which took on for Charlie the deepest 
significance. Burke seemed to know that Charlie 
took in his impressions through feeling rather 
than seeing, and spoke no word to disturb the 
subtlety of his absorption through the senses. 

All night they walked, stopping occasionally in 
some dark niche for a cup of coffee. Toward morn 
ing, as a grey dawn, hardly less forbidding than 
the night, lightened the eastern sky, they retraced 
their steps toward Highgate, coming out into 
streets brightly lighted and normal and bustling 
which relegated all the strange and heart-stirring 



142 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

adventure of the night to between the covers of a 
book. 

They talked now of more usual things. Burke 
confided in Charlie the narrow physical boundaries 
of his own life ; he had never been outside of Lon 
don. "Why go?" he asked simply. "All life is here 
in this one city. I have not time in the years allotted 
me to explore its half." All of Burke s books are 
concerned with the London he constantly searches 
for its vital characters. 

Charlie and Thomas Burke separated, Charlie 
reflecting upon the curious sweetness in the heart 
of the man he had just left. Burke saw, he said to 
himself, the beauty which grew in filth, what we 
are pleased to call the lowest. Charlie was aware, 
as never before, of the clear fragile tracery of the 
things of the spirit against the murky, bestial 
background of the deepest slums. 

Charlie met H. G. Wells. He was disappointed, 
not in Wells but in the manner of their meeting. 
He was told by his publicity director that Mr. Wells 
would be glad to see him one afternoon at Stoll s, 
one of the agencies of United Artists. Expecting 
a quiet talk with Wells, Charlie was amazed and 
annoyed to find a dense mass of humanity wedged 
into the narrow street fronting Stoll s. His heart 
sank. It would not be a chat with Wells, but a 
prearranged personal appearance, the snapping 
of camera shutters, interviews everything that 



NEW YORK AND LONDON 143 

made a vacation and companionship with stimu 
lating minds impossible. 

He recognized Wells immediately by the likeness 
of his rugged features to his photographs and 
looked into eyes dark and stormy blue. Wells was 
annoyed also. 

The camera brigade swooped down upon them. 
Would Mr. Chaplin and Mr. Wells pose together? 
Thank you. Now, with their hats off. Thank you 
again. Now sitting enjoying a chat the irony 
of it! 

Autograph seekers filled the space left by the 
departing cameramen. Wells and Charlie signed 
until their hands ached. And now, a quick-sketch 
artist. The two unwilling models exchanged a few 
superficial remarks while posing. They escaped as 
soon as possible, separated, and an hour later 
Charlie received a note from Wells : 

"Come to dinner. Wrap up in a cloak if neces 
sary and slip in about seven-thirty. We can at 
least dine in peace." 

Charlie followed this advice, forgetting to tell 
his company associates where he was going. They 
dined alone. And Charlie, who had been a great 
admirer of the prolific writer and his incisive pic 
tures of the compromises and vicissitudes of the 
Victorian middle class, was deeply impressed with 
the poignant sympathy and the rich, robust humor 
of the man. 

H. G. Wells has a quick judgment which lacks 



144 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

patience toward slow democratic developments in 
progress. He is strikingly intolerant of modern 
education. His own strong personal convictions 
carry an impatience of the opinions or convictions 
of others. Charlie, no less impatient toward the 
bunglings of democracy, is more the artist, less the 
sociologist. Wells s dicta antagonized him, and he, 
usually so tolerant of another s ideas, was moved 
to render verdicts where merely opinions were in 
dicated. It was an evening of "fire at will" and no 
quarter given, a forerunner of the vein of friendly 
antagonism which ran through their subsequent 
meetings. 

Getting up the next morning completely out of 
sorts, Charlie made a sudden decision to escape 
from London. 



8 



Paris, Berlin, and London 



CHARLIE, accompanied by Carl Robinson, left for 
Paris. Tom Harrington was left in London. The 
apartment at the Ritz was kept for their return, 
and six stenographers were installed under the di 
rection of Harrington to handle the hundreds of 
letters pouring in for Charlie with every post. 

Ill from the channel crossing to Calais, they ar 
rived in Paris to find it raining. It did not matter 
to Charlie. He was in France. The crowds at the 
station shouting, "Vive le Chariot! Bravo, Char- 
lot!" told him that his arrival had not been un 
heralded. He braved the avalanche of reporters 
and cameramen, and at last it was over. Now he 
could see Paris, meet Cami, the French cartoonist 
with whom he had built quite a friendship by a 
weird correspondence Cami sending him occa 
sional drawings, Charlie responding with "stills" 
from his various pictures. Charlie saw him far 
back in the crowd. They made a rush for each 
other, but when they met they were brought up 
standing. Cami had neglected to learn English, 
and Charlie knew not a word of French! They 



146 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

laughed as they realized the situation. Language 
stood between them, and even pantomimists and 
cartoonists cannot chat face to face with drawings 
and pictures. They grasped one another s hands 
in mutual understanding. Charlie was borne off 
to the Claridge Hotel. 

Dudley Field Malone, the New York lawyer who 
has tried some of the most famous cases in Amer 
ican legal history, and Waldo Frank, the writer, 
captured Charlie next day for luncheon. They 
promised him Paris by early morning, by late 
night. 

With Frank he sat on a bench in the Champs 
filysees at dawn and watched the heavy market 
wagons rumble by, the housewives and servants 
with the long loaves of bread unwrapped under 
their arms, the young girls and men walking 
briskly out to work. Paris was very beautiful in 
the soft natural light of the early day. Charlie 
gazed about him, deeply absorbed, striving for the 
feeling of Paris. He told himself he had got it. 
Gay and spontaneous, seeking to hide its war scars 
underneath song and laughter. 

They strolled along a boulevard, passed a church. 
There an old woman slept on the steps, but, unlike 
the old women of London, she was not worn or 
haggard. There were in her face no ravages of 
drink. To Charlie, behind the half -smile of her 
sleep, she seemed to be saying, "Do I not live in 
Paris?" 



PARIS, BERLIN, AND LONDON 147 

Sir Philip Sassoon, whose mother was Aline de 
Rothschild, and who was confidential secretary to 
Lloyd George, Prime Minister of England, was in 
Paris. Enormously rich, hard working, and most 
intelligent, Sir Philip was a personable young 
man. He came to call upon Charlie, bringing with 
him Georges Carpentier, pugilistic idol of France. 
But here again reporters and photographers broke 
through the lines of the hotel and urged the three 
of them to pose for pictures and give interviews, 
which all of them did with as much grace as pos 
sible. Sir Philip and Carpentier left after the 
former had invited Charlie to come to his home 
near London upon his return from Germany. 

Montmartre was the selection of Malone for 
Charlie s first excursion into a Paris night. They 
began at the Cafe Palais Royale. The tango was 
in its vogue, the music a dreamy cadence of mo 
notonous, broken rhythm. Among the poets, sight 
seers, students, cocottes, and flower vendors, 
Charlie descried Iris Tree, the English poet and 
actress, daughter of Beerbohm Tree. 

"Marvelous!" was his exclamation. She was a 
picture in the gleaming tavern lights, her golden 
hair straight bobbed, her face and slender boyish 
figure that of a beautiful page boy of medieval 
times. She joined them for a drink. The three 
of them then got into Malone s car and bowled 
along the avenues and boulevards singing lustily 
the old songs of the music halls. 



148 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Another tavern was visited, because their car 
had suddenly refused to go. A pale youth came up 
and ordered wine for the party as his guests. 
Charlie inferred from his sardonic manner that 
he guessed his identity, but if this were true he 
kept it to himself. Charlie was glad. It was good 
to have fun, incognito. 

The youth, named Kene Chedecal, they learned 
later, played the violin. Charlie recognized, or 
thought he recognized in his playing, surprising 
talent. He was enraptured. The sculpture of the 
boy s face, his eyes sad and haunted, the music 
gay and yearning and passionate, left him speech 
less with the wonder of genius breeding in strange 
and humble places. He rushed to the youth and 
grasped his hand. The returned pressure, the low- 
voiced "Merci, Chariot" told him he was recog 
nized, but their reception of him had been a blessed 
stroke of tact that none but those far removed 
from the herd could confer. 

As they were leaving, the patron, old and white- 
bearded, approached with diffidence and asked that 
they sign his guest book, a curious jumble of the 
names of the obscure and the great. Charlie drew 
his hat and stick and boots, adding the inscription, 
"I d rather be a gypsy than a movie man," and 
signed his name. 

Waldo Frank appeared next day with Jacques 
Copeau, foremost French dramatist and Director 
of the Vieux Colombier Theatre at the time. They 



PARIS, BERLIN, AND LONDON 149 

went to the circus. The sad-faced clown of the 
French circus fascinated him. There was the 
charm and approaching classicism of his own 
miming. He sat wondering how many in the vast 
audience were able to analyze the source of their 
laughter, the always underlying pathos of the 
clown. Out of the wracked agony of the deepest 
suffering of generations has come, always, the 
greatest genius for humor. 

Charlie Chaplin has within him that sort of 
Latin grace which gives him kinship with the 
drama of sentiment. But had he not known in 
stinctively the value of true expression, it would 
have availed him nothing. He had learned back 
in those days with the Fred Karno company that, 
fling his limbs about in no matter what frenzy of 
action, it came to nothing unless he could perfect 
the movements or lack of movements of the 
mask. 

It was in cafe life that Charlie felt he would 
find the real Paris, not the stage set for tourists, 
not the fashionable cafe, but the casual one where 
artists and students came for their aperitif, their 
coffee, and stayed to engage in heated argument 
over this or that master of painting, the newest 
book, or to relax in the gaiety of their models or 
other feminine companions. 

With Waldo Frank he set out for the Quartier 
Latin. The afternoon and evening were spent in 
drifting from one small cafe to another. Beneath 



150 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

the chatter and drinking he felt that he touched 
briefly the soul of the Quartier. Convention, he 
decided, had nothing to do with art. The lifted 
eyebrow, the tolerant smile of fashionable Paris, 
had no power to break the rhythm of creation flow 
ing from the pens, the brushes of these impe 
cunious scamps, into the drawing rooms, the 
galleries of Paris, of the world, and eventually into 
immortality. 

Charlie and Carl Robinson proceeded on to 
Germany. 

The Chaplin films since the contretemps of 
Shoulder Arms, that delightful satire upon all 
wars which had grossly offended the Germans, 
were practically unknown in Germany. In this 
picture, which was banned from the country after 
the first showing, it will be remembered that 
Charlie, as a soldier of the Allies, was captured 
by the enemy, the Germans. He escaped from the 
wire stockade and, knocking out the Kaiser s 
chauffeur, donned his uniform and by himself 
captured the Kaiser ! He drove him protesting and 
struggling straight into the Allied lines and into 
the clutches of the hated poilus, doughboys, and 
tommies, as he thought, but actually into the Ger 
man trenches. 

Syd Chaplin had played the brief role of the 
Kaiser, also that of an officer who arrested Charlie 
and hustled him out of the enemy s clutches to 



PARIS, BERLIN, AND LONDON 151 

save his life, Henry Bergeman, the stout, jovial 
host of Henry s in Hollywood Boulevard, near 
Vine, the cafe for so many years the rendezvous 
for movie folk, played the part of von Hindenburg ; 
Jack Wilson, the Crown Prince WiUielm. The 
Germans had thought the picture Shoulder Arms 
unfunny! 

When Charlie arrived in Berlin in the autumn 
of 1921 and found one city in which he could wan 
der about at will, unrecognized and unlauded, he 
was at first immensely relieved, then astounded, 
and finally annoyed. Where were the cries of 
"Charlie !" Where were the flattering cordons of 
police to protect him from the often rough but 
good-natured enthusiasm of the crowds? There 
were no crowds. 

After a few days of wandering about the city 
unheeded, he demanded of Robinson that he seek 
out some place where he could at least meet some 
of the stage and screen people of Berlin. Robinson 
learned from the porter of the Adlon, where they 
were staying, that the Palais Hemroth was the 
smart gathering place for theatrical people as well 
as for those of fashion. Surely the habitues of the 
Hemroth would recognize him. 

The master of ceremonies, however, showed no 
interest in the little chap who came in with his 
tall companion and demanded a good table. Charlie 
and Robinson were not in evening dress, and in 
Berlin, at the time, that stamped them obscure 



152 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

tourists. It was evident that the manager consid 
ered them nothing that would affect his future. 
They were shown to a back table and left to their 
own devices. 

Charlie was now exceedingly nettled. He looked 
about him at the dazzling brilliance of the club. 
The room was lavishly ostentatious, paneled in 
gold leaf, the hangings of satin and velvet in deep 
red, the favorite color scheme of the old order in 
Germany when they wished to express the ultra 
in luxury. The champagne buckets were of gold 
plate and the "silver" on the tables, also. The 
waiters were dressed in the livery of royal serv- 
ants knee breeches of black satin, white silk 
stockings, buckled shoes, red velvet tail coats, and 
frills at neck and wrists. Champagne corks were 
popping; an excellent orchestra was playing the 
jazz melodies of the day; the red-shaded lamps 
threw a soft glamorous light over the whole. 

No one seemed aware of their existence save the 
waiter who brought their champagne. One was 
not asked whether he would have champagne at 
the Hemroth; it was brought as often as deemed 
fit by the waiter, and one liked it. And paid for it. 
Charlie and Robinson sipped a glass or two, then 
rose to go, when they heard "Charlie!" called out 
with some gusto from across the room. Charlie s 
mouth dropped open. It was Al Kaufmann, man 
ager of the Famous Players-Lasky Company in 
Berlin. 




Pola Negri. 



PARIS, BERLIN, AND LONDON 153 

"Come over to our table," shouted Kaufmann. 
"Pola Negri" wants to meet you!" The Berliners 
stared in amazement at the effrontery of those 
astonishing Amerikanischers. Charlie made his 
way in some embarrassment through the narrow 
winding lanes among the tables, vaguely wonder 
ing where he had heard the name Pola Negri. Oh, 
of course, the Polish stage star of several recent 
hits in Berlin. 

Kaufmann s party was a large one of studio 
stars and representatives of various American 
companies in Europe. Charlie was warmly re 
ceived and placed at table next to Pola, whose 
English hurriedly acquired in a stage whisper 
from Kaufmann for the occasion consisted of 
" Jazz Boy Charlie !" repeated again and again as 
they clinked their glasses. The Germans in the 
cafe watched with puzzled frowns the loud acclaim 
accorded the slight little chap whom they tried 
vainly to recall to memory. 

Charlie, inclined to dark-eyed, exotic types of 
women, liked Pola immediately. His own words 
best express his impressions of the actress. "Pola 
Negri is really beautiful," he writes. "She is 
Polish and true to type. Beautiful jet-black hair; 
white, even teeth and wonderful coloring. She is 
the centre of attraction in Berlin. I am introduced. 
What a voice she has! A soft mellow quality with 
charming inflections." 

He saw Pola only twice after this before return- 



154 CHAELIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

ing to Paris, thence to London. But he learned that 
she would be in Hollywood when he returned to 
America. She had signed a contract with Para 
mount Pictures, the executives of which company 
were to refer to her always as "The Polish Situ 
ation" because of her volatile moods and excess of 
temperament. Charlie assured her he would secure 
valuable advance publicity for her, which promise 
he kept. It was only necessary to release to the 
press his opinions of Pola and accounts of their 
meeting. 

Back in London once more, Charlie attended the 
garden party in his honor at the country seat of 
Sir Philip Sassoon in Kent. He had flown from 
Le Bourget Field in Paris and had been landed by 
special dispensation at Lympe, in Kent, to avoid 
the crowds awaiting the plane and himself in 
London. 

Charlie was asked by Sir Philip to stay over for 
a ceremonial next day in the village school, at 
which a memorial to the young men of the village 
who had fallen in battle was to be unveiled. He was 
afraid that his presence might act as a counter- 
attraction and spoil the solemnity of the occasion, 
but he hesitated to say as much to Sir Philip. When 
he did voice a mild reluctance, his host brushed 
it aside, assured him that the villagers would be 
disappointed if they did not get a glimpse of him. 

They drove to the school. The streets and lanes 



PARIS, BERLIN, AND LONDON 155 

were crowded along their way. Shouts of "Hurrah 
for Charlie" filled the air. It did not take any 
psychic to infer that the unveiling was of second 
ary import to the crowd. Charlie suffered keenly, 
feeling himself an incongruity in the spirit of the 
day. The enthusiasm of his reception was in com 
plete discord with reverence for the dead. He 
wished heartily he had not come. 

Somehow the ceremony was got through, and 
Charlie went with Sir Philip to the Star and Garter 
Hospital to visit the wounded still billeted there 
three years after the war had ended. The sheer 
tragedy of the hopelessly and permanently wound 
ed, the ghastly suffering borne cheerfully, sent his 
spirits further down. 

An invitation came from H. G. Wells for a week 
end at his country home, Easton Glebe, in Essex, 
near Warwick Castle. This incursion into the 
family life of a group of individualists as striking 
as the Wellses was a heartening experience, though 
he was still dogged by a consciousness of his lack 
of education. Emerging from the seven years 
grind of making pictures, he must be content in 
his quest for exploring the world of other minds 
with the bits garnered through the fog of his own 
self -consciousness. 

Charlie felt no more at ease with his host than 
he had on their previous meeting. Blond, stocky, 
with drooping cavalry moustache, Wells was in the 
habit of communing with himself in little snorts, 



156 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

his bright blue beady glance darting here and 
there. He allowed his hearers to say a word or 
two and then with extraordinary conversational 
agility, suppressed them either with a flat nega 
tive or a lightning flash to a fresh course of dis 
cussion. No one could resist his sincerity or his 
vital charm, but there could be no exchange of 
ideas. 

Mrs. Wells was cordial and charming. Their 
son Charles, whom Charlie dubbed Junior, was 
immediately Charlie s friend. Mr. Wells took him 
to inspect his workshop in the process of being 
newly decorated after serving as birthplace for 
the Outline of History. There they looked at the 
old desk, paintings done by both Wells and his wife 
around the fireplace, and a tapestry, of which he 
was very proud, woven by Wells s mother. The 
furniture was sparse but good, solid English cot 
tage. Books lining the walls, deep soft carpets, 
and comfortable armchairs made it a delightful 
place in which to work. 

Charlie was amused during luncheon at the pro 
found, analytical discussion between Wells and 
his son, of the sting of a wasp, one of the creatures 
buzzing over their heads. They were lunching on 
the terrace. Charlie suspected Wells of playing up 
to Junior; it was evident that he was proud of his 
son. 

St. John Ervine, author of John Ferguson, came 
in during the afternoon. The possibility of syn- 



PARIS, BERLIN, AND LONDON 157 

chronizing the voice with motion pictures came into 
the conversation. Ervine was frankly interested 
at the prospect; Charlie heatedly contended that 
it was as absurd as painting statuary, rouging 
marble cheeks. Pictures were, he maintained, and 
should remain, solely a pantomimic art, leaving un 
spoken thoughts to be interpreted by the audience 
from gesture and expression. Charlie has been 
consistent in his belief; he has had, in the face of 
repeatedly predicted failure with the advent of 
talkies, the courage to continue his silent pictures* 
Long walks about the countryside; a visit to 
Warwick Castle (the owners were not in resi 
dence) ; another visit to an eleventh-century 
church; an incredibly funny game of baseball 
taught the Wellses by Charlie and played by them 
all, and the visit was ended. It was a pleasant stay 
with the family, but Charlie left for London won 
dering whether Wells really wanted to know him, 
his inner life ; or whether his desire was for Charlie 
Chaplin to know Mm. Perhaps, he reflected, Wells 
did not count mere entertainers important in the 
sociological scheme. 

Charlie rejoined Robinson in London, and back 
to Paris they went for the premiere of The Kid. 
Upon his arrival at the Ritz, he found notes from 
Mary and Douglas Fairbanks, who were stopping 
at the Crillon. Charlie telephoned them demand 
ing retaliation; they must show up at his picture 



158 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

at the Trocadero Theatre. He would have his re 
venge for his New York "vacation" from pictures. 
They both promised to come. 

Paris had declared a holiday for the gala occa 
sion of the first showing of The Kid. The proceeds 
from the premiere were to be given to the fund 
for devastated France. 

Threading his way with difficulty through the 
mass of humanity which, that evening, blocked 
the streets leading to the theater, Charlie chuckled 
in anticipation of the effect of this upon the 
Fairbankses. 

Ambassador Myron T. Herrick, the man who 
more than any American of his time, save perhaps 
Walter H. Page, loved France and understood her, 
was on hand that evening to greet Charlie. Min 
isters of the Cabinet and notables from all depart 
ments of government were present. M. Menard, 
representing President Millerand, who, through 
illness, was unable to attend; Jules Jusserand; le 
Marquis de Talleyrand-Perigord ; le Marquis and 
la Marquise de Chambrun; the Loebs; the Vander- 
bilts; Prince George of Greece; Princess Xenia; 
Prince Christopher; Mme, Cecile Sorel; Elsa Max 
well the list read like a combination of Who s 
Who and several Blue Books. 

Charlie s box was draped with the American 
and the British flags. He entered his box to the 
Marseillaise; the applause was deafening and 
persistent. 



PARIS, BERLIN, AND LONDON 159 

He had autographed two hundred and fifty 
souvenir programmes that afternoon at the re 
quest of the committee. These had sold out quickly 
at one hundred francs each. More were brought 
to him, and, between flashes of camera lights and 
attentions of celebrities, he autographed these. 

At last the lights went down; the picture was 
on. There was no whisper to disturb his concen 
tration as he watched the fellow who was himself 
draw laughter, tears, an occasional spontaneous 
burst of applause from the great audience. All 
self-consciousness lost, he was alone, the artist 
looking upon his work and finding it good. 

At the end of the film, a messenger appeared 
from the Ministers box. Would Mr. Chaplin please 
come to their box to be decorated? This was a 
complete surprise to Charlie. He almost fell out 
of his own box. A wave of shyness, self-conscious 
ness, engulfed him. He grew positively ill. What 
would he say in response to the speech somebody- 
was sure to make? He had had no warning, no 
time to prepare anything gracious in either French 
or English. He cursed himself for ever attending 
the premiere, for being a motion-picture actor at 
all. But go he must. The messenger was waiting 
politely and patiently. There was nothing to do 
but follow. 

With much the same feeling as a poor wretch 
going to a guillotine party given in his honor, 
Charlie stepped into the box of State. The Minister 



160 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

of Public Instruction and Beaux Arts made a short 
speech, which was translated by someone. Charlie 
was too dazed to know. The decoration was pinned 
upon his coat, and Charlie, overcome, could only 
stammer, "Merci" which he used in both its 
French and English meanings. 

The applause in the theater following this little 
ceremony was deafening and continuous. Charlie 
realized that it would not stop until he said some 
thing, so he turned, smiled, and said in English 
that it was a privilege for him to have a part in 
the rehabilitation of the devastated regions of 
France. His evident sincerity was rewarded by 
a tremendous ovation, and before he escaped from 
the box he was soundly kissed by several enthusi 
astic and appreciative gentlemen. 

Spirited out of the theater through a side door 
after the lights were turned out and most of the 
crowd had dispersed, Charlie went to the Crillon 
with Cami, who was waiting at his car to con 
gratulate him. Mary and Douglas had not braved 
the crowds of the premiere. They were on vaca 
tion. They were waiting for him at the hotel, 
however, and told him that General Pershing was 
in the next room, wished to meet him. 

They joined the General, champagne was or 
dered, and until three in the morning they sat 
and talked of art and battles. 

Charlie went back to his hotel feeling this the 
high point in his career. Had he not seen his own 



PARIS, BERLIN, AND LONDON 161 

greatest picture? And had he not been made by 
France an Offitier de V Instruction Publique? 

Elsie de Wolfe, noted interior decorator and a no 
less noted personality, was hostess to Charlie next 
day at her home, the Villa Trianon at Versailles. 

A dinner with Garni, Georges Carpentier, Henri 
Letellier, and an interpreter, that evening, and 
early to bed. There was a luncheon scheduled with 
Lloyd George in London for the next day. 

Next morning Charlie boarded a plane and con 
gratulated himself that if all went well he would 
be in London in ample time for the meeting with 
Lloyd George as arranged by Sassoon. But all did 
not go well. Before they had been up more than a 
few minutes, they were completely lost in a fog 
over the Channel. The pilot turned back and 
eventually made a forced landing on the French 
coast. There they stayed until the fog had lifted, 
a delay of two hours. Charlie was dismayed at the 
thought of keeping the Prime Minister waiting. 

Arriving finally at the Croydon airdrome, 
Charlie was in an advanced stage of jitters. He 
caught sight, through the crowd jamming the field, 
of a large limousine about which the crowd was 
particularly dense. A lane from the airplane to 
the car was cleared, and the police held back the 
mob. They hustled him into the waiting car. 

The driver threw the car into gear, deaf to 
Charlie s shouted insistence that they wait for 
Robinson lost somewhere in the mass. Charlie 



162 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

became angry and a little mystified. These feelings 
grew into positive anxiety as he realized before 
very long that he was being taken not to the Ritz, 
but through unfamiliar streets. A kidnapping in 
England? Unheard of ! They drew up before the 
Majestic Theatre in Clapham! He demanded to 
know the meaning of this impertinence. The im 
perturbable driver turned and, pulling off his 
moustache with all the flourish of a villain of 
melodrama, explained: 

"I am Castleton Knight. You remember me. 
Some time ago you promised to visit my theater. 
My patrons were told and expected you. You 
didn t keep that promise. I promised them you d 
be here today if I had to kidnap you. Please con 
sider yourself kidnapped." 

"But but the police, the lane cleared to the 
car I don t understand. How did you manage?" 

"Oh, that was easy. I just got a more impres 
sive-looking car than the one sent for you, and put 
on an act." 

"You re good," Charlie admitted, amusement 
overcoming his annoyance. He admired Knight s 
strategy and felt a bit guilty for having let him 
down before. It was too late anyway, he consoled 
himself, to hope to make the luncheon with Lloyd 
George. He chuckled as he pictured the furor at 
the Carlton when Robinson got there without him. 

At the Majestic Theatre, Charlie made a speech 
and greeted the audience with great good humor. 



PARIS, BERLIN, AND LONDON 163 

They were wild with joy. They knew Charlie 
Chaplin would appear at few, if any, theaters in 
London. The manager of the Majestic was truly 
a wonderful man. 

Mr. Knight drove him to the hotel but discreetly 
refused to go up to his rooms with him. "No, 
thanks, old man, I prefer to keep a whole skin, if 
you don t mind. Thanks and cheerio !" 

There was a to-do! Robinson, Harrington, all 
of the United Artist executives, had assembled in 
his rooms and were preparing to notify the police. 
When Charlie told them of his kidnapping they 
shouted with laughter. Castleton Knight was an 
excellent businessman, they agreed. 

On the morrow Charlie and Harrington and 
Robinson were sailing from Southampton for 
home. Charlie had promised H. G. Wells to dine 
with him that night and meet Chaliapin, the great 
Russian baritone. In the confusion he had also 
promised his cousin Aubrey at least one evening 
before his departure. He telephoned Wells and 
explained his dilemma. Wells understood and re 
leased him from the engagement 

Aubrey called for Charlie in a taxicab about 
dusk. When getting into the cab, Charlie noticed 
a number of people standing in the murky shadows 
of a building across the street. He was immedi 
ately upset, visualized reporters waiting to pounce 
upon him and dramatize his visit with his humble 
kin. He said as much to Aubrey, who hastened to 



164 CHAELIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

calm his fears with the explanation that it was 
merely some friends of his, Aubrey s, who wanted 
very much to see Charlie but did not wish to an 
noy him. Charlie was ashamed, but grateful, for 
the delicacy of his own people, from whom appar 
ently he had come a long way but, actually, only 
in the measure by which he had always been set 
apart from all his fellows. He insisted that Aubrey 
call them over; he wanted to meet them. Aubrey 
did so, and diffidently they approached and stam 
mered responses to Charlie s remarks, offered their 
hands awkwardly. They were left standing tremu 
lous, with a warm and heartened feeling that 
their Aubrey s cousin had not, after all, become 
a snob. 

At the home of his cousin, Charlie suggested 
that they repair to Aubrey s public house which, 
out of deference to Charlie s new status, Aubrey 
had been trying to call a hotel. Aubrey demurred ; 
he was a little shocked that Charlie, who could 
drink champagne with the "toffs" of London, 
should want to go to a pub in Bayswater. Charlie 
insisted. Aubrey weakened, finally gave in, and 
they departed for the saloon. 

The place was clean and warm and redolent of 
the wine- and ale-soaked wood of generations. It 
was filled with regular customers, there for their 
stout or half-and-half before going home to supper 
after work. 

The men eyed Charlie questioningly ; none 



PARIS, BERLIN, AND LONDON 165 

seemed to recognize him. They merely stared at 
his well-cut suit and topcoat, knew that he did 
not belong. 

Charlie felt stealing upon him a mood of reck 
lessness, amplified, no doubt, by the wine he had 
drunk and the sweeping realization of "There, 
but for the grace of talent, go I." With a sweep 
of his arm he invited them all to the bar for a 
drink, announced that he was Charlie Chaplin, 
cousin to Aubrey, and that though he might have 
traveled far, he was still one of them, Charlie of 
Kennington. 

The men frankly doubted his identity, eyed him 
resentfully, while Aubrey explained to a few that 
this was actually Charlie Chaplin. This could not 
be the man who shunned crowds, the solitary 
genius who had been catapulted beyond their ken. 
Perhaps it was one of old Aubrey s jokes. They 
would not be taken in. 

At last they approached hesitantly and took 
their drinks, drawing away again in groups. They 
drank. They bade him a reserved goodnight when 
he left. Aubrey was frankly discomfited. He was 
also confused. The line of class is drawn finely in 
England, and often the greengrocer is more dis 
turbed by the marriage of his daughter (who is 
in the chorus) to a titled man than is the family 
of the latter. 

As to Charlie s vulgar behavior in the tavern, 
which he himself admits, the following from 



166 CHARUE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

George Jean Nathan is apt: "In every thoroughly 
charming and effective personality one finds a sug 
gestion, however small, of the gutter. This trace 
of finished vulgarity is essential to a completely 
winning manner. The suavest and most highly 
polished man or woman becomes uninteresting 
save as he or she possesses it*" 

Back in the home of his cousin, after dinner, 
the family photograph album was brought out for 
Charlie s delectation. He was impressed by the 
pictures of his immediate ancestors, to which he 
had given little thought: a great-grandfather who 
had been a French general, some uncles who were 
prosperous cattle ranchers in South Africa. It 
pleased him, now that it was brought to his notice, 
that there were other career makers, besides 
impecunious tradesmen and music-hall actors, in 
the family. He experienced his first consciousness 
of pride in his family. 

Charlie became momentarily interested in 
Aubrey s son, aged twelve. He seemed a bright 
boy, a fine, upstanding lad. He proposed educat 
ing him for the army, for ranching, something 
toward the trend of his forebears. Aubrey was 
touched but perhaps a little fearful, too. How 
ever, nothing came of it. With the prerogative of 
genius, Charlie soon forgot his cousin s family 
and their problems. He was too far removed from 
their world to entertain a real and lasting sympa 
thy for them. 



PARIS, BERLIN, AND LONDON 167 

When Charlie, accompanied by Harrington and 
Robinson, boarded the train for Southampton 
next morning, there were, among the crowd at the 
station, old friends of his youth whom he had been 
too busy or too careless to see. He felt a twinge 
of remorse for his seeming indifference toward the 
familiar figures of his past who had in spirit 
shared his success. In their content at simply 
catching a glimpse of him as he left, he imagined 
no reproach but only an understanding of the 
onerous burden of being a celebrity; he imagined 
no jealousy, for he knew his Cockneys and their 
reluctance to break the barrier of class, but he 
knew that he should have made time to see them, 
visit with them. He was very sad. 

There were cries of "Love to Alf and Amy" 
Alfred Reeves and his wife. Charlie smiled down 
at them through tears. He shouted promises to 
come back the next summer. It was to be ten years 
before he saw London again. 

At the boat in Southampton, Sonny Kelly was 
waiting to see him off. Sonny was, as always, 
matter-of-fact, but as Charlie stepped onto the 
gangplank, he slipped a parcel into his hand. He 
leaned over and whispered, "I thought you d like 
this." 

Charlie held the square, flat parcel in his hand. 
Without unwrapping it he knew what it was. A 
picture of Hetty! One of her latest. There was 
a lump in his throat; he looked at Sonny through 



168 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

tears that would well up. "Thank you, Sonny. 
You re always kind." He turned away that Sonny 
might not see his remembered grief. 

He stood watching the crowds waving to him 
from the dock. But with his mind s eye he saw his 
desk at home in Hollywood with Hetty s picture 
as it would stand, always, whatever women came 
or went. And he was going home. 



Clare Sheridan 



ON THE TRAIN from New York to Los Angeles, at 
Denver, Colorado, Charlie received a telegram 
from Abe Lehr in Hollywood- Lehr* was chief 
lieutenant and "no man" for Samuel Goldwyn. 
Most of the producers in Hollywood had, at the 
time, a staff of consistent "yes men/ The great 
and only Goldwyn was different. He recognized, 
long ago, the value of sincere disagreement. Aided 
by Lehr s "no s" he has fought his way to an envi 
able position in the realm of unusual pictures, 
unusual first of all because, for each picture, Sam 
Goldwyn carves a bit from his own great heart. 

Lehr is no mean personality himself. He was the 
son of the glove manufacturer for whom young 
Goldwyn first went to work. And as a stimulus to 
Goldwyn he has been invaluable. 

Abe Lehr telegraphed Charlie telling him he had 
the one other free and untrammeled spirit who 
had struck Hollywood in many moons Clare 
Sheridan. Clare was cousin to Winston Churchill 

* Goldwyn started his business career as salesman for Abe Lehr s 
father in his glove factory. When he went into production of motion 
pictures he took Lehr s son with him. 



170 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

and widow of Richard Brinsley Sheridan s grand 
son, Wilfred Sheridan, who had been killed in 
action in the World War in 1915. She was also a 
sculptress of note. Lehr invited Charlie to his 
home for dinner to meet Clare Sheridan. 

Torn Harrington dispatched an answer to Lehr 
accepting the invitation. Charlie was always in 
terested in meeting any woman of striking per 
sonality. He admired Clare Sheridan for her 
courage to defy the complacency of her immediate 
family and be an artist. 

It was a group of four at the Lehr s, the host 
and hostess, and Clare and Charlie. The mutual 
interests of the two developed into a delightful 
and immediate friendship. They talked the same 
language. Clare had just returned from Eussia, 
and they were both intensely interested in the 
Russian attempt to create an ideal from raw ma 
terial, its initial inception under Kerensky and 
its development by Lenin. 

Equally significant, both were agreed upon the 
importance of the never-ending exploration into 
the world of created beauty, art. 

Each had the sixth sense of an artist, that in 
tuitive ability to grasp an experience that he has 
never had and make it his; each the sensitive, in 
stant comprehension of the other s intent. Each 
possessed to a nice degree the mystical sense of 
the absolute. 

Charlie, a firm believer in the school of "The 



CLARE SHERIDAN 171 

world s my oyster," advised Clare with a firmness 
which surprised her, "Don t get lost on the path 
of propaganda. Live your life as an artist. The 
other goes on always." 

Clare soon found that Charlie was not an avowed 
Communist as the press had tried to impress upon 
its American readers. He was, and is, sympathetic 
to its ideology. He has given large sums of money 
to the cause which he sincerely believes to be that 
of freedom. For freedom is to Charlie of para 
mount importance, and a country which is gradu 
ally but surely establishing an aristocracy of 
achievement by its creative workers cannot fail to 
hold his interest and support. He is an individ 
ualist, with all the artist s intolerance of stupidity 
and insincerity and narrow prejudice. 

Clare Sheridan found in Charlie Chaplin, to 
her delight, a sincerity without affectation, an 
almost feminine intuition, his opinions arrived at 
by his own processes of thought and uncolored by 
popular acceptance or rejection. 

During the evening, Clare found herself grow 
ing eager to make a portrait bust of Charlie. She 
had modeled Kemal Ataturk, Mussolini, Primo de 
Rivera, in clay to be cast in bronze; she had sculp 
tured in marble Lord Oxford and Asquith for the 
Oxford Union. Lord Birkenhead and Count Key- 
serling had sat for their busts. 

She was afraid to suggest to Charlie that he 
pose for her, catching glimpses of his shyness. So 



172 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

she approached the subject indirectly, complain 
ing of her difficulty in persuading American men 
to pose. 

"They re so modest," she said. "They consider 
it a vanity to sit for a bust." 

Charlie looked at her with sly humor. She felt 
at once that he had uncovered her strategy. 

"I m vain/ 7 he declared. "Thank God, I have 
no modesty." 

It was settled that he was to pose for her. 

Clare Sheridan left the Lehrs that evening con 
vinced, she said later in her American Diary, that 
she had met a man with a great soul. She fancied 
she divined the reason for the universality of his 
art. If she could just capture that in his face, to 
be cast in bronze that and the subconscious and 
driving search for happiness he held locked in his 
heart. 

Charlie invited Clare and her young son Richard 
Brinsley Sheridan III to see The Kid next day at 
his studio. He was much interested in young Dick, 
who was seven and a curious mixture of the young 
English gentleman and the naive, unconventional 
child. Charlie watched him throughout the picture, 
and when the moment came that the Kid was to 
be taken away from his stepfather (Charlie) , Dick 
threw his arms about his mother s neck and 
sobbed, "Don t let them do it! I can t bear it. I 
can t look till the end." Charlie was visibly affected 
by the genuineness of the youngster s emotions; 



CLARE SHEKIDAN 173 

he comforted him, assuring him it would come 
right in the end, but he was unable to resist tip 
toeing to the small harmonium in the projection 
room and playing Chopin preludes that dripped 
from his fingers even as Dick s tears fell from 
his eyes. 

Above all, Charlie was the artist who must draw 
the last drop of response from his audience, come 
what may. 

The three of them lunched together at Charlie s 
home and later went for a long walk into the 
Hollywood hills, Dick scrambling nimbly up steep 
banks while Charlie and Clare walked round and 
up the gently sloping paths to the summit of the 
hills. They talked. Charlie explained his conclu 
sions on the ultimate aims of the artist. "There 
must be no dreams of posterity," he declared, "no 
desire for admiration. There is only one end : to 
please one s inner self, to be able to look upon one s 
efforts and say, That is mine my conception of 
what is beauty, mine the satisfaction that it is the 
best I can do with my present growth. It is good/ " 

Clare reminded him that she was a mother, that 
she wanted her children someday to be proud of 
her. Charlie upbraided her for this attitude. "You 
should want them only to love you to love you 
in a perfectly primitive, animal way. To love you 
because you are their mother, not for what you 
may do. They must love you even if you are 
wrong." 



174 CHAELIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

"But if I felt I had nothing to work for," she 
protested, "no end, no aim of continuity, only my 
own satisfaction, I should feel inclined to suicide." 

Charlie stopped dead in his tracks, horrified. 
"My God! How can you say that?" he exclaimed. 
"How could anyone with such vitality as yours 
entertain, even for a moment, the thought of 
suicide?" He threw his arms wide to the horizon. 
"It s all so beautiful I" he cried, "and it s all mine." 
Immediately he laughed at his own seriousness 
and at Clare s. 

Back at the house Charlie asked Dick if he 
would like to stay for tea. "Yes, Charlie," came 
the prompt reply, "and all night, too. D you know, 
Charlie, I think you re quite the funniest and nicest 
man I know," he added. 

Charlie was properly touched by this but forced 
a compromise by driving them home and talking 
to Dick all the way. The boy was left at the Holly 
wood Hotel with his nurse, and Charlie and Clare 
went to dine at Cocoanut Grove, the gay spot of 
the Ambassador Hotel. There, in a huge room, 
under synthetic palm trees, with the blare of jazz, 
drinking and dancing going on about them, Charlie 
told Clare of his childhood. Simply, yet with elo 
quent words, he painted the stark realisnci of his 
suffering and with a complete detachment that 
robbed it of the stigma of self-pity. It was the 
story of a child of sorrows who had taught a whole 
world to laugh. 



CLARE SHERIDAN 175 

Work started on the bust of Charlie and went 
on apace. Early each morning Clare would go 
over to his house in Beachwood Drive and work, 
with brief intervals for rest and food for both of 
them, the whole day through. 

Charlie, in pyjamas and dressing gown which 
he changed occasionally to match his mood, leaving 
the room in purple and black to reappear in a 
blaze of orange and primrose, posed patiently, for 
him. True, he talked volubly, throwing back his 
head, flinging out his hands. Clare let him be. 
This was the way to catch the nuances of the whole 
man, she knew. 

As an outlet for his nervous energy he would 
occasionally leap off the revolving stand, grab up 
a violin which was strung in reverse for his left- 
handed playing, and walk slowly up and down 
the room playing improvisations that might have 
been taken for the polished work of masters of 
composition had not the mood changed them 
abruptly from melancholy to a gay rollicking satire 
of anastrophe. 

Another time he would turn on the gramophone 
and with all of the grace and temperament of a 
Stokowski, wield an imaginary baton to an in 
visible orchestra. 

Claire Windsor, to whom Charlie was reported 
engaged, was in and out during the day, but did 
not interfere in the work or the long talks they 
enjoyed. Charlie confided that he, as a lonely 



176 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

youth in London and on the vaudeville circuit in 
America, even in his first days in Hollywood, had 
longed to know people, but now that he knew so 
many, he was lonelier than ever. "When one is 
young and undeveloped/ he said, "one looks up 
to people as having some mysterious bigness, and 
he wants to know those people and their thoughts, 
but as he, himself, grows he learns the fallacy of 
this. All artists are lonely; it is useless to expect 
anything else, it is inevitable." 

Feverishly for three days Clare worked on the 
bust, completing it within this time. She realized 
how fortunate she was to have captured something 
of his restlessness, something of his hunger. She 
was fortunate also in having been able to ensnare 
him immediately upon his return from Europe 
before he had become engulfed in work. And a 
man in pyjamas and dressing gown does not jump 
into his car and dash off somewhere else. 

It had not been easy to do, this face of the man 
of so many moods. So much of subtlety, so much 
of varying and conflicting passions; the self -chas 
tisement of unbridled will, the ascent from the 
childlike to the higher stage, the development of 
the improviser into the master of form all this 
must be transmuted to the clay by the knowing 
fingers of the sculptress. She looked upon her 
work at the end of the third day and called it good. 
Did Charlie like it? 

He said, "I wish this were not me, so that I could 



CLARE SHERIDAN 177 

admire it as I please. I find him very interesting, 
this fellow you have made." And then, studying 
it with half -closed eyes, he launched into an aston 
ishing speech. "It might be the head of a criminal, 
mightn t it? Criminals, you know, and artists are 
psychologically akin,* both have a burning flame 
of impulse, a vision, a deep sense of unlawfulness." 

Charlie was in no hurry to get back to work. 
Clare Sheridan s many-faceted personality inter 
ested him. It was May, and the outdoors called 
the Englishman. They decided to go on a camping 
trip. Charlie telephoned Kono and asked him to 
get things ready. 

Tents and all the paraphernalia of camping, 
including food for two weeks, were hurriedly got 
together. 

"You can do the cooking," Charlie informed 
Clare. 

"Yes? I can t boil an egg without reflecting dis 
credit on its progenitor." 

"Well, you ought to be ashamed," Charlie re 
torted in mock reproof. "We ll take along the 
cook." 

They set off, a merry cavalcade, to find a suit 
able location away from the crowded beaches. 
Clare, young Dick, and Charlie were driven by 
Kono in the large car; the cook and Mexican driver 



* Somerset Maugham in The Summing Up says, "It is only the 
artist, and maybe the criminal, who can make his own [life]." 



178 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

with the camping equipment followed in a smaller 
one. 

It was Sunday. They found to their dismay, 
after starting, that the road up the coast through 
Santa Monica to Santa Barbara was humming 
with cars, most of them filled with families racing 
somewhere not to be alone but with crowds of 
other families which jam the beaches about Los 
Angeles on week ends. On and on they sped, never 
leaving the crowds until Clare, becoming quite 
cross with the American tendency of herding, ac 
cused Charlie of lack of foresight in not having 
had a spot located for them before they started. 
Charlie mopped his brow. "Shut up/ he snapped, 
with the privilege of the camaraderie they enjoyed. 

"Surely there must be some place, some lovely 
peaceful spot unmarred by people?" she persisted. 

"No, if it is at all accessible, someone will have 
discovered it," he said. 

"Then," said Clare, "we must content ourselves 
with a horrid place no one else wants." 

Charlie did not reply, merely instructed Kono 
to drive on. Daylight was fading. 

At long last, between Ventura and Oxnard, they 
spied a clump of trees by the sea. They plunged 
off the paved road and into sand for a mile or two 
and brought up before a sign : "Private Property 
No Trespassing No Camping No Hunting." 
They looked at the tall eucalyptus trees, dark 
plumes against the reddened sky. 



CLARE SHERIDAN 179 

"There !" exclaimed Charlie triumphantly, look 
ing as pleased as a small boy who has found the 
key to the jam closet. "There is our home for a 
while I" 

"B-but the sign/ Clare reminded him. He 
brushed this aside. 

The spot was perfect, everything they had hoped 
for but not dared to expect. The sun sank suddenly 
out of sight. Darkness came upon them, as it does 
in California, like a tired old man going quickly 
to bed instead of the reluctant drawing away 
of a child, the twilight interim of the North and 
East. The brief afterglow sent a warm radiance 
over the beach and sky and sea. The wood was 
fragrant with scent of eucalyptus trees mingled 
with the salt tang of the sea, the sand a white 
carpet of fine silt beneath their feet. 

Throwing off their shoes and stockings, Clare 
and Charlie and Dick ran, with whoops of joy, 
down to the surf which was breaking in little 
crimson and indigo waves upon the shore. They 
stopped breathless before the wonder of it all. 

Kono had been dispatched (as an afterthought) 
to the farmhouse above to ask for permission to 
make camp. The Japanese cook and the Mexican 
driver, chattering harmoniously, set about pitch 
ing five tents, hanging colored lanterns among the 
trees, and building two campfires, one by the cook 
tent, the other a "drawing-room" fire a short dis 
tance away for Charlie and his guests. 



180 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Kono returned and announced that Charlie s 
name had opened the way; it was as if the forbid 
ding sign were obliterated. They were to remain 
as long as they liked. 

After a delicious dinner upon which all of them 
had fallen with keen appetites, young Dick was 
sent off to bed, into the tent made ready for him 
and his mother. Clare and Charlie settled down 
cross-legged before the fire that was burned down 
by now and fragrant with the scent of eucalyptus 
leaves thrown on by the thoughtful Kono. A half- 
moon rose. The naked shining trunks of the trees 
cast slender black shadows on the white sand. The 
cries of night birds were shrill and sweet against 
the booming rhythm of the waves beating against 
the shore. Clare looked at Charlie huddled before 
the fire, an elfin creature with gleaming eyes and 
tousled hair. She shook off her impatience with 
herself for neglecting to bring her modeling tools. 
Here in this flickering light, the mystery of night 
sounds, she could catch the sense of him. And then 
emerging from the warm shadows of their isola 
tion there came the confused anguish for the har 
monies they both, as artists, sought. Charlie looked 
up at her. He said, "Why are we here, Clare? 
What is the meaning of it all?" 

Clare shook her head wordlessly. Her mind 
warned her of the futility of capitulation to his 
eternal seeking and hers. And yet a profound 
emotion, primal as the trees and rocks about them, 




Ul 



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.s 

"3 



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rf 

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ffl 



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Charlie weaves fanciful stories of the wrecked hull on the beach and 

the lands it has touched, for young Dick Sheridan, descendant of 

Richard Brinsley Sheridan. 



CLARE SHERIDAN 181 

held them both, she knew; an obscure agitation of 
hitherto unrecognized impulse toward one an 
other. She grew frightened of herself, and then 
Dick, who, torn by the excitement of the day, was 
unable to get to sleep, emerged wide-eyed and 
flushed from the tent and came up to Clare. She 
took the small boy s hand in hers. Deliberately she 
broke the moment. "Good night, dear Charlie/ 
she said with soft finality and followed her son 
into their tent. 

Like three happy, primitive children the three 
of them passed the days following, joyous in their 
seclusion. Barefooted they catapulted headfirst 
down the steep slopes of the sand dunes, Charlie 
to the delight of Clare who pointed it out to Dick, 
bringing to his dives the grace of a dancer. He 
danced for them with wild abandon, danced in 
imitation of Nijinski but putting into each pas seuL 
the peculiar intensity of combined tragedy and 
comedy with which every separate expression of 
his art is marked. 

One day he found a wrecked boat far down the 
beach, a shell of grey, abandoned driftwood. In 
viting young Dick to sit beside him on its upturned 
hull, he wove fanciful stories of the lands it liad 
touched and the peoples it had seen, holding the 
small boy enthralled for hours. 

Charlie, with a rifle, wounded a duck, and it 
flopped about on the sand. He was in a panic. 
Turning his face away from its agony of thrash- 



182 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

ing, he wailed to Clare, "You ll have to kill it. I 
can t! I simply can t! My God, why was I such a 
brute?" 

Clare, hardier by nature, grabbed an oar and 
performed the distasteful task. Charlie, relieved 
that the fowl was out of pain and at peace, for 
got it. 

(He has an unreasoning fear of physical pain, 
not through any experience but from imagination. 
He has been singularly free from disease and pain, 
having built up by long walks in the open a re 
sistance to the common ailments of mankind.) 

Charlie was happy in these days, Clare knew. 
And she was grateful for the sanity of the moment 
when she had put down his impulse and hers 
leaving him to draw peace from the miraculous 
world of his own in which he needed no other. 
Drawn from this short space from out life, to 
gether, they were yet apart, each strongly indi 
vidual, each free now of the remembrance, at best, 
of an evanescent joy. 

On the seventh day their paradise was spoiled, 
as paradises inevitably are. The secret of Charlie s 
presence had been whispered about among the 
scattered families of the district. Hordes of chil 
dren appeared seemingly out of nowhere, piling 
out of ramshackle cars piloted by sheepish elders. 
They surrounded Charlie, who instantly reverted 
to the painful self -consciousness of his enforced 
contact with people. Charlie talked with them, for 



CLARE SHERIDAN 183 

he could never be harsh with children, then dis 
appeared alone over the dunes. 

Two reporters climbed out of a car that had 
just driven up and went in search of him. They 
had not been able to find him at his home upon the 
first night of his return to Hollywood. 

He came back between them, his head hanging 
in dejection. The price of advertising, incidental 
to the career of an actor, must be paid. The beauty 
and peace of their holiday were shattered. 

They broke camp and returned to town. 

That evening, Clare and Charlie sat on the ver 
andah of his home and watched the lights below 
that twinkled a jeweled carpet to the distant sea. 
Constraint fastened upon them. Instead of a 
tousle-headed elfin figure, Clare saw a smooth- 
haired young man, guarded in his manner ; Charlie 
saw a sophisticated woman of the world, whose 
everyday association from her childhood had been 
with princesses and statesmen and great writers. 
Each faced a stranger. 

"What is the matter with us?" Clare asked 
fretfully. 

"The matter is," Charlie replied with a superior 
smile, "that we no longer know each other." 

Next day Charlie saw Clare and Dick off at the 
station. They were going to New York. 

He returned to his home engulfed in a gloomy 
conviction of the futility of expecting an unalloyed 
companionship of the spirit, the hopelessness of 



184 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

any attempt to escape the consequences of being. 

It was a year before Charlie could have the clay 
portrait Clare Sheridan had made of him cast into 
bronze and placed on a pedestal in his living room. 

And Clare, conscious of their incongruity of 
physical height (she is fully six inches taller than 
he) , has written in her autobiography, The Naked 
Truth, "Dear Charlie, how funny it would have 
been if. . . And on the whole not so unsuitable 
but . . ." (the dots are hers) . 



Pola Negri and Carlotta 



CHAKLIE LEAENED that Pola Negri was on her way 
to Hollywood. He described his meeting with her 
in Germany once more to the press, and there was 
great ballyhoo over the new star to shine in Holly 
wood. For Charlie there was a pleasant expectancy 
in the air which had something to do with Pola. 

Meanwhile, Lila Lee, Claire Windsor, and Peggy 
Joyce were constant and merely friendly visitors to 
the Moorish atrocity in Beachwood Drive, Holly 
wood, which Charlie had leased and which he called 
home. The delectable Peggy was the most tempera 
mental of these guests. On her whirlwind visits of 
a day, two days, and a week end, as the impulse 
struck her, she was loud in her denunciation of 
Charlie s house as a "bachelor s den." "It smells 
terrible," she was wont to wail, and, grabbing 
Charlie s MitsuJco (by Guerlain) from his dresser, 
would prance about like a priestess of old, sprin 
kling the precious drops of perfume on rugs and 
upholstery, drapes and cushions, with fine disre 
gard for the spots she left in her wake. Kono would 
ruefully contemplate the empty bottle of Mitsuko 



186 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

and take himself off to a shop for another bottle 
before Charlie should find it empty. 

Pola arrived. She was grateful to Charlie for 
his interest in. her career, the nice things he had 
said about her in print. Her gratitude grew into 
infatuation of Slavic intensity. Charlie showered 
attentions upon her. Her marriage to her hus 
band, a Polish count, was dissolved. Before many 
weeks, the engagement of the new, exotic star and 
Charlie Chaplin was announced. 

Charlie bought an entire hill in the lower moun 
tains above the estates of the millionaires and pic 
ture stars in Beverly Hills. It was, he announced, 
the site of his new home, his and Pola s. Miss 
Negri wanted trees; large ones would have to be 
uprooted somewhere and replanted, as is the cus 
tom among Southern Calif ornians to whom money 
is no object. Charlie was a little hazy about the 
trees, so Pola wrote a check for approximately 
seven thousand dollars for great shade trees of 
eucalyptus and live oak from a local nursery. They 
were the nucleus of landscaping the bare hill into 
a private park. 

Pola reveled in the excitement among the picture 
colony over their engagement. She, never ham 
pered by inhibitions, dramatized it, basking in the 
resultant publicity. Lyrics of praise, some of them 
embarrassingly intimate to Charlie, were sung by 
the volatile Polish star, to interviewers and even 
a few in magazines over her own signature. It 



POLA NEGRI AND CARLOTTA 187 

was obvious to the whole colony that Pola and 
Charlie were in the heat of a violent infatuation. 
Those who knew them best merely hoped the flame 
would burn itself out before there were fireworks 
before the disastrous culmination of marriage. 

And then came the incident of the girl from 
Mexico for which no one, save the girl herself, 
was to blame. 

Carlotta so shall she be called, mainly because 
that is not her name was the headstrong, over- 
romantic daughter of a noted Mexican general, 
who had achieved his rank before the military title 
became an opprobrium, of old and respected line 
age. Running away from her home in Mexico and 
crossing the border in some strategic manner 
never quite explained, without formality of pass 
port, she came to Los Angeles. Booking a room 
at the Alexandria Hotel, at that time the largest 
downtown hotel in Los Angeles, she proceeded di 
rectly to the Chaplin studios in La Brea Avenue 
and demanded to see Mr. Chaplin. He was, she 
announced to all and sundry stragglers about the 
gates and to the office secretary, the object of her 
unceremonious trip, and of her affections. 

Carlotta explained to Kono, who had become 
Charlie s personal buffer by this time, that she 
must meet Mr. Chaplin. She was, she said, in love 
with his art Kono was tactful but firm. He was 
so sorry, but Mr. Chaplin was working on a story 
and could stop for no one. However, he assured 



188 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

her, he would tell him of Miss s admiration 

of his art, and he was quite sure it would please 
him. He presented her with two pictures of Charlie 
and sent her, as he thought, on her way. 

There were many reasons why Kono decided not 
to take Carlotta in to meet Charlie. He was hav 
ing his troubles with the fiery Pola at the time, 
and he welcomed no addition of a Mexican volcano 
to the already overloaded emotional upheaval. Be 
sides, it was obvious that the girl was under age, 
and, of course, she was Latin ; so he congratulated 
himself upon his own diplomacy. 

Instead of returning to her hotel, Carlotta 
hunted around in front of the studio until she 
found a taxi driver who knew where the Chaplin 
menage was. She appeared at the house and told 
the butler, "Mr. Kono told me to come here and 
wait for Mr. Chaplin." The butler, always on 
guard, smelled a mouse. They were not in the 
habit of sending beautiful young girls from the 
studio to wait for Mr. Chaplin. He telephoned 
Kono to confirm his suspicions. Turning away 
from the telephone, he asked Carlotta to leave. 

The girl grew hysterical. She would give him 
anything. He must let her wait. She offered him 
a ring containing a six-carat diamond of dazzling 
whiteness. He refused to accept it, and she slipped 
it from her finger and dropped it into his pocket. 
He returned the ring and insisted that she go be 
fore Mr. Chaplin s return. She reluctantly left, 



POLA NEGRI AND CARLOTTA 189 

giving no warning of what she intended to do that 
evening. 

As soon as he had finished his dinner, Kono, 
acting upon a premonition that they had not seen 
the last of Carlotta, drove to the house. As he 
came in he heard voices in the dining room. Cross 
ing the living room, he saw to his great relief that 
all was as it should be. Pola and Dr. Cecil Rey 
nolds* and Mrs. Reynolds with Charlie were lin 
gering over their dessert and coffee, quite unaware 
of Kono s apprehensions. 

Quietly Kono started out through the hall, when 
again something told him all was not right. Up 
braiding himself for an overwrought fool, he 
turned and slipped softly up the stairs and into 
Charlie s bedroom. As he snapped on a light, a 
figure in the bed jerked the covers up over its head 
before he could make out who it was. He knew 
the worst, however, even before he had turned to 
see clothes, a woman s, flung on a chair. 

He hurried downstairs and demanded of the 
butler a guest list for the evening. "Why why, 
nobody just the three you see in the dining room," 
said the mystified butler. Kono ran upstairs once 
more and yanked the bedcovers down, disclosing 
Carlotta ! 

"Put your clothes on and get out as fast as you 



* Dr. Reynolds, a graduate of Royal Physicians and Surgeons 
of England, noted brain specialist in the film colony (where the 
proportion of material to work upon, it is held by some unkind 
critics, is exceedingly small), amateur actor, and brilliant conver 
sationalist, is one of Charlie s friends of longest standing. 



190 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

can," he commanded. Carlotta was not inclined 
to obey this order, however, and only clung more 
tightly to the bedclothes. 

Here was a situation, innocent in actuality, 
which might easily develop into scandal, adverse 
publicity. Kono decided to try strategy where 
authority had failed. 

"If you ll put on your clothes and go down the 
back stairs and out of the house, you can come to 
the front door and ring the bell, and I ll tell the 
butler to admit you. I ll See that you have a nice 
visit with Mr. Chaplin," he promised. "Now, 
hurry !" 

Carlotta, after a moment s hesitation, was ap 
parently mollified. She slipped into her clothes, 
while Kono, nothing loath, watched her dress. She 
followed him down the back stairs and out through 
the kitchen door. 

Kono called Charlie aside and explained the 
drama of the afternoon and evening to him. 
Charlie, his interest piqued, agreed readily that 
the only thing to do was to see her. 

Within a few minutes the front doorbell rang, 
and Carlotta, the picture of innocence, was ad 
mitted. Kono introduced her to the party of four, 
but she, obviously, had eyes only for Charlie, hard 
ly deigning a nod and glance to the others. Pola, 
though she knew nothing of what had gone before, 
was instinctively hostile to any attractive female 
who visited Charlie. Her angry glances in Kono s 



POLA NEGRI AND CARLOTTA 191 

direction told him she suspected him of a deep- 
dyed plot to take Charlie away fro^i her. Kono 
shrugged it off. 

Carlotta spoke excellent English with an attrac 
tive accent; she was at ease in the group, her poise 
was evident. And unlike most sheltered Mexican 
girls of her class, she had a grasp of the world 
about her, was a good conversationalist. Charlie 
was delighted with her. 

It was well after midnight when he suggested 
that Kono drive her back to her hotel. She thanked 
Charlie graciously for a nice evening and devoured 
him with her eyes while Pola seethed and Dr. 
Reynolds tried to conceal his huge amusement at 
the whole thing. 

Kono had dismissed Carlotta from his mind with 
the thought that she must be well on her way back 
to Mexico, when next morning the telephone rang. 
It was Charlie s butler. He had just seen Carlotta 
get up from an improvised bed of newspapers! 
Under a large tree in the back garden ! She had left 
the grounds, he added. Another call in midmorn- 
ing informed Kono that Carlotta was at the house 
with a big bouquet for Charlie. This was becoming 
a nuisance, Kono assured himself between mild 
Japanese curses. He jumped into his car and went 
to the scene of what was assuming the proportions 
of an endurance contest. 

Carlotta greeted him, airily social in manner, 
when he arrived and told him she was leaving that 



192 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

day for Mexico but she wanted Mr. Chaplin to 
have these flpwers in appreciation of his hospital 
ity. Then having allayed his fears, she questioned 
him about Pola Negri. Was she engaged to 
Charlie? Was Charlie really in love with her? 
Were they going to be married? 

Kono assured her that they were going to be 
married in the near future. As to what their emo 
tions concerning each other were, he could not hope 
to surmise, he added discreetly. 

Carlotta s eyes blazed with jealousy. Her small 
twisting fingers gave the stamp of truth to the 
fire in her eyes. "I hate her !" she exclaimed. "I 
will keel her some day," she added. "Now I must to 
go home." 

Kono agreed with her that this nonsensical pur 
suit of Charlie must end. 

He drove her to the corner of Western and 
Hollywood Boulevard, there putting her into a 
taxicab. Giving the driver three dollars, he in 
structed him to take her to the Alexandria Hotel 
and not to stop for anything but signal lights in 
between. Carlotta bade Kono good-by with many 
protestations of friendship and gratitude, and the 
taxi drove away. Whew! He was glad the incident 
was closed. Ticklish business, this Latin tempera 
ment. Well, anyway, she was safely out of the 
way, now. 

He had scarcely reached the studio and got down . 
to work when the telephone rang and the butler 



POLA NEGRI AND CARLOTTA 193 

informed him gleefully that Carlotta was hanging 
about the house, in front. Kono failed to appreci 
ate the butler s mirth, warned him sharply that it 
would cost him his job if she got into the house. 
He would better, he added, lock all the doors. 
Hanging up the receiver, Kono reflected ruefully 
upon the powerlessness of three dollars as against 
a Mexican beauty s wiles with taxi drivers. 

Nervous and jumpy, Kono tried to settle down 
to work. But about five o clock in the afternoon 
he went to Charlie and advised him strongly 
against going home that night for dinner. Charlie 
agreed reluctantly to dine out. Kono called the 
house about seven and was told that Carlotta had 
retired from the siege. Again he allowed himself 
the luxury of a sigh of relief. 

All was serene on the Chaplin front next day 
no sign of the glamorous Carlotta so Charlie de 
cided to dine at home. Pola and the Reynoldses 
were to dine with him. 

At about eight that evening Kono drove up to 
the house. He was taking no chances of a repeti 
tion of the contretemps of the night before. Little 
did he know that it would not be a repetition : it 
would be a vastly improved exhibition of technique. 

The first object that met his eye as he drew up 
in front of the driveway gates was Carlotta, stag 
gering about in a most peculiar manner in the 
driveway. He jumped out of his car and rushed 
toward her. She swayed and fell to the pavement. 



194 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

There was a bright moon, and from its light 
Kono could see dark rivulets on the pavement. 
Blood ! So they were going to have a scandal after 
all, in spite of everything! 

Bending over the prostrate form of the girl, he 
felt her hands. Icy cold! He felt for her heart 
beat, could not distinguish any. Quickly summon 
ing the chauffeur, the two of them carried her into 
the laundry room at the back and laid her on an 
improvised couch of soiled clothes. 

In the bright lights of the laundry room, Kono 
realized that his imagination had played him 
tricks. There was no blood. The dark threads on 
the pavement were tar in the irregular cracks of 
the cement. 

They attempted to revive Carlotta from her 
coma brought on by hysteria but were unsuccess 
ful until the chauffeur, wiser in the ways of women 
than Kono, hit upon the thought of running his 
hand inside her dress. Carlotta, in a blaze of in 
dignation and offended modesty, sat up ! She was 
very much alive! But immediately she decided to 
faint again. 

Kono summoned Charlie and Dr. Reynolds from 
the dinner table. The doctor would know what to 
do. But Kono had reckoned without his Pola. She, 
sensing the suppressed excitement in the air, gath 
ered up Mrs. Reynolds and followed them to the 
laundry. Kono muttered curses. He had enough 
on his hands without the kind of scene at which 



POLA NEGRI AND CARLOTTA 195 

the highly temperamental Pola was adept. He 
tried to stop her. Pola pushed him aside. 

Dr. Keynolds made a hasty survey of the prone 
Carlotta and prescribed a pail of cold water. This 
was duly sloshed over her, and she decided to come 
permanently out of her faint. Pola berated Kono 
for a brief moment, then turned her attention to 
Carlotta. 

The battle was on ! The Mexican tigress and the 
Polish lioness went at it tooth and nail. The ad 
vantage was Carlotta s at first as they were fight 
ing in English and her English was better than 
Pola s. Pola made up for this discrepancy, how 
ever, in flashing eyes, wildly flailing arms, and 
Polish curses which sounded ominous, though none 
of the onlookers nor Carlotta understood a word. 

The odds in verbal battle now seemed to be 
Pola s until Kono was inspired to throw a pail of 
water on her. Diverted by the cold shower, she 
turned her vituperations on him. Carlotta, taking 
advantage of this brief respite between the major 
combatants, grabbed an ice pick and, advancing 
upon Pola, announced loudly her intention of slay 
ing her on the spot. 

Dr. Reynolds, who had been enjoying the drama 
of the scene up to now, stepped in and disarmed 
Carlotta. He looked closely at her eyes while he 
held her, asked her what she had taken. 

"Fve taken poison," she declared as if suddenly 
remembering an unimportant incident. The doc- 



196 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

tor suspected she was telling the truth but was 
not alarmed; he knew that whatever she had swal 
lowed could not be deadly or it would have acted 
fatally before now. However, it was best to be 
on the safe side. He advised Kono to call an am 
bulance from the Receiving Hospital. 

The laundry room was soon swarming with po 
lice as well as ambulance attendants, Kono s Eng 
lish on the telephone having been inadequate. 
Carlotta refused to go to the hospital. The police 
were obliged to carry her to the ambulance. Kono, 
at Charlie s instruction, "interviewed" the police 
to make reasonably sure of Charlie s name being 
kept out of the report which must be made of the 
incident. 

The procession drove away, and Pola got down 
to the serious business of berating Kono for his 
stupidity. She accused him of every possible 
machination of a human devil. Charlie, who knew 
that Kono was slow of wit, knew also that in this 
instance he could have done no more. He defended 
Kono. Pola left the house in high dudgeon. 

The quarrel that resulted was the prelude of the 
actual breakup of the engagement of Pola Negri 
and Charlie Chaplin. Charlie was beginning to 
tire of Pola s dramatics and of Pola. 

There was the inevitable coolness on his part; 
the violent though slightly muzzled recrimination 
on hers. They separated, each to go his own way. 
And Charlie kept the trees. 



Second Marriage The Gold Rush 
First Child 



IN 1923, the year of the success of Woman of Paris, 
Charlie began to "write" The Gold Rush, which 
was based on the epic theme of the mad dash of 
eager thousands to the icebound Klondike in the 
early nineties. On long walks alone, in days spent 
in fishing at Catalina Island off the shore of Wil 
mington, California, wrapped in contemplation of 
the idea and, as he realized, faced with almost in 
surmountable difficulties in actually filming such 
a story, he grew more enthusiastic as the tragic 
hardships endured by these early gold seekers 
seized upon his imagination. 

He was, he knew, treading upon dangerous 
ground. Humor or satire directed at the locale of 
so much tragedy could act as a boomerang. Wit 
ness the success of The Cruise of the Kawa, that 
delightful travesty on the tropics written by 
George Chappell, Beaux Arts architect and humor 
ist, under the pseudonym of "Walter Traprock, 
the Intrepid Explorer," And the failure of My 
Northern Exposure, from the same pen. Satiriz- 



198 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

ing the grim tragedies of the Arctic, the latter book 
failed in its response from the reading public. 

The physical difficulties of filming such a pic 
ture as The Gold Rush would have discouraged a 
less daring pioneer. For Charlie, Alaska was out 
of the question; the high Sierras would suffice. 
But the cost and the attendant risks to men and 
equipment must be considered. 

With the idea for the picture still in nebulous 
form, he started crews of workmen on the prelim 
inary task of cutting trails through the dense, 
snow-drifted forest of the selected location, to a 
height of nearly ten thousand feet. When this 
was completed, work was immediately begun on 
the pass which was to be similar to Chilkoot Pass 
of Klondike fame. This pass must run approxi 
mately twenty-four hundred feet in length and 
must rise to a further ascent of a thousand feet. 
The whole work, started nine miles from the rail 
road in the deepest snow of the winter, was a stu 
pendous undertaking. The studio craftsmen lit 
erally hewed the mountains and valleys into a 
semblance of the Klondike region. 

The breath-taking realism of the scenes in The 
Gold Rush, the climax of Charlie s portrayal of 
the futile, hapless character of the puny little fel 
low, a deadbeat trying to pit his fragile strength 
against the rugged realism of the greed for gold, 
justifies Charlie s comment upon this picture: 
"This is the picture I want to be remembered by/ 



SECOND MARRIAGE THE GOLD RUSH 199 

he told his friends and fellow workers, even be 
fore the critics had vociferously acclaimed his 
success. 

The cost of The Gold Rush, he discovered, when 
all accounts were in, was scarcely more than that 
of The Kid. It was but little more costly to change 
the contours of mountains, Charlie decided, than 
to sit day after day using thousands of feet of 
negative to elicit one bit of histrionics from a 
youngster not overly burdened with the natural 
instinct of an actor and none too responsive to the 
creator s efforts. 

A young part-Mexican girl had been brought to 
the studio by her mother for a test as leading lady 
in The Gold Rush. The girl was Lita Grey. The 
tests were satisfactory, and could Charlie have 
let it go at this, this portion of the story of his 
life would have been far different. But his inabil 
ity to distinguish between his art and his quest 
for personal happiness clouding his judgment, the 
genius fell before the man, trapped by his emotions 
once more. He became engaged to Lita not long 
after she had signed her contract to play opposite 
him in The Gold Rush. 

Before the sequences in which Lita was to ap 
pear before the camera could be filmed, she fell 
ill. The fanfare of press-agent publicity which 
had attended her selection for the part was hushed. 
Georgia Hale was quietly signed to take her place, 



200 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

and Lita s sudden illness was given to the press 
as the reason for the substitution. 

Behind the scenes of this seemingly innocent 
occurrence there was taking place a real-life drama 
of more portent than the romantic thread of The 
Gold Rush, with no comedy relief and with many 
tears. Lita was sixteen, and she was the leading 
lady, one might say, the star of the cast, and was 
supported by her mother, Mrs. Lillian Spicer, her 
grandparents, the Currys, as well as by an uncle, 
Edwin T. McMurry, who, moreover, was an at 
torney. Charlie was cast as the luckless villain of 
the piece. Definitely. 

Lita s kin insisted that he marry her at once. 
Charlie came to the realization that he must again 
be enchained by the hateful ties of a marriage 
which, as in the case of his former one, was hope 
less from the beginning. He and Lita had neither 
tastes nor mentalities in common, nor was there 
any real love upon which to build a mutual happi 
ness or even content. His genius and the dark, 
troubled, complex nature of the man she would 
never fathom. 

Charlie, dreading the Roman holiday the news 
papers would make of their marriage, conceived 
the idea of going to Guaymas, Mexico, ostensibly 
to secure background pictures for a film. They got 
together cameramen and technicians, a full studio 
crew. Charlie, Chuck Reisner, his assistant di 
rector, Kono, Lita, and her mother slipped down 




& !: ^|tf|^ ! 


wAi,<j^ 



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a 

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SECOND MARRIAGE THE GOLD RUSH 201 

to the station in Los Angeles to take the train for 
Lower California. 

At the station they were met by Harrison Car 
roll, then a reporter on the Los Angeles Times, the 
large opposition paper to the Hearst-owned Ex 
aminer, and later a columnist on the Herald-Ex 
press. Also present was Jimmy Mitchell of the 
Times. These two announced their intention of ac 
companying the Chaplin party to Mexico, and no 
argument Charlie or Kono could make would dis 
suade them. Charlie assured them they were wast 
ing their time trailing him on an uninteresting lo 
cation trip. But his distraught manner only con 
firmed their suspicion that there was something 
more afoot. They knew he was making The Gold 
Rush and could not readily believe that another 
picture was to follow it so soon. And of course 
there was nothing in the barren wastes of Mexico 
near the California border that could have any 
bearing on a Klondike picture. They, with several 
other reporters who had joined them, decided to 
go along. 

Installed in a hotel in Guaymas, the technicians 
obeyed an order from Charlie to take out, each 
morning, a small fishing craft and stay out all day, 
pretending to shoot scenes at sea. Kono was in 
ducted as bodyguard to see that no newsmen got 
to Lita, or to her mother, or to Charlie, and also 
to report on the first auspicious moment at which 
they could give them all the slip. 



202 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

All this went on in the highest good humor, and 
there was much chaffing between them. The re 
porters liked Charlie and regretted their obliga 
tion to their papers, for he seemed, really, to want 
to be let alone with his fiancee and her mother. As 
the days went by, they became bored with their 
fruitless watching and grew careless. 

Charlie seized upon this opportunity, and he 
and Chuck Reisner, Mrs. Spicer, and Lita drove 
hurriedly to Empalme in the state of Sonora, and 
there on the twenty-fourth day of November, 1924, 
the unhappy event of the marriage of Lita Grey 
to Charlie Chaplin took place. 

Kono had been left at Guaymas to assure the 
tardy reporters, when they finally tore themselves 
away from the various bars in the vicinity, that 
Charlie and the two women were out on the boat. 

Coming home from Mexico, the wedding party 
took on, at Nogales, a comic-opera aspect. Every 
member had to submit to fumigation to keep the 
United States free from hoof-and-mouth disease. 
The degerming was done outside, behind the im 
migration station in crude cabinets. There were 
only three cabinets; they were similar to those of 
the Turkish bath. Charlie, Chuck Reisner, and 
Kono were purified, three in a row, with only their 
heads in view, a guard on duty, and the assembled 
population of the border village a delighted audi 
ence. Truly this was Charlie s most remarkable 
"public appearance." 



SECOND MAKRIAGE THE GOLD RUSH 203 

Once his wife and her mother were installed in 
his home in Beverly Hills, Charlie gave evidence 
of the distraught state of mind such an unhappy 
reality was bound to incur. His marriage to Lita 
Grey took on the semblance of his former one to 
Mildred Harris. The moody, self-absorbed genius 
was too submerged in the expression of himself to 
make a satisfactory husband to any young, pleas 
ure-loving girl. 

There is no reason to accuse Charlie Chaplin of 
deliberate lack of adherence to high principles* 
He simply did what hundreds of other men do in 
Hollywood; but unfortunately for him, through 
his fame, he was placed in a difficult position. 

Concurrent with his engagement and marriage 
to Lita Grey runs an episode of Charlie s life which 
can be explained best as an antidote Charlie sought 
for his lost freedom. 

It all began on an estate not far from Hollywood, 
one of those dream places beloved of the stars in 
the movie colony that suggest a perfect motion- 
picture set. In that lovely milieu Charlie met an 
actress from whom he received a sympathy and 
admiration that instantly acted as a soothing ano 
dyne for his tortured state of mind and quickly 
developed into what appeared to be a deep and 
genuine love. 

They met, Charlie and Maisie,* in moonlit gar- 

* This is not lier name, but because this star has retired into 



204 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

dens which were unquestionably an incentive to 
romance, synthetic or real, to any two people not 
endowed with crossed eyes or harelips. 

After his marriage Charlie became a regular 
guest at this home and the town home of the 
actress. He often flew to her for sympathy; there 
he could escape the carping recriminations of his 
wife and her family. The attachment grew in 
intensity. 

That Lita Chaplin knew of his feeling for Maisie 
is evidenced by a clause in her divorce papers filed 
two years later, "a certain prominent motion pic 
ture actress" with whom Charlie told her he was 
in love. Apparently he was quite frank with his 
wife about his supposed feeling for Maisie. Partly 
from a satisfaction to be gained from his inherent 
love of drama, partly to goad his wife to divorce 
him, he urged Lita to meet his new interest. She 
refused. And she can hardly be blamed for this 
stand. 

So, known only to his wife, the star s secre 
tary, Kono, and two of Charlie s friends, a writer 
and critic, the incongruous romance progressed. 
Incongruous because Maisie s most outstanding 
talents consisted of wise-cracking, a hoydenish 
humor, and a careless generosity with expensive 
gifts. 

Maisie left for New York in April of 1925. But 
by the time she had reached San Bernardino, a tele- 
private life, she enjoys a legal "right to privacy" which it is not 
the writer s wish to invade. 



SECOND MARRIAGE THE GOLD RUSH 205 

gram had been dispatched to Charlie asking him 
to wire her at Needles where she would be at nine 
o clock that evening, and saying that she was ter 
ribly lonesome. 

Charlie replied that he talked about her all 
through lunch with a friend and assured her that 
"I am with you with all my love." 

After Maisie s departure, Charlie was as one dis 
traught. His home was an unhappy necessity 
where his young wife persisted in behaving as if 
she considered him a monster. Maisie had given 
him a sort of lighthearted companionship in direct 
contrast to the gloomy atmosphere and adverse vi 
brations of his home. He was worried over the im 
pending birth of his baby, by this time, which 
would undoubtedly prove to be a tighter bond 
against his eventual escape. The Gold Rush de 
manded intense concentration of effort. Therefore 
Maisie s telegrams and, later, her letters, assumed 
an importance to him consistent with the circum 
stances of his depression. 

From Albuquerque, New Mexico, came another 
telegram from Maisie. In this she gave Charlie a 
New York address to which to write. An answer 
duly sent by Charlie asked her to try to be happy 
and assured her he loved her. 

Because she loved him for his real self, or as 
much of it as she was able to divine, and because 
Charlie, thrown off his guard by the fact that she 
was seeking no picture career through his stand- 



206 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

ing, was wholehearted In his response to her seek 
ing, one is likely to assume that this was the real 
love of his adult life up to this time. 

It was not to be long, however, before Charlie 
would come to realize that in spite of the sympa 
thetic companionship Maisie had given him, there 
were certain depths of his nature she seemed in 
capable of fathoming. And although her generos 
ity and unfailing good humor had an irresistible 
appeal for Charlie, it saddened him to discover 
that Maisie was not able to give him that com 
plete understanding of his complex and volatile 
temperament he so pathetically craved. 

Her letters were written on personal mono- 
grammed paper and unfailingly enclosed in en 
velopes addressed to Kono. They began, "Dearest," 
"My dear boy," "My dearest pal and severest 
critic," and "Precious." Their context ran: "Not 
having anything to do and having lost the inclina 
tion to do it, I am spending my time with a bottle 
of glue* thinking of you. Not that you remind me 
of glue but thinking it over I sort of like the idea, 
don t you?" And "I have tried hard to get away. 
Fm like a person in a cage. Tonight I leave for lo 
cation to be gone three days then I will be back. 
I am going to keep on trying to telephone you but 
if I shouldn t be able to reach you, please think of 
me until I return. I will think of you always." 



* Parting her picture over that of Llta s in a snapshot of Charlie 
and Lita together. 



SECOND MARRIAGE THE GOLD RUSH 207 

An imprint of rouged lips at the top of the page 
bore the label, "My soul is in this kiss." 

Enough ! 

One has only to examine the sheaf of Maisie s 
letters to know that here is no George Sand-De 
Musset grand passion ; no Elizabeth Barrett-Rob 
ert Browning love of the spirit. There is nothing, 
in fact, in any of the letters which would betray 
any emotion deeper than the average housemaid s 
flurry of love for the "boy friend." No intellectu 
ality, no mental need or craving; no crying out of 
a highly organized nature for the complete under 
standing of its beloved, is evinced in any of the 
letters sent during the six-year period. Rather is 
there disclosed a lamentable poverty of thought 
and feeling to offer to that mysterious, incalculable 
inhabitant of the starry world of creative genius, 
Charlie Chaplin. 

That Maisie had the wealth and leisure to pursue 
the byways of self -development, of vehement as 
piration to a larger life, places the burden of her 
guilt upon herself alone. 

In vain one looks for some evidence of a rich 
and warm instinctive nature, independent of culti 
vation. One sees her face, round and pink and 
white, blank as a wild rose, opened. One sees her 
love, presumably the one love of her life, expressed 
in terms of lavish gifts. No big and contradictory 
rhythms of the heart; no exalted passion; no bit- 
tersweetness ; no sense of the inescapable ruin, of 



208 CHAELIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

the destruction of their dissonant attachment, the 
irremediable, 

Charlie possessed the awareness that Maisie 
lacked even though he was able to bury it tempo 
rarily and deceive himself that here were the 
attributes of escape, a sort of anodyne which 
dulled his senses rather than a full warm richness 
that filled the vacuity of his emotional life. He 
could talk of none of his tortuous thoughts to her. 
He was alone as ever in his prescience of tragedy 
in which his comedy is forever rooted. 

On the evening of June 27, doctors and nurses 
bustled about the Chaplin home in Summit Drive, 
Beverly Hills. There was every indication of an 
important event about to occur. 

Reporters and representatives of United and 
Associated Presses had been importuning Charlie 
for news of the heir. They were called in the next 
morning, and Charlie, trying hard to look as if 
he had just received exactly what he wanted from 
Santa Glaus in June released the official date 
of the birth of his first son, Charles Spencer Chap 
lin, Jr., The time and date were ten minutes past 
six o clock in the morning of June 28, 1925. 

It was soon after this that Charlie offered Lita 
$250,000 to divorce him. He would, in addition, 
he assured her, provide liberally for the child. 
Lita indignantly refused this sum; in fact, she 
countered with a demand for three million dollars. 
Charlie considered this rather steep. 



SECOND MARRIAGE THE 1 GOLD RUSH 209 

Charlie, who loves children in the abstract and 
has often manifested keen interest in an individual 
one, drew no joy from being father to his own son. 
He is apparently unable to experience the primi 
tive satisfaction that the average man enjoys from 
mere continuity. 

Lita became restless. Being young and inexperi 
enced and not knowing just what she wanted from 
life, she decided to travel She went to Catalina 
Island for a brief stay. Catalina is a simple resort 
which can be enjoyed inexpensively. Thousands 
of dollars were given her for this trip, a night s 
run on a boat from Wilmington near Los Angeles. 

She returned and soon afterward went to Hono 
lulu. More thousands of dollars were given her 
for this journey. Her credit at Los Angeles and 
Hollywood stores had been unlimited, A short time 
before the divorce papers were filed, she spent al 
most thirty thousand dollars on jewelry and 
clothes within a few days of careless shopping. 

Charlie watched amazed at the pleasure anyone 
could derive from senseless extravagance, which 
is without the boundary of his comprehension. He 
put it down to the fact that she was a simple, un 
trained girl who had never had any appreciable 
sums of money at her command before and who 
lacked mental resources which would make such 
extravagance unsatisfying. She was enjoying it; 
he shrugged his shoulders and made no protest* 
Production of The Gold Rush took much of his 
energies and concentration. 



210 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

For recreation he escorted Georgia Hale, who 
had replaced Lita in The Gold Rush, to night clubs 
and an occasional party. He enjoyed small intime 
dinners with Maisie at her home. He appeared in 
public with his wife often enough to put down news 
columnists excessive speculation on their marital 
divergence. 

There was one evening when he and Georgia 
Hale were dining at the Russian Eagle, the smart 
dining place of Hollywood at the time. They sat 
next the table at which a member of the French 
Foreign Office was host. At this table was a tall 
slender woman with exquisite bone structure, so 
beautiful that Sargent and many other artists 
had painted her again and again for their own 
delight in her "design/ A natural blonde, proud 
and with an undeniable look of race, she was near 
Charlie s own age but pointed the truth that beauty 
often increases with age while mere prettiness may 
fade into something negligible. 

Heedless of his companion s annoyance and of 
the angry glances sent his way by the European 
host, Charlie sat in gloomy absorption for the bet 
ter part of an hour devouring with his eyes the 

Baronesse T . He seemed to be reaching out 

to her as the symbol of all that he had missed, 
would always miss. It was not hard to read his 
somber thoughts: She is what I need, this woman 
with her Old World charm, her grace, her inner 
graciousness. A woman to whom beauty is not 
diamonds and fur coats but a woman to whom 



SECOND MARRIAGE THE GOLD RUSH 211 

great stirring music, a sunset, a single tree flung 
in silhouette against the sky, the poetry of life, 
would mean more than being Charlie Chaplin s 
wife. 

His eyes, cloudy and dark blue, followed the 
figure to the door, his dinner lay untouched on his 
plate. There was hunger in his eyes, deep and 
primal, a pleading for life to give him something 
he had never had and which he CQuld not quite 
define. 

Charlie was inspirited to repeat his detective 
work on Lita as he had attempted in the case of 
his former wife. He asked Kono to have a dicta 
phone installed in Lita s bedroom. Whether he 
hoped to catch the baritone of some hypothetical 
admirer, or only the conversation of Lita and her 
mother, was not clear to Kono. However, he obedi 
ently had some of the studio electricians place the 
transmitter of the instrument in the fireplace and 
run the wires ending in a receiver to the basement 
below. 

Stealthily one night, Charlie, followed by Kono, 
went to the trunk room, picked up the earphones 
of the contraption, and listened. His chagrin was 
comical. He handed the instrument to Kono. Lita 
and her mother, it is true, were having an animated 
conversation, but all that came to the amateur 
detectives ears was an excellent impersonation of 
two indignant cats on the back fence. The dicta 
phone, it seemed, was not a mechanical success. 



Second Son Broken Marriage Escape 



How THE BIRTH of the second child to this unhappy 
union of Lita and Charlie Chaplin came about will 
always be a matter of conjecture to those who took 
seriously the absurd accusations made by Lita in 
her divorce complaint, to say nothing of the few 
who were aware of the natural antagonism be 
tween the two. To these last, however, it was less 
mystery than tragedy as they watched the married 
life of the tragically mismated couple progress to 
an inevitable and disastrous finish. But nine 
months and two days after the registered date of 
Charles s birth, another boy was born to them and 
christened Sydney Earl Chaplin II 

When little Sydney was not quite ten months 
of age, in January of 1927, Lita sued Charlie for 
divorce and asked for an accounting of community 
property under the California law which grants 
to either party of the marriage contract a claim 
upon any proprety acquired while married. She 
demanded that a receiver be appointed for the 
Chaplin holdings and that an order pendente lite 
be granted restraining her husband from: first, 



SECOND SON BROKEN MARRIAGE 213 

taking the children from her; second, assigning or 
transferring any property to others pending the 
outcome of the divorce. 

This order included the picture, The Circus, 
upon which Charlie was working at the time, as 
producer, director, and star. Nine hundred thou 
sand dollars had been expended upon the produc 
tion, and although it was well on its way it was 
by no means completed. 

Merna Kennedy played opposite Charlie in The 
Circus and was one of the few to withstand his 
charm. Merna was a friend of Lita s and showed 
a fine loyalty for Charlie s wife. Charlie was still 
engaged in sporadic efforts to endow Maisie with 
qualities of which she had never even heard. 

Lita Chaplin s divorce complaint burst as a ver 
itable bombshell upon the always more or less con 
tinuous marital skirmishes of the ladies and gen 
tlemen of the screen. Not that anyone expected 
the marriage to last; but none, not even Charlie, 
was prepared for the lengths to which she would 
go in her accusations against the conduct and 
morals of the outstanding screen luminary of the 
day. 

The complaint was filed against Charles 
Spencer Chaplin, Inc., a corporation; T. Kono; 
Alfred Keeves, studio manager; United Artists 
Corporation, and various banks and John Does. 

Soon the more sensational phases of the com 
plaint were common gossip. "Have you heard what 



214 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Chaplin s wife accuses him of 1" "He s a beast to 
treat that young girl so/ and thus it went. 

The milder accusations, such as paragraph (b) 
on page 3 of the lengthy vituperation, were to be 
expected. If Charlie Chaplin had not struck out 
at the fate which had once more entrapped him 
into a hateful marriage, he would have been more 
or less than human. This paragraph follows : 
"That on or about the 5th day of January, 1925, 
defendant [Charlie] came home about 1 :30 o clock 
A.M. and went into plaintiff s room while she was 
asleep, and wakened her and commenced to up 
braid her, reproach her and condemn her on ac 
count of their said marriage; that at said time 
plaintiff was in a delicate condition, as aforesaid, 
and nervous from loss of sleep, and exhausted by 
excitement and turmoil, and commenced to cry. 
That she said to defendant : C I am very sorry but 
it is not my fault, and I don t see how I can help 
it. Please let me rest and don t talk to me any 
more tonight about it, and I will talk to you in the 
morning/ That defendant replied in an angry 
and domineering voice, We ll talk about it right 
now. That defendant thereupon remained in said 
room and continued to abuse and condemn plain 
tiff, as aforesaid, until five o clock." 

Divorce complaints in Hollywood have become 
milder and more civilized within the past fifteen 
years. It is accepted by each party to the action 
that neither is a beast or monster, nor is one party 



SECOND SON BROKEN MARRIAGE 215 

as pure as a snowdrift and the other appended 
with tail and horns. 

It cannot be denied that Charlie, often driven to 
frenzy by all the thousand and one restraints of 
an unhappy union, was at times unchivalrous; 
nor was he the angel of tolerance and unfailing 
courtesy which fits in with the accepted conception 
of a gentleman. Being, as he believed himself to 
be, in love with Maisie at the time did not increase 
his good nature and patience with his wife. And 
no man, far less an artist, can be expected to ig 
nore his own conviction that he has been entrapped 
into a marriage hateful to his very soul. 

Production on The Circus was stopped by 
Charlie upon receiving service of Lita s divorce 
complaint. He had taken the precaution of having 
his home and all studio property listed under 
corporation ownership save some large cash bal 
ances in various banks and Liberty bonds and 
Canadian War bonds to the amount of approxi 
mately three-quarters of a million dollars in value. 
These were secreted at the studio. 

Sensing in the first gun fired, the newspaper 
furor, in an attack upon him, Charlie s impulse 
was to run, to escape. He was in a dreadful state 
of nerves and threatened to go to England to make 
pictures before he would agree to the settlement 
Lita had indicated she would demand. 

While Lloyd Wright, who had succeeded Arthur 



216 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Wright, his late brother, as Charlie s attorney, 
prepared his line of defense and called in Gavin 
McNab, of San Francisco, as consulting attorney, 
Nathan Burkan, noted lawyer of New York, was 
engaged by Charlie as his personal attorney and 
adviser. Lita s battery of attorneys consisted of 
the firm of Young and Young, and L. R. Brigham, 
and was headed by her uncle, Edwin T. McMurry. 

Charlie decided to leave secretly for New York, 
taking only Kono with him. A friend secured train 
tickets for them under his name. Avoiding the fast 
trains upon which motion-picture stars are ac 
customed to travel, the reservations were made on a 
"local" to Chicago. 

Charlie and Kono boarded the train late at 
night. There was not a reporter in sight, for the 
utmost secrecy had attended their preparations for 
the journey. Charlie was quickly secluded in a 
drawing room, while Kono occupied a section in 
the same Pullman. 

It was a four-day trip to Chicago on this train, 
which stopped at every small station, and at water 
tanks in between. There was no diner; at meal 
times stops of twenty minutes were made at the 
Harvey houses along the route, and each time 
Kono jumped off, ate hurriedly, and brought a tray 
to Charlie, paying a deposit on the tray and silver 
and dishes, to be redeemed at the next stop. This 
enabled Charlie to eat leisurely as the train 
moved on. 



SECOND SON BROKEN MARRIAGE 217 

After four days of dragging time, they reached 
Chicago, where a few straggling reporters meeting 
the train on the chance of a little story pounced 
upon them. Here was luck. Charlie, for all the 
press knew, was in seclusion in his home in Beverly 
Hills. Kono, seeing Charlie s lowering look, put 
them off. Mr. Chaplin was very tired. He was 
making a hurried trip on business. Loud guffaws 
met this information. A hurried trip on this 
turtle ! Well, anyway, Mr. Chaplin was very tired. 
He would meet them at the Blackstone Hotel an 
hour later. 

It is to be hoped that those reporters are not 
waiting yet at the Blackstone, for Charlie and 
Kono hopped into a taxi and rode to the extreme 
north side of Chicago, to the Hotel Belmont, where 
there were no reporters and where the blase man 
ager would not have flicked an eyelash if Her 
Majesty, Dowager Queen Mary herself had reg 
istered at his inn. 

Kono went into town to reserve accommodations 
for the Twentieth Century Limited leaving for 
New York that night, but there were no berths 
available. Leaving his telephone number, he re 
turned to the Belmont to find Charlie possessed of 
a sudden appetite for Chinese food. They dined at 
the noted New China Chop Suey House at the 
corner of Van Buren and Clark Streets. No one 
recognized Charlie sitting back in a dim corner of 
the cafe. It was pleasant to be in a strange city 



218 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

eating an excellent dinner in obscurity. As they 
drove through the snowy night back to the hotel 
Charlie was jubilant at the success of their ruse. 
His joy was not long-lived. 

Kono received a call from the ticket agent next 
morning, A special Pullman was to be attached 
to the Twentieth Century for Mr. Chaplin and his 
secretary. 

"I hate to doubt their pure motives, but it sounds 
fishy to me," Kono told Charlie as they breakfasted 
in their rooms. 

Charlie upbraided him for a cynic. "Why 
shouldn t they put on an extra car for me?" he 
asked truculently. "They didn t say we had to pay 
for the whole car, did they?" he added. 

"No, and that s just where the catch comes. I 
don t like it." Kono was dubious. Charlie laughed 
at his fears. 

When they opened their door to go to the station 
they were greeted by no less than thirty reporters 
crowding the hall. Loud clamors for interviews 
rent the air, but Charlie smiled and went deaf and 
dumb, and Kono "no spik Englis" which was not 
too gross an exaggeration. Finally goaded to reck 
lessness by their inability to get a word out of 
either, one of the reporters boasted that the whole 
lot of them were accompanying the pair to New 
York. A light dawned on Kono. So this was the 
reason for the extreme thoughtf ulness of the rail 
road. The press had bought out the car! With 



SECOND SON BROKEN MARRIAGE 219 

resignation he accepted the inevitable and pre 
pared for the siege. 

With Charlie securely locked in his drawing 
room, it was a baffled group of newsmen until one 
veteran reporter from the New York American, 
seizing a chance when Kono came out of the state 
room and left it unlocked, slipped in and overcame 
Charlie s scowling displeasure by talking fast. He 
only wanted to relieve Mr. Chaplin s boredom and 
his own, he assured him. He suggested a game of 
poker. 

Kono was disturbed to find them absorbed in 
the game when he returned. He cursed himself 
for having left the door unlocked and sat down in 
a corner apparently immersed in a magazine, and 
listened. It all seemed harmless enough; there 
was no talk of personalities, no attempt on the part 
of the newsman to draw Charlie into a discussion 
of his private affairs. And Charlie was intent up 
on his cards, trying as hard to win from his op 
ponent as if it were a matter of his next meal. 

A little after midnight Kono got up and an 
nounced flatly that it was time to go to bed. The 
reporter assumed a downcast expression. He 
couldn t, he confided, sleep at all on a train. Charlie 
chimed in that neither could he. He would rather 
go on playing than toss about in his berth. It 
slowly penetrated Kono s mind that he was no 
match for a keen-witted reporter. He left for his 
own bed, after a warning look thrown at Charlie. 



220 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

The next morning Charlie appeared distraught 
and anxious. He confessed to Kono that he had 
talked too much. It seemed that immediately after 
Kono retired, the reporter had begun talking of 
the trouble, all of it mythical, no doubt, that he 
had had with women. Charlie had sympathized 
with him and had responded with his views on 
women in general and his current wife in particu 
lar. The game had continued until daylight, 
Charlie by that time having told all of his plans, 
his marriage experience, and so on, ad infinitum. 
He had extracted a promise, however, that he 
would not be quoted. 

Kono sought out the reporter and asked that 
the whole confidence be kept oif the record. The 
reporter laughed at him, insinuated 1^ia1;,^e was 
none too bright. Kono Coffered lmx| money; the 
reported waved this aside>-There wasSnothing to 
worry aobut, l^ejassured Im^T^So convincing was 
he in hi^ protest^ionguthat Kono, nevipr quick 
witted, was inplMecT to believe it had Sail been a 
pother about/notMpg. * 



13 



New York Attack Defense 



IN NEW YORK Charlie and Kono went to the 
bachelor apartment of Nathan Burkan to stay. 
Burkan, a genial and hospitable man, put himself 
out to soothe Charlie s nervous apprehension about 
the outcome of the divorce. The main point, he 
assured him, was that his side must maintain a 
dignified silence through the press. This would 
do much to swing public sentiment and sympathy 
over to Charlie. Lita was not using such discretion. 

Mr. Burkan suggested the theater that evening. 
There was a good play, an amusing one, at the 
Times Square, Anita Looses Gentlemen Prefer 
Blondes. Charlie agreed to go; he wanted to put 
the whole matter out of his mind, and Mr. Burkan s 
attitude was comfortably reassuring. 

It was a cold night in January. Gusts of snow 
greeted them as they reached the theater* As Mr. 
Burkan stepped up to the box office, Charlie shiv 
ered with more than the cold. The newsboys were 
crying his name. His heart sank, his stomach 
turned over. 

Snatching a paper, he read just enough to see 



222 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

his secrets confided the night before to the "sympa 
thetic" reporter for the New York American 
spread with embellishment for the delectation of 
its readers always avid for "crime and under 
wear." Charlie was stripped in this story to a 
mere shred of undergarment. Dementia Ameri 
cana was well launched. 

It is hard for the average citizen to comprehend 
the total absence of ethics and decency in some of 
the gentlemen of the press in America. But in 
fairness to the reporters must it be said that it is 
the established policy of the papers which must 
shoulder the blame. The writer was told by a re 
porter that if it so happened that he was sent to 
get a sensational story on his own sister or mother 
and stopped at the border line of news, failed to 
color the facts into a jumble of lying melodrama, 
refused to betray confidences or steal pictures, it 
would mean instant dismissal and probably 
boycott. 

Charlie became violently ill. Mr. Burkan, dis 
tressed over his indiscretion as much as over his 
present reactions, hurried him to the gentlemen s 
lounge in the theater where he vomited and had 
to lie down for some time on a couch before he 
could be taken home. Mr. Burkan was able to keep 
the curious away from the violently nauseated 
figure on the couch. The passers-by were men, and 
fortunately there was a majority well-bred enough 
to leave him quite alone. So continued was 



NEW YORK ATTACK DEFENSE 223 

Charlie s agitation and nausea that all thought of 
seeing the play was relinquished. He was rushed 
home and put to bed. 

All through the night Charlie kept Kono by his 
bedside. He had to have someone to whom he could 
pour out his despair. He was through. He was 
finished. He could never face the world again, 
never make another picture, never hold up his head 
after this. As the night wore on, his condition be 
came more serious, his temperature rose alarm 
ingly, and Mr. Burkan suggested calling in a 
doctor, Gustav Tiek. Dr. Tiek pronounced his con 
dition a nervous breakdown and prescribed com 
plete rest in bed. He strongly recommended that 
all newspapers be kept from his room. 

Of this last Charlie would not hear. He insisted 
upon having all of the New York papers brought 
to him, seemed to derive a melancholy pleasure 
from the mental lacerations the newspapers, al 
most without exception, were giving him. He 
learned from them that private detectives armed 
with court orders had visited the studio, the man 
ager, Al Reeves, and the banks where he had safety 
deposit boxes, and had clamped attachments on 
everything he owned except the War bonds, Ca 
nadian and American, which were safely secreted 
at the studio. He also had a bank account of some 
twenty thousand dollars on deposit in New York. 
Payrolls at the studio were held up, pictures under 
production stopped; even the hat and shoes and 



224 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

stick, the trademarks of his comedies, were under 
attachment. 

The Graphic, New York scandal sheet, owned 
by Bernarr MacFadden of True Story cult, came 
out next day with the divorce complaint in full, 
whereas even the most yellow of the other journals 
had slipped in only an occasional paragraph and 
hinted at the others. Copies of the notorious docu 
ment were struck off on printing presses, it was 
learned, and were selling in the larger cities for 
sums ranging from twenty-five cents to ten dollars. 

Charlie was too intelligent not to realize the dis 
aster of this hue and cry to his popularity in the 
Middle West, the South, and in the smaller towns 
in every section of the country. Hollywood would 
discount the charges; New York would shrug its 
shoulders and laugh it off; Boston would ask, "Who 
is Charlie Chaplin?" and Chicago would probably 
announce that it didn t give a damn. But the 
hinterland ! Women s clubs and church organiza 
tions there would demand that a stop be put to 
the showing of his pictures. 

Motion pictures do not depend upon a few cities 
for the enormous profit which makes possible the 
spending of millions in production. America had 
demonstrated during the War that she made little 
distinction between an artist s private life or con- 
eonvictions and his art. Witness the treatment 
accorded the altruistic Fritz Kreisler when he was 
overtaxing his strength to the danger point to play 



NEW YORK ATTACK DEFENSE 225 

a crowded schedule of benefit concerts for the fam 
ilies of destitute Belgian, German, and Allied 
artists. In many towns he was booed and hissed. 
He was a German. England played Wagner, all 
the German masters, for the duration of the war. 
We were pleased to ban them for accident of birth. 

Art should know no time nor place nor nation 
ality. And who, possessing no standard by which 
an artist can be measured, is competent to set him 
self up as judge? Certainly not the hypocritical, 
self-righteous "respectable citizen" ; his bourgeois 
narrow gauge rule is inadequate for measure of 
art or the artist. 

Ambrose Bierce has said, "It is the lot of all 
men of genius to suffer at the hands of mediocrity. 
. . . Let a man have a thought that transcends the 
commonplace and he is denounced as a neurotic or 
a drunkard. . . . The expression of the thought can 
be explained in no other way by the aspiring 
peasantry." 

In the hysteria of the moment, Charlie s sup 
posed transgressions were counted more than mere 
drunkenness or neuroticism. And communities in 
Canada and in the United States were guilty of 
turning thumbs down on all Chaplin pictures. 

Meanwhile, for four days and nights, it was 
necessary to keep a close watch upon Charlie s 
every action. His despair was so great at the readi 
ness of the public to accept accusations that were 
despicable lies that Kono, by Mr. Burkan s instruc- 



226 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

tions, stayed at his bedside, did not leave the con 
fines of the suite occupied by the crushed actor. 
And while he prevented any attempts at desperate 
action he infuriated Charlie with his attempts at 
comforting him. 

"What do you care?" Kono asked him. "You 
can retire tomorrow and enjoy everything money 
can buy. You can go to England and live." 

"That s all you know of what work means to 
me," Charlie shouted. "What do I care? Oh, what s 
the use ! You wouldn t know what I was talking 
about" 

Lonely and confused, Charlie meditated upon 
the contrast of justice as applied to business affairs 
and to an artist s most valuable commodity, ad 
miration by the public, A businessman, he reflected, 
whose affairs have become involved, is protected 
from the animus of creditors who wish to ruin 
him outright. Even more important, he is pro 
tected from the public, the receiver s books closed 
to indiscriminate prying. Not so the hapless de 
fendant in a divorce suit. Instead, every detail of 
his wife s charges is made public before he has 
an opportunity to defend himself legally. He is 
pronounced guilty before he is tried, is placed in 
the public stocks to be hooted at, jeered, and stoned 
before he has a chance for defense and until the 
populace tires of its sensation and veers off to 
another victim. 

An artist whose existence depends upon the 



NEW YORK ATTACK DEFENSE 227 

personal regard of Ms audiences is doubly vulner 
able in such a matter. 

Wheeler Dryden, half -brother to both Charlie 
and Syd, was in New York at this time. Dreamy, 
somewhat ineffectual if weighed by financial suc 
cess of both his brothers,* Wheeler had entered into 
Charlie s life only sketchily. He is known to have 
been on the Chaplin payroll, content with twenty- 
five dollars a week. Dryden has dabbled in serious 
legitimate drama in New York and in England. 

Maintaining the serio-comic discretion of a bar- 
sinister relative of a royal house, yet evincing a 
brotherly loyalty withal, he sent the following let 
ter to Kono : 

1730 Broadway 
New York City, N. Y. 
(Tel. Circle 2131) 
Dear Kono : Jan. 23rd, 1927. 

You will remember me as a very close relative of Mr, 
Chaplin s. The last time I saw you was in August 1925 
at the Ritz-Carlton when I called on Mr. Chaplin to keep 
a luncheon engagement with him. 

Kono, please hand the enclosed note to Mr. Chaplin 
personally. It is just a short note to tell him that I am 
prepared to do anything in my power to do, to help him 
in his present trouble. He may want to get in touch with 
me at short notice so kindly make a note of my address 
and telephone number in your address book. ... In any 
case I shall call upon Mr. Chaplin personally within a day 
or two. I am giving him time to recuperate completely 
from his illness. 

With best wishes 
WHEELER DEYDEN 



* Syd Chaplin had entered the Chaplin studio and was producing 
moderately successful comedies in which he himself starred. 



228 CHAELIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Reason gradually asserted itself with Charlie. 
Slowly courage had filtered through where there 
had been only despair. He told himself that this 
was only a phase of his life, not the whole; that it 
would recede before the next wave of sensation into 
a vague remembrance* Eventually his people would 
not condemn him. They would know that his char 
acterization on the screen was a truer picture of 
him than that stirred by scandalmongers, a very 
human fellow who made mistakes but who gave 
them his best and who strove always to make that 
best, perfection. 

Editorial writers, some of the better ones, be 
gan to take up the cudgels in Charlie s behalf. 
Their inky ammunition was aimed less at Lita 
than against the sheeplike condemnation of him 
for his private life by people whose own houses 
were somewhat transparent and who had none 
theless laid in a goodly supply of stones. 

Livingston Lamed on the editorial pages of the 
White Plains, (N. Y.) Daily Reporter was one of 
the first to lash out at Charlie s self-righteous 
critics. He wrote in part: "At the very first inti 
mation of gossip, we zestfully rip reputations apart 
and set ourselves up as moral censors of the uni 
verse. ... As far as the public is concerned a vast 
number of stones are being thrown by people who 
live in glass houses. If the other person does some 
thing, it s a crime against common decency and 
civilization; if they are caught with the goods, it s 



NEW YORK ATTACK DEFENSE 229 

quite another matter. If they are not caught, their 
moral pose is simply gorgeous. We would be im 
mensely interested in a cross section of the personal 
and private lives of any one hundred people who 
are raising such a hullabaloo over Charlie Chaplin. 
There would be enough slime to keep the pink- 
petticoated tabloids in scandal broth for years to 
come. 

"Charlie Chaplin has manufactured happiness, 

entertainment, release from boredom It is a 

vast and immeasurable record of high achievement. 
The echoes of laughter and light-hearted gaiety 
he has inspired can be heard around the world." 

Other editors followed suit. H. L. Mencken, who 
was no admirer of Charlie s "innocuous film buf 
fooneries," took out his flail and lashed the news 
papers for pandering to the public s avid interest in 
scandal. He wrote in the Baltimore Evening Sun; 
"The very morons who worshipped Charlie Chaplin 
six weeks ago now prepare to dance around the 
stake while he is burned; he is learning something 
of the psychology of the mob A public trial in 
volving sexual accusations is made a carnival 
everywhere in the United States save perhaps in a 
few states that are not quite one hundred per cent 
American, but nowhere is there more shameless a 
delight in obscenity than in California. The re 
tired Iowa cow valets who swarm the state, espe 
cially in the southern section thereof, are hot for 



230 CHAELIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

bawdy shows, and like them best when they are 
free." 

The divorce battle proceeded. On February 11, 
four months before the tax trouble was known to 
have been settled, the New York Sun had come out 
with a story by special dispatch from Hollywood 
that the prominent clubwomen of the film capital 
and adjacent Los Angeles had started a fund for 
"the penniless wife and children" of Charlie Chap 
lin. It was, purportedly, to pay the rent on their 
house and provide money for their actual necessi 
ties. Lita Chaplin, it stated, had been awarded 
four thousand dollars a month temporary alimony 
pending the outcome of her divorce suit but had 
been unable to collect a penny of it, owing to legal 
technicalities at which Charlie s attorneys were 
adept, and also because of claims on the Chaplin 
property filed by Federal Income Tax authorities. 
Charlie s formal announcement that he would not 
be responsible for his wife s debts had shut off all 
avenues of credit. 

Charlie s lawyers had offered Lita twenty-five 
dollars a week, which she had refused as inadequate 
and in direct contravention of the court order is 
sued by Judge Guerin. 

"If Chaplin thinks he can starve his child-wife 
into submission he is reckoning without the women 
of Hollywood," said Mrs. M. R. Browningfield of 
the Ebell Club, in a statement to a representative 
of the New York Sun on that date. "Thirty women 



NEW YORK ATTACK DEFENSE 231 

representing twenty clubs met Thursday night last, 
and we have already begun to raise the money to 
pay Mrs. Chaplin s rent and to properly feed and 
care for her little boys. We are not taking sides 
in the divorce case but we are not willing that this 
eighteen-year-old wife and mother shall suffer 
from want while her husband whose superior age 
and experience should have made him more toler 
ant, is employing his expensive lawyers to deprive 
her of use of the money the judge says she should 
have and which Chaplin can well afford/ 7 

Each of the women pledged to contribute one 
hundred dollars by the end of the week, which 
would give Lita three thousand dollars to meet 
immediate demands. 

It was not the direct fault of Charlie, of course, 
that the Federal Government had tied up this 
temporary alimony, but it was with his full knowl 
edge and consent that his own attorneys had so 
clouded the proceedings with petty technicalities, 
and it was with his approval that his own personal 
purse strings were tightened and that his attorneys 
offered Lita the meager sum of twenty-five dollars 
a week, purported to come from Lloyd Wright* s 
own pocket. It was admirable of neither Charlie 
nor Mr. Wright that they employed such weapons 
against a very young woman and two small chil 
dren, Charlie s own children. Follows an excerpt 
from a letter written by Mr. Wright to Mr. Nathan 
Burkan under date of February 7, 1927 : 



232 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

We know that the other side is getting very tired. They 
have accomplished nothing and they realize that sentiment 
is turning against them. They have tried to approach us 
with a compromise offer but we have, thus far, refused to 
entertain it. . . . 

Their going to the District Attorney has cost them a 
host of friends. For instance the last time they went to 
him, they informed him that I was voluntarily making 
these contributions to the children, and not as Chaplin s 
agent. It is true that I have given them the impression, 
and necessarily so, that the money was coming out of my 
own funds and I will continue to do so. Otherwise if any 
accumulation of moneys were permitted here, they would 
try to get it under the Receiver s order or under the order 
of the Federal Government or under anyone s control that 
might try to embarrass us. 

The interference of the clubwomen of Holly 
wood and Los Angeles in the Chaplin affairs was 
from a cursory glance put down to the age-old vil 
lage persecution. Tar and feather the malefactor 
who dares to step aside from the narrow paths of 
rectitude cut through the dense forest of human 
behavior ! 

Charlie s attitude toward this gesture was a 
mixture of worry over antagonizing organized 
opinion, and lofty contempt that they could not 
grasp the truth that he was beyond the cruelty of 
which they accused him. 

Charlie s statement in answer to the club 
women s activities follows : 

I find that I am accused of letting my children go hun 
gry for lack of milk. I had heard a rumor of it before but 
now I learn the charge has actually been made and is 
being repeated. It seems silly to deny it but I have had 



NEW YORK ATTACK DEFENSE 233 

to deny so many other silly charges that I must now give 
my word that this charge is not only untrue but was 
manufactured for the sole purpose of injuring me and 
holding me up. 

I don t believe a man has ever lived who would refuse 
milk to hungry children. And when you realize that I 
have no other interest in the present controversy "than to 
regain my children and look after them, you will also 
realize the absurdity of the charge that I am letting them 
go hungry. As a matter of fact, Mrs. Chaplin s lawyers 
have checks of mine in their possession which could buy 
milk. The reason they have not cashed them is that they 
want bigger checks. [Considerably larger checks were 
ordered by the court and ignored by Charlie and his at 
torneys.] They do not want milk for the children. They 

want to milk me I will make a fight for the sake of my 

children. They will never want for anything that I can 
give them. But it will be a tedious fight and you will 
hear many rumors and charges. You can trust a group 
of lawyers who are out to hold me up for money and pub 
licity to do everything they can to intimidate the defend 
ant so that he will settle with them for cash. 

All I ask is that the public suspend judgment until the 
case is decided. I can fight an unjust charge even though 
all the lawyers of California are behind it. But I do not 
think it fair to ask me to fight all gossip and all charges 
and all rumors that are spread against me by people whose 
only interest is to make money out of me. 

"Settle for cash" is exactly what Charlie did in 
the long run. Without inconvenience to himself he 
could have given one million out of a probable ten 
million he had and saved himself these accusations 
from many sources. After a long siege, he paid 
Lita six hundred thousand dollars, and large fees 
to his attorneys. 

Charlie made no outstanding effort to get sole 
possession of his boys. They were not the issue 



234 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

uppermost in his mind, for he apparently lacked 
the so-called normal instincts of the usual father. 
He understands the heart of a child as perhaps no 
other dramatist except the late Sir James Barrie, 
but it is an abstract understanding, impersonaliz- 
ed, inclusive of the whole of childhood. And his 
attitude, consistent with his views formerly ex 
pressed to Clare Sheridan, was that the boys would 
care for him because he was their father. 

In a letter to Nathan Burkan from Lloyd 
Wright, dated February 10, there is enlightenment 
on the methods of his defense against what Charlie 
sincerely believed to be a holdup. Wright wrote, 
"We know from confidential sources that our con 
tinued hammering at them is breaking their 

morale They are ready to talk settlement but 

it is our opinion that we should not yet see them 
until we have continued our process of breaking 
them down a little longer. 

"We have wonderful contacts with what is 
going on. We have every possible influence at work 
for us, and frankly, we cannot see anything but 
final and complete success The strongest in 
fluences in the state [California] are helping us in 
every particular we request." 

"Final and complete" success Charlie felt was 
necessary. He was sure that if his attorneys slack 
ened their efforts one whit, it might cost him his 
right of expression on the screen. And deprived of 
this outlet, he would no doubt have sickened and 
died. 



NEW YORK ATTACK DEFENSE 235 

He dreaded a court trial of the divorce, hoped 
for a settlement. 

On July 20, 1927, Kono received the following 
telegram from Lloyd Wright: 

AFTER WE ACCEPTED THEffi PROPOSITION AND UPON AB 
SOLUTE ASSURANCE THAT SHE WISHED IT AND APPROVED IT 
WE SUBMITTED AGREEMENT AS WAS SENT YOU SUNDAY STOP 
SHE NOW RAISING CERTAIN QUESTIONS AND HAS EXPRESSED 
DESIRE TO DELAY FINAL APPROVAL AND SIGNATURE OF 
AGREEMENT STOP WE ARE SURE THEY ARE PLAYING POKER 
STOP WE ARE PROCEEDING WITH PREPARATIONS FOR TRIAL 
AND HAVE NOTIFIED THEM STOP MCNAB AND I FEEL THAT 
AGREEMENT WILL BE REACHED AND EXECUTED WITHIN 
SHORT TIME NEVERTHELESS WE MUST MAKE BOLD FRONT 
AND CARRY ON PREPARATIONS BECAUSE OF HER TREACHERY 
STOP NOTHING TO BECOME ALARMED ABOUT AND WE HAVE 
INFORMED NATE OUR COURSE AND HE APPROVES STOP ONE 
OF THE POINTS ABOUT WHICH THE PLAINTIFF AND HER 
UNCLE ARE FIGHTING IS THE STRONG PROVISIONS WE HAVE 
MADE THAT IF SHE MAKES FURTHER ATTACK 1 ON DEFENDANT 
AFTER SETTLEMENT SHE WILL LOSE THE POSTPONED PAY 
MENT STOP THIS IS THE MOST VITAL PART OF CONTRACT 
STOP ALL SEND REGARDS 

Charlie was weary of hearing about the settle 
ment that constantly approached the verge of com 
pletion and then retreated. A recent invitation 
appealed to him. It was from the Atwater-Kents in 
Philadelphia, for luncheon, the horse show, and an 
overnight stay. 



Interlude Divorce Settlement 
The Circus 



THE INVITATION from Mrs. Atwater-Kent gave 
explicit directions as to the train Charlie and Kono 
were to take to Philadelphia and at which station 
they would be met, the East-side Station. 

The short trip was uneventful until just before 
the train reached the outskirts of Philadelphia and 
slowed down for the city traffic. Kono was a bit 
apprehensive as Charlie got up with a newspaper 
in his hand and disappeared into the gentlemen s 
lavatory. But when some fifteen minutes passed 
and they approached the East-side Station and no 
sign of Charlie, he was positively anxious. He got 
up, walked the length of the car, and knocked on 
the door. 

"Go away!" yelled Charlie. "Don t bother me!" 

"But, Charlie, we re getting into the station/ 
he remonstrated. 

"Can t help it. Not interested," was Charlie s 
reply, with the indifference of a king on his throne. 

Kono s heart dropped down somewhere in the 
region of his boots. So Charlie was going to be 



INTERLUDE DIVORCE SETTLEMENT 237 

temperamental. So he was going to have trouble. 

The train ground to a stop. Peeking through a 
window, Kono saw the crowd surrounding the 
couple who were undoubtedly the host and hostess 
of the occasion; saw the cameramen with their 
cameras set up on tripods; saw the dozens of re 
porters sniffing the air like hounds on the scent. 

He dashed back and rapped firmly on the door 
of "Men/ 7 He called, "Charlie, we re in Phila 
delphia, the East-side Station. We ve got to get 
oif. The Atwater-Kents are here to meet you. Does 
that mean anything to you?" 

There was a silence of a brief moment, then: 
"I can t help it," came the emphatic reply through 
the door, "if the whole damned world is here. Pve 
been trying to get this newspaper read all morning, 
and I m going to stay here if it takes all day!" 

Kono with mayhem in his heart looked around 
to see the porter disappearing off the car with a 
small bag of his containing valuable papers. He 
jumped from the train and pushed through the 
crowd, hurried after him. The reception crowd 
took no notice of him ; their gaping expectant f aces 
were turned toward the platform of the car from 
which Charlie Chaplin should descend. 

Finally when he had retrieved the bag, Kono 
dashed back to re-enter the car and renew his pleas 
to Charlie, only to find the steps up, the door dosed, 
and the train getting under way. 

The Atwater-Kents hardly noticed the little 



238 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Japanese who was running along beside the train 
pounding vigorously on the car door. Charlie 
Chaplin, claiming the privileges of a genius, had 
disappointed them. They had been disappointed 
by stars of grand opera. 

Kono gave up the futile chase and returned to 
the waiting group. With the type of humor tinged 
with cruelty of the average Japanese he was highly 
amused at their disappointment, at the leftover ex 
pressions on their faces. His amusement was 
short-lived, however; he realized he had a bit of 
explaining to do. He was racking his mind for 
something more plausible and a trifle more ele 
gant than the bare facts, when there was a shout 
from the crowd, "Kono! Where s Chaplin ?" And 
a New York reporter who recognized him bore 
down upon him. Everyone gathered round. Of 
course this was Kono, Charlie s personal secretary ! 
They Inundated him with questions until he grew 
dizzy trying to evolve some modest explanation of 
Charlie s absence. 

At last he took refuge in assuring them that he 
would catch the elusive guest after a reporter had 
told him the train made two more stops In Phila 
delphia. He broke away for the nearest telephone. 
He called the Dearborn Station, in the middle of 
the city. No, the stationmaster had not seen 
Charlie, was sure he had not got off the train. He 
then called the West-side Station, the last stop in 
Philadelphia. The train had not yet arrived there, 



INTERLUDE DIVORCE SETTLEMENT 239 

but the stationmaster assured him he would set 
a good lookout for Charlie Chaplin and see that he 
got the telephone number Kono left. Kono then 
returned to the deluge of excited chatter outside. 

After forty minutes of cooling their heels, a 
loudspeaker blared out the information that Mr. 
Kono was wanted on the telephone. Dashing in 
and grabbing the receiver, Kono heard a plaintive, 
faintly accusative voice at the other end. 

"Why did you leave me? You re a hell of a 
secretary." ^ 

"Never mind the bawling out!" Kono shot the 
words into the transmitter. "Where are you?" 

"How should I know? I haven t the foggiest." 

"Well, put somebody on the phone who has got 
some sense," the exasperated Kono directed. There 
was a brief pause, and someone who said he was 
a waiter explained that Charlie was in a restau 
rant a few blocks from the West-side Station. 
Would Mr. Kono come and get him? 

Mr. Kono would, and so would about fifty other 
people, gladly. 

Charlie, unconcerned, met them all in front of 
the restaurant. He had lunched, he informed them 
comfortingly. 

Tightening their belts and mustering their 
manners for the honor of dear old Philadelphia, the 
Atwater-Kents and their guests led the way, lunch- 
less, to the horse show. 

The reporters found themselves in a rare spot. 



240 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

They had a story but how to write it? They re 
lieved their feelings somewhat by mildly lambast 
ing Charlie for his lack of social grace, but even 
this thrust was half-hearted. 

The overnight visit, with a large dinner party, 
was voted a success by all who came. The Joseph 
Wideners bore Charlie off as their prize for an 
other twenty-four-hour visit. And it is recorded 
that once he was captured, his newspaper reading 
quite completed, he was a guest who was charm 
ing and witty and gay. 

After a brief trip to Atlantic City, Charlie, with 
Kono, returned to New York. He was beginning 
to chafe again at his attorneys* delay in arriving 
at definite settlement with Lita. But he decided 
that they should stay in Manhattan or its environs 
until they had some final word. 

An invitation came from Madame Frances Alda, 
red-haired member of the Metropolitan Opera, 
from her estate, Casa Mia, on Long Island. Alda 
had been married to Gatti-Casazza, impresario of 
the Opera for about four years at this time. He 
was in Europe for the summer recruiting new 
singers. 

Charlie and Alda got on famously. They boated 
and fished and lolled under the great trees of her 
private beach and talked. In the evenings she gave 
dinners at which Charlie met as many of the great 
names of opera as were available, or who were 



INTERLUDE DIVORCE SETTLEMENT 241 

speaking to Alda. She had incurred a great deal 
of jealousy by marrying the director. 

Madame Alda tells a little story of Charlie in 
her abruptly ending memoirs that ran for two 
issues in the Cosmopolitan Magazine. The fact 
that she knew Charlie so casually makes her story 
quite innocent of double entendre. It seems they 
were fishing from the end of the pier of Casa Mia. 
Charlie accorded her magnetism on the opera stage 
and off, but he was, he said, skeptical about the 
susceptibility of the fish. After much good-natured 
chaffing, Alda challenged him to a bet to prove 
her prowess as a fisherman. Charlie was to pay 
her one dollar for every fish lured from the bay. 
When she had hauled in her eighty-third reproach 
ful-looking fish, Charlie, who had been growing 
more and more worried, cried out, "Enough, the 
bets are off!" 

From Casa Mia, he was carried off by William 
B. Leeds, Jr., the tin-plate heir, whose wife, 
Princess Xenia of Russia, wished to meet him. 
Here there were more parties, and Charlie was 
exhibited to more socialites of Long Island. 

Kono, who had stayed in town to keep in touch 
with Nathan Burkan and the attorneys on the 
West Coast, felt that their welcome was wearing 
thin at Mr. Burkan s and moved their belongings 
to the Ritz. He was staying pretty constantly in 
their rooms hoping for the call from California 
that would enable them to start for home. 



242 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

One afternoon about five o clock, the telephone 
rang. It was Mr. Leeds. He had, he told Kono, 
heard so much about him, he wanted to have a 
look at him. Kono, suspecting that Charlie had 
been spurred by a bit of drinking into extolling 
his virtues to Leeds, was reluctant to go to Long 
Island as Leeds urged. Leeds became more in 
sistent, so Kono agreed to come down in the speed 
boat which was being sent in to the Fourteenth 
Street pier. 

The boat arrived, and Kono got aboard. He ac 
cepted this mode of travel with serenity until the 
chap who was running the boat confided in him 
that he was a chauffeur, not a seaman. He had 
never made the trip from New York to Long 
Island before, he added, in any boat. He sped the 
boat through the water at an alarming rate and 
headed, as he hoped, for the north shore of the 
Island. 

For two hours they cut through the water in 
the growing darkness but did not seem to get any 
where, and finally the chauffeur acknowledged 
that he could make out no land. It was obvious 
that they were well out to sea. The boat, he replied 
to Kono s inquiries, had no compass, and the head 
lights were small and dim. 

On they sped until a warning sputter from the 
motor told them the gasoline was getting low. A 
hasty examination of the tank proved it nearly 
empty. Not too far away they saw the lights of 



INTERLUDE DIVORCE SETTLEMENT 243 

a ship and headed for it. Hailing the large boat, 
they enquired their position. "You re in Connecti 
cut," was the answering yell from one of the crew, 
"heading toward Massachusetts !" 

"Can you give a guy some gasoline?" the chauf 
feur called. 

"Yeah, come up alongside, we ll swing it down." 

The tank partially filled by the generous sailors, 
the speedboat was turned and headed back toward 
what both of them hoped was the Long Island 
shore. It was quite dark now, and Kono weakly 
suggested that they not be too fussy about what 
pier they took. Just any that came along. 

Meanwhile, the Leedses and Charlie, waking up 
to what, in their exuberance, they had done, had 
grown anxious. They built a huge bonfire on the 
beach near their pier. But without the aid of 
glasses it appeared as a small, flickering light to 
the two men in the boat. Finally they decided that 
the light had some significance for them, was a 
beacon light to guide them in. The speedboat was 
headed carefully in, and sure enough they found 
the Leedses pier and tied up. 

Kono was grateful that his seafaring experience 
with a chauffeur as skipper and crew was over. 
He was received with enthusiasm by Charlie and 
Mr. Leeds, who had fortified themselves with ad 
ditional drinks to bear up under the imagined fate 
of the two Magellans. 

The dinner awaiting him was excellent, and 



244 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

never had Kono so appreciated hospitality. He 
had pictured himself adrift with a sea biscuit and 
a chauffeur-captain who, he now suspected, had 
found the New York pier quite by accident. 

Back in New York, Charlie s restlessness grew. 
He wanted to get back to Hollywood and complete 
The Circus, held up so long by his marital tangle. 
He took long walks as an outlet for repressed en 
ergy. As he wandered about New York at this 
time, the central idea for his next picture, City 
Lights, began taking nebulous shape in his mind. 

Irrelevant to pictures, however, there was oc 
casional amusement to be found on these walks. 
He came back to the hotel one day after a four 
hours stroll, excited over a find in an optical shop. 
"It s marvelous ! Marvelous ! I told the man you d 
be down to get it/ he exclaimed to Kono. 

"Get what?" Kono inquired irritably. 

"Why, the telescope, of course. It s marvelous, 
I tell you. A German lens, I think. I ve never seen 
anything like it." 

"If you could just give me some idea where," 
Kono suggested. "Did you get a card?" Perhaps 
the proprietor had thrust one on him and he had 
pocketed it without thinking. 

"I haven t the foggiest idea, except " he bright 
ened, " except that it s down town." 

"That s a big help. On the Avenue? On a side 
street?" 



INTERLUDE DIVORCE SETTLEMENT 245 

"Not on a side street," Charlie announced tri 
umphantly. He was a help after all "I must 
have that telescope," he added. "It s marvelous, 
marvelous I" 

"How much is it?" Kono asked. 

"About $780. It s second hand." 

Kono, realizing he had elicited as specific direc 
tions as were to be had, put on his hat and took a 
last look around the apartment; it might be a 
long, long time before he saw it again. Oh, well, it 
was just after noon. 

Down Broadway, up Madison Avenue, down 
Fifth, up Lexington, Kono trudged, visiting 
twenty-five or thirty optical stores on his itinerary. 
"Did Mr. Chaplin come in here today? And see a 
telescope?" It began to sound like a refrain. He 
was hard put to it toward the last to keep from 
hysterical giggles. 

Some of the salesmen were skeptical, thinking 
it was a gag; others looked as if they wished it 
were true; one was doubtful, drew Kono out fur 
ther, and then put forward a telescope, new and 
not of German make. Kono departed angrily from 
the shop. He went back to Fifth Avenue, entered 
a small shop opposite the Library. "Did Mr. Chap 
lin " He got no further. The proprietor, Mr. 

Atkinson, beamed. 

"It s all ready to go," he told Kono, who took 
one look at the enormous, bulky parcel and tried to 
lift it. Visions of adding this to their voluminous 



246 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

luggage prompted him to ask, "Will you crate it 
and ship it to us at Los Angeles?" Of course. Kono 
wrote him a check for it. The freight would be 
collected on delivery. 

Hailing a taxi, Kono sank back and rested his 
tired legs; he was no athlete. When he got back to 
the hotel Charlie was disappointed at not having 
his toy in New York, but when Kono explained 
that unless they installed it on the roof of the hotel, 
there would be little perspective, he gave in. 

Months later when Charlie had got home, the 
telescope was set up in his bedroom, at the window 
overlooking John Barrymore s home about a mile 
opposite, and adjustable to the hills beyond. The 
powerful telescope was a revelation to the few 
friends admitted to his room. And Barrymore will 
no doubt be surprised to learn that he enjoyed the 
relative privacy of a goldfish until the trees (Pola s 
trees) about Charlie s house grew to a height 
shutting off John s house, Charlie s favorite thea 
ter. There should be a law or something. . . . 

There remained the hills. A picnic couple driv 
ing up the winding road to a spot overlooking San 
Fernando Valley beyond could be watched taking 
their blankets, car seat, and lunch- baskets from 
the car. The remarkable lens enabled the watchers 
from Charlie s window to distinguish the comic 
section of the Sunday newspaper from the news 
section. 

When the Graf Zeppelin was moored in Ingle- 



INTERLUDE DIVORCE SETTLEMENT 247 

wood, at least fourteen miles from the house, 
squinting into the telescope revealed details of 
dress, the actions of the people milling about the 
dirigible outside the limit rope, and the dirigible 
itself, with more clarity than a view from the 
landing field. 

In August word came from Lloyd Wright that 
Charlie was to meet him and Gavin McNab in 
San Francisco for final signing of papers in the 
settlement with Lita. She had agreed in writing 
to refrain from any further requests or annoyances 
in the future. She would receive six hundred thou 
sand dollars and would have possession of the 
children. There was the provision that the boys 
would be accessible to their father whenever he 
wished to visit them or have them as his guests. 
He must provide separately for them. 

Lita has said that after her attorneys and the 
expenses of her divorce action were paid, her bal 
ance was approximately two hundred thousand 
dollars. A trust fund of one hundred thousand 
dollars for each of his sons was established by 
Charlie, the income from them to be used exclu 
sively for their living and education. 

Charlie and Kono reached San Francisco, glad 
to escape the heat and humidity of New York in 
summer. Charlie was in a fever to get back to 
Hollywood and shoot the remaining sequences of 
The Circus. This he would be able to do, since the 



248 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

courts were releasing studio payrolls and equip 
ment. The long battle was over. Presently he 
would be at work. 

Nearly four years later Charlie paid a fine and 
back taxes to the Federal Government of 
$1,060,000. 

In San Francisco, Charlie and Kono were given 
the Presidential suite at the Palace Hotel. While 
dressing for dinner, Kono noticed that Charlie 
was preoccupied. Ha, a mood ! he thought. Charlie 
turned in the act of tying his black tie. "I remem 
ber something about President Harding and this 
suite," he told Kono. "You re dressed; go down 
and find out if he died in these rooms." 

Kono gave him a look which was the facial equiv 
alent of an Alaskan winter, but he went to the 
desk. Charlie s suspicion was confirmed reluc 
tantly by the clerk. The information was relayed 
to Charlie, who was in a state of nerves by this 
time. 

"What does it matter?" asked the material 
Kono. 

"Fm not a fatalist. You make me tired," was 
Charlie s retort. He was hurriedly throwing things 
into his bag as he spoke. 

"Telephone Douglas Gerrard," he directed. "I 
saw him in the lobby as we came up. He s going 
on to Del Monte to the polo games. I ll go with 
Min. Tell the lawyers to come on to Los Angeles." 
He dashed out of the room, leaving Kono to the 



INTERLUDE DIVORCE SETTLEMENT 249 

lone majestic splendor of the rooms of the 
Presidents. 

The Circus was completed at last. The preview 
was watched from a suburban theater, the final 
snipping and piecing accomplished. It was ready 
for the premiere at Grauman s Chinese Theatre 
in Hollywood Boulevard. 

The enormous lights of Otto K. Olsen s inven 
tion, pivoting from their trucks lined up in front 
of the theater and across the street, threw their 
beams skyward; other floodlights brought a day 
time brightness to the whole block surrounding 
the theater. Limousines dashed up to discharge 
the luminaries of the motion-picture world, pro 
ducers, directors, and stars galore from every 
studio in Hollywood, all paying five dollars a seat 
to do honor to Charlie s new picture and to tell 
him that whatever untoward happened, he be 
longed in their hearts. 

Charlie escorted Merna Kennedy to the first 
night; Maisie was there with a party. A micro 
phone, set up on the court with a master of cere 
monies presiding, lured various stars to chirp 
bromides to the world waiting at the radio, the 
inane, "Hello, everybody. I m so thrilled to be here 
and know you will be, too, when you see this wonr 
derf ul picture/ This has gradually been laughed 
out of practice. 

The prologue to The Circus as staged by Sid 



250 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 
Grauman, that master showman, was in itself 
worth the price of admission. Three rings of 
circus acts concentrated on the large stage gave 
the illusion of a full-fledged circus in action. Bare 
back riders, the noted Paddleford family, trapeze 
performers, the sawdust, the sideshows, and the 
barkers overflowed from the stage into the spacious 
front court and completed the illusion. The ornate 
gaudiness of the Chinese Theatre fitted the transi 
tory atmosphere of the night. 

It is said that when Harry K. Thaw on a visit 
to Hollywood first viewed the Chinese Theatre, 
fresh from its wrappings of billboards, he stopped 
in his tracks and, clapping his hand to his head, 
exclaimed, "My God! I shot the wrong architect!" 
The test of a picture comes not from its Holly 
wood or even its New York premiere but from the 
reception accorded it by thousands of smaller 
theater audiences over the nation. The Circus 
was warmly received, a complete success. No story 
selected from thousands of themes could have re 
established Charlie Chaplin in the affections and 
esteem of the public so decisively. And the story 
had been written long before there was a hint of 
the publicity of divorce. 

The final glimpse of the comedian in the picture 
is of a wistful, ill-favored little chap "seeking 
romance but his feet won t let him," to a degree of 
pathos not reached in former pictures. The circus 
moves on to another town, the girl he loves is mar- 



INTERLUDE DIVORCE SETTLEMENT 251 

ried to the handsome young chap who comes near 
to being the villain, who but for Charlie s interven 
tion would have broken the heart of the girl Chap 
lin loved and who could never love him. Charlie 
picks himself up from the crash of his vain hopes, 
struggling valiantly and with bravado to preserve 
his self-respect. 

It is doubtful whether the average star playing 
the romantic hero could have survived one half the 
adverse publicity accorded Charlie in his recent 
trouble. But so closely do people blend the actual 
personality with that of the screen in his case, that 
the lonely little figure shrugging off the buffetings 
of an unkind fate in The Circus was a masterful 
appeal to the tolerance, the chivalry, and the un 
derstanding of the civilized. 

Occasionally other cavil at the "worm plots" as 
framework for Chaplin s pictures. The plots do 
not matter. We remember the characters created 
by Dickens, the Mr. Micawbers, the Uriah Heeps, 
the Scrooges, though the story surrounding each 
be forgotten. And perhaps, in spite of the big 
shoes, the tight little coat, the bowler, and the 
ridiculous moustache, rather than because of them, 
Chaplin s characterization stands as the man of 
great heart, fine sensibilities, and unselfish love, 
bolstered by a courage unsuspected by the less ill- 
favored in appearance. 

Charlie received the 1928 award from the Acad 
emy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences "for his 



252 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TEAGEDY 

versatility in writing, acting and producing" The 
Circus. 

Appended, with apologies for the free transla 
tion, are some verses published in the Berliner 
Tageblatt of February 17, 1929 : 

PACK OF HOUNDS 
By ARNOLD ULITZ 

Get out the dogs! Hunting time is here! 
Many against one ! The greatest sport of dogs ! 
Today you are at liberty, not only to bite, 
But tear piece by piece, the highest game. 

Let the Philistines come, the day of judgment is here! 
The crowd is entitled, today, to put a knife in the heart 
Of a great personality; as now Chaplin is down 
At the mercy of all. 

He put his name, the best of crowns, on a doll s head ; 

The little mouth of the doll opens 

And asks for gold. 

The people listen to the sweet little mouth 

And spit in the face of the king. 

She throws a wonderful name, as food, to the dogs, 
She drags a great personality through the mud, 
She sits at her dainty little writing table 
And writes a diary; on Monday, threats; 
On Tuesday, a curse; on Wednesday, a deadly curse; 
On Thursday, a forbidden drink and false declaration 
of tax. 

He trampled on me! Let him pay millions! 
Let out the dogs! Call out the Philistines! 
You can stone and torture . . . and whom? 

He made a billion people happy, 
But made sad the single soul of a doll; 
He has given happiness to a world, 



INTERLUDE DIVORCE SETTLEMENT 253 

But cheated the government of taxes ; 

He has revealed the depths of existence to mortals, 

But he has offended a doll. 

Get out the hounds, let them bark about morals. 
Only an actual Christian scourge is allowed. 
The spirit must be broken; 
The doll accorded the attributes of a saint! 
Down with Charles Chaplin! 



Mother s Death City Lights 



THE NEXT three years were spent in writing and 
filming City Lights. The romance with Maisie en 
dured, but as the three years progressed, Charlie 
became, gradually, more of the observer, less the 
actor in a drama in which he had accepted a part 
as a means for escape. There was no marriage to 
escape from ; the romance with Maisie had resolved 
itself into a routine, scarcely less irksome than an 
unfortunate marriage could be. 

Reporters unaware of his secret involvement 
with Maisie, pressed him for the date of his mar 
riage to Georgia Hale, with whom he was con 
stantly seen in public. In fact, he had invited 
Georgia and her mother to live in his home, as his 
guests, and it was inferred by the newsgatherers 
that the marriage of Georgia and Charlie was 
imminent. 

Harry Crocker had been on the Chaplin studio 
payroll as assistant to Charlie during production 
of The Circus. Descendant of Charles Crocker of 
the Big Pour of the Central Pacific Railroad, 
Crocker was seeking a qareer of his own making. 



MOTHER S DEATH CITY LIGHTS 

He became the victim of an outburst of displeasure 
from Charlie while they were preparing City 
Lights for production. Charlie, always childlike 
in his flurries of anger, saw fit to say several un 
complimentary things about Harry, to his face. 

"Well, why don t you fire me?" Crocker de 
manded. 

Charlie stopped in his tirade, as if struck by a 
new and attractive idea. "I will!" he shouted. 
"You re fired ! How do you like that?" 

Crocker did not like it at all, but he would 
wave no white flag. He applied for a job on the 
Los Angeles Examiner and got it. Eventually he 
became a columnist on the paper, writing the col 
umn, Among the Angels. Hampered somewhat by 
lack of something to say and a terse, pungent style 
in which to say it, he became a target for the abler 
columnists of Los Angeles. In 1939 he relinquished 
the role of a Boswell toward Those Who Count 
and became conductor of Behind the Make-up on 
the same paper. He and Charlie became reconciled. 
Charlie rarely clings to a grudge. 

Charlie s emotional life which is his real life 
can be said to hold in its tragic complexity the 
elements of a storm. Avid, adventurous, filled with 
a sort of dizzying uncertainty as to whether de 
struction or fair weather lies ahead. Nothing 
with him is ever static. Eagerness for the next 
quest overcomes the ennui of the waning one; 



256 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

beauty for him must be always just ahead and 
quite out of reach. 

It was doubly hard for such a nature to watch 
his mother, whom he loved with a pitying tender 
ness, follow the slow, tortuous process of increas 
ing insanity. He could have borne with equanimity 
a sudden violent madness with a climax of suicide 
or death. But he fled from the knowledge of that 
which he was powerless to change, the slow, subtle, 
almost imperceptible disintegration of his moth 
er s mind. He shrank from the sight of her return 
to childishness she was not old which is rarely 
a beautiful or peaceful transition to watch. He 
provided her with every imaginable comfort and 
protection, but he had to lash himself for days 
before he could get his own consent to visit her at 
the sanitarium in Glendale (about fifteen miles 
from his home), where she was under restraint. 
And for more days after his visit, he would be 
sunk in a mood of melancholy which frightened 
those nearest him about his own mental health. 
It was Kono who was delegated to take Hannah 
Chaplin on long drives, to the ostrich farm, to the 
zoo, and to sit by the roadside with her in the car 
and eat ice-cream cones. 

And then, in 1928, about five years after she had 
been brought to California from England, Hannah 
Chaplin died. And Charlie was released from the 
dull, agonizing pain that had lain underneath his 
shai-per sorrows and occasional joy. He was as 



MOTHER S DEATH CITY LIGHTS 257 

suddenly unfettered. He could think of her now 
with tender sentiment as she had been before the 
first signs of mental sickness had sent tiny quiver 
ing fears into the interstices of his very soul. He 
could visit her grave and reflect upon the essentials 
which had bound their lives together, mother and 
son : the illogical, bewildering, and completely en 
igmatic alchemy of birth and its consequences. 

There has been criticism of Charlie for not visit 
ing his mother oftener when she was alive. Was 
David Belasco less the fine, sensitive, adoring son 
or more the artist for the incident of his 
mother s death? 

Belasco was, so the story goes, in his study 
laboring over the script of a new play when the 
news of his mother s passing was brought him. 
He stopped in his work, went rigid from shock 
and grief, emitted a cry from the heart, a cry 
more indicative of a mortal wound than had been 
heard in his long career in the theater. Instead 
of rushing into the room where his mother had 
breathed her .last, he went to a mirror and prac 
ticed the cry ! And not until he had securely fixed 
in his memory the sound and throat contortions 
for achieving this perfection of technique, did he 
enter the room where lay the warm but lifeless 
body of the one he loved best on earth. 

In the summer of 1929 when City Lights was 
nearing readiness for production, Charlie, who 



258 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

has always sought the sea for healing of tired 
nerves, leased Mary Pickford s house at Santa 
Monica Beach for the season. It was a roomy, 
rambling old structure with exclusive beach as 
suring privacy or so he hoped. 

One day soon after they had moved in, Kono s 
attention was attracted to a group of men in front 
of the house with cameras. Suspecting news pho 
tographers, he went upstairs to a vantage point 
and looked them over. They were not newsmen 
but technicians and cameramen from Paramount 
Film Company, he discovered. He strolled out up 
on the beach and was, hailed by Alice White, di 
minutive, blonde whirlwind under contract to 
Paramount that year. 

"Hi ? Kono! How s about a drink when I get 
through being mugged?" 

"Sure, sure," Kono agreed. "Come in the side 
door so you won t disturb Charlie. He s upstairs 
writing." 

Alice appeared after a few minutes followed by 
another girl, the latter a little bewildered by the 
hush signs Alice was making as she pushed her 
through a side doorway and slipped in behind her. 
Alice was in awe of Charlie, as who wasn t in 
Hollywood? For it was well known that when he 
was interrupted in the process of thinking or 
writing, he could display all the temperament of 
five combined stars. 

The young woman with Alice White was the 



MOTHER S DEATH CITY LIGHTS 259 

tall, lovely blonde, Virginia CherrilL Miss Cherrill 
came from Chicago, was a socialite divorcee from 
that city. She was receiving her alimony checks 
with comfortable regularity and was unique in 
Hollywood She did not want to get into pic 
tures ! No guile was in Alice White s mind, either, 
on that warm sunny afternoon. 

Kono asked the butler to prepare drinks for the 
girls. While they were sipping their tall, cool re 
freshment and Alice was chaffing Kono for a Japa 
nese Puritan because he did not drink, who should 
come softly down the stairs and into the dining 
room but Charlie himself. He joined them in a 
highball while he eyed Virginia steadily. He con 
tinued his scrutiny for a brief time, then put down 
his glass and said, "You re the blind girl in City 
Lights" 

"But but I m not blind, and I don t know 
what city lights are is," stammered Miss 
CherrilL 

"You re just what I ve been looking for," Charlie 
continued, not bothering to clear up her confusion. 
"You ll do," he summed up with satisfaction. His 
attitude was one of relief, 

"Here, wait a minute!" she remonstrated, a 
light dawning. "I suppose you mean a picture. 
Well, Mr. Chaplin, you re looking right now at 
probably the only girl in captivity who does not 
want to be a movie star." 

"Nonsense," Charlie returned. He spoke to 



260 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Kono. "Take Miss Cherrill to the studio tomorrow 
for a test." 

Virginia grinned helplessly. What could you do 
against such assurance? "But I can t act/ she 
protested. 

"You ll act for me/ was Charlie s reply, and 
apparently he had dismissed the matter. 

Alice gave her a nudge and said under her 
breath, "Don t be dumb. That s Charlie Chaplin, 
you egg. Offering you a screen test. You ve heard 
of Chaplin?" 

Virginia laughed off her sarcasm. She d duck 
out of the visit to the studio tomorrow, she con 
soled herself. 

The screen test was successful, quite satisfactory 
to Charlie, and Miss Cherrill was signed to a con 
tract calling for $100 a week for the duration of 
production on City Lights. 

Virginia had never been before a motion-picture 
camera. She was tall and, so it seemed to her, 
had a tendency to go all to arms and legs before 
this one. She had not heard of the nine-o clock 
bedtime routine of screen actresses. She had an 
ample income without her salary. Her screen op 
portunity had come too easily; she could not ap 
preciate as could an actress who had struggled for 
years and eaten one meal a day, the opportunity 
offered to burst upon the screen as Charlie Chap 
lin s leading lady. Charlie knew she was crude in 
form but he preferred her that way. He could 




CtarHe and Ms mother, Hannah Chaplin, on the terrace of his home 
in Sunamitt Drive. 




3* 

5 






r^ 




o 

2 
* 




o 

I 




.U4%^ 



1 



aS 
JA 
Q 



MOTHER S DEATH CITY LIGHTS 261 

mold her to Ms pattern. But what he had not 
counted on was her night life. 

She stayed at parties until daylight and ap 
peared on the set looking a bit the worse for wear, 
unfit for the camera, which catches every drink, 
every lost hour of sleep, as ably as a special 
detective. 

Shooting of sequences in which Virginia ap 
peared went on for a month with Charlie becom 
ing more and more disgruntled. Finally the in 
evitable occurred. He flew into a veritable rage 
one day in the projection room. He wouldn t have 
it! She was no good! He was going to fire her! 
Where was she, so he could fire her now ! 

Kono soothed him as best he could and suggested 
that he go ahead with the sequences in which Vir 
ginia did not appear. In the meantime, he re 
minded him, they could find the right girL Secretly 
he decided to give Virginia a lecture. It was all in 
line with his abhorrence of drinking. 

He went to see hen 

"You re foolish to do this," he admonished her. 
"You re getting Charlie so nobody can stay near 
him." He went on to explain the cost of producing 
one of Charlie s pictures and the strain that he 
was under. 

Virginia, chagrined to know that she was un 
wittingly doing her best to ruin something that 
was costing the studio a million dollars, promised 
to take her work more seriously. 



262 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Much to Charlie s surprise, she came on the set 
the next morning she was called, looking fresh and 
rested, her eyes clear, her hands steady. He 
watched her carefully through the particular se 
quence shot that morning and heaved a great sigh 
of relief. Immediately he gave orders for retakes 
of the past months production. 

After her triumph as the blind girl in City 
Lights, Virginia followed the precedent of the 
others Charlie had chosen and fashioned into the 
guise he must have. A -brief contract with Para 
mount and as an actress she was heard from no 
more. 

A marriage to Gary Grant, and their divorce 
ensued. And on August 9, 1937, she was married 
in London to the Earl of Jersey. 

Always exhausted at the completion of each 
picture in which the combined burden of produc 
ing, directing, and starring in it is almost too 
onerous for one human mind and nervous system, 
Charlie found himself more than usually depleted 
when City Lights was at last released. It was the 
first picture in which he had made any concession 
to the new mode, sound. Still convinced that panto 
mime was his only metier as an actor, he had ca 
pitulated on the picture to the extent of music 
synchronized with the action of the film and sound 
effects in all save the human voice. 

He was apprehensive of his venture into the 



MOTHER S DEATH CITY LIGHTS 263 

untried technique all during the making of the 
picture but had considered it wise to conform to 
this extent lest the public put down his lack to 
mere old-fashionedness. 

Added to these demands upon his strength were 
the continued secret meetings with Maisie, whom 
he was beginning to regard with the accurate ap 
praisal of unclouded perception. 

Charlie shut himself in his room at home, went 
to bed, saw no one but Kono. His meals were 
brought to him on a tray. But after a week of 
this he felt no better; something more was needed 
for his recuperation. He tried to think of an outlet 
but was invaded by a mass of mingled emotions, 
confused images, out of which only one objective 
emerged distinguishable escape. 

"I think I m going mad/ he told Kono. 

"You re just tired of everything and every 
body," Kono said to him. "Why don t you get out 
of it get away?" 

After a few more days of retrospection in which 
a melancholy, a taste of ashes in the mouth, fits 
of despair with life itself, possessed him, Charlie 
felt rather than saw the only panacea for himself. 
He must escape, escape not only from Maisie s 
deadly bromides but from his own inner, secret 
life into an external life which had been suspended 
and which must be taken up again to preserve 
the fine balance of his being. 

He got up from his bed and looked over the let- 



264 CHAELIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

ters that had been pouring in from Europe : Lon 
don, Paris, Monte Carlo, inviting him to be present 
for the first showing of City Lights. There! that 
was what he wanted to do. It was very simple. He 
would go abroad. 

Kono was instructed to go about the business of 
trains and booking their passage from New York. 
Charlie decided to take Kono with him, and Carl 
Robinson was assigned to him by the studio as 
publicity director.* 

Charlie dreaded telling Maisie of his decision, but 
when he did she accepted it good-naturedly. She 
agreed that he needed a change. She would go to 
Europe, too. Perhaps when they returned they 
could work out an expedient plan of marriage. 

What Maisie could not divine was that Charlie 
had come to his senses, saw her now as an amusing 
companion, at times no more. She did not go 
deeply enough to know his propensities for idealiz 
ing every woman he met whose physical charms 
appealed to his love of beauty, into the embodiment 
of all the qualities of mind and heart he wished 
them to have. Nor did she surmise his stubborn 
ness in clinging to the illusion once built up by his 
vivid imagination and supported by his passion 
for an ideal. She did not suspect, even, his powers 
for complete destruction of this building. 



* A publicity director in such a capacity is useful for the news 
lie keeps out of the papers rather than for the stimulation of more 
stories. A certain twist to an innocent happening can be bad 
publicity. 



MOTHER S DEATH CITY LIGHTS 265 

None of the women Charlie singled out for un 
conscious trial by fire could be prepared for the 
time when the cold, clear light of his intelligence 
would floodlight the whole substance of his dream, 
clarifying his own unwisdom as well as illumi 
nating the glaring lacks of the recent subject of 
his composition. 

That this realization had been delayed for six 
years in the case of Maisie was due in part to causes 
beyond his control, among them the fact of their 
necessarily intermittent association. The hours 
stolen with one another, away from the public 
gaze and, more necessary, without the knowledge 
of his rival for Maisie s affections, gave the ro 
mance a verve that marriage no doubt would have 
destroyed long before. 

Had Charlie not decided to escape and allow the 
attachment to languish from malnutrition, the af 
fair might have continued for several years. Yet, 
in the superficial communion of spirits to which 
Maisie s lightheadedness limited their association, 
there was little upon which Charlie s need for com 
plete companionship could have been nurtured. 
But in every artist s growth there is a mercurylike 
transference of ideals, friendships, and affections 
into the planes in which he is currently moving. 
Just as his first love fed upon the idealism of his 
younger days until it was made an impossible 
dreamr because of the reticence that that idealism 
provoked ; so did the casual and intermittent affair 



266 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

with Malsie feed upon Charlie s present need for a 
sympathetic companion, until his need, seemingly 
impossible to fulfill, was drained of its emotional 
intensity. 

But a sudden intervention of the rival in a comic 
incident which has long been an after-dinner story 
in Hollywood terminated the affair in a manner 
that might have been an emotional cataclysm, had 
not Charlie s ardor reached so low an ebb that the 
incident seemed amusing even to him. 



Nostalgic Journey 



IN NEW YORK Charlie ran across his old friend, 
Ralph Barton, who, because his wife whom he loved 
desperately but whom, by his own confession, he 
could not make happy, had left him. Barton was 
in that arid state of despair which comes at times 
to every artist. He was, he told Charlie, exhausted 
of every creative incentive. Charlie, emerging 
from the state of subjectivity into the objective, 
understood this want. 

"Leave off trying, Ralph," he urged him. "Come 
along to England with me. What you need is a 
complete change of scene." 

Barton demurred and then, because there was 
nothing he actually cared to do and because he had 
reached the stage where he was afraid to be alone, 
finally agreed to go. He had a genuine admiration 
and fondness for Charlie. Perhaps absorption in 
Charlie s ventures would prove an anodyne. 

On the Mauretania they sat out on deck late into 
each night fighting the battle of America versus 
France versus England. With a good word from 
each for Russia, which under the Soviet regime 



268 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

was definitely fostering and rewarding largely, 
creative work. 

"France is more civilized/ Barton declared, 
"than America and England, who keep their 
artists sublimated to the level of their filthy 
Puritanism. . . ." 

Charlie thought this vitriolic attack a good sign 
that Ralph was coming out of his lethargy. 

"The English are a cold people/ Barton com 
plained. "All bound up in archaic traditions and 
prehistoric customs. The tight little Isle. They re 
damn snobbish, too." 

"Huh, talk about snobbishness," Charlie coun 
tered. "You ll go far to beat America with its 
social registers and its exclusive clubs. They re 
so busy excluding they find themselves left with 
a flock of bores. If you can claim two generations 
of polo-playing in your family, your social position 
is practically unassailable. In England, at least 
you ve got to stand for some integrity, some value 
to your fellows " 

And so the battle went on, Charlie and Ralph 
staying much to themselves on the ship. Charlie 
had given Kono and Carl Robinson strict orders 
that he was to be protected from autograph seekers 
and the curious. 

In London the riotous scenes of welcome of ten 
years before, multiplied rather than diminished, 
greeted Charlie at Southampton. A battery of 



NOSTALGIC JOURNEY 269 

cameras, hundreds of reporters fighting to get 
near enough for just one statement from him, the 
frenzied excitement of the mob pushing and shout 
ing, all this warmed him in an affectionate em 
brace. He loved it. For it is characteristic of him 
that each time he is inundated by a wave of adu 
lation, it is a new and pleasurable sensation, until 
his nerves, not his heart, tire of the clamor and 
rebel. 

Mingled feelings of pity and joy clutched his 
heart as he was half -dragged, half-carried through 
the boisterous enthusiasm of his own people, the 
Cockneys, who could in the anonymity of the 
crowd lose their class inhibitions; he felt joy at 
the wholehearted welcome after so many years, 
compassion for the starved lives in which his fame 
could mean so much. 

"These are my people," he murmured to Barton 
when at last they were safe in their car. "My 
God I I had almost forgotten how little, aside from 
the hopeless routine of their existence, comes into 
their lives I had forgotten the hunger. . . ." 

He turned to find Ralph s eyes filled with tears. 
The Cockneys* affection for Charlie was to him, 
too, a beautiful pain. Barton saw beside him in 
the car now, not the grave, impassive man he had 
known, his composure leavened with occasional 
flashes of brilliant, ironic humor, but the little 
urchin of Kennington Road, come home again. 

Once Charlie s party was installed at the Carl- 



270 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OP TRAGEDY 

ton, the avalanche of mail that descended upon 
them spoke for itself as to his increased popularity 
since his visit of ten years before. In addition to 
the to-be-expected notes from the artistic and so 
cial world, invitations from great country houses 
and the letters of friendliness from his fellow 
artists, there were over sixty thousand letters and 
telegrams which can be classified only as fan mail, 
an outpouring from the public who loved him on 
the screen. 

Carl Robinson, who was supposed to take charge 
of this mail, found its volume, in addition to his 
duties as director of public relations, too cumber 
some for any one man. He engaged a young wom 
an, May Shepherd, who seven years before had 
handled fan mail for Mary Pickford and Douglas 
Fairbanks in London. She, in turn, was instructed 
to employ a number of girls to assist her. This 
left Robinson free for his press work. 

Robinson had himself measured for a morning 
suit and topper and new dinner jacket from Bond 
Street and assumed the difficult task of interpret 
ing Charlie s every action into terms of good read 
ing for the press, a task not so difficult in England 
as in America. Charlie was not fond of Robinson, 
who was the son of a wealthy, indulgent mother, 
but was inclined to accept him from the studio 
personnel for the reason that Carl did not demand 
the substantial salary asked by most publicity 
directors. 



NOSTALGIC JOURNEY 271 

Kono s time was filled with telephone calls and 
Charlie s schedule of engagements. 

Sir Philip Sassoon, whom Charlie remembered 
with affection from his former visit, and who was 
a trustee of the National Gallery and a collector 
of art himself/ offered his services and his hos 
pitality again. Charlie and Ralph dined at his 
home in Park Lane the night of their arrival. Sir 
Philip, though no longer secretary to the Prime 
Minister, Lloyd George having been succeeded by 
Ramsay MacDonald, was Undersecretary for Air 
in the latter s cabinet. He hoped to interest Charlie 
in some of the constructive problems of England. 
Perhaps, he thought, he could even persuade him 
to take up residence in his native country. Coupled 
with these underlying purposes was a genuine 
liking for Charlie and the desire to make his sec 
ond homecoming a delightful experience. He had 
asked Lady Astor, the former Nancy Langhorne 
of Virginia and now a member of the House of 
Commons, to meet him. She invited Charlie and 
Barton to a luncheon at her home on the following 
day. 

Bernard Shaw, of whom Charlie was a little 
wary, was a guest at the Astors. When the ladies 
had repaired, after luncheon, to the drawing room, 
leaving the men at table, Charlie saw that an en 
counter with Shaw was inevitable, so he braced 
himself for the attack, determined to keep silent 
insofar as was possible, and let Shaw carry the 



272 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

weight of the conversation. But when Shaw, glee 
ful at the sight of a new adversary, made a direct 
assault upon him for his lack of propaganda in 
his pictures, Charlie bristled; he waited. All art, 
Shaw declared, should have a message and a con 
structive one. Charlie replied just as emphatically 
that the object of art as he saw it was to intensify 
feeling, not to appeal to the moral sense. The 
conversation died in its brief staccatic intensity, 
and Charlie was glad to sit back and study the 
fearless Irishman in his jousts with the statesmen 
at table. 

Sometimes accompanied by Barton, often alone, 
Charlie escaped from the social round and the 
calendar of public appearances and wandered the 
city, reveling in the romantic tradition of the Lon 
don he was better equipped to appreciate than 
ever before. For in the ten years intervening be 
tween his return home, he had through reading 
and study reached a maturity of knowledge, yet 
approached it with the fresh enthusiasm of youth. 

The urge to discover for himself the wealth of 
literature and history had been implanted in his 
mind by his timid, self-conscious association with 
men of letters on his former stay in Europe. He 
had shut himself away from the interminable dis 
cussions of pictures, their making, and personali 
ties, in Hollywood, and at the cost of being touted 
as unsocial had read omnivorously. Homer, Herod 
otus, Aristotle, Euripides ;Horace, Virgil, Seneca; 



NOSTALGIC JOURNEY 273 

Dante and Petrarch and Tasso; Moliere, Verlaine, 
Voltaire, Rousseau, and Balzac; Shakespeare, 
Macaulay, Gibbon, Carlyle never stopping as 
one suggested another, and not mechanically as 
one seeking a formal education or a mere covering 
of culture, but eagerly and hungrily and with the 
freedom of pleasure in ranging through the very 
stuff of knowledge and seeing for himself how it 
lived and moved and had its being. 

And because Charlie Chaplin, the waif of Ken- 
nington, had been born with a knowledge of men s 
hearts and highest aspirations and basest motives 
the world of greatness and of degradation opened 
swiftly before him, and his delight in all of it was 
overwhelming. 

He was now able to project himself into the be 
ings who had made the rich history of England, 
becoming for the time, Charles I, and suffering 
with that hapless king the agony of being beheaded, 
or with equal facility he could become the wistful 
figure of the Lady Jane Grey, sitting alone with 
her melancholy child thoughts, in the Tower of 
London. 

"I suppose I ve just the soul of a tourist," he 
apologized to Ralph Barton, who was eyeing him, 
on one of these excursions, with envy. Barton as 
sured him gravely in reply that he was a fool not 
to recognize his own attributes as an artist. 

Charlie went alone to Lambeth and Kennington 
Road and Wast Square, the locale too reminiscent 



274 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

of his raw, shy suffering as a youth to permit the 
intrusion of a friend. And there he threw himself, 
not into the lives of kings and nobles who had be 
come dim marionettes of the distant past, but into 
the being of a small boy, grubby and lonely and 
eager for beauty and marked irrevocably by mel 
ancholy, a boy who had spent hours with his small 
nose pressed against shop windows, seeing in each 
item of the meager enough display of tawdry lux 
uries and toys for children of the very poor, the 
unattainable; and his imagination playing with 
the remote but ecstatic possiblity of appropriating 
these mysterious and colorful things to his own 
small, beauty-starved life. 

Saddened now by the realization that there was 
nothing in any shop window in the world which 
could bring him even a fleeting pleasure, he en 
tered a stationer s in West Square where there 
lay in the window a gaily painted Noah s ark. He 
bought the toy as amends to the child of so long 
ago who had wanted passionately, a Noah s ark. 

Alastair MacDonald, son of Ramsay MacDon- 
ald, First Minister, called and invited Charlie to 
go down with him to dinner at Chequers, the his 
torical seat of England s prime ministers. Charlie 
had met Alastair in Hollywood and had looked 
forward to knowing his father, the Labour Min 
ister* He had read with interest MacDonald s 
writings on socialism in government. 

His disappointment was keen therefore when 



NOSTALGIC JOURNEY 275 

MacDonald, already beginning to repudiate many 
of his former tenets, refused to be drawn out on 
politics, was dour, preoccupied, and did not seem 
to think it mattered at all what the beliefs of an 
actor, even one so famous as Charlie Chaplin, were. 
A climb to the top of a hill from which they could 
see miles of the verdant Buckinghamshire coun 
try, an almost silent dinner with Alastair trying 
vainly to entice his father out of his preoccupation 
and into conversation, and Charlie and Alastair 
motored back to London, the former depressed 
from his visit. 

Sir Philip laughed at Charlie s annoyance with 
MacDonald. "He was worried, no doubt, over 
something that came up today," he told him. "What 
you want is to meet my chief, Lloyd George. No 
body ever accused him of having nothing to say 
upon any occasion." 

Charlie went with Sir Philip to take tea with 
Lloyd George in his chambers. The volatile little 
Welshman was more to Charlie s liking despite 
their widely divergent views upon political pana 
ceas. Lloyd George listened with ill-concealed en 
thusiasm when Charlie made suggestions for re 
building the whole southwest quarter of London. 
Perhaps he expected Charlie to follow his plan with 
an offer of a million dollars or so as impetus for 
such an undertaking, for which England would, 
no doubt, have rewarded him with knighthood. 
But Charlie has entertained no ambitions for a 



276 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

title. And in his isolation as an artist, his day 
dreams are so significant to him that it is the 
world of actuality that is vague and unreal. Com 
pelled to enter it by an effort of will, he lives by 
least resistance in his own shadowy world of 
imagery. 

Lloyd George, fiery little man of action, listened 
to Charlie until he sensed that with Charlie this 
talk was nothing more than a satisfaction of his 
emotional needs, a fulfillment of his frustration 
as a boy. He fidgeted and suppressed a yawn. Sir 
Philip took out his watch and reminded Charlie 
that they must not keep him from his many social 
demands. 

Lady Astor gave a dinner for Charlie at her 
home, Cliveden. The American-born member of 
the House of Commons and first woman ever to sit 
in the Imperial Parliament was first elected in 
1919. She has made Cliveden the meeting point for 
the ablest minds of the age, regardless of views or 
political creeds. Accused of fomenting sentiment 
against the straight course of the limited monarchy 
in England, she has spiritedly denied these accu 
sations and gone serenely ahead playing hostess to 
widely divergent types and ideas but holding to a 
Liberal course. She gathered, on this occasion, rep 
resentatives of each political party at her table, 
Conservative, Liberal, Labour, Socialist, and Com 
munist Facing Lloyd George on this evening sat 
Kirkwood, the Scots Communist, whom L. G., as 



NOSTALGIC JOUENEY 277 

he is known to his intimates, had caused to be im 
prisoned during the World War. All political en 
mities were forgotten at Lady Astor s. 

Speeches were made by everyone who had some 
thing to say or thought he had. Charlie, as guest 
of honor, was called upon first. He rose and, con 
quering his self -consciousness to a degree, pro 
ceeded to paint a comprehensive word picture of 
the Utopia he would create had he the power of a 
Mussolini. He gradually forgot his audience as he 
threw himself into the speech, which developed 
into a piercing diatribe against the increase of 
modern machinery. 

His audience was taken aback. The growth of 
the machine age had been accepted as a natural 
growth of civilization. Charlie s viewpoint was a 
departure from this acceptance. They could not 
know, of course, that here and now was germinated 
the seed of work within him for the ultimate 
flowering of his picture, Modern Times, the de 
lightful satire on the cruelty of modern invention 
to man. An artist among statesmen, he felt his 
isolation and his impotence to joust with them on 
their own field, but there was some stubbornness 
in him which would not let him yield. 

As he created for the screen for his own satisfac 
tion, so must he talk then from an urge for expres 
sion of his dream for an ideal state. 

The unbalanced of genius are subject to singular 
actions which have their origin in the subconscious 



278 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

inind. Thus, there arise, from the unconscious into 
the conscious, imperative ideas which insist upon 
recognition, however malapropos they may appear 
to the average. 

Accompanied by Ralph Barton, Charlie went to 

visit the orphanage of S , where he had spent 

two years tragic in effect in his boyhood. He 
was gratified to find that in the almost forty 
years since his incarceration there, existence for 
the inmates had been bettered by more intelli 
gent administration. The children looked better 
fed, less harshly disciplined, happier. There even 
appeared to be an effort to create the illusion of a 
home for the small unfortunates. 

Charlie was deeply affected by this reminder of 
his poverty-ridden childhood. He has much to 
forgive for the evil fear of poverty that had its in 
ception there at the age of five and has marked him 
with a penuriousness which is one of his less ad 
mirable qualities. He wanted to do something gra 
cious for the children of the orphanage, in remem 
brance of the little boy who was gone and for the 
man who, no matter the millions he had, could 
never buy a single hour of unalloyed happiness for 
the child he had been. 

He spoke to the Head of his impulse. A hurried 
consultation was held with Barton, and the Head 
called the children about him. Charlie Chaplin 
he announced, the same Charlie whom they 
watched on the screen and who used to live in the 



NOSTALGIC JOURNEY 279 

orphanage when he was a boy, would come to see 
them again, would bring them a cinema projection 
machine for their very own so that on certain eve- 
nings through the kindness of United Artists and 
other film distributors, they could have pictures, 
even Charlie Chaplin pictures. 

The youngsters, gazing awe-struck at Charlie 
but finding it difficult to reconcile this smooth 
faced, well-dressed gentleman before them with the 
Charlie they knew to be a funny tramp, raised a 
jubilant huzza at the mention of his pictures. That 
part they could understand. This was not all, the 
Head continued, after another whispered word 
with Charlie. Mr. Chaplin would bring them, each 
child, a large bag of oranges, a bag of sweets, and 
a shilling ! on his next visit, which would be soon. 
Charlie left with tears in his eyes, silent, wrapped 
in thought and in remembered feeling. 

Kono was told to get from United Artists the 
finest projection machine that could be had. When 
several days had passed and Charlie avoided any 
discussion of his return visit to the orphanage, 
Barton advised Kono to say nothing further to Mm 
about it, but to go ahead and present the gifts in 
Charlie s name. Ralph Barton understood, as Kono 
could not, the anguish which had seized him and 
driven him back into the arid days of Ms childhood ; 
he knew it was too deep to be fed deliberately with 
another image of that hurt. 

When Kono and Robinson returned to the hotel 



280 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

after giving the children their treats and recounted 
the excitement and unaffected gratitude of the 
youngsters over their oranges, their sweets, and 
their strange machine that was to give them pic 
tures of their beloved Charlie Chaplin, there stole 
over Charlie s face an expression resembling peace. 

There are those who criticize Charlie for mak 
ing no gesture toward the permanent well-being of 

the orphans of S . On the surface, it would seem 

that a clinic, or perhaps an endowment so that the 
boys of outstanding talent might have a better 
chance, would be indicated. Better housing condi 
tions for Lambeth and Kennington, educational 

scholarships for some of their boys and girls 

Any of these might be had for just one of his sever 
al millions. 

Most men, it is argued, when they have reached 
a goal of wealth in excess of their needs, look about 
for some practical expression of encouragement 
for their fellows. Of course this gesture is not al 
ways above the implication of lulling a conscience 
which has reason to give its possessor a bit of 
disquiet. 

Charlie Chaplin has had no need to buy off his 
conscience from himself; he has trodden no heads 
or hearts into the dust, ground out no sweatshop 
profits for his own aggrandizement; and he is not 
a financier. Neither is he the average Horatio 
Alger hero who started at the bottom and arrived 
at the top, filled with noble conceptions of his duty 



NOSTALGIC JOURNEY 281 

toward his fellow man. He is an artist, with all of 
the selfishness, the self as center of the universe, 
that the word implies. 

That he has achieved success and has not found 
happiness is not conducive to association of the 
two in his consciousness. And it is because he is 
amazingly sensitive to poverty and suffering and 
because he has a finely drawn appreciation of hu 
man values that, conversely, he affirms the futility 
of any effort toward the preservation of the merely 
average. 

But what of his attitude toward other struggling 
artists whom he recognizes as having gifts as 
great, or greater, than his own? For his unconcern 
in these instances, is there excuse? 

He has a friend to whom his own gifts of mind 
and heart make obeisance; Sadakichi Hartmann, 
Japanese-German poet and playwright, whose 
work a hundred years from now will be handled 
reverently. Charlie knows of the battle against 
illness and poverty of this great mind embittered 
by his struggle against almost unsurmountable 
odds* and of his fearless battle against mediocrity 
in the face of these odds. Believing Hartmann s 
Last Thirty Days of Christ to be one of the greatest 
satires ever written, Charlie has lifted no hand to 
further the work of the play s creator. 



* Hartmann s eariy works were pronounced too revelatory by 
publishers in his early life (he is in his late seventies). And it 
appears that he has been consistently punished for his presumption 
of publishing privately. 



282 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

By sheer persistence and with the assurance of 
an artist who knows his own worth, Hartmann was 
able occasionally to draw the price of one of his 
books (which sold for from ten to twenty-five dol 
lars) from Charlie. This letter sent from the Hotel 
Acacia, West Sixth Street, Los Angeles, brought 
the return of the books. Charlie already owned a 
copy: 

Dear Chaplin 

Lend me your ear ! 

I talked with Kono this afternoon and I do not know 
whether he was serious or joking. At any rate I don t 
know whether or not you ever saw the books I left last 
Monday evening. Kono was inclined to make fun of the 
price. Of course I do not expect him to know anything 
about first editions. 

The copies in question are almost impossible to get, 
they belong to my own private set and I sell them only 

because As I hoped to get rid of them this week, will 

you if you do not want them by chance give orders to 
return them by special messenger at my expense as I may 
have an opportunity to dispose of them on Sunday. 

Sincerely 

SADAKICHI HARTMANN 

To avoid the genial mobbing which often includ 
ed partial disrobing at his public appearances, it 
was decided that Charlie and Ralph Barton would 
slip unobtrusively into the Dominion Theater dur 
ing the afternoon of the evening scheduled for the 
opening of City Lights. There they would have din 
ner sent in to them from a near-by chophouse and 
then dress back stage for the performance. 



NOSTALGIC JOURNEY 283 

Charlie grumbled lustily at this curtailment of 
his liberty but he got no sympathy from the perspi 
cacious Barton. "You d feel cheated of your nat 
ural due if by chance you did arrive at a public 
function without your tie and your coattails in 
ribbons," he declared. "Of course I wouldn t be 
in your shoes, the big ones or the very small neat 
ones of your dress clothes, for a million dollars/ 1 
he added with a sardonic grin. 

"If you re going to be crass/ Charlie grinned, 
"the reward has been slightly more than a million. 
But seriously, old man, I do hate this fuss, I " 

"You know you love it," Ralph contradicted. 
"You wouldn t change places with the Prince of 
Wales right now." 

Charlie grinned sheepishly. The wine he had 
had with his dinner had drowned his usual modesty 
which commodity is, for the artist, put on in a 
concession to the social amenities, anyway. 

"Of course not," he admitted. "The Prince is a 
great gentleman and a great personality but I 
why I irradiate life! I give new life to people 
that sorrow and weakness and discouragement 
have withered. Other men would deny it. I don t 
Never deny genius, my boy. It is my joy, it " 

"Hire a hall/ Ralph advised him curtly and then 
burst into uncontrollable laughter. Tour reti 
cence overwhelms me. You think you re pretty 
swell, don t you?" 

"Of course/ Charlie returned simply. "Only 



284 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

I don t think it; I know it. There s a vast differ 



ence." 



Just before the curtain swept back for City 
Lights, they felt their way through the half-light 
of the auditorium, where they were met by Mr. 
Gillespie, the manager of the theater. He seated 
Charlie next to Bernard Shaw! 

Charlie sweated in anticipation of Shaw s in 
cisive invective, but to his amazement Shaw seemed 
to be enjoying the picture. He was affable, even 
courteous, all through its showing and refrained 
from criticizing its lack of "message." 

On the way back to the hotel, after the cheers for 
Charlie had died away and they had been spirited 
out a side door to their cab, Ralph told Charlie that 
he was curious to know his honest opinion of Shaw. 

"Well, I don t see him as the Mephistopheles 
the press tries to make him," Charlie replied 
thoughtfully. "He s just a benign old gentleman 
with a great mind who uses his piercing intellect 
to hide his Irish sentiment." 

"Humph," was all Barton was able to muster. 

"You see," Charlie went on, "all his approach to 
letters indicates it those published letters to 
Frank Harris, for instance. He let sentiment get 
the better of his relentless judgment." 

Carl Robinson and Kono had arranged a large 
party at the Carlton, after the picture, at which 
Charlie was to play host to about two hundred 
guests. Lady Astor, Sir Philip Sassoon, Winston 



NOSTALGIC JOURNEY 285 

Churchill and Sybil, Lady Cholmondeley, were 
among them. 

There were speeches after supper, the first by 
Winston Churchill, who paid a graceful tribute to 
Charlie s value to the world. "Winston" as he is 
affectionately known and called by taxicab driver 
and duchess, in England, spoke with brilliant vig 
or. His personality has been described by Vincent 
Sheean as "an army with banners."* In fine fettle 
that night, he brought out from his "arsenal of 
words" the precise gun for his MIL 

(Mr. Sheean goes on to say, "Mr. Churchiirs 
ordinary speech is on an intellectual and literary 
level which is bound to intimidate less accomplished 
talkers.") 

Charlie, for whom the excitement and cham 
pagne had proved a bit heady, was tremen 
dously impressed but not intimidated. He had 
listened closely to Churchill s beginning and 
thought it rather neat. "My Lords, ladies, and 
gentlemen " 

Presently it was Charlie s turn to respond. He 
rose to his feet. "My Lords, ladies, and gentle 
men " he negotiated nicely and then, with 
grandiloquence, looking straight at Churchill as 
if for inspiration "my friend, the late Chancellor 
of the Exchequer." He got no further. There were 
shouts of laughter through which Mr. Churchill s 
voice boomed with simulated indignation. "I like 



* "Old Man in a Htirry Winston QmrchiH" in Saturday 
nmff Post of October 21, 1939. 



286 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

that! The late, the late! So you ve killed me off, 
have you? Ha!" 

Charlie was inundated with confusion. He 
laughed nervously. 

"I mean the ess-Chancellor of the Exchequer," he 
stammered. "Oh, hang it all, I mean my friend 
Winston Churchill " 

This by-play was put down to Charlie s wit. At 
any rate, it had broken the ice of formality, and the 
party was a hilarious success from that moment. 

There was dancing after supper, and Charlie 
was in his glory because he had met a young dancer 
brought to the party by Carl Robinson, who danced 
the tango exceptionally well. He danced with her 
until Kono sought him out and slipped him a bit 
of advice. "Let up, let up," he warned him. "The 
papers will have you engaged by morning, and I 
haven t got time to spend denying it" But Charlie 
laughed at him and shrugged off the warning. He 
was having a good time. Let the papers say what 
they would. He was going to do as he wished for 
this brief time. The dark-eyed, exotic dancer was 
the embodiment of rhythm. Perhaps this woman 
who divined his love of rhythm was the one 

Ralph Barton lost interest in the excitement of 
Charlie s visit in London, grew more moody and 
introspective as the days went on. It was all right 
for Charlie, he told him, this empty thing called 
fame ; it was quite all right for him, heart-free to 
play with the fires of surface romance, but when a 



NOSTALGIC JOURNEY 287 

chap s very life had stopped because the one woman 
he loved better than his life did not want to be with 
him, when the need of that woman consumed him, 
it was no use pretending to himself. He was going 
home where he could look at her occasionally if 
nothing else. 

Charlie understood Ralph s hunger. It was some 
thing that had companioned him most of his life. 
He told him about Hetty, hoping to quiet his over 
wrought nerves by letting him see that Life had 
not stopped with him at the loss of Hetty. He 
begged Ralph to stay with him until time could get 
in its healing. A prescience of tragedy, in which 
his friend seemed cast for the leading role, de 
pressed him. If he could only keep him there! 

Barton, deaf to Charlie s pleads, sailed for New 
York and within a few weeks was dead by his own 
hand. Charlie grieved for a real friend and for 
the loss of a facile artist to the world. 

Charlie was invited to the House of Commons to 
hear Ramsay MacDonald speak on the subject he 
had hoped to hear him discuss on his recent visit 
to Chequers, socialism in government. It had been 
suggested to the Prime Minister that he give a 
dinner and a reception a few days later, at which 
many members of both houses of Parliament could 
meet Charlie, 

Disappointment marked Charlie s ill-concealed 
reaction to MacDonald s speech. Couched in 
smooth, almost reactionary phrases, the expressed 



288 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

beliefs of the Minister irritated him to the point 
of dislike for the speaker. He informed Kono that 
evening that he did not care to go to the dinner 
which was being arranged for his honor. Kono 
relayed this information to Sir Philip Sassoon. 

Now Sir Philip, who seemed to have been pe 
culiarly fashioned to understand men s behavior 
and the underlying reasons for it, knew that it was 
not only MacDonald s defection, that it was a num 
ber of things, among them Ralph Barton s depar 
ture and an impulsive entanglement with the sloe- 
eyed dancer who had tangoed too well which were 
all the combined cause for Charlie s discontent. 

The dinner and reception date approached, and 
Charlie displayed an outburst of temperament at 
each mention of the event. Sir Philip patiently ex 
plained that an invitation to dinner from Eng 
land s First Minister was almost equivalent to a 
command from the Palace. He got nowhere. Char 
lie was adamant; he simply would not go. 

Sir Philip, though highly amused, as he has said, 
at this impasse was in a quandary. There could 
develop from this situation, he told Kono, an inci 
dent. And an incident, he added wryly, was the 
bete noir of every diplomat, amateur or profes 
sional; more disturbing and sometimes more far- 
reaching in consequence than a nice, clean murder. 
Sir Philip further explained to Kono that he 
might pass this information on to Charlie and re 
mind him of the danger of bringing down the house 



NOSTALGIC JOURNEY 289 

of cards so carefully builded about him, his popu 
larity. And, when after a few days it was quite 
apparent that none of these arguments would 
weigh a gnat s eyelash against the fact that Charlie 
did not want to go, he told him bluntly that he could 
not stay in London and at the same time decline 
the invitation. 

Charlie brightened at this suggestion escape. 

The Chaplin party left for Berlin. 



La Jana Sociological Awakening 



IN BERLIN, Charlie and Carl Robinson and Kono 
were given the suite in the Hotel Adlon reserved 
for lesser royalty and the higher nobility in Im 
perialistic days. Charlie s reaction to this was 
amusing in its mixture of childlike pleasure and 
an uncanny penetration of its flattery. He was 
no vain fool to put undue emphasis on the sem 
blance of rank, nor has he ever been fooled for a 
moment by sycophancy and the adulation of para 
sites. Nonetheless, he was put in good humor by 
this tactful implication by the hosts of the Adlon. 

Carl Robinson was irritating Charlie simply 
by his existence and proximity. The result of this 
was that he was rarely about when needed and, 
instead of being an asset to the party, was fast 
becoming a drag and a worry. 

Charlie liked Berlin in spite of the fact that not 
since the ban on Shoulder Arms, during the World 
War, had Germany shown any of his pictures. 
He liked the polished streets, the comfortable 
buildings, and the shining door plates. He felt the 
need of a long walk to clear his head of the jumble 



LA JANA SOCIOLOGICAL AWAKENING 291 

of the last few days in London; he knew it was 
hopeless to try to entice Kono on one of his "little 
walks," so on the afternoon of their arrival, he 
accepted Carl s offer to go with him, with fairly 
good grace. Kono had long since been initiated 
into the endurance contests which Charlie mis 
named "walks." 

(One day in New York, while they were guests 
of Nathan Burkan, he had started out bravely 
enough with Charlie from Ninety-sixth Street and 
had even kept up, once across Manhattan. At the 
Battery Kono had drawn a sigh of accomplishment, 
feeling himself quite a hiker and was innocently 
looking out for a taxicab when he discovered to his 
dismay that Charlie had merely stopped for a 
minute, wheeled and started back uptown! 
Kono s pride was aroused. No guy was going to 
walk him off his feet. He d stick. He caught up 
with Charlie, trying to emulate his British swing 
from the hips. 

In midtown Charlie looked about for a Child s 
restaurant sufficiently uncrowded for them to 
stop and eat pancakes [a favorite dish of his] 
without danger of being mobbed. Kono prayed to 
all of Ms Nipponese gods for some excuse for food 
or rest; his legs moved automatically by this time, 
seemed to have no connection with the rest of him. 
But he was doomed to disappointment. There were 
too many people in the cafe whose plate-glass win 
dows showed heads turned excitedly toward them. 



292 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Charlie strode along, no trace of tiring in his 
easy gait. 

Eventually they reached Ninety-fourth Street, 
just two blocks from home, when Kono gave out, 
collapsed on the steps of a friendly house. Charlie 
came out of his absorption and was all contrition 
and helpful suggestions. "We ll get a taxi," he 
said. Kono laughed hysterically. "For two blocks?" 
he sputtered. "Go away. Leave me here. Fllwalk. 
If Fm not back by tomorrow, send a hearse." 

Charlie, relieved of his weakling companion, 
wheeled and started back toward Forty-second 
Street to get pancakes ! After half an hour s rest 
on the steps of the strange house, Kono was able to 
stagger home. He stayed in bed all the next day.) 

Kono, now left alone in the Adlon suite, was 
ordering himself a simple dinner when there came 
a knock at the door. Thinking it was another of 
the hotel staff coming to see if they were comfort 
able, he called "Herein !" his lone German vocabu 
lary. The door opened, and it was no prosaic mem 
ber of the hotel staff who came in, but two beautiful 
and smartly groomed young women. They were 
actresses, they informed Kono, mentioning their 
names, which, it was apparent to him, they ex 
pected him to recognize. One of them spoke Eng 
lish, the other misled by Kono s erudite "herein" 
let fly a barrage of German that left him be 
wildered. The former announced that they had 
come to call upon Mr. Chaplin. 



LA JANA SOCIOLOGICAL AWAKENING 293 

Kono s fatigue vanished, as did all thoughts of 
an early retirement. He invited the girls to dine 
with him, assuring them that Mr. Chaplin would 
be back eventually. They accepted, and he ordered 
an elaborate dinner with wines for the three of 
them sent to the salon. He chuckled to himself as he 
anticipated Charlie s surprise when he returned. 

Within the hour Charlie appeared, ill-humored 
over his enforced companionship with Robinson, 
brooding over and magnifying to a dramatic point, 
his supposed defections. He burst into his bed 
room shouting to Kono, "I want him fired. He s 
a nice guy, but I don t like him. My God! Why 
do I have to have people around me I don t like?" 

"Sh-sh!" Kono held his finger to Ms lips. "Look 
what s here." Charlie followed him into the salon 
where he looked inquiringly at the girls, then bade 
at Kono. He was introduced after a fashion and 
his manner showed no trace of the irascibility of a 
moment before. He charmed the young actresses 
into hilarity, without benefit of German, slyly pok 
ing fun at Kono the while for having, as soon as 
his back was turned, appropriated so much that 
was ornamental to himself without stirring from 
his chair. 

The dinner finished, it became apparent to Kono 
by means of eyebrow telegraph that Charlie would 
like to have him take the actress who spoke no Eng 
lish but who was somewhat a linguist in smiles, 
and get the hell out, leaving him alone with the 



294 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

other who, it developed, was La Jana, a Viennese 
dancer of some note. 

Kono suffered an innocuous evening of smiles 
between the acts of a play of which he understood 
not a word. He was relieved to deposit his share 
of Nordic beauty at her home. 

Not so, Charlie. La Jana was adept at social 
dances as well as professional ones. They had spent 
the evening at a night club, and Charlie came back 
to the hotel even better pleased with Berlin. 

La Jana was included thereafter in the parties 
Charlie attended. Karl von Vollmueller, the poet 
known popularly for his Miracle, which brought 
fame to Max Reinhardt as producer, invited Char 
lie to the theater and to supper afterward in his 
apartment. It was the sort of party at which 
Charlie is at his best. There was no formality. 
Composers of musical comedies gave sketches, and 
snatches of their melodies at the piano; von Voll 
mueller read them his exquisite verse; La Jana 
danced solo to a gramophone. And Charlie was 
prevailed upon to give his inimitable impersona 
tion of a timid matador at a bullfight. This char 
acterization, done with abandon before a group 
of broadmined intelligentsia is about as waggish 
a bit of buffoonery as one could see, on or off stage. 
The whole group at von Vollmueller s were reduced 
to helpless laughter. 

Sir Philip arrived in Berlin, ostensibly for an 
innocent visit with Charlie, but actually in the 



LA JANA SOCIOLOGICAL AWAKENING 295 

role of a mentor to see that a message to the Prime 
Minister of England was properly worded and 
promptly dispatched. He was a keen judge of 
people and knew well that Charlie would not, and 
Kono and Eobinson could not, handle this delicate 
situation with the subtlety for which it called. He 
concocted a wireless saying that Mr. Chaplin had 
been called away to Germany on urgent business 
and couched it in such language as to make plaus 
ible Charlie s unceremonious departure from Lon 
don, though he was quite aware that no excuse 
would be accepted with full pardon. 

Sir Philip then accompanied Charlie and Kono 
to Potsdam as guests of Prince Henry of Prussia, 
nephew of the former Kaiser. They lunched in the 
picturesque town which had lost much of its 
glamor with the departure of Germany s royalty 
and then proceeded to the Palace, the erstwhile 
second residence of the German Crown. 

Charlie was frank in his disapproval of the huge 
seventeenth-century quadrangular pile. "It would 
be beautiful," he told Prince Henry, "but for those 
ridiculous figures that teeter on the cornices. 
They re for all the world like acrobats and not well 
balanced, therefore not art." 

Prince Henry was amused. 

"You re quite right, old man. They re rather 
Mdeous, but you ll have to blame old Wilhelm I for 
that Frederick the Great thought the palace bad, 
too, and built himself a retreat in the eighteenth 



296 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

century which, I am sure you will agree with me, is 
very nice. Though he and Voltaire both lived in 
your acrobats pedes." 

They strolled across the Havel, into the terraced 
gardens of Sans Souci and Charlie immediately 
recognized the prototype of many self-conscious 
eastern American estates. Great was his glee over 
Voltaire s room, which Frederick had caused to 
be papered with parrots, when he had become 
weary of the latter s interminable talk. 

Browsing among the personal relics of the great 
Frederick, Charlie felt the glories and the tragedies 
of the man, who, though he was Emperor, had the 
courage to be, also, a musician. He could see with 
his mind s eye the reign of that unhappy monarch, 
the intrigue, the music and letters which he fos 
tered; could people the palace with men who had, 
with lace at their wrists, filmy handkerchiefs 
tucked in their sleeves, and the sheerest of silk 
stockings encasing their legs, left much that is 
virile and great in German art. 

Charlie was awed by the gardens in which man 
had captured nature, as any unformed material, 
and fashioned it into line and proportion and 
color. 

Charlie s next excursion was aimed at a cafe. 
He writes : "There are all sorts of wild rumors as 
to what goes on in these cafes, men dressed as 
women. ... So we arranged to go to a certain cafe 
where we could see things unprintable." 



LA JANA SOCIOLOGICAL AWAKENING 297 

This from a dweller in Hollywood! 

"I must say I was disappointed," he complains 
naively in a women s magazine. "It was a most 
feeble entertainment and very self-conscious in its 
naughtiness. As we entered the band struck up 
and two effeminate youths danced together. This 
was the big noise, the something unspeakable we 
were privileged to see " 

Charlie, though essentially normal himself, 
could not be the creative person that he is and not 
have an understanding of many of his fellow 
artists. He knows that it has been these exponents 
of the intermediate sex who have dominated art 
through the centuries, that it is these 

"... hearts washed marvelously with sorrow, swift 

to mirth; 
Dawn is theirs and sunset, and the colors of the 

earth." 

who have stirred men s highest emotions and 
quickened their hearts with the gathered radiance 
of immortal art, 

Charlie s evening at the Berlin cafe was a flop* 
The Cook s tour of iniquity is seldom amusing, 

Charlie was invited to have tea with Einstein, 
whom he had entertained in Hollywood. He was 
faintly surprised to find that the eminent scientist, 
who was honored by the greatest minds in science 
and who was the friend of kings, should live in the 
small but comfortable flat of the average German 



298 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

workman. Here were no superficialities, no devia 
tion from the simplest living. Einstein is of a 
genial nature, and his late wife was essentially a 
motherly person and a charming hostess. 

He was served home-baked tarts by Mrs. Ein 
stein. The son and daughter of the house came in, 
the latter, Margot Einstein, a sculptress of note, 
the boy still in college. Young Einstein remarked 
upon the psychology of the popularity of his father 
and that of Charlie. "You are popular," he told 
Charlie, "because you are understood by the 
masses. On the other hand, my father is popular 
with the masses because they do not understand 
him." 

"How do you account for that?" Charlie in 
quired. "I have seen it demonstrated that people 
are suspicious of anything they do not understand 
and are prone to condemn, without hearing, the 
man who is beyond their understanding." 

Young Einstein smiled. "Ah, but you forget. 
. . . Naturlich, science to the layman is a vast enig 
ma. They accept as a whole the publicized great 
ness of my father in a field of which they can know 
little." 

Frau Einstein, at home and feeling less restraint 
than when she had been overwhelmed by the lavish 
entertainment of Hollywood, was utterly lovable. 
Charlie felt that he was in the presence of a woman 
no less great of heart than her famous husband. 
She was warmed by Charlie s obvious admiration 



LA JANA SOCIOLOGICAL AWAKENING 299 

of her and was encouraged by him to talk of Herr 
Einstein s sensational discovery of the principle 
of Relativity. "You see, my dear husband is very 
lazy," she said in her rich, warm voice. "When he 
is not working, he putters about with his sailboat, 
or the piano. But when he has an idea, he shuts 
himself up in his study for days at a time, alone. 
One morning he came out after such a time, looking 
worn and tired. He sat down at the piano and ran 
his fingers over the keys. I did not speak nor did 
I make any wifely suggestions as to what he should 
do ... did not suggest that he bathe or rest, or even 
offer him coffee . . . just waited. . . . Suddenly he 
turned to me, his eyes shining with excitement. 
Do you know, Mama, I have just got a wonderful 
idea V he exclaimed. (You see he is something like 
a novelist fumbling for a long time for a plot while 
everybody says, "What a lazy fellow P) He went 
back to his study with no further word to me and 
came out two days later with his theory of Rela 
tivity developed. He is like that." She beamed at 
her husband, who obviously adored her. There was 
the feeling of GemuUichkeit in the room* 

Prohibition was discussed, and Einstein, who 
has a sharply drawn sense of humor, was still 
chuckling over the advice of Eugene P. Brown in 
the Los Angeles Times wherein he suggested that 
William Randolph Hearst employ Einstein to get 
rid of Prohibition in America. "Anyone who can 
repeal the law of gravity/ quoth Mr. Brown. 



300 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

"ought to be able to do a little damage to the 
Eighteenth Amendment/ 

The conversation veered toward the economics of 
the world, the depression. Charlie was possessed 
of the ideas which had taken root in his mind on 
his travels and he must try them out on statesmen 
and scientists alike. There was a touch of bravado 
in his taking to himself the temerity of expounding 
proposed cures for the ills of the world. He has that 
childlike quality of the artist who says to himself, 
"It is not enough that I am an artist. I will prove 
to these people that I am a many-faceted fellow, at 
home in any field/ 9 

"These are dangerous times/ * Einstein ad 
mitted, "what with the depression and growing un 
employment/ 

"England was hopeless of paying her national 
debt after the battle of Waterloo because of lack of 
trade," Charlie offered. He enjoyed listening to his 
own reflections quite as much as he expected others 
to enjoy them. "But steam came along and started 
new industries; then electricity was developed and 
put more men at work. Depressions came periodi 
cally in the past, but new enterprises cropped up 
the automobile, the radio, aviation and for a time 
absorbed the surplus workers/ 

The Herr Professor listened gravely. 



* It did not occur to any of the group that before many years, the 
great scientist would be deprived of his property by the Nazi gov 
ernment and forced into exile from the country to which he had 
brought so large a measure of honor. 



LA JANA SOCIOLOGICAL AWAKENING 301 

"The trouble is that the population has quite out 
numbered the need for workers," Charlie went on. 
"Modern machinery has decreased the need for 
manpower. Therefore, since man s only means of 
buying what machinery produces, is money made 
from work at those machines, our problem becomes 
a difficult one." 

"A radical change of some sort is necessary," 
Einstein agreed, "to keep men from starving." 

"The business world has welcomed the change 
from manpower to machine which, in cheapening 
the cost of our commodities, has put the luxuries of 
yesterday within the reach of the man of moderate 
means today. But the business world stands reso 
lute against any fundamental change in the capi 
talistic system which might cheapen money." 

Einstein smiled. Charlie s radical leanings 
though he usually held them in check were well 
known to his friends. 

"They insist upon using the gold standard," 
Charlie complained, "and at the same time doing 
business with credit. These two mediums of ex 
change credit and gold will never stabilize 
prices, for credit is more elastic than gold." 

The professor smiled again. "You are not a 
comedian, Charlie; you are an economist. How 
would you cure these ills?" 

"With three things," replied Charlie, promptly. 
"Reduce the hours of labor, print more money, and 
control capital." 



302 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

"I m not much of a business mathematician/ 
Einstein conf essed, "but I do hold that every living 
man should be clothed and fed and have a roof over 
his head. There is enough for all." 

On Charlie s last evening in Berlin, La Jana, Sir 
Philip Sassoon, and Charlie made up a small party 
for dining and dancing at a club where the music 
was good and the floor not too crowded for the 
swaying gestures of the tango. Charlie loved tan 
going and he was enamored not so much of the 
dancer as of her dancing. To him La Jana "wore at 
her heart the white fire of her art," and her least 
movement was a melody. 

Their farewell came at the end of the evening. 
Sir Philip had left for London. Charlie and La 
Jana sat and talked, each an artist, each weighted 
with the loneliness at the core of his life. Their 
thoughts had touched for a brief moment; there 
was no jealousy, no culmination of an affaire to 
mar the grave joy of two artists face to face. La 
Jana sat quietly while Charlie searched for the 
right words in which to put his appreciation of her 
rhythm. 

"In your dance," he said, "you express an exotic 
loneliness, as if none was capable of following your 
rhythmic perfection. ..." 

Much affected, La Jana finally spoke. "Charlie, 
I love you. I find so little real appreciation of what 
I am trying to express. Although we may never 
see each other again, I am content. We have met, 



LA JANA SOCIOLOGICAL AWAKENING 303 

two lonely souls, In a confused pilgrimage . . . 
where? But it is good to know you are in the 
world." 

Charlie, Robinson, and Kono moved on to 
Vienna. Outside the Hotel Imperial, when they ar 
rived, thousands crowded about under the bal 
conies, clamoring for a glimpse of their Charlie. 
He appeared on a balcony, waved and bowed and 
shouted to them. The Viennese were satisfied and 
dispersed as quickly as they had gathered when the 
evening papers had heralded the news of his 
coming. 

The Austrian capital, connected in Charlie s 
mind with light-hearted gaiety, was, in the next 
few days, a disappointment To him Vienna was 
imbued with the desolation of a ballroom with the 
dancers gone. As in Prussia, much of the glamor 
had faded with the discarded throne; the colorful 
pageantry of royalty and its attributes was miss 
ing; the people saddened and depressed and strug 
gling against an economic upheaval with its result 
ant bitter poverty. Always sensitive to moods of 
people and cities, Charlie s imagination intensified 
the gloom. He saw in it a personal adversary ready 
to hurl itself upon him. 

Escape was offered when a member of the French 
Legation at Vienna called and told him that Aris- 
tide Briand, premier of France, was eager to meet 
him as soon as he could arrange to come to Paris. 



304 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

So, instead of a comprehensive tour of Italy as he 
had planned for this time, he prepared to return to 
France, stopping for only a day or so in Venice. 

Charlie had heard nothing from Maisie since 
he left New York but he half expected to find her 
in Venice. It would follow her concept of the pat 
tern of romance, he told Kono. But she was not 
there. He drew a sigh of relief. 

Maisie s absence, however, was not enough to 
soothe his frayed nerves. Carl Robinson, probably 
through little fault of his own, was becoming more 
of an annoyance to Charlie. Charlie was tired of 
the inevitable excitement attending his tour of 
Europe, of the sensation of each fresh arrival to a 
country, of being constantly on exhibition. He 
heartily and audibly wished himself back in the 
quiet seclusion of his California home, where Kono 
with rocklike stolidity could stand between him 
and the invading public, without offense to, per 
haps, a whole nation. "What," he inquired fret 
fully of Kono, "did I come on this damned holiday 
for?" 

"To get away from love," was Kono s blunt re 
joinder, keeping a weather eye out for a hurled 
book or cushion. "Go to bed for a day or two," Kono 
advised him. Charlie who realized that life to Kono 
was translated into few outlets making money, 
eating, and sleeping ignored this advice. He 
countered with his own remedy: a little walk. 

Kono, doggedly faithful to the charge he so little 



LA JANA SOCIOLOGICAL AWAKENING 305 

understood, offered himself as sacrifice, and they 
started an exploration of Venice with occasional 
stops for refreshment. For hours Charlie walked 
in silence, drinking in the medieval architecture of 
Venetian line and color, feeling the dark potency 
of its retrospective glamor, peopling the town with 
the cruelty and elegance of the Doges reign. 

Venice, despite his mood of restlessness, began 
to take hold upon him. He walked the next night 
with Kono and a friend who spoke Italian. He 
says of this walk that evening: "The streets of 
Venice are just as beautiful as its canals. We wan 
dered through the labyrinth of narrow thorough 
fares, some so narrow they barely permitted the 
three of us to walk abreast The day noises had 
ceased, the hour was midnight. There was only 
the lapping of the water disturbed by some late 
gondola, the sound of an occasional footfall In 
the dim lights of the old street lamps, we could see 
the outline of a cloaked figure passing into the 
shadows. We came out into a palazza where there 
were groups of young men standing in animated 
conversation. I lag behind the others to watch one 
group which from their intense interest must be 
discussing the charms of woman. I call my friend 
and ask him to translate just one remark which 
will give me the key to their conversation. This is 
the phrase I got, Art is the treatment applied to 
work, I tell you, and has nothing to do with the 
subject matter/ 



306 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

"I went to bed that night encouraged with life 
and possessed of a passionate belief in the Italian 
people." 

Charlie wanted to get on to Paris. Kono was 
somewhat at a loss to understand his feverish im 
patience to see another prime minister when he 
had been hardly extricated from the toils of the 
first. Charlie disclosed his reason on the train to 
Paris. The Legation members in Vienna had 
hinted that it was the intent of France to decorate 
him with the ribbon of Chevalier de la Legion 
d Honneur. They wanted to express their homage 
to him as an outstanding contributor to the happi 
ness of the world. 

The Duke and Duchess of Westminster had also 
boarded the train in Venice, en route to their hunt 
ing lodge in Normandy. Learning from train offi 
cials that Charlie was in another carriage, they 
sent to ask if they might present themselves to 
him. Charlie was gracious, and the Duke invited 
him to his annual boar hunt. In spite of a warning 
nudge from Kono, Charlie fell headlong in with 
this suggestion, agreed to let them know when he 
could conveniently get away from Paris for a few 
days. 

"We ll have a boar steak or something," he in 
formed Kono enthusiastically when their graces 
had returned to their own carriage. 

"Oh, yeah?" Kono retorted. "You mean the 



LA JANA SOCIOLOGICAL AWAKENING 307 

boars will have Chaplin steak. What the hell do 
you know about hunting?" 

Charlie sulked. It was never quite clear to him 
why he put up with a secretary who never soared 
above the level of the earth. He could hunt boars, 
he muttered, and probably shine at it, too. 

Paris again ! A repetition of crowds stampeding 
the barriers erected by the watchful police. Even 
tually the party reached the Crillon, though some 
where along the way Charlie had lost his hat and 
part of his necktie. They were given the rooms 
which had been occupied by the late President 
Wilson on his League of Nations pilgrimage, just 
after the World War. 

While awaiting word of the ceremony of decora 
tion, Charlie was informed by the Belgian Embassy 
that Albert, King of the Belgians, in temporary 
residence at the Embassy, had expressed a desire 
to meet him. Charlie readily agreed to accompany 
ing the messenger to Albert s quarters. 

After signing the guest book in the anteroom, 
Charlie was ushered into the royal presence. King 
Albert acknowledged the introduction briefly, then 
pointed to a chair for Charlie and drew one for 
ward for himself before the usher could spring to 
do so, Then King Albert said nothing. 

Charlie, unschooled in the etiquette of court, 
even a temporary one, and not counting it impor 
tant anyhow, then had the temerity to attempt to 
put the King at his ease. "It s a great honor, a 



308 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TEAGEDY 

pleasure to meet you," he said. The King merely 
nodded. Charlie, nothing daunted, tried again. 
"You re not staying long in Paris 1" he asked. 

"No," replied Albert. 

"I understand you flew here," Charlie further 
ventured. 

"Yes," said Albert. 

Charlie was a little annoyed by now. He 
squirmed. After all, an enforced monologue can 
be disconcerting. He essayed a few tentative re 
marks on airplanes. Albert looked dreamy, ignored 
them. And at long last, quite as if Charlie had 
not spoken, His Majesty, Albert of Belgium, began 
the conversation. 

"Do you make all your pictures in California?" 
he inquired with a cordial smile. 

Charlie, after stammering an affirmative, sat 
back. He had received a full education, in one 
lesson, in royal etiquette. He was soon at ease with 
the genial, and beloved by all the world, Albert of 
Belgium. For an hour they talked easily and com- 
panionably of pictures, science, and art. Charlie 
left with the conviction that King Albert was not 
only a great king but also a man of parts. 

Napoleon s tomb, in fact, any and all Napole- 
onana, had always held an especial fascination for 
Charlie. Perhaps it was the slight physical size of 
the mad genius of battle which had first attracted 
his interest. He spent hours now on the balcony 



LA JANA SOCIOLOGICAL AWAKENING 309 

overlooking the catafalque of the Emperor, rumi 
nating on the dramatic splendor of his sweep 
through Europe, upon the acute unhappiness and 
loneliness of the man, For years Charlie has cher 
ished the hope of playing Napoleon on the screen. 
But he is afraid. He has seen comedians of the first 
water laughed out of their attempted serious roles. 



A Boar Hunt 



CHARLIE soon found himself at the Normandy 
chateau of the Duke of Westminster, though why 
he had accepted the invitation, he began to wonder. 
He certainly regretted his rash decision to join in 
the hunt of the boar, an ugly-tempered animal, 
almost as soon as he was comfortably ensconced 
at His Grace s hunting box. It was bitter cold 
weather, but this was not the reason for the mys 
terious chills that crawled up his spine as they sat, 
a goodly number of guests and their host, around a 
great fire the first evening, sipping Scotch and 
soda. 

"Of course you can ride," the Duke remarked. 

"Oh, of course that is I haven t for ten 
years." Charlie thought he detected a note of con 
cern in the Duke s manner and hastened to reas 
sure him. "You see, Fve never really fallen oif a 
horse yet." 

The boar hunt was explained to the only novice 
in the group. Men are first sent out to ferret out 
the tracks of the boar. The hunters then ride to a 
spot near the locale of the animal s hideaway as 



A BOAR HUNT 311 

determined by its tracks. The hounds are loosed, 
and when it becomes apparent that they have 
caught the scent, the horn sounds and the hunters 
gallop full upon the hounds, each one intent upon 
being the first to be upon the brute and drive 
home the spearlike knife he carries. 

"You get off your horse for this," the Duke ex 
plained. "But be sure not to dismount until the 
boar is securely pinned down by the dogs." 

"Oh, quite," Charlie muttered. "One does not 
want to rob the dogs of their share of the fun." 
Why am I such a jackass? he inquired of himself. 

"The boar is a ferocious animal, most dangerous. 
If the dogs haven t him down securely, he s apt to 
jump up and attack you." 

Charlie gulped. He was sure by now he should 
have stayed safely in Paris. 

"In fact," the I>uke continued, "Fve known 
them to attack a horse, but there, Fm talking too 
muck We may not get even a glimpse of a boar 
tomorrow, and then you ll be disappointed." 

"Oh, no I mean yes, yes, of course. Oh, no, 
not at all," Charlie stammered his confused 
assurances. 

Everyone retired early in order to be up and 
f resfa at six o clock the next morning. 

Poor Charlie, with visions of a boar he d seen 
one in a book romping across his inind, slept not 
a wink. By morning he was in condition for noth 
ing but a hot bath, a sedative, and a long nap. His 



312 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TEAGEDY 

bones ached, his eyes smarted, and he was sure his 
brain had gone from his cranial cavity leaving only 
a small piece of lead in the vacuum. Calling upon 
all his reserves of fortitude, he dressed and went 
downstairs, where he was cheered with the news 
that the boar tracks had been found. But boars and 
their tracks were forgotten for the moment when 
the assembled guests and the host beheld the ap 
parition that was Charlie ! His hunting costume ! 
True, they struggled against rising mirth, but 
when Charlie actually caught a glimpse of his en 
semble in a long mirror, he roared with laughter 
and thus allowed the choked merriment of the 
assembly to burst its chains of politeness. 

He had bought breeches and boots which fitted 
him as well as stock sizes could be expected to fit. 
But, having no coat or helmet or yellow waistcoat 
without which no true son of Britain would be 
caught dead at a hunt he had made up his cos 
tume from here and there. Sem, the French carica 
turist, had left his pink coat at the chateau from a 
previous hunt, and Sem was several sizes smaller 
than Charlie. The Duke, who was about three 
inches over six feet, and broad proportionately, had 
sent up one of his waistcoats, also his helmet and 
gloves. 

The ensemble was so ludicrous that Charlie 
seriously considered its possibilities in a picture 
a hunting picture. Sem s coat barely met about his 
middle, the voluminous waistcoat under the but- 



A BOAR HUNT 313 

toned coat reached almost to his knees and pinched 
in by the coat, had a ballet-skirt flare. "When I 
reached for a match/ Charlie said, "I looked as if 
I were pulling up my socks." The Duke s gloves 
were so large that his hands looked like small hams, 
and he could double up his fists inside them without 
disturbing the fingers. He looked out from under 
a helmet which, relative to his size, could have 
served for a tent. 

Once on the horse, Charlie found that the Duke s 
secretary had been assigned to him as mentor and 
guard. They jogged placidly enough along through 
the brisk morning air across the smooth downs, 
until Charlie began to feel that a hunt was a pleas 
ant affair after all. However, he bowed to his ap 
prehension of the unknown enough to hazard a 
feeler. 

"I suppose we go er faster than this?" 
"Oh, quite. When the horn sounds, y know." 
They were approaching a lane flanked by tall 
oaks when, without warning, bugle notes ripped 
the morning stillness. Charlie s horse broke and 
was off to a flying start, Clutching vainly for his 
paraphernalia of whip and spear and reins, he lost 
them all, lost everything but a desperate grip about 
the horse s neck He choked, and he was sure it 
was on the horse s ear. 

Through the forest, around trees, over ditches 
and small streams the horse sped, with Charlie 
clinging for dear life to his embrace. Finally he 



314 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

came up with his companion, who had stopped his 
mount. He retrieved his reins, and as soon as he 
was able to think, he decided that he was an ex 
cellent rider after all Was he not still on the horse? 
He confided this discovery to the secretary. 

"I wouldn t ride too hard/ that worthy advised. 

"I wish you d tell that to the horse," was Char 
lie s quick retort. 

For hours days, it seemed to Charlie the 
whole forest was thrashed for the elusive boar. The 
brief respites while waiting for the next sound of 
the horn, were savored by Charlie as the last sweet 
moments of life, he felt, must be, by the condemned. 
At long last, when he was beginning to be sure that 
it was a horrible nightmare and he could not wake 
up, the Duke rode up and exclaimed, apologetically, 
"It looks bad. I m afraid we re out of luck, today." 

Charlie tried valiantly to look disappointed but 
apparently succeeded only in looking ill. "Look 
here, old man," the Duke said solicitously. "You re 
tired. Don t overdo it. Take my car and go to the 
house." 

Commutation from the guillotine to life sentence 
could not have been sweeter in Charlie s ears. He 
turned his mount and requested him with soothing 
words to walk down the lane to the car. Happily 
the horn did not sound. 

Awaiting him at the car was a reporter. Charlie 
was furious. Well, he d show him. Aifecting a 
jaunty air, he nonchalantly threw his right leg 



A BOAR HUNT 315 

back from the saddle and jumped lightly to the 
ground. His knees gave way completely. He sat 
down suddenly and hard ! Struggling for dignity, 
he tried to stand, but again they buckled and down 
he went. With effort he struggled to a comparative 
upright position, but the muscles of his back, pun 
ished by hard riding, refused to support him. He 
flopped in a crumpled heap to the earth. Half- 
crawling, half -sliding, he managed to reach the 
running board of the car and sat down. His ima 
gination tortured him. Would he ever walk again? 

The reporter, suppressing his laughter, came up, 
notebook in hand. "Did you enjoy the hunt, Mr. 
Chaplin?" 

"Rather/" Charlie answered with what he hoped 
was enthusiasm. 

"Did you see a boar?" was the next question. 

Charlie looked at him, said nothing. He wished 
for just one moment of the privileges of a private 
citizen, the glorious right to be rude, as he stifled 
the reply, "No, but I m looking at one, right now." 

Rescued by the Duke s chauffeur, he was taken 
to the chateau, where Kono had been taking his 
exercise in a chair. After dinner they left for 
Paris, and Charlie disappeared into a Turkish 
bath and emerged from the hands of a masseur at 
four the next morning. Even then, it was a matter 
of three days before he could sit or stand without 
groaning. He would confine his participation in 
sports in the future, he declared, to tiddlywinks. 



The Riviera May Reeves Marseilles 



To CHARLIE from the Frank Jay Goulds in Nice 
came an invitation to visit them at the Majestic 
Hotel, which with the Casino was owned by Gould. 
The Casino rivalled Monte Carlo near by with its 
lavish appointments and the added attraction of 
a floor show. The gay season of the Riviera was in 
full momentum, and Frank Gould s resort was the 
mecca of the American expatriates and English 
visitors to the Mediterranean. 

Syd Chaplin and his wife, Minnie, had been 
living in Nice for the past six months, but as they 
had only a small apartment, Charlie was glad to 
accept the proffered hospitality of the Goulds. 

Syd had ended a moderately successful film 
career in Hollywood when income tax investigators 
began to imply that his tax returns were not ade 
quate. He had gone first to England but soon saw 
there no surcease from the annoying matter of 
taxes, and had decided that the climate of southern 
France was more conducive to well-being. Posses 
sing a comfortable fortune though nothing to 
compare with Charlie s millions he decided that 



THE RIVIERA MAY REEVES 317 

if he could just keep what he had, it would be dis 
creet to retire from public life. 

Charlie and Carl Robinson and Kono arrived in 
Nice and were greeted with an enthusiasm which, 
for Charlie, was taking on staleness from repeti 
tion, but which astounded the Goulds. "It must 
make you very happy to be so admired," said Frank 
Gould after they had escaped, breathless and di 
sheveled, into the lobby of the Majestic. Charlie 
made no comment, but after luncheon he impishly 
invited Gould to go with him to a shop for tennis 
racquets. As they walked, a crowd assembled out 
of nowhere, growing in volume with each few steps 
advanced until its proportions had stopped all the 
traffic and the streets were a hubbub of pushing, 
milling people shouting, "Chariot ! Hurrah ! Char- 
lot!" The mass became so dense that it was with 
difficulty that either of them moved forward a step. 
Charlie stole a look at Gould s face and saw grow 
ing annoyance and alarm and extreme concern for 
him. When they had eventually reached the shop 
as exhausted as football players, Gould mopped his 
face and declared fervently, "Whew! I wouldn t 
be you, my dear Charlie, for all the gold of the 
national debt." 

Charlie was taken that afternoon to the Casino 
for tea. He discovered many of the well-known 
names of America scattered about him. The main 
topic of conversation seemed to be a loud denuncia 
tion of Prohibition and other must-nots of or- 



318 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

ganized Puritanism. The Europeans who had 
taken these freer souls to their hearts agreed that 
though they watched America with interest always, 
her contributions to science and inventions, it was 
surely no country for those of the monde. 

There was, starred on the bill of entertainment 
at the Casino, a young dancer, French-English and 
of an exotic Latin beauty. She was billed as May 
Reeves. 

May s face was heart-shaped, her eyes soft brown 
and luminous, her hair dark, and her figure sinu 
ous. Her dancing was grace itself. She appeared to 
the fashionable habitues of the winter playground 
as a young woman of complete sophistication, but 
in reality, as Charlie was to learn, she was lacking 
in experience to deserve this characterization. It 
was all a pose. 

Charlie was bored with the Casino life as it ap 
peared to him that first afternoon, thought it rather 
dull and silly, but he was instantly struck with the 
charm of May Reeves. Syd assured him that he 
knew her and could bring her to see him. It was 
decided to show her no marked attention at the 
Casino. It would not be tactful to show too much 
attention to one of his host s employees. So, just 
before luncheon the next morning, Syd and Carl 
Robinson appeared with May. Charlie was charmed 
by her English, spoken with quaint accent and an 
attractively awkward arrangement of phrases, 
as well as by her youth and naivete. He discerned 



THE RIVIERA MAY REEVES 319 

that for all her air of sophistication, she was shy, 
unworldly, in a word, amazingly innocent. 

Charlie grew interested in May Reeves, in her 
fresh, unspoiled beauty, and most of all, in her 
dancing. His interest was sustained by her aloof 
ness. He played tennis* with her every morning, 
and she gave him an excellent game. He watched 
her dance in the evening at the Casino, invited her 
occasionally to their table for a drink and a chat 
and that was all. Finally he asked her to go with 
them to Morocco and Algiers. She consented. Why 
not? The season .on the Riviera was ending. She 
needed a rest, and there would be chaperones. 

Mary Garden and the Duke of Connaught, great 
uncle to the then Prince of Wales, each invited 
Charlie to tea, at Cap Ferrat. 

Another renewal of friendship delighted him; it 
was with Elsa Maxwell, that unique impresarianne 
of the party whose originality had resulted in 
changing dull and stately receptions and balls into 
wacky gatherings somewhat resembling mild riots, 
but, withal, a lot of fun. Miss Maxwell, short, stout 
and pudding-featured, impeccably frocked by 
Europe s famous couturiers and still a frump 
is a triumph of personality over bank balance. 
She ruthlessly jarred American society loose from 
its fond convictions that three generations of 
dubiously gotten wealth presupposed charm and 



* Tennis has long been Charlie s only form of exercise aside from 
walking. He is a spectator at all the national tennis matches. 



320 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

other ingredients for social superiority. She con 
vinced them that personal achievement in the arts, 
and professional distinction, or even just being 
amusing, were more logical entrance cards to the 
charmed circle in a supposedly democratic country 
than mere riches. 

On the barren canvases of parties, Elsa Maxwell 
splashed and still splashes lavish color. As a 
beginning she flung her repertoire of songs (of 
her own composition) not to the favored few, the 
artists who revel in an occasional abandonment to 
Rabelaisian humor as a divagation from their ef 
fete pursuits, but to the stuffed shirts who could 
take her downright, spontaneous hell-raising or 
go home. They did not go home. 

She was the prototype for Dwight Fiske, who 
afterward set the sophisticated world a-chuckling 
over his sly and delightful naughtiness. 

City Lights was to have its Riviera premiere at 
Monte Carlo, capital of the world s smallest prin 
cipality, Monaco. Charlie was asked to be the 
guest of Prince Louis Honore Charles Antoine, 
ruler of the neat, unreal little country (395 acres) . 
He was interested in the economic aspect of the 
principality whose subjects, the Monegasques, paid 
no taxes. The Casino supported the "nation." 

An aide-de-camp trimmed in pounds of gold 
braid and gold buttons appeared at Charlie s hotel 
in the afternoon and made it known that he was 
expected to dine with the Sovereign of Monaco that 



THE RIVIERA MAY REEVES 321 

evening in the seven-hundred-year-old palace in 
which Prince Louis and his court made their home. 
After dinner, royalty and Charlie, augmented by 
the British consul, who was to conduct him to the 
palace, would repair to the theater and enjoy City 
Lights from the royal box. 

Charlie, accompanied by the consul, arrived at 
the palace at seven o clock, only to be told that 
several urgent matters had come up which de 
manded the Prince s undivided attention; hence, 
he could not dine with Mr. Chaplin but would join 
them at the theater later. Charlie, somewhat taken 
aback at this news, tried hard to imagine one affair 
of the toy kingdom which would carry half the 
importance of his own presence that evening. 

The hostless dinner was certainly not a hilarious 
one. The consul was the only other guest who spoke 
English. But somehow they struggled through, 
Charlie looking, as he declared later, "sweetly 
idiotic" at everyone, especially the various gov 
ernment officials who were stiffer, more exagger 
atedly formal than like representatives of larger 
kingdoms. 

After finishing the innumerable courses of an 
excellent dinner, the consul was informed by a 
Monacan minister that they were not expected at 
the theater until ten o clock. City Lights, he ex 
plained, would go on the screen at that time. 

Charlie, who was definitely nettled over the 
whole proceedings by now, suggested sotto voce to 



322 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

the consul that they do as they damn well pleased, 
leave early, take a walk do anything rather than 
sit and wriggle on the griddle of court etiquette; 
but the consul, of necessity a stickler for the pro 
prieties, squelched him and held him down. They 
must wait for the ruler to give word for their 
departure. 

At long last the permission came through by 
telephone to the minister, and they set out for the 
theater. What was their surprise and Charlie s 
rage to find the royal family, consisting of the 
Prince and his daughter, already seated in the box. 
Amusement at the coolness of their reception broke 
through his ill-humor. After all the boredom and 
obedience of the early evening they had committed 
the unpardonable offense of arriving at the theater 
after royalty was seated. 

The picture was got through, Charlie feeling 
much like a small boy who, having been scrubbed 
and brushed and put into a pew and told to stay 
there, could jolly well expect a good hiding after 
church, no matter how well he behaved. He could 
see with his mind s eye the front pages of the 
newspapers making a Roman holiday out of the 
fact that he had kept the Prince waiting. 

His surmises proved correct. The papers had a 
story. His Highness was deeply offended. Had 
Charlie had a command of French, he could have 
enlightened him, no doubt, as to the blunders for 
which his own ministers were solely responsible, 



THE RIVIERA MAY REEVES 323 

but, having to depend upon the consul, he found 
himself at a disadvantage. So he shrugged it off 
as merely another instance when the public figure 
pays. 

Emil Ludwig, noted biographer, stopped in Nice 
for a day on his way to America. Charlie, who had 
first been attracted to him by his able Napoleon, 
arranged a program for Ludwig s stay. They had 
a quiet lunch together at the Palm Beach Casino 
opposite the island of Sainte Marguerite, the re 
puted site of the prison made famous by The Man 
in the Iron Mask. 

Ludwig, who has a genuine fondness for .Char 
lie, was charmed by the latter s wish to monopolize 
him. And Charlie in turn was like a small boy let 
out of school to have a visit with his idol. During 
the luncheon, Ludwig gravely produced a bay leaf 
from his pocket and presented it to Charlie with 
solemn formality. "It was the custom of the ancient 
Greeks," he said, "to bestow a laurel leaf upon 
those whom they admired, and I want you to keep 
this leaf as a token of my esteem." 

Discovering in each other an inordinate love of 
beauty, their talk grew into a discussion of the 
beauty of motion each had found in simple, natural 
acts of people. Charlie held out for Helen Wills 
Moody s tennis playing, or a man plowing a field 
in Flanders after its devastation by the War. He 
pantomimed for Ludwig, the stoop of the man s 
back, his determination and dauntless courage 



324 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

in setting out to wrest life once more from the 
war-torn land. 

Ludwig countered with something he had seen 
in Florida; the red glow of the sinking sun, a 
motorcar rolling slowly along the beach with a girl 
in a bathing suit lying on the running board lightly 
trailing one toe over the smooth surface of the 
sand. 

They spoke of children. Ludwig confessed him 
self intensely personal in his love for his son; 
Charlie gazed at him wistfully with the envy of 
the lonely soul wanting terribly to feel these things 
but somehow doomed to failure. 

"I have a great deal to live up to/ Ludwig de 
clared. "The little chap has heard that his father 
writes books and, loving books, he looks up to me 
as to God." 

Charlie, as always when the subject of home- 
keeping happiness and its joys came up, tried to 
consider impersonally his own path of aloneness. 
Whether he liked it or not, he had to pursue his own 
way, sometimes wondering fearfully whether, by 
walking alone, he had missed the true meaning of 
life. Eventually his subconscious mind reassured 
him. He was free of all fetters. His eyes were 
opened to the great comedy with its underlying 
tragedy of the human race. 

Ludwig evinced interest in the books Charlie 
read and liked. "The self-educated man is far 
more interesting than the product of schools and 



THE RIVIERA MAY REEVES 325 

tutors and colleges/ he told him. Charlie was 
gratified at this opinion. He admitted he read 
slowly, therefore had not covered as much ground 
as he could have wished. But, wasting none of his 
time on trash, he had encompassed the Bible, a 
great deal of Shakespeare, biography, and history, 
as well as the philosophers, Emerson, Nietzsche, 
and Schopenhauer. 

They fell upon the subject of Christ in literature. 
Charlie was emphatic in his appreciation of Sada- 
kichi Hartmann s Last Thirty Days of Christ. 
This play (never produced on Broadway) embodies 
a rare and, to the strictly orthodox, sacrilegious 
vein of satire. It portrays Jesus as the mystic, 
the lone philosopher in an age of materialism, eons 
ahead of his own disciples, an "old soul" far above 
the understanding of his closest followers. But it 
shows him as a cynic, also, divining the syco 
phancy of his disciples. 

Hartmann, one of the few geniuses, in the nar 
rower sense of the term, of our day, has by the 
iconoclastic trend of his writing confined himself 
to a comparatively small audience of readers. The 
commonplace mind is so outraged by his themes 
that it overlooks the subtle poetry of those themes 
and his exquisite handling of words. Like the mas 
ters of old, Sadakichi goes his way, seeking pa 
tronage from the rich, his inferiors. That this pa 
tronage is more often denied than given is incon 
trovertible in a world in which prize fighting and 



326 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

football games are more vital to the life of the 
community than the saga of an intellectual and 
spiritual giant working, unobtrusively, for im 
mortal perfection. 

The time came to proceed on their travels, to 
Algiers and Morocco. Charlie, May Reeves, Rob 
inson, and Kono, accompanied by Boris Evelinoff, 
Frank Gould s personal representative everywhere 
and foreign correspondent for the Paris Soir, set 
out. 

While in Morocco, Charlie received a wire from 
Maisie urging him to come to Venice for a large 
party she was to give. Charlie smiled at the cor 
rectness of his surmises about Maisie. And though 
he held the friendliest feeling for her, he was glad 
that he had escaped an evening in Venice to be 
done, no doubt, in the Hollywood manner. He had 
Kono wire their regrets. 

Again Charlie grew irritable, plagued by somber 
thoughts on the futility of running about Europe 
in such prescribed fashion. If one could go abso 
lutely alone, he complained but this being on 
show was stupid and utterly futile. 

May, who was merely a guest of the party, un 
derstood this need to be alone. She suggested her 
going back to Paris to await them there. Kono sug 
gested that Charlie come to some decision about 
Carl Robinson, whom he actively disliked by now. 
Charlie fell in with both suggestions and as May 



THE RIVIERA MAY REEVES 327 

left for Paris, Robinson was sent back to Holly 
wood, where his connection with the Chaplin studio 
was permanently severed. 

Returning to the south of France after a cursory 
view of Algiers and Morocco, Charlie continued to 
be irritated by the penalties of his fame. With H. 
G. Wells he visited Grasse, the sleepy, lovely old 
town with twelfth-century atmosphere high above 
the Mediterranean. They were on their way to the 
cathedral when, climbing the narrow streets, 
Charlie s garter broke. They turned back toward 
a shop where he might get a new pair, Wells for a 
time extolling the wonders of Grasse, all unmindful 
of the crowd trailing them at a discreet distance. 
Finally Charlie turned and laughed through his an 
noyance. "Look!" he directed Wells s attention, 
"How would you like to be the Pied Piper of Hame- 
lin?" Wells was visibly alarmed. "I think you d 
better go on alone," he suggested hastily. "I ll meet 
you at the car, later." "Oh, no, you don t," Charlie 
returned emphatically. "You ll see it through, get 
a taste of the whole damned, insane business." 

They took refuge in a shop too small to admit 
the crowd, which, instead of dispersing, grew 
larger by the moment, and when Charlie-and Wells 
dodged out a back door into the alley, the mob 
dodged also and, quickly catching up, marched 
solemnly along behind them. 

To visit the cathedral was now impossible. 
"You ll have to postpone it until you ve grown a 



328 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

beard/ Wells said. They reached their car and 
escaped. 

Charlie s irritation grew. At first, though in 
convenienced by this untoward attention, he had 
looked beyond his comfort and had been touched 
by the reaction of the masses to his presence in the 
flesh, but now his worn nerves made him impatient 
with all of its manifestations. He decided that a 
celebrity rarely, if ever, gets a normal reaction 
from even the individual he meets. People are in 
terested or bored beforehand at the necessity of 
doing homage. They assume, as the case may be, 
a fawning or a defensive attitude. 

Charlie and Kono moved on to Marseilles. There 
they were quartered in the royal suite of the Hotel 
Noailles, the rooms often occupied by the King of 
Spain on his visits to the French seaport. Charlie 
went for long walks alone, trying to recapture the 
savor of his holiday. 

One day Kono, alone in their rooms, received a 
visit from Aimee Semple McPherson, the red- 
haired stormy petrel of Angelus Temple in Los 
Angeles. She had stopped over in Marseilles on the 
first leg of a round-the-world jaunt, objective the 
Holy Land, with her daughter Roberta. She had 
always wished to meet Mr. Chaplin, she told the 
amazed Kono, and now was the appointed time. 
Kono, although he had long since learned to expect 
the unexpected, tried to discourage her painlessly, 
but when Aimee, a strong-minded person who was 



r 




May Reeves. 



THE RIVIERA MAY REEVES 329 

used to accomplish her desires, refused to be dis 
couraged, Kono invited her to stay for tea. Per 
haps, he assured her, Charlie would come in. One 
never knew. 

Over their tea she told Kono of her dissatisfac 
tion with her daughter Roberta s recent marriage 
to the young assistant purser of the ship that had 
brought them to the continent. Kono then inferred 
that she was lonely, the honeymooners leaving her 
much to herself, no doubt, or at the worst, that she 
wanted merely a firsthand glimpse of a star away 
from the prejudices of her followers who consider 
the theater and all of its appurtenances the work 
of a very special devil, working overtime. 

As the visit wore on and still Charlie did not 
put in an appearance, Kono admits that he was able 
to feel Aimee McPherson s especial magnetism 
without which no evangelist is apt to succeed. Hers 
is a radiant, vibrant charm which projects itself 
into the very air about her. Kono s curiosity as to 
how Charlie would receive her was at the boiling 
point by this time. 

At last Charlie came in. He stopped short at 
sight of his visitor, gulped and recovered himself, 
determined to make his manner warm if his feet 
were cold. He was secretly convulsed that the 
charming devil-pelter who had "got a white nightie 
and started a new religion"* had got her own con- 



* This must be credited to John Colton, playwright of Rain and 
Shanghai Gesture. Colton attempted a play based on Aimee s life 
but made the mistake of trying to work with her. Their ideas did 
not jell when combined. 



330 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

sent to come within range of his deviltry. He tried 
to fathom her reasons for looking him up. Surely 
she must know that he rejected fundamentalism in 
religion and, he reflected, she must know also that 
he, and all artists, stood for original sin according 
to the tenets of the Four-Square gospel. He pre 
vailed upon her to dine with them,, and Aimee was 
nothing loath. 

Throughout the dinner Charlie twitted her good- 
humoredly about the mental age of her audiences 
(she inquired if he was aware of the mental age 
of a motion-picture audience), her success as an 
evangelist, and declared that she would have made 
a great actress. 

Aimee did not seem off ended, let him have his 
say. 

"Fve been to your Temple to hear you/ he told 
her, "and half your success is due to your magnetic 
appeal, half due to the props and lights. Oh, yes, 
whether you like it or not, you re an actress/ 

Aimee McPherson smiled. 

"Now, theater in all its forms is anathema to 
your audiences," Charlie continued, thoroughly en 
joying himself, "so you give to your drama-starved 
people (for all of us must have drama) who absent 
themselves through fear, a theater which they can 
reconcile with their narrow beliefs, don t you?" 

Aimee smiled warily. 

"Religion orthodox religion," he went on, "is 
based on fear, fear of doing something on earth 



THE RIVIERA MAY REEVES 331 

which will keep them out of heaven. My God, they 
miss out on all the glorious freedom of life in order 
to reach a mythical heaven where they can walk 
on golden streets and play a harp a bait of pure 
boredom, if you ask me." 

Aimee had not asked him, and she looked a little 
shocked. 

"Our worlds are different," she said, "vastly 
different." 

This mannerly riposte drew no blood. Charlie 
retired from the one-sided duel. 

Next evening Charlie announced that he was 
escorting Aimee to the colorful, picturesque water 
front of Marseilles. 

He came back from their excursion gay, his mood 
of irritation with the world gone. Next evening 
they set out for a long walk about the city proper. 
And so it went until time for Aimee s sailing. The 
incongruous interlude ended. The evangelist pro 
ceeded on her pilgrimage to the Holy Land. 



Edward, Prince of Wales 



SPRING was approaching. Charlie wanted to go to 
Juan-les-Pins, the gay seaside resort which was 
ultra vogue that year. He had Kono wire May 
Reeves to meet them there. 

May joined them and proved herself a whole 
some, jolly companion. Proficient in water sports 
and blessed with a sunny nature and a capacity 
for simple pleasures, she whipped Charlie s flag 
ging spirits to a matching gaiety. 

No illness had marred their journeyings so far, 
but suddenly some fish eaten at the hotel brought 
Kono low with ptomaine poisoning. Charlie, who 
is never ill and who attributes his good health to his 
brisk, long walks, was terrified. He was helpless 
in the practical exigencies of everyday living. He 
was sure Kono was going to die. 

May, realizing his nervous apprehensions, 
promptly put him out of Kono s room and took 
charge of the nursing. She missed Charlie for a 
time, and when three doctors, besides the hotel 
physician and two nurses, showed up, she under 
stood his absence. Charlie was a believer in the 



EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES 333 

strength of numbers. He had corralled all the 
available doctors and nurses in the village. It was 
just as well, for May had two patients on her hands 
instead of one. Charlie became actually ill but he 
firmly refused to go to bed until Kono was out 
of danger. 

"Follow him around," May instructed one of 
the nurses. "Give him sedatives as often as you 
can. And keep him out of here." She referred to 
Kono s room, where she had taken up a constant 
vigil. 

On the third day the real patient was out of 
danger, but convalescence was slow. Charlie de 
cided that Kono must stay in Juan-les-Pins until 
the effects of the poisoning were completely worked 
out. 

Count Harry d Arrast came from Paris and 
persuaded Charlie to motor back to Paris with him, 
leaving Kono and May to follow later by train. 
After another week, they took the train for Paris, 
May and Kono and the Siamese cat. 

Two of these valuable and eccentric cats with 
their mink-colored coats and light blue eyes had 
been given to May by an admirer in Paris. One 
had met an untimely death while May s attention 
was taken up with nursing Kono. Siamese cats are 
great jumpers, it seems, and they are not mindful 
of the old adage to look before one leaps; they leap 
first, and occasionally do not live to look. Kitty I 
had taken a flying leap through an open window of 



334 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

the sickroom to the ground seven floors below. 
May was saddened by its untimely demise and 
cherished the other, keeping it by her side on the 
journey back to Paris. 

Count d Arrast urged Charlie to go next to 
Biarritz, the seaside playground near the French 
border in Spain. The four of them, May, Charlie, 
d Arrast, and Kitty II motored there, leaving Kono 
to follow with the luggage by train. 

Winston Churchill was vacationing in Biarritz. 
He invited Charlie to lunch. The next day Harry 
bore Charlie off for an overnight visit with the 
former s mother, who lived at the family seat, fifty 
miles away. 

Kono, left alone with May, took her to the Cafe 
de Paris for luncheon and over the table she dis 
cussed frankly her feeling for Charlie. She had 
fallen deeply in love with him and while she was 
modest -about her qualifications as a wife, she was 
older in background, more agreed upon what was 
and was not important than the other young 
women to whom Charlie had given ftis interest. 
Kono told her that he would be pleased to see them 
married, but he warned her of Charlie s recurrent 
desire to escape. 

On the evening of Charlie s return to Biarritz, 
Kono, dining with friends at the Club Casanova, 
recognized the Prince of Wales at a near-by table 
with, as his friends pointed out, Lord and Lady 
Auckland (who had a home in the Basses-Pyre- 



EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES 335 

nees) and Thehna Morgan Converse, Lady Fur- 
ness, sister to Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt. 

Kono hurried back to their hotel to tell Charlie 
the news, glad, he says, to escape the cloying atten 
tions of the wife of a certain noted wine maker of 
France, who thought he was "cute." 

Charlie was delighted. Edward, England s 
charming Wales, was the one person he really 
wished to know as who did not? He felt that in 
his democratic Royal Highness he could come closer 
to the England of his romantic ideals than by any 
other measure. He instructed Kono to telephone 
Lady Furness, whom he knew, and apprise her of 
the fact that he was there. Lady Furness imme 
diately, after a hurried consultation with their 
hosts, invited him to dinner. 

Charlie was almost overcome by self -conscious 
ness when the time actually came to enter the 
Aucklands gate. But he found only Lady Furness 
in the drawing room and was soon put at ease by 
her, so that when the Prince came into the room 
he was able to get through his informal presenta 
tion with some degree of composure. 

It was Lady Furness who, later, was to serve as 
the unwitting and indirect cause of King Edward s 
abdication. She it was who introduced him to his 
future wife, Wallis Warfield Simpson. Thelma 
Morgan had been, since they first met, one of 
Edward s good and understanding friends. She 
had regarded him as a human being, rather than 



336 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

as a puppet of the traditional marionette show of 
royalty. 

As the dinner wore on and champagne merci 
fully released Charlie from his self-consicousness, 
the Prince and Charlie progressed from "Mr. 
Chaplin" and "Sire" to "Charlie" and "Eddie." 

A few days later Charlie gave a dinner party at 
the Hotel Miramar for Prince Edward. The latter s 
party left by plane for London shortly afterward. 
Charlie decided to stay on for a month. 

It was while they were still in Biarritz that mail 
from London of a disturbing nature began to catch 
up with them. May Shepherd, the temporary sec 
retary engaged by Carl Robinson when they first 
arrived in England, who had stayed on at the hotel 
in London to finish up the correspondence, was 
demanding more salary than she had agreed to 
accept. Five pounds a week, approximately twenty- 
five dollars, she averred, was not adequate for the 
onerous duties that had developed. She wanted 
about five times that salary. The studio, awaiting 
Charlie s instructions in the matter, were quite 
willing to pay that sum, but Charlie, always pe 
nurious in such matters, stuck to the original 
agreement. He would not be taken for a good 
thing, he declared. The sometime stubborn and 
always impetuous Charlie was angry. 

Kono s practical nature asserted itself in agree 
ment with the studio. He advised Charlie to allow 
Miss Shepherd the additional money and save him- 



EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES 337 

self annoyance. He reminded him that women, 
some of the best names of England had written 
him notes, which, while innocent in intent, might 
sound indiscreet if Charlie were short-sighted 
enough to allow the matter to come to the law 
courts. Charlie held out. He would go to London 
himself and settle the matter. 

Stopping off in Paris, Kono received a letter 
from Wheeler Dryden: 

Hotel Powers 

52 Rue Frangois I 

Paris 

August 14, 1931. 
Dear Kono : 

My fiancee, Miss Dorothy Cevaley, tells me that she 
has had a little chat with you in Paris and that you are 
looking- very well. I am glad to know it and to know that 
you have benefited from your stay in San Juan les Pins. 
I did not hear from Mr. Chaplin in reply to the letter 
I sent him before I left New York. The matter about 
which I wrote him (the advance of the remainder of my 
salary for this year) * is most important to me Kono, as 
this money will enable me to get married when Dorothy 
and I go to London which we plan to do soon so if 
you could call Mr. Chaplin s attention to the letter I am 
sending by this post, I would greatly appreciate it. 

I spoke with Mr. Sidney on the long distance telephone 
about a week ago and he was rather anxious about an 
important letter he had written Mr. Charlie; it concerned 
a law suit some one has instigated.! Did he receive this 
letter? If not, please ask the hotel in Versailles to send 
it on to you. 

Best wishes to you, Kono, from 

WHEELER DRYDEN 



* Twenty-five dollars a week, 
f The May Shepherd suit. 



338 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Two months later, after Kono had made desul 
tory efforts to have Charlie take notice of his half- 
brother s request, Dryden wrote again with less 
formality and more urgent tone: 

Hotel Curzon 

Mayfair 

London 

October 14, 1981. 
Dear Kono, 

How are you these days? Hope that stye has disap 
peared from your eye! 

Have waited to hear from you with news about a defi 
nite appointment for Dorothy and me to see Charlie. 
Surely he is not so rushed for time, now, is he? Can t 
you contrive to mention me to him, again making sure 
to tell him I don t want to bother him about financial 
matters. Just a quiet little visit. Please try to fix it, 
Kono. 

Sincerely, 

WHEELER 

Indicating that Charlie s attitude about money 
is an unconscious one and inconsistent, two inci 
dents of variant moods are pertinent and may be 
told here. 

On one of his rare inspections of his kitchen, in 
his home in Summit Drive, Beverly Hills, he com 
plained bitterly to Kono of the "extravagant" 
stock of cold meats in the refrigerator. Kono, 
wishing to keep contented the excellent staff of 
servants he had recruited the chef, butler, valet, 
and chauffeur did not contest the point but quiet 
ly bought another ice box, which he had installed on 
the service porch. The meats were kept in this* 



EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES 339 

Thus a bill of thin fare rewarded Charlie s next 
preview of the culinary department. 

In contrast to this, Charlie had been troubled 
many nights by insomnia (during the filming of 
City Lights). Finally after a ten-mile walk, late 
at night, he tumbled into bed and enjoyed ten 
hours of refreshing sleep. At the studio next 
morning Alf Reeves met him with the news that 
he had dropped eighty thousand dollars the day 
before in the market. Charlie waved a negligent 
hand. "What s eighty thousand dollars?" he 
shouted loftily. "I have slept!" 

Back in London, Charlie fancied he detected a 
lack of cordiality from official England, due he 
believed to his having run away from Prime Min 
ister Ramsay MacDonald. And then, he had un 
wittingly ignored a sort of unofficial command to 
appear at a benefit vaudeville performance at 
which Their Majesties, King George and Queen 
Mary, would be present. Unused to attending to 
these communications himself, he had, while Kono 
was sick in San Juan les Pins, given it a cursory 
examination and tossed it into the waste basket. 
When the furor aroused over his supposed churl 
ishness in refusing to give his services to such a 
cause, and his discourtesy to Their Majesties, 
reached him through the press, it was too late to 
do anything about it except delegate Sir Philip 
to explain it, which he did. 

Sir Philip Sassoon declared that England s ap- 



340 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

parent lack of official recognition of him upon his 
return was a desire to allow him to mingle freely 
and unattended by publicity with the group of 
people who fostered all that was new and gay and 
smart in London, in other words a freedom of 
action which is dear to every Englishman s heart. 
This seems the most plausible explanation of the 
three. 

Having met the Prince of Wales, who was un- 
princely only in that he was courageous enough 
to turn his back on the dull and prosaic and seek 
his companions among the moderns, Charlie was 
not at a loss for entertainment. Lady Cholmonde- 
ley, Bassoon s sister, introduced him to the inter 
esting set later to be frowned upon and condemned 
by the Archbishop of Canterbury for their lack of 
conformity to outmoded standards. Lady Cunard, 
widow of Sir Bache Cunard, Lady Oxford (Margot 
Asquith), and Sybil, Lady Coif ax all three re 
nowned London hostesses were happy to enter 
tain for Charlie. In their homes he met the intelli 
gentsia, successors to the "Bright Young Things" 
of the immediate postwar period. 

Meanwhile the officers of British United Artists 
Corporation, Ltd., were growing more perturbed 
over the urgency of May Shepherd s demands. 
Arthur Kelly, president of the company (the 
Sonny of Charlie s youth, and Hetty s brother), 
and Mr. Murray Silverstone, managing director, 
asked Kono to use his powers of persuasion with 



EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES 341 

Charlie to settle the affair. But Kono assured 
them that Charlie had gone temperamental and 
that it was useless. They explained to Kono that 
their positions as employees of United Artists 
engendered a certain diffidence in importuning 
their most important star and one of the owners 
of the company to behave. 

"Hooey," was Kono s cynical comment on this 
to himself. "I get the dirty work, as usual." 

He returned to the hotel to find a letter from 
Miss Shepherd in which she recounted her indig 
nities, complaining that Charlie ignored her de 
mands and that when she had seen Mr. Silverstone 
he had referred her to Carl Kobinson, who in turn 
had referred her to Charlie or Mr. Silverstone. 
She was going to sue. She characterized the whole 
situation as ridiculous and added that she honestly 
thought he did not understand her position. 

She, on the other hand, could not understand 
Charlie s reluctance to part with small sums which 
could not in any way affect his well-being. It is 
one of the enigmas of his complex nature, induced 
by his early privations. 

Kono urged Charlie to settle. Charlie s reply 
was to engage Guedalla, Jacobson and Spyer, a 
firm of solicitors in Old Broad Street, to fight the 
case! He signed a retainer on October 23 after 
repeated reminders by the firm, through Kono. 

Meanwhile, Charlie had accepted an invitation 
from Winston Churchill for a week end at his 



342 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

home, Chartwell Manor, in Wilshire-Kent. Arriv 
ing on Friday, he was restless and nervous. He 
retired behind a wall of silence which Kono had 
come to recognize as the incubation of a story idea 
for his next picture. He forgot the impending suit 
against him, nor was he at pains to conceal his 
impatience to get back to town and be alone, but 
Churchill, a man of great tolerance and under 
standing, was consistently gracious and accepted 
Charlie s mood for what it was the vagaries of 
the creative mind. 

When they were once more in London, Charlie 
told Kono that May Reeves s presence annoyed 
him, demanded that he send her away, at once, to 
Paris. She could wait for him there. May under 
stood this turn of events and amiably agreed to go. 

Tired by now of the small furor over the May 
Shepherd suit, Charlie instructed his solicitors to 
settle in full without further ado. He had had his 
little hour of childlike protest against a world 
which was trying to take from him a toy, an in 
significant toy, to be sure, but his. 



Switzerland 



TIRING OF LONDON, Charlie hit upon the idea of 
going to Switzerland, in spite of Kono s reminder 
that he did not care for mountains. Upon occa 
sions, it is Charlie s wont to blame this aversion 
to mountains upon the purely hypothetical Romany 
strain in his blood. Douglas Fairbanks was in 
St.-Moritz, and letters from him had been urging 
Charlie to come on for winter sports. 

It was December 12 when Charlie, Lady Chol- 
mondeley, and Kono arrived in the winter play 
ground of the Swiss Alps. Charlie confided in 
Lady Cholmondeley his feeling for May Reeves, 
told her he had dismissed her summarily from 
London, and wanted to make amends. She insisted 
that he send for the girl at once to join them there. 
Syd Chaplin came on from Nice. 

May, by this time, was hopelessly in love with 
Charlie. Every word of his was, to her, important ; 
his moods were to be, above any inconvenience of 
hers, respected. 

It was evident to any interested onlooker now 
that she would make him an admirable wife. Her 



344 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

youth and buoyant spirits, yet lack of frivolity; 
her poise and good breeding, gay charm and dark 
beauty, her understanding of the tortuous paths 
of his thoughts, all fitted her more to be his wife 
than any of the women who had preceded her. 
Yet Charlie gave no sign of offering marriage to 
her. Lady Cholmondeley, who genuinely liked 
May, did what she could to point his thoughts in 
that direction. To no avail. 

Charlie had, in the first heat of his infatuation, 
promised May everything from a kimono from 
Japan, their next destination, to a screen career 
in Hollywood, but it was apparent that to May 
none of these things weighed importantly beyond 
the simple fact that through the weeks of their 
association she had grown to care deeply for 
him. 

Charlie s actual reasons for failing to ask May 
to be his wife are not known, for he sank into an 
aloof silence when approached on the subject. And 
presumably he did not offer her a screen career 
because, first, he was not making a picture and, 
second, he sensed her superiority to the raw plastic 
material from which he was wont to fashion his 
creations. And it is true that he had begun to tire 
of May for no reason at all, save that the quality 
of his affection is ever fragile and its duration 
preterient. 

Douglas Fairbanks had gone; Lady Cholmon 
deley, puzzled over Charlie s sudden change of 




Charlie, May Reeves, and Siamese Kitty II, in San Juan les Pins. 




i ii ^ 



J! 

"S 

o 





W2 

8 



a 




1 



SWITZERLAND 345 

spirits and withdrawal from their sports, had re 
turned to London. Syd Chaplin had left for Nice. 

Before he went, however, Syd had urged Kono 
to arrange for him to accompany them to the 
Orient. Kono did suggest it to Charlie, who, after 
a few days hesitation, finally consented to take 
him along. Syd was informed by telegraph at Nice 
that he was to join them at Naples. They, Charlie, 
May, and Kono, left for Italy. 

From Milan they pushed on to Rome, where at 
Charlie s half-hearted request an attempt was 
made by United Artists representatives to have 
him meet Mussolini. II Duce, it chanced, had no 
free hours of appointment until the following 
week. The idea was discarded. They entrained 
for Naples, where they were to sail within a few 
days, on March 5, on the S.S. Suwa Maru for the 
Far East. 

To May, who understood Charlie s moods and 
his fear of realities, the approaching separation 
was a tragedy. She "knew that she would never 
see him again. She yearned over his lovable quali 
ties; over the lack of understanding of his true 
nature by those closest to him, Syd and Kono ; over 
his helplessness to defend for himself, most of all 
over his aloneness. 

She stood on the Naples dock, a pathetic figure, 
smiling valiantly as their boat drew out into the 
harbor. She was sad because she recognized that 
Charlie was bound down and held captive by his 



846 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

necessity to serve, at whatever cost to himself and 
to those who love him^ the bitter, quenchless flame 
in his heart; that neither she nor anyone could 
fill, for any length of time, his hunger. 

Her prescience was right. Once she had disap 
peared from view into the murky gloom of the 
pier, May had ceased to be a living, breathing per 
sonality to Charlie. She became an incident, and 
an unimportant one, along his dark and troubled 
way. 



Japan 



IT IS NECESSARY to retrogress into the year pre 
ceding this European tour to understand the rea 
sons Charlie had for wanting to visit Japan. He 
had met many prominent figures from that coun 
try, among them, Prince Tokigawa, Head of the 
House of Peers; Debuchi, Ambassador to Wash 
ington ; Prince Nakagawa, President of the Jap 
anese Peace Society; Japanese admirals, generals, 
and motion-picture stars. But not until he had 
seen the Japanese Kengeki (analagous to our 
Shakespearean tragedies) performed in Los Ange 
les had he evinced any interest in visiting his 
secretary s native land. 

In 1929, the Association of Japanese Theater 
Promotion had produced their famous Kengeki in 
a makeshift theater in downtown Los Angeles. 
The plays, stately and heroic portrayals of the 
classic legends of old Japan, involve the historical 
two-bladed sword fights and are part of the esthetic 
education of every Japanese with any claim to 
culture. 

Through Kono, Charlie had been invited to at- 



348 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

tend the Kengeki. Doctor Cecil Reynolds, Harry 
Crocker, Count Harry d Arrast, and Georgia Hale 
were included in the invitation. 

Charlie was enthralled by the enactment of the 
tragedies. After the performance he wished to go 
backstage and meet the actors. Kono demurred. 
He explained that the producers might be met but 
never the actors. It is hard for the Occidental to 
understand that actors, in Japan, are a caste apart. 
The Japanese middle or upper class attends his 
theater, admires their performances while he holds 
the performers in supreme contempt. There is an 
expression, "Kawara no Kojiki," "beggars of the 
river bed," applied to actors in Japan, today. 

Charlie insisted, and Kono, to appease him and 
at the same time save face with his Japanese as 
sociates, managed a quick, furtive meeting with 
the cast and hurried Charlie on to meet, more 
openly, the men responsible for bringing the plays 
to America. 

Charlie was warm in his praise to the producers 
and, upon an impulse of enthusiasm, declared he 
would arrange for a Hollywood showing of the 
tragedies. The motion-picture people must have 
an opportunity to see these heroic, and at the same 
time fragile, traceries of the idealism of a splendid 
bygone age. 

Weeks went by, and Charlie (engrossed in the 
production of City Lights) gave no further sign 
that he remembered the existence of the Kengeki. 



JAPAN 349 

Kono jogged his memory at several times, but 
Charlie had retreated into one of his somber with 
drawals from all realities. And Kono, eventually 
recognizing the futility of pressing the matter, 
was angered by Charlie s indifference to "losing 
face" and more perturbed by its causing Kono 
himself to lose with his fellow countrymen, a 
generous measure of the same commodity. 

Kono had little grasp of the prerogatives of 
genius which takes where it may and gives when 
it pleases. He did not know that genius consists, 
in part, of the instinctive absorption, in fleeting 
contact, of all that is great, making it greater still. 
He expected a practical, tangible return for what 
Charlie had, with the inalienable privilege of 
genius, appropriated to himself. 

Kono went in agitation to Sid Grauman, the 
outstanding impresario of motion-picture pre 
mieres and their elaborate prologues at the time. 
He knew Grauman, as the latter was a friend and 
admirer of Charlie s. He told him of his predica 
ment. And Grauman, essentially a showman, 
brushing aside the threatened minus-countenance 
of both Charlie and Kono, grasped the essence of 
the matter. He even waived the memory of an 
indignity he had recently suffered at Charlie s 
impish hand. 

This was a casualty at which all Hollywood had 
been chuckling. One of Charlie s personal vagaries 
has always been strict avoidance of a barber s 



350 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

chair. Perhaps this aversion is rooted in his early, 
hateful experience as a lather boy in the Kenning- 
ton shop. * It may be partly due, also, to his leaning 
toward small economies and further supported by 
his belief that he can cut his own hair better than 
any barber can do it. Whatever the reason, he 
has a barber s chair in his dressing room, and 
while he snips and cuts, turning this way and 
that before a large mirror, he is wont to entertain 
his more intimate male friends. 

Sid Grauman, whose long, bushy locks have been 
for years the target for many good-natured gibes 
from friends and columnists, appeared on the 
scene one day as Charlie was engaged in feather- 
edging his own neckline. In the mirror, Charlie 
spied Sid s long bob. He talked fast to allay any 
suspicion of the foul intent in his mind, complet 
ing his work. Then, jumping down from the chair, 
he pounced upon the unwary Sid, urging him to 
let him "trim some of those uneven ends a little." 
Sid climbed into the chair, cautioning Charlie to 
"go easy." Charlie snatched up the electric clip 
pers and, before Sid could stay his hand, buzzed 
a neatly mowed path through the forest of Sid s 
Fiji-Islanderish locks. Then whirling the chair so 
Sid could glimpse the havoc, and the picture of 
penitence, he explained that the clippers had 
"slipped." So there was nothing to do but cut the 
whole head to match. Sid took one despairing look 

* Page 40. 



JAPAN 351 

and slumped speechless deeper into the chair, curs 
ing himself silently for a trusting fool. 

When the slaughter was complete, Charlie drew 
back with a flourish. "Now," he exclaimed, "you 
look like something !" But he did not specify what. 

Sid refused to look at the utter ruin to his prized 
locks. He gazed sadly at Charlie, ruminating upon 
the perfidy of friends. And then he climbed out of 
the chair and stalked out of the house without so 
much as a backward glance at the copious mattress 
stuffing lying on the floor. 

For months Sid had avoided Charlie while he 
grew a new crop of hair, passed him by quickly and 
without speaking when they met; but when Kono 
submitted the possibility of producing the Kengeki, 
he was all showman, his grudge forgotten. If 
Charlie said they were worth while they must be 
good. He decided upon a midnight matinee in the 
Chinese Theatre in Hollywood Boulevard, of which 
he was owner. 

Meanwhile the troupe had moved on to San 
Francisco. Kono notified the local manager of 
Grauman s plan, and the company was recalled to 
Los Angeles, all dates in the north canceled. 

Sid Grauman sent out invitations to the more 
important members of the picture colony. Sam 
Goldwyn, Joseph Schenck, Cecil B. DeMille, were 
among the producers. Stars, both feminine and 
masculine, were notified, and when the sets were 
moved in after the evening showing of the picture 



352 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

then on the boards at the Chinese Theatre, few 
invitations had been disregarded. The Kengeki 
were performed by the cast as an inspired unit; 
they were playing, that night, they knew, to the 
elect. 

When the last tragic death was died, there were 
shouts of "Marvelous!" "Bravo!" "This must be 
shown to every lover of good theater in Holly 
wood !" The chosen few had been brought together 
for a moment in the exaltation of perfection. Sid 
Grauman arranged on the spot for a presentation 
in the old Windsor Square Theater, now the semi- 
private playhouse of the Ebell Club. 

Mr. Grauman s publicity director, Ed Perkins, 
was given the task of spreading the word, and an 
excellent job he made of it, too. Grauman bought 
fifty tickets for himself and sent them out to 
friends who had not seen the plays. He refused to 
accept any share of the profit for himself. 

Fourteen hundred people filled the Windsor 
Square on the opening night. Charlie was there 
and quite as appreciative as he had been before. 
Los Angeles city and county officials, including the 
Mayor and Chief of Police, were guests of the 
management. * Sid Grauman acted as master of 
ceremonies and explained the motifs, enough of 
their backgrounds to make the tragedies compre 
hensible to the audience. 

L. E. Behymer, the grand old man of Los Ange 
les, promoter of almost every cultural treat for 



JAPAN 353 

Los Angeleans for many years, was present and 
was afterwards introduced to the producers. He 
immediately arranged for a two weeks run of the 
Kengeki at the Music Box Theater in Hollywood. 
Grauman entered into the project with Mr. Behy- 
mer and enlisted the aid of the stars in attracting 
attention to the Japanese plays. Each night was 
designated as sponsored by an established star. 
There was Charlie Chaplin night, Mary Pickford 
night, Jackie Cooper night, and so on. The two 
weeks were a tremendous success. 

So, indirectly, because of his secretary s reluc 
tance to lose face, Charlie became a contributor to 
Art in the Japanese colony of Los Angeles. A 
dinner was arranged by leading Japanese business 
and professional men to show their appreciation 
of Charlie s furtherance of the Kengeki. Three 
hundred guests assembled to pay their respects 
to him. 

In the cafe in East First Street, softly lighted 
and lavishly decorated with synthetic cherry blos 
soms so real to the eye that the guests involuntarily 
drew in deep breaths to catch their perfume, they 
were served with the infinitesimal dabs of food 
constituting each course of a ceremonial dinner, 
their palates warmed by sake of the correct age 
and temperature. Toward the end of the courses 
there was champagne, and into the heady, exqui 
site atmosphere there came dancers recruited from 
various Japanese theaters. 



354 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

With the sensation of disembarking from an 
enchanted isle, Charlie came out into the garish 
lights of the city and declared himself possessed 
of nostalgia for the unknown land, to him, of the 
Orient. 

v Charlie and Syd arrived in Japan after two 
months of touring Ceylon, Singapore, Java, and 
Bali. Kono, who had gone directly to Tokyo, re 
turned to the port of Kobe to meet them. 

The welcome at Kobe equaled in volume any 
which had greeted Charlie in his travels. Thou 
sands crowded the docks and the near-by streets. 
From airplanes circling overhead dropped gaily 
decorative posters of welcome, floating down upon 
the heads of the cheering throngs. 

The Japanese Government had extended to 
Charlie the freedom of all railways in the country. 
Charlie and Syd and Kono took train for Tokyo. 

As the train had been ordered to stop for a few 
minutes at each station along the route, the trip 
was a triumphal procession equalled by nothing 
in the annals of Japan except the journeying 
abroad of their royalty. Gifts of rare sort were 
proffered Charlie from the officials of the towns, 
by geisha girls (comparable to the better type of 
our show girls) , the most beautiful of their number 
having been chosen for this honor. 

In Tokyo the storm of adulation reached its 
climax. Four hundred policemen who had been 



JAPAN 355 

detailed to control the crowds were barely suffi 
cient to force a passage for Charlie through the 
dense jam of humanity. The procession, headed 
by a large motorcar containing the ministers of 
police, worked its way at a snail s pace through 
Tokyo s streets, stopping before the Emperor s 
palace to make brief obeisance. 

Cartloads of exquisite gifts and letters poured 
into the Hotel Imperial, that marvel of modern 
achievement designed in 1916-20 by Frank Lloyd 
Wright, the patriarchal genius of American archi 
tecture. Japanese secretaries were employed to 
assist Kono. 

A bodyguard of plain-clothes men was assigned 
to accompany Charlie whenever he ventured forth 
into the city. These were troublous times in Japan, 
politically the temper of the masses was uncertain, 
and alert government officials were fearful lest 
some unsettled mind select Charlie as the figure 
head of privilege and wealth and do him some 
harm. 

On the morning after their arrival in Tokyo, 
Kensuke Imugai, son of Tsuyoshi Imugai, Premier 
of Japan, telephoned that he was going to the 
Stadium to arrange for Charlie s party to witness 
the famous Sumo wrestling matches that after 
noon. 

After lunch they drove to the Stadium, where a 
tremendous ovation greeted Charlie s appearance. 
The crowd was not aware, no more than were 



356 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

members of Charlie s party, that tragedy had 
struck down, scarcely two hours before, its national 
hero, the Prime Minister. But upon emerging 
from the Stadium, Kono was handed a message 
by a breathless courier, saying that Imugai had 
been shot at the very time while his son was away 
from home arranging Charlie s attendance at the 
wrestling matches. The message begged Kono to 
co-operate with the bodyguard to take every pre 
caution of protection for Charlie. Japan wanted 
no situation to arise which might strain the (at 
that time) excellent relations between themselves 
and the United States. 

The tragedy of the assassination of the states 
man and philosopher, Imugai, struck deep at the 
heart of Japan. Loved and respected by his people, 
save by a few ruthless fanatics, he was approach 
ing an advanced age when he might lay down the 
gavel of public life and retire to his books and 
garden. 

On this last morning of his life, he was at his 
ease in his sitting room, surrounded by his wife 
and daughters. The assassins, disguised as sol 
diers of the guard, forced their way into the palace, 
killing the actual guards. They appeared in the sit 
ting room with guns drawn. Imugai, who knew in 
stantly the significance of their unceremonious en 
trance, simply rose and with quiet dignity and no 
outward show of fear, explained to his family that 
the gentlemen who had just come had some griev- 



JAPAN 357 

ances, imagined or true, to present to him; then 
he turned and, bidding the intruders follow him, 
walked slowly down a corridor to a room at the 
farthest end of the passage. Inside the room he 
confronted them. What, he asked, was their plea 
sure? Without a word they poured the contents 
of their guns into the unarmed, aged premier. 

Had his son not gone to the Stadium in a gesture 
of courtesy to Charlie, without doubt he, too, would 
have been brutally murdered. 

Charlie had been told that he was to meet the 
Prime Minister on the following day. Hearing the 
news of his death, he was unstrung, depressed that 
this catastrophe should have followed so closely his 
arrival. With characteristic volatility his imagina 
tion seized upon the assassination as an ill omen 
for his visit to Japan. 

Kono, seeking to divert his mind from the calami 
ty, reminded him of his pleasure, the year before, 
in the KengekL He assured him that he would be 
equally interested in performance of the Kafouki. 
Tickets were procured for the entire series, and 
Charlie apparently put down his impulse to rush 
away after only a few days in Japan. 

The plays of the Kabuki, more modern in theme, 
were impressive in their native setting. The 
Kabuki-za Theater had a seating capacity of two 
thousand, and every seat was filled for each per 
formance. The plays began at three o clock in the 
afternoon and lasted until eleven in the evening. 



358 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

The first play of six acts was broken after the third 
act by a musical posture drama or pantomime 
dance. All female parts were taken by men who 
conveyed all the delicacy of feminine gestures with 
out the exaggerated mincing and fluttering of the 
Anglo-Saxon in like roles. It was as if the men im 
personating women had no sex; there was the sex- 
lessness of Ted Shawn s dancing, allowing, of 
course, for the variance of the Oriental from the 
Greek in form. 

Runways, associated in our minds with revues 
or burlesque, extended from the front of the theater 
to the stage, and from these the actors made their 
entrances and exits while the audience loudly 
shouted their names instead of applauding. Shouts 
and cries of approval lasted for many minutes after 
the cast had reached the stage while the performers 
waited with patient calm for their cessation. 

It was explained to Charlie that the Japanese 
take their theater seriously. Every child with any 
claim to cultural background is versed in the lore 
of the plays given year after year, yet always, to 
them, vividly fresh. The props are not mere papier- 
mache shams to be used a few times and cast aside. 
The swords used in the plays are cast and tempered 
by swordmakers who from father to son for genera 
tions have produced the weapons of warfare and 
those of ceremonials. Charlie was intensely in 
terested in the evolution of the Kabuki, and even 
more interested in the audience reaction to the 



JAPAN 359 

plays which they, probably, could have chanted as 
prompters, had any actor "gone up" in his lines. 

Charlie expressed a desire to witness the tea 
ceremony, training for which is part of the educa 
tion of every gently born Japanese girl. He was 
taken to the school in Tokyo, presided over by a 
woman gracious and charming, Madame Horiko- 
shi, who supports the school from her own funds. 

Charlie sat in awed fascination before the mean 
ingful simplicity of the tea ceremony. He told Kono 
that it revealed to him as nothing else could, the 
character, perhaps the soul, of Japan Japan as 
it was before it became tinged with Western cus 
toms. 

We who hastily rinse a teapot with hot water, 
dump in a spoonful of tea, and pour freshly boiling 
water over it, might well be awed by the meticulous^ 
almost ritual, care attending each successive move 
ment of the preparation of tea by a Japanese lady; 
by the poise of the waiting guest, his silence to aid 
in creating tranquility of mind ; and by their appre 
ciation of the beauty of human hands in gesture. 

One watches in quiet until a series of poetry of 
motion converts the green tea into liquid jade for 
the refreshment of the body after the refreshment 
of the spirit. 

The writer, who has been privileged to watch 
pale hands like lilies deftly brewing tea for troubled 
men of affairs who gazed in calm joy at this simple 
act, has ventured the belief that the variant atti- 



360 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

tudes toward this ceremony can be taken as indica 
tive of the wide misunderstanding between East 
and West. Though artists of both hemispheres may 
come together in regarding beauty not as some 
thing merely purchased with great wealth but, 
"white hyacinths" plucked from the simple, com 
monplace acts of daily living, the Nordic is gener 
ally intolerant of such meticulous obeisance to the 
art of living. 

Charlie wanted all of Japan to be consistent with 
the tea ceremony; he resented their inconsistencies, 
the intrusion of Western customs and dress. He 
was always annoyed by the materialism of Kono, 
even while he found it helpful in his practical life. 

He spent hours before the pictures of the ancient 
masters of the color print, Hokusai, Utamaro, 
Harunobu, and Hiroshige, to mention a few of the 
better known to Occidental art lovers. By reading 
monographs, he was able to see that perhaps the 
greatest of them had been passed over by collectors, 
or was it that the Japanese millionaires created by 
war contracts and munition orders had been able to 
keep these precious originals in their native land? 
At any rate, there were the original prints of Kori- 
usai and Hishigawa, Moronobu.and the collection 
of Shigekichi Mihara, for Charlie s delectation. 
For days, Kono, whose tastes still ran to teahouses 
and geisha girls, was bored by Charlie s prolix 
vehemence on the subject of Japanese color prints. 

Charlie passed, with a cursory glance, the hy~ 




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EH 

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JAPAN 361 

brid works of modern art which he condemned as 
being neither Japanese nor European. 

After a party given by Mr. Otani, president of 
the Shockiku Cinema, at his house, Charlie -with 
drew from his companions, into his room and re 
fused to listen to Kono s reminder that he had in 
tended making a comprehensive tour of Japan. 
Kono began preparations for their return home. 

Syd Chaplin had been annoying Charlie with an 
unwarranted solicitation as to money spent on 
their travels. The money was Charlie s, but Syd 
disapproved of Kono s disposition of it. The broth 
ers separated, Syd to return to Nice, Charlie and 
Kono to sail for Seattle on the Hikawa Maru. They 
had been away from Hollywood for a year and a 
half. Charlie was mulling over in his mind the 
situations for his next picture. He was eager to 
get home and get to work. 

On the boat he went into seclusion in his state 
room and day after day filled many pages with 
notes for Modern Times. 

As they approached Seattle, Charlie asked Kono 
to wireless ahead for reservations on the first fast 
train to California. He received the reply that the 
train left at four in the afternoon of the morning 
the Hikawa Maru docked. A drawing room would 
be held for them. Kono dared relax. But of one 
thing he was quite sure. If a shouting, milling 
crowd met the boat in Seattle, he would emit a 
series of yells that would put to shame the famed 



362 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

cry of the chamois in the throes of love. As a pre 
caution against being locked up in the local bastille 
for screaming he had sent a wireless to the Hikawa 
Maru offices in Seattle, begging them to withhold 
news of Charlie s coming, and they had obligingly 
complied. 

As the boat slowed to a stop and eased up to the 
pier, Kono rushed in to see that Charlie was ready 
for the immigration officials, who would board her 
and inspect all passports. He found Charlie in his 
cabin, gazing dreamily out to sea. Kono suggested 
that they would do well to disembark as soon as 
possible, get their land legs in a stroll about Seattle, 
unheralded and unsung. Charlie, though tempted 
with the prospect of a walk, deigned no reply. 
Finally he turned. "Get me a stenographer," he 
ordered. "Get her here as quickly as you can." 

"But, Charlie, the immigration men, your pass- 

"The hell with passports. Tell them to come in 
here if they want to see me." 

Kono s spirits took a swan dive. He did not 
relish relaying such a message, even softened to a 
request, for he. knew that immigration officers are 
prone, at times, to regard it as an especial favor of 
themselves and God to let anyone enter their 
ports. However, he recognized the stubborn set of 
Charlie s jaw, the cold light of defiance in his eye. 
He went out on deck, approached gingerly one of 
the officials while cursing softly an employfer who 



JAPAN 363 

could at times act like a five-year-old tired of being 
good. 

"Would it be possible for you to send someone 
i n to " Kono began timorously. 

The officer eyed him condescendingly. "It would 
not," he returned curtly. Kono thought perhaps he 
would soften at the mention of the magic name; 
most people did. 

"It s Mr. Chaplin/ Kono essayed, his Z s and r s 
becoming more than usually entangled. 

The officer went right on checking passports on 
the table set up as an impromptu desk on the deck. 
The line of first-cabin passengers filing slowly by 
and being released was unaware of Charlie s pres 
ence on the ship. 

Kono returned to Charlie and reported the brief 
skirmish of words. He was afraid, he told him, that 
he would have to come out on deck. Charlie, with 
out looking up from the furious scribbling in which 
he was now engaged, flatly refused. Kono, girding 
his loins and polishing his best weapon, sallied 
forth once more to battle. He approached the table. 
There was a brief lull before the second-cabin line 
began. 

"Char-lie Chap-lin is in his room. He s not 

well " He got no further. "Why didn t you say 

so in the first place?" The officer threw Kono an 
accusing glance. "Charlie Chaplin, eh?" A grin, 
reminiscent, no doubt, of Charlie on the screen, 
lighted his face. "I ll go right in." He certified 



364 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Kono s passport and disappeared with alacrity. 
Kono heaved a sigh of relief and departed for Se 
attle to get a stenographer. 

At the offices of the Hikawa Maru he chose the 
homeliest girl among those offered him by the ac 
commodating management. "She was the homeli 
est girl 7 ever saw," Kono avers. He dispatched 
her boatward, then hied himself off to visit with 
some old friends from his schooldays in Seattle. 

At three o clock he returned to the boat, docked 
fourteen miles from the railway station, dashed 
into the stateroom and, wading through a snow 
storm of typed sheets on the floor, reminded Charlie 
that it was time to leave for the train. The taxi, 
he added, was waiting. 

Charlie looked up but went on dictating. Kono 
listened for a moment to make sure it had nothing 
to do with his next picture, then gathered the 
papers up and stuffed them into a briefcase. They 
could be disposed of later. 

The economic situation, it seemed, had been too 
much for Charlie; it had really got him down. He 
was writing of panaceas so radical that Kono 
shiveringly prayed there were no stray reporters 
hanging about, but he only mildly inquired if 
someone were waiting for these results of inspira 
tion. Charlie shook his head, replied with blithe 
insouciance that they could drop it off at the edi 
torial office of the Post-Intelligencer on the way to 
the station. Kono made no answer, just sat down 



JAPAN 365 

and waited, knowing that Charlie would not move 
until reminded again. Finally he glanced at his 
watch and firmly declared that they must go now 
if they hoped to catch that train. He gathered up 
the rest of the papers and fairly pushed Charlie 
and his amanuensis off the boat and hustled them 
into the taxi. There was no time, he told Charlie, 
regretfully, to drop by the newspaper office. They 
could mail the article later. 
, tCharlie did not seem to notice. They stopped 
Itog enough to transfer the stenographer from 
their taxi to another and, by breaking all speed 
laws, reached the train as it had begun to move 
out of the shed. 

Having arranged the economic situation of the 
world to his satisfaction, Charlie sank into a deep 
brown study. Contemplation of his coming picture 
was crowding out his awareness even of where 
he was. Kono smuggled the briefcase out of the 
compartment and, tearing its contents into small 
bits seven hours of dictation scattered them to 
the winds of the Northwest from the rear platform 
of the last car of the train- Charlie never inquired 
the whereabouts of his treatise on world affairs. 
He forgot it completely. 

Kono chuckled to himself as he remembered the 
half -wistful plaint of the homely stenographer, 
whispered to him on their dash uptown. Charlie, 
she imagined, had made tentative overtrues to her 
in the cabin. Reflecting now upon her lack of pul- 



366 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

chritude, he laughed aloud. Charlie had paid her a 
compliment. It was, no doubt, her first invitation 
from, if invitation it were, and loomed to her as her 
only opportunity for a Fate Worse than Death. 



Hollywood Modern Times Paulette 
Goddard 



AT HOME, in Beverly Hills once more, Charlie 
threw himself into a fever of writing. A national 
magazine had requested his account of his travels. 
He was eager to get at it, and in dictating this ma 
terial fresh in his mind he crystallized its matter 
into a substance from which could be extracted 
the basic ideas for his next picture, Modern Times. 

Charlie is no writer for publication. A Comedian 
Sees the World was an improvement, however, on 
his first story, which was published in book form 
as My Wonderful Visit. Kathryn Hunter, his 
studio secretary, wrote the former; Monta Bell, 
an excellent former director but an indifferent 
writer, penned the latter. Both wrote from his 
dictation but used, at their discretion, their own 
choice of phrases. 

When the magazine story was off to the pub 
lisher, he plunged immediately into formulating 
the plot for Modern Times. He is an indefatigable 
worker, and with Kono ever on guard to discour 
age interruptions and keep all annoyances from 



368 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

him, he worked like one possessed. And when he 
left his writing table for exercise, he walked about 
as one in a dream, through his grounds, through 
Beverly Hills, down Hollywood Boulevard, through 
Los Angeles, seeking always the busiest, noisiest 
jangle of crowded streets instead of the hills or the 
open country. 

When he had reached the point where the nucleus 
for the picture had become a written reality, Joseph 
Schenck, then president of United Artists, sug 
gested that he take a vacation away from his desk, 
come aboard his yacht for a week-end cruise. 
Charlie agreed. Mr. Schenck recruited two young 
women from the studio stock company, both of 
them comparatively unknown but both very pretty. 
One of these was Paulette Goddard; with the other 
this story has no concern. 

Paulette Goddard was then, in 1932, slightly 
older than the age she lays claim to in 1939. This 
arrangement of age is always excusable in the 
theatrical world, especially when an actress has a 
childlike quality of feature and body as has Miss 
Goddard. Her age is pertinent here only in that 
she has shown a maturity of intelligence and, ac 
cording to Charlie, has given him a companionship 
he has had from neither of his former wives. 

Paulette was a blonde at the time Charlie met 
her but allowed her hair to return to its natural 
dark color, which pleased him. 

Charlie saw in her, first, only the raw material 



HOLLYWOOD MODERN TIMES 369 

from which he could mold the orphan girl for 
Modern Times. He was on tiptoe for the effort to 
groom her for the part. 

Before many weeks he was in love with her, 
and she appeared to be genuinely fond of him. 
And although no record can be found of their mar 
riage, and both Charlie and Paulette maintain a 
strict silence on the subject, it can be assumed that 
the ceremony was performed at sea, probably on 
his yacht, the Panacea, and not recorded in the log 
or at the Hall of Records. 

Paulette, more versed in the ways of the world 
than any of the other women to whom Charlie had 
given his love, was wiser than either Mildred or 
Lita Chaplin in the manner of conducting herself 
in her new home. She was willing to recognize 
Charlie s right at all times to be himself, was eager 
to dance or play when Charlie was in the mood for 
relaxation, and on the whole showed a kindness 
and understanding rarely accorded to the vagaries 
of the mode of life of her husband. 

/*M[ 

(J/ In line with this determination to avoid the mis 
take of being a helpless guest in her own home, 
Paulette decided to take over the reins of its man 
agement and also the management of Charlie s 
personal affairs. This was soon evident to Kono, 
who was usually deliberate in absorbing a new 
idea. 

Gradually, imperceptibly to Charlie she suc 
ceeded in taking over Kono s duties, and the latter 



370 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

was at a loss to handle such an unprecedented state 
of affairs. Never before in the almost eighteen 
years of his employment with Charlie had anyone 
presumed to usurp any jot of his authority. It 
would be useless to complain to Charlie, Kono de 
cided, when it first became apparent that no action 
of his, as Charlie s personal secretary, could stay 
safe in its triviality. Charlie was comfortable, 
and he was also at the stage where his emotions 
blinded him to any conscious thought upon prac 
tical matters. So Kono gave way with what grace 
he could, consoling himself that one day, before 
long, Charlie would come out of his fog and see 
for himself the way things were going. 

This proved to be an erroneous hope on Kono s 
part. Charlie had, after many years, deviated 
from the usual pattern of his behavior; he had for 
the first time found a comradeship in marriage. 
Hence his home life was softened to an amenity 
which called for an adjustment of his reactions to 
marriage and a home. 

Kono watched with amazement, and resentment, 
the transformation. He began to feel as necessary 
to Charlie s well-being as the proverbial gold tooth. 
He went to Charlie and bluntly accused Miss God- 
dard of trying to make it impossible for him to 
stay. Charlie scoffed at this accusation and ac 
cused Kono, in turn, of an exaggerated jealousy 
of his own authority. He demanded specific in 
stances of Paulette s invasion into Kono s prov- 



HOLLYWOOD MODERN TIMES 371 

inces, but Kono, angered by this time and search 
ing his wounded pride, could uncover none that 
would sound convincing. 

After this unsatisfactory conference with Char 
lie, Kono put up a last-stand fight for his authority 
but was routed by Miss Goddard in the open as he 
had been in the skirmishes from ambush. He 
went to Charlie and announced his intention of 
resigning. 

Charlie was thunderstruck at this bolt from 
what he had, in his absorption in his picture, come 
to believe as weeks went by, was a blue and cloud 
less sky. He was both hurt and angry. He accused 
Kono of disloyalty. He had assumed, he reminded 
him, that while they both lived Kono would con 
tinue to serve him as confidential secretary. 

Kono himself did not recognize the underlying 
cause of his dissatisfaction. Paulette Chaplin was 
a woman. He was a Japanese with an inherent 
contempt for women as human beings. He could do 
no less than rebel. 

At intervals in his service to Charlie, Kono had 
asked for an increase in salary, but his weekly 
wage of one hundred dollars remained fixed, 
despite his plea that stars of lesser magnitude 
than Charlie paid their secretaries many times 
that amount. Charlie had assured Kono, however, 
as had Lloyd Wright, his attorney, that the Chap 
lin will named him beneficiary to one sixth of his 
estate, a sum of over two million dollars. The will 



372 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

had been drawn with like bequests to Charlie s two 
sons; Syd Chaplin; Nathan Burkan (since de 
ceased) ; and Alfred Reeves, studio manager who 
had served him long and faithfully. 

When Charlie finally became convinced that 
Kono would not stay and be subject to his wife s 
control of the helm, he suggested that he enter the 
employ of United Artists in Japan. He gave Kono 
one thousand dollars and to his wife, another thou 
sand. Enthusiastic press agents reported the fig 
ure as eighty thousand dollars which sounded 
very nice but did not happen to be true. 

Charlie was upset and distraught when the time 
actually came for Kono to go. Kono almost relent 
ed, for he was genuinely fond of Charlie, but he 
had only to recollect a few of Mrs. Chaplin s on 
slaughts against his pride to steel himself against 
sympathy with Charlie s helplessness. He accepted 
the job in Japan at a higher salary than he had 
received from Charlie. His expenses to Japan were 
to be paid. His contract called for six months, with 
option to renew. 

Suspicious and cynical by nature, Kono looked 
upon this job as a sop thrown to his disaffection, 
and instead of striving to make a place for him 
self in the office once he was in Japan, he, by his 
own admission, spent most of the time in the gay 
spots of Tokyo and in traveling through the prov 
inces, sounding out the possibility of profit from 
showing Charlie s earlier films. They had never 





Charlie romping with his two sons on the lawn of his home, 1930. 



HOLLYWOOD MODERN TIMES 373 

been shown except in the larger Japanese cities. 

He returned to America as soon as his contract 
had expired, feeling injured that it had not been 
renewed. He consulted with Alf Reeves on terms 
for the pictures, and the latter agreed to arrange 
an option for rights to certain pictures : The Gold 
Rush, The Kid, The Pilgrim, Sunnyside, A Dog s 
Life, and three others to be selected. 

Again Kono went to Japan, and, after making a 
more careful survey of the theaters showing for 
eign pictures, he decided that the Chaplin interests 
owed it to him to reduce the price agreed upon that 
he might derive greater profit. He wrote Mr. 
Reeves to this effect and received in reply a letter 
in which Reeves said, "It is not a question of bar 
gaining at all. Unless you comply with the condi 
tions stated above, the whole thing must be called 

off I cannot go to Mr. Chaplin who is very 

busily occupied at all times, now." 

It was not hard for Kono to read the handwriting 
on the wall. Charlie was offended that he had left 
him; it was useless to expect him to come to his 
defense. He returned to California. 

Many reflections upon the instability of human 
relationships were Kono s in the months that fol 
lowed. At loose ends, he missed the excitement 
incident, for nearly eighteen years, to his life with 
a celebrity. He began to realize that he had been 
spoiled by Charlie and by Charlie s friends and by 
others seeking patronage. He sought out some of 



374 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

the high names in the picture world, to some of 
whom he had turned Charlie s attention when a 
slight recognition would help them over the cur 
rent rough spot in their careers. He found most of 
them no longer interested in a secretary who was 
secretary no more. And one whom his employer 
refused to see. None but Joseph Schenck, formerly 
president of United Artists, later head of Fox- 
Twentieth Century, remembered his good offices. 
Schenck made him a loan. 

Kono remembered the time, he said, when he 
had been offered a considerable sum to testify 
against Charlie for Lita Chaplin in her divorce 
suit, and had refused to do so. In his self-pity now 
he regarded himself not as the average man of 
honor but as a martyr who had given up the chance 
to become financially independent. 

He recalled the approach of a publisher s agent 
in New York in 1932 with an offer almost equaling 
the sum of money per word paid Calvin Coolidge 
for his memoirs, for the real, inside story of Charlie 
Chaplin. He had refused mainly because he knew 
he would not only lose his job but would be cut out 
of Charlie s will if he did so. Besides, he could not 
write.* But now this loomed as unwarranted loy 
alty to Charlie. 

Kono had saved frugally part of his salary each 



* Kono s secretarial duties were unique if taken in the literal 
meaning of the term. It was necessary for him to dictate to a 
studio stenographer, all letters. She would properly phrase in 
English his awkwardly expressed meaning* 



HOLLYWOOD MODERN TIMES 375 

week, and it can be assumed that his commissions 
from large purchases by Charlie of cars and furni 
ture and other commodities had netted him a 
goodly sum throughout the years. He had estab 
lished a hat factory in Japan and had associated 
himself in several enterprises where his prestige 
as Charlie s secretary had opened the way among 
his countrymen. 

In 1936, he learned that he had been left out of 
the new will drawn by Charlie. This was another 
bitter reminder of lost benefits. 

Modern Times reached the screen in 1936, five 
years after its inception as an idea, four years 
after Charlie began to write it. 

Charlie Chaplin may well toss his head and place 
a thumb in close proximity to his nose at all of 
the critics who diref ully predicted his downfall in 
another nondialogue picture, what with the hold 
talkies had taken upon the public. For, according 
to Variety, a magazine not given to exaggerating 
benefits, his latest silent picture was the largest 
grossing picture of 1936, bringing in over four 
millions of dollars and relegating San Francisco, 
the outstanding talking picture of the year, to 
second in receipts. 

In this picture he made the concession to sound 
and music made in City Lights with the additional 
advent of his own voice on the screen in song. 

According to his custom and convictions, every- 



376 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

thing on the screen in each picture must have its 
origin in his own creation. The music for Modern 
Times was orchestrated by David Raksim from a 
melody essayed by Charlie in whistling. Oscar 
Levant in A Smattering of Ignorance says, "Since 
the whistling method of composing is a rather 
tenuous thing, and in any case Chaplin s whistling 
is at best pretty derivative, the difficulties of such 
a collaboration may be imagined. It was arduous 
enough for Raksim to sit all day waiting for Chap 
lin to whistle without the further complications 
of that artist s temperament. The inevitable thing 
happened but [Al] Newman [of Twentieth Cen 
tury-Fox] patched up the argument and Raksim 
went back to taking down Chaplin s whistling." 

Newman, after a terrific argument with Char 
lie, had walked out of the same job before. He 
had found "the whistling type of composer more 
trying by far than Stravinsky and Schoenberg 
together." 

Against the clanging, raucous background of 
industrial mechanism, strikes, and riots, there 
runs in Modern Times the theme which never 
grows old because it was never new the delicate 
tracery of the spiritual hunger of the little tramp 
through the antics of sardonic humor and comic 
pathos. Charlie loses himself in his one desire to 
protect and make happy the forlorn girl (Paulette 
Goddard) who is to him the symbol of eternal 



HOLLYWOOD MODERN TIMES 377 

beauty. He wears a white plume in his heart; his 
ridiculous appearance belies it. 

Small stuff upon which to build the gamut of 
human experience, some of Charlie s critics de 
clare, and yet in one scene alone there is food for 
conjecture, if carried into all its ramifications, as 
to the ultimate tragic outcome of the warring 
forces of the machine age against the highly or 
ganized sensibilities of the human being. 

Charlie has a job in a factory, a plant prophetic 
of the future in which even the process of eating 
one s lunch is developed into mechanized feeding. 
He is tightening bolts on parts which are passing 
at a killing speed on a machine-driven belt. The 
deadly monotony of standing there hour after hour, 
his overtaut nerves geared to the speed and subju 
gated to the will of a merciless machine, drives him 
temporarily off his balance. Grabbing every lever 
he can find in his frenzy, he pulls them. This sets 
the whole tempo of the factory to an insane fury. 

Charlie rescues Paulette, who is escaping from 
the juvenile authorities after being arrested for 
stealing bananas, and makes her his responsibility. 
He gets a job as night watchman of a large depart 
ment store. He admits the shivering girl to the 
store, takes her to the home furnishings depart 
ment, wraps her and her rags in an ermine coat 
he has taken from a figure, and gently puts her to 
sleep in a costly bed. When two fellows from the 
factory have robbed the store, Charlie finds him- 



378 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

self in jail for the crime. He gets out, goes to work 
in the factory again; there is a strike. He picks 
up a red flag fallen from the end of an overload 
on a truck and waves it to call attention of the 
driver to his loss. He is promptly arrested for 
being a Communist and jailed again. (This last 
incident brought waves of laughter for its political 
significance.) 

Paulette, from dancing in the street, gets a job 
in a cafe. She inveigles the owner into giving 
Charlie, who is free again, a chance to sing and 
dance. Charlie writes on his cuff the words to his 
song, then loses the cuff as the orchestra blares 
the opening ta-da. An incredibly funny scene en 
sues with Charlie dancing about, among, even un 
der the tables frantically trying to recover his cuff 
and his lyrics. Finally he is reduced to impro 
vising, so does it in hybrid French through which 
enough English is traceable to catch a filament of 
meaning. The effect of certain worn French 
phrases, having no correlation of meaning, is one 
of excruciating comicality. 

When the juvenile police take up the scent once 
more, the two of them, the little tramp and -the 
young girl who is cast in this instance to look be 
neath his ridiculous exterior and see his worth, 
are seen disappearing down the road together. 
The essence of gallantry is no less poignant in that 
the hero is clad in cast-off garments, not shining 
armor. 



HOLLYWOOD MODERN TIMES 379 

Modern Times, labeled on the screen as "Human 
ity s Crusade for Happiness," flicks the sensibili 
ties once more with the delicate precision of Charlie 
Chaplin s art. One laughs, one does not quite weep, 
for all unconsciously one feels that the little tramp 
of Chaplin s entire repertory holds some inner 
glory which enshrines him above the shoddy treat 
ment he receives. 

Paulette Goddard, brittle and cool-eyed for the 
part, draws little sympathy in the part of the little 
waif. But Charlie! He is the story of all humanity 
struggling through darkness to find the meaning 
of life. 

Paulette Goddard Chaplin has been kind to 
Charlie s sons, who are thriving and growing into 
fine, upstanding youngsters in a Hollywood mili 
tary school. They spend the week end frequently 
at the Chaplin home and are fond of their step 
mother, who has through a genuine interest in, 
and liking for them, developed into a good play 
fellow with them both. 

Paulette has worked untiringly to better her 
acting ability. In The Women and Cat and Canary, 
both released in 1939, she showed marked im 
provement. Not a great natural actress, she has 
nurtured the talent she has and has outstripped 
any of the actresses who played leading lady to 
Charlie, when out from under his direction. 

By the same token, she had to come by experi 
ence to an understanding of children. The follow- 



380 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

ing incident took place before she arrived at this 
point. 

Young Peter Millington, aged eight, brought to 
Hollywood by his mother, Frances Millington, 
story editor, was excited over his meeting with his 
first movie star, who happened to be Miss Goddard. 
Within an hour after the momentous meeting, Mrs. 
Millington received a telephone call from the Chap 
lin home asking her permission to send small Peter 
a gift. Peter was in a hysteria of anticipation. 
"Oh, Mother, do you think it will be an electric 
train? With lots of signals?" "Mother, what kind 
of presents do movie stars send little boys?" Mrs. 
Millington assured him she could not guess. 

Charlie s chauif eur arrived. Peter barked a shin 
and slid on a rug to the door. His mother opened 
the door. The chauffeur was completely hidden 
behind a large and luxuriant fern! 

Mrs. Millington stifled Peter s trenchant com 
ment, "Aw, heck!" She waited several days. Per 
haps some dear old lady had received an electric 
train or a pair of skates. But nothing further 
being heard from the donor, Peter was induced to 
write his gratitude to Miss Goddard. He wrote, 
"Thank you for the fern." 

His mother did not consider it odd that young 
Peter s interest in movie stars became, from that 
time, less avid. 



This and That 



IN 1937 Charlie became involved in a suit against 
him for plagiarism by the French film company, 
Films Sinores Todis, for allegedly pirating the 
idea for Modern Times from their picture A Nous 
la Liberte released by them in 1931. The French 
company asked in their suit filed in Federal court 
a restraint against further showing of the picture 
and an accounting of all profits from it. The suit 
was filed in New York on April 22, 1937. But as 
a result of Charlie s skill in eluding their process 
servers, they were unable to serve the necessary 
papers before going to trial The suit was dropped. 
The average reader of newspapers no doubt 
peruses such news with the careless criticism, 
"All of those guys steal ideas." But in this case 
as, it is safe to say, in every instance that involves 
Chaplin s pictures, he is wrong. Charlie is unques 
tionably original and creative in his work, and 
even if he had no scruples against plagiarism, he 
would scorn to indulge in it because of his con 
viction that his own work is immeasurably better 
than that of his contemporaries. 



382 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

It would surprise none who know him to find 
the shoe of plagiarism on the other pedal extrem 
ity. Charlie, like every emotional artist, is so over 
come when he finally formulates a definite story 
idea that he cannot keep it to himself. Warning 
all of his studio attaches and friends not to tell a 
soul, he proceeds to broadcast it himself without 
benefit of microphone. In restaurants, at parties, 
he waxes loquacious about his new story. (At this 
stage, the picture is indeed nebulous, and from two 
to four years will elapse before it reaches the 
screen.) In the meantime certain gentlemen in 
the glow of good fellowship absorb some of his talk 
and in time come to believe that certain angles of 
the proposed picture have been of their own incu 
bation. They incorporate them in films which 
reach the public long before Charlie s can do so. 

He was in Europe when the idea for Modern 
Times struck him. It is not improbable that he 
discussed it with several well-intentioned but 
absent-minded gentlemen there. The result is, he 
gets sued for his own idea. 

By this double injury, the writer is reminded 
of an incident occurring in the Hawaiian Islands 
not many years ago. 

The son of a minister, in the Islands, a minister 
involved in the Eobert Louis Stevenson contro 
versy over Father Damien, returned from Paris, 
where against his father s wishes he had been 
studying painting. 



THIS AND THAT 383 

Because Son would not prepare himself for the 
ministry, Father, well blessed with this world s 
goods (as are most of the descendants of the mis 
sionaries in Hawaii), would provide him with no 
further funds. Son needed a clean shirt. His 
shirts reposed at a Chinese laundry. He went to 
the laundry and was unsuccessful in talking the 
Chinese out of his money. Noting carefully the 
position of his bundle as it was placed back on the 
shelf, he departed and, coming back later when 
the Chinese were eating their rice in a back room, 
slipped behind the counter and got his shirts. 

The average young man would have stopped at 
this, but Son had imagination. He borrowed from 
various friends until he had the sum of his bill, 
returned to the laundry, and demanded his parcel ! 
The Chinese could not find it. He was bewildered. 
Son gazed at him sadly in innocent reproach. He 
jingled the coins in his pocket. He left. But re 
turning shortly with a list of the "lost" shirts, he 
demanded and got payment in full. 

This particular suit against Charlie is not nec 
essarily analogous to the incident of the shirts. On 
the other hand, the genial Hollywood pirates who 
have caught Charlie mid-seas and taken over his 
cargo of ideas, have had the grace not to sue him 
for plagiarism, afterward. 

Charlie s well-known sympathies with the cause 
of freedom, in any guise, precipitated an incident 



384 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

during April of 1937 which embarrassed him 
mainly because of the propensities of certain news 
papers to scream, "Red!" at the veriest hint of 
liberal leanings. 

Errol Flynn, Irish actor, and adventurer by 
nature, went to Spain and into the thick of the 
fighting between Fascist and Loyalist forces. Flynn 
was quoted by the Hollywood Reporter while still 
abroad as saying he helped to raise a fund of one 
million, five hundred thousand dollars, to aid the 
Spanish Loyalist defense of the Republic. Flynn 
promptly issued a denial of this through Associated 
Press. 

The same . paper published in its next issue a 
dispatch from the film-trade daily s Barcelona cor 
respondent, making public a cablegram of thanks 
from J. Garner Ribalta, Commissioner of Public 
Spectacles for the Catalonian government, to 
Charlie as follows: 

After your friendly statements toward Spanish Re 
publican cause and to the prohibition of rebel generals 
in the occupied territory of your films and those of our 
admired Clark Gable, James Cagney, Paul Muni, Bette 
Davis, Marlene Dietrich, Miriam Hopkins, Joan Craw 
ford, Gary Cooper, Wallace Beery, Douglas" Fairbanks, 
Johnny Weismuller, Buster Keaton and the Marx Broth 
ers, I wish to express you heartiest homage [of the] 
Catalonian people which represent sixty percent of pic 
ture going Spain. We [are] preparing festivals to 
honour you all. 

The metropolitan dailies besieged Charlie for 
amplification of his supposed statement. Charlie, 



THIS AND THAT 385 

wary as always where politics is concerned, issued 
through Alfred Reeves, a concise reply: "I did not 
make any expression of any kind regarding the 
conflict in Spain or the participants therein." 

This was enlarged upon later by a further state 
ment through the same medium: "I did not make 
any expressions and I have no political affiliations 
or connections with any party here or anywhere 
else. I have no comment to make in any way. I 
have nothing to say about Spain and I have noth 
ing to say about politics." 

Charlie hoped to set at rest the persistent report 
that he had presented sixty thousand dollars to 
the Loyalist government in Spain. 

Charlie Chaplin became fifty years of age on 
April 16, 1939. That year marked also his twenty- 
fifth year as a star in pictures, though he actually 
entered pictures in 1913. Telegrams, letters, and 
cables poured in upon him, on his natal day, from 
every part of the globe. To give an isolated in 
stance, Moscow and the Russian press stressed the 
social significance of his art while street posters in 
that city advertised a lecture by a prominent orator 
on Chaplin, to be illustrated with excerpts from his 
pictures. Many American magazines featured 
Chaplin articles. 

London and Paris honored him. Denmark placed 
the chair from which he had directed his latest 
four pictures, in its Copenhagen Museum of the 



386 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Theater. Berlin and Rome tried to forget that he 
had been born. 

Before his birthday, Charlie had announced his 
next picture, a satire upon the gentlemen with 
insatiable lust for power in Europe, which is 
scheduled for release early in 1940. This picture 
will be his first with full sound and dialogue, but 
it is a safe assumption that even though Charlie 
talks, it will be a digression from his original 
medium only in point of technique; as far as its 
star, Charlie Chaplin himself is concerned, it will 
be pantomime. He will always show us rather 
than tell us, and if the spectator should try the 
experiment of stuffing his ears with cotton while 
watching the film s central figure, it would in no 
whit decrease his enjoyment of the latest Chaplin 
production. 

It is difficult even for a poet to bring words to 
life; a writer of dialogue cannot hope to convey 
the superb imagery that Charlie Chaplin, the pan- 
tomimist, brings to each moment of mummery. 

The new picture, the first since Modern Times, 
was tentatively titled The Great Dictator* but ran 
afoul of a registration at the Writers Club, a sort 
of gentlemen s agreement among producers upon 
claims of rights to titles. At the studio it is known 
as Production No. 6 until such time as a final title 
may be selected. 



* A compromise was effected and the picture titled The Dictator. 



THIS AND THAT 387 

While vacationing near Los Gatos, California, 
in 1938, Charlie, with copies of Tortilla Flat and 
Of Mice and Men under his arm, went in search 
of their author, John Steinbeck. At his home, 
Steinbeck, gracious but impersonal to the man he 
did not recognize, autographed the two books. 

Early in 1939, Steinbeck visited Hollywood but 
turned a deaf ear to importunings from various 
studios that he sign up as a writer for films. But 
in a Beverly Hills cafe, one night, he was intro 
duced to Charlie, whom he recognized as the un 
known admirer who had sought his autographs. 
He stammered his apologies. Charlie waved it 
aside. He had in fact been amused at his own in 
cognito. They talked far into the night, and the 
result of their conversation was Steinbeck s con 
sent to work as co-author on The Dictator. 

This picture deriding the pomposity of leaders 
ridden by lust for power was at first intended only 
as a travesty on Hitler, his dementias of anti- 
Semitism and his exhibitionism. But Signor Mus 
solini was luckless enough to attract Charlie s at 
tention to himself by banning all Chaplin pictures 
along with Popeye and Mickey Mouse, in Italy. 
(II Duce stated through the official press, "The 
Italians do not find Mr, Chaplin funny/ ) And 
Charlie promptly widened his plot to encompass 
the iron-jawed Italian dictator. Whether or not 
he will retain this characterization remains to be 
seen. 



388 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

When he released the news of his proposed pic 
ture, anonymous threats of dire consequences to 
him and his studio reached his ears. His friends 
and his staff waited anxiously for his decision. 
Would they go on or would he abandon his intent 
to satirize Der Fiihrer? 

Quietly he dictated a box advertisement to run 
on the drama page of the Los Angeles Daily News. * 
It was not conciliatory in tone. At the studio he 
lifted an expressive shoulder and said with a gamin 
grin, "They d better look out. I ll sue the soandso 
for copying my mustache. I had it first, you 
know." There is something else he had "first," 
the right to toss pins at the balloon of pomposity 
of the gutter elite. It is his by inalienable privilege. 

The locale of The Dictator is described in the 
script as "the thriving metropolis of Bacteria." 

The story deals with two separate worlds with 
in this metropolis, that of the dictator surrounded 
by the accoutrements of wealth and power and 
lust for conquest; and a district smacking of the 
ghetto in which a lowly, peace-loving people ask 
only to be left to their hard work and simple 
pleasures. 

The worlds overlap when the odd likeness of 
a humble dweller in the ghettof to the dictator mo 
tivates the basic action of the plot. The fun begins. 

Will Charlie attempt the role of the dictator 



* See Foreword. 

t Charlie plays the dual role. 



THIS AND THAT 389 

as a serious dramatic part? Would his audiences 
accept him in that vein? One inopportune laugh 
can send him into a loss computed in millions. 
That he would not mind, but an artistic debacle! 
He would mind that very much indeed. 

An incident at the studio makes the outlook 
brighter. Charlie appeared on the set in his reg 
ular tramp costume. Everyone hailed him as 
"Charlie." The technicians argued with him as to 
the efficacy of this or that trick of lighting and 
camera angles. In his dictator s uniform resplend 
ent with epaulettes, medals, and sword, the change 
of attitude was galvanic. He issued orders in crisp 
dictatorial manner, his normally soft voice 
changed to a rasp. His staff jumped to attention, 
addressed him as "Mr. Chaplin." 

Charlie had begun The Dictator before war in 
Europe was declared. It will have an intensified 
significance now that the democracies of Europe 
have resolved to cry a halt to tyranny. 

Paulette Goddard plays a scrub girL* Emma 
Dunn, Chester Conklin, Jack Oakie, Hank Mann, 
Henry Daniell, Maurice Moscovich, Lucien Prival, 
Bernard Gorcey, Billy Gilbert, and Reginald Gard 
iner have name roles in the piece. His half-brother, 
Wheeler Dryden, is listed as assistant director. 



* Charlie s fancy for himself as a hair-doer impelled him to in 
struct Paulette to be on the set every morning at 8:30 that he 
might dress her hair for the part. He discarded the efforts of 
Hollywood s most famous hair stylists. "They haven t any idea 
how a scrub girl s hair should look," he said. 



390 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Production No, 6. His sixth picture, beginning 
with The Kid, in over twenty years! What star 
can retreat into private life for three years, or 
four, or even five, and come back to the screen 
with the certainty of a popular reception straight 
from the heart? 

Charlie Chaplin. 



Bon Voyage 



WHAT OP THE FUTURE of the King of Tragedy? 
When he completes his work (not for many years, 
it is hoped) of that perfect blend of downright 
Rabelaisian hell-raising and wistful pathos, where 
will he live? 

In London? If he can be said to love any land, 
England is nearest his heart. Perhaps not, for a 
king in England, whether king by accident of 
birth or by achievement, must maintain the out 
ward show of royalty in London, and Charlie is 
the complete unsophisticate in a sophisticated 
world. And not the country. That is unthinkable 
for him who draws no contentment from the quiet 
countryside, no joy from horses and dogs, from 
gun or rod. 

But Hollywood. For as everyone who looks into 
the heart of the most heartless and, at the same 
time, the most sentimental legendary city of the 
world, must know, Hollywood is the city of para 
doxes. And where on this earth could the greatest 
paradox of them all, the King of Comedy and 
Tragedy, be more at home? 



392 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

In Hollywood one sees on the screen today, the 
girl who sold him cigarettes in a night club or 
manicured his nails in a barbershop not so long 
ago; one sits at a restaurant table and is served 
by a waiter who was a Grand Duke; one tosses 
a coin for a boutonniere to a chap who wears in 
his own buttonhole a significant bit of ribbon. The 
traffic officer who asks, "Who the hell do you think 
you are?" one day, may be the singing star of the 
next musical picture you see; the waitress who in 
differently serves you at a counter may be, within 
the week, discovered by a talent scout, groomed 
hurriedly, and set to portraying emotions to which 
she is, and will always be, a stranger. 

Charlie Chaplin is indeed the greatest paradox 
of them all in the City of Paradoxes. King of 
Comedy by acclaim; King of Tragedy by the 
doubtful gifts of Nature, head and shoulders he 
stands above the motley crowd, not in physical 
stature, for he is only a little chap, but in true 
measure of an artist Among the multitudes of 
celebrities, the sycophants, the fallen in rank; 
among the little souls catapulted by hysteria of 
publicity to pedestals upon which they stand ill at 
ease, Charlie roams the city, the best-known and 
the loneliest man in the world. 

He loafs in his home high above the lights of 
the town, a sturdy home, the antithesis of the 
blatant show places of the stars. The furniture 
has taken on through the years the comfortable 




Recent photograph of Paillette Goddard (Marion Paillette Goddard 

Levee). 




Charlie and Paulette Goddard attend a preview at Grauman s 
Chinese Theater. 



BON VOYAGE 393 

feeling of use; the chairs bear the marks of many 
an all-night talk before a great wood fire, with a 
few good friends. He plays the piano, an original 
theme; he paints on a canvas which may be com 
pleted or may not; he plays tennis with a friend 
who has happened in, or wanders about his garden 
alone, Hollywood, the legend that gave him outlet 
for his highest expression, is away to the east and 
below. He ignores its newest excitement ; he knows 
the names of fewer film stars than the visitor to 
Hollywood from British South Africa, knows. 

He lives in Hollywood because there is no social 
structure, no untoward convention, to which he 
must conform. And yet, from an indifferent sub 
ject of the British crown, he has reached a high 
position of ethical dignity. He is a citizen of the 
world. And he remains, to the end, the uncouth 
servant of his own emotions. 

In his work he has for a decade defied the 
changes of time, which is an artist s privilege. 
Among the producers struggling for perfection of 
sound, Charles Chaplin, the producer, restricted 
Charlie Chaplin, the actor, to the medium of 
speechless film. He was quite logical in this, hold 
ing the motion picture a completely visual panto 
mimic medium. And though he lives much in a 
world of thought and ideas, he believes sincerely 
that true art reduced to its simplest terms is not 
meant to arouse thought or to convey it but to 
restore in us freshness of vision, a more emotional 



394 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

glamor, a more vital sense of life. He concedes no 
complexity in a complicated world. He has, for 
many years, maintained the audacity of his 
convictions. 

Totally without the natural vanity of an actor, 
he is the living presence of the inherent conceit of 
the genius. His wild sense of independence and 
his humility in the face of his work both speak to 
us of courage, of an enrichment of his conception 
of life. 

Charlie Chaplin will stay up all night, walking 
the length of his living room, gesticulating forcibly, 
talking volubly on a subject about which he knows 
practically nothing, and leave his listeners con 
vinced that he is amazingly intellectual. He is in 
tellectual, too, without being actually intelligent. 

He is, at heart, a faithful friend, but because 
of his sharpened sensibilities, his shrinking from 
coldly trivial realities, he is one not always to be 
depended upon. 

He is the champion of the downtrodden even 
while he is on the side of the despot. 

He conceals disdain of individuals with an en 
gaging charm; he cloaks his distrust of most men 
with a disarming smile. 

He is childish in his frequent quarrels, but is 
always above seeking revenge. 

Charlie is flattered when others take him seri 
ously but, aside from his work, does not take him 
self seriously at all, and even entertains a faint 



BON VOYAGE 395 

contempt for the companion of the moment who 
does. 

He is sad that the laughs he has given the world 
are born of his own sorrows and the contemplated 
sorrows of the world. He is happy when he remem 
bers the satire he has projected as a warning 
against paralyzed emotions and denaturalized 
living. 

He has, now, everything that the earth has to 
offer, yet nothing that he actually desires. 

You can see him almost any day strolling down 
Hollywood Boulevard wrapped in the secret torture 
of his own thoughts and feeling, oblivious to the 
crowd, not seeing the shops with their catchpenny 
baubles. He does not see the faces of any who 
pass. And yet his love for humanity is a funda 
mental, deep-seated instinct. His love for the 
crowd depends upon his mood; at one time it will 
heal and restore him, at another it will frighten 
him, drive him deeper within himself. 

If you care, you may see him; he will not see 
you, even though you call yourself his friend. I 
saw him today, a slight, tense figure in a neat blue 
suit and bowler hat, his thick wavy hair almost 
white. I saw his mobile face plastic as a sculptor s 
wax, impassive, expressionless, his eyes two opaque 
windows to the world. His eyes, deep-set and cloudy 
blue, looked out. I could not look in. 

You can see him at other times in the evening 
after a party or after sitting aloof and withdrawn 



396 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

for hours, in a night club with the woman of his 
current choice. He will be strolling, alone, through 
the east side of downtown Los Angeles seeking the 
only real companionship he has ever known that 
of his own dark thoughts. Among the flophouses, 
the ten-cent picture houses, the pawnshops, the 
darker haunts of human misery, he walks. It is 
as if he wishes to assure himself, after a glittering 
evening of false gaiety, of the acrid smells, the 
feeling of the degradation of the slums which gave 
him birth and which have given to his sensitive 
mind s eye, the whole picture of human foibles 
and human wisdom. There alone, on an island of 
his own making, the pitiable driftwood of hu 
manity floating about him, he can recapture, as 
nowhere else, the suffering, the injustice, and the 
cruelty which have given to the world his comedy 
and his tragedy. 

His love of London fog is another expression of 
his intense introspectiveness. Certainly he needs 
no stars, no high places, no illusion of vast space 
to give him perspective. His vision enables him 
to see always futility. 

Charlie Chaplin is a millionaire many times 
over, in terms of wealth; he is a pauper in happi 
ness. With his money he can buy any commodity 
of necessity or luxury, of ancient or modern crafts 
manship, which is offered to the elect of riches. 
But the little sad-faced jester knows in his heart 
that none of these things is worth the having. He 




Autographed "crest" given to the writer, 



BON VOYAGE 397 

can never buy the thing he has sought all his life 
happiness, or even contentment. 

The pathos he has achieved on the screen is not, 
in any sense, synthetic miming. The satire he 
portrays is his very own. The patched shoes that 
take him away from the woman-image in his heart 
are all too real; they are the symbol of the victory 
of the nonessential, the inevitable loneliness of the 
great of heart and mind in a world that measures 
worth by externals. The little tramp of the screen 
is no less frustrated in his pictures than the suave, 
self-contained millionaire in real life who is the 
envy of his more unfortunate fellows. The tramp 
cannot achieve his heart s desire. To satisfy", were 
it possible, the hunger of his creator would quench 
the fires of his unfathomable genius. 

He sits at the console of his organ, in the cold 
mausoleum of his home where no real happiness 
has been, and invites his soul with rambling im 
provisations worthy of a Beethoven ; he asks Ein 
stein to his home and convulses him with impudent 
impersonations of the great. 

He is appalled at the suffering of others but 
makes no effort to alleviate it. This is because he 
knows the futility of seeking happiness. He sees 
the struggling artist starving to capture his dream 
on canvas and extends no hand to help him. He 
knows the emptiness of success. He suffers more 
than most of those he pities; you see, his capacity 
is greater. 



398 CHARLIE CHAPLIN, KING OF TRAGEDY 

Remembering the many times he has sought the 
elusive, the unattainable for himself, and the dis 
astrous consequences, Hollywood shrugs its shoul 
ders and dismisses it with, "He is a glutton for 
punishment." But does Hollywood know that it is 
the pursuit that is all-important? 

With the naivete of a child he will always ex 
pect the outward beauty of a woman to contain an 
understanding of his inordinate love of beauty, a 
sympathy with his moods. He will, because of her 
perfection of face and form, presume her ability 
to share that strange, dark, inner world he in 
habits, a world inexplicable to any but himself. 
And always he will be wounded when she attempts 
to bring him to the conformity of a simple domestic 
bliss. He cannot make her understand that a 
comet stuck in a candlestick gives off a blinding 
light, can never be the dim, constant flame of a 
candle. 

A great artist carries humanity within himself, 
and can upon occasion bring to life before our eyes 
its multitudinous expressions; Charlie Chaplin 
with one theme holds a mirror to our blunted 
vision. It is a vastly comprehensive role, yet, re 
duced to its simplicity, it is a medium through 
which he asks the few questions lying nearest all 
men s hearts, "Why am I here?" and "Whither 
am I going?" 

Compelled by some driving urge within him, he 
will always leave his books, his music, his painting, 



BON VOYAGE 399 

the companionship of his solitary walks; dogged 
by the genius that he holds, a bitter and dour com 
panion for his solitude, a driving master of his 
soul, he will seek everlastingly that which he shall 
never find. 

Seeing the little King of Tragedy in the fumbling 
for happiness he has missed, one wishes for him 
a love which, apart from surface glamor, creates 
its own splendor from within the heart. 

But one knows that the King must walk alone, 
"forever seeking romance, but his feet won t let 
him." 



Index 



Adams, Maude, 138 

Adventure, 15, 91, 92 

Albert, King, 307, 308 

Alda, Mme. Frances, 240 

Algiers, 9, 326, 327 

Amador, Charles, 77, 79 

Anderson, "Broncho Billy," 76 

Astor, Lady, 276, 277 

Atwater-Kent, Mr. and Mrs., 235, 236, 

237 

Auckland, Lady, 834 
Auckland, Lord, 334 



"Baggy-Pants," 71 

Barrie, Sir James Matthew, 137, 138 

Barrymore, John, 182 

Barton, Ralph, 267, 268, 269, 272, 273, 

278, 279, 283, 284, 286, 287 
Behymer, L. E., 352 
Belasco, David, 257 
Bell, Monta, 367 
Bergeman, Henry, 15 
Berlin, 150, 151, 152, 153, 290, 291, 292, 

293, 295, 296-303 
Beverly Hills, 186, 203, 367 
Bierce, Ambrose, 225 
Birdies, The, 60 
Birth of a Nation, 116 
Bowman, W. Dodgson, 8 
Breamer, Sylvia, 97 
Briand, Aristide, 303 
Broun, Heywood C., 132 
Brown, Eugene P., 301 
Browningfield, Mrs. M. R., 232 
Burkan, Nathan, 216, 221, 222, 223, 224, 

233, 241, 372 
Burke, Thomas, 139, 140, 141, 142 

Cami, 145, 160, 161 
Cami&e, 133 

Canterbury, Archbishop of, 340 
"Carlotta," 187-96 
Carpentier, 147, 161 
Carroll, Harrison, 201 
Chaliapin, 163 
Channel Islands, 43 
Chaplin, Aubrey, 163, 165 
Chaplin, Charles Spencer, Jr., 212 
Chaplin, Hannah, 30, 31, 36, 256, 257 
Chaplin, Minnie, 316 
Chaplin, Sydney, 30, 33, 81, 86, 150, 318, 
343, 345, 347, 354, 361, 372 



Chaplin, Sydney Earle n, 208 

ChappeU, George, 197 

Chartwell Manor, 342 

Cherrffl, Virginia, 259, 262 

Chicago, 216-18 

Cholmondeley, Lady, 340, 343-45 

Churchill, Winston, 169, 284, 285, 286, 

334, 341 

Circus, The, 213, 215, 244, 247, 249-52 
City Lights, 257, 259, 260, 262, 264, 282, 

284, 348 
Clarice, 42 
Colfax, Lady, 340 
Connaught, Duke of, 319 
Coogan, Jackie, 114, 115 
Coolidge, Calvin, 374 
Cooper, Jackie, 353 
Copeau, Jacques, 148 
Costume, Chaplin s original garb, 68 
Crocker, Harry, 204, 254, 255, 348 
Crowninsbleld, Frank, 132 
Cunard, Lady, 340 
Currys, Mr. and Mrs., 200 



Damien, Father, 382 

D Arrast, Count Henri, 205, 334, 349 

Debuchi, 347 

DeMffle, Cecil Blount, 351 

De Rothschild, Aline, 147 

De Wolfe, Elsie, 161 

Dickens, Charles, 34, 137, 251 

Dictator, The, 386, 388, 389 

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, 43 

Dressier, Marie, 64 

Dryden, Wheeler, 37, 226, 337, 338, 389 



Early Bird, The, 60 

Eastman, Max, 132 

Eight Lancashire Lads, 41 

Einstein, Albert, 297-302 

Einstein, Fran, 298-99 

Ellsworth, Elmer, 114, 124, 126 

Eltinge, Julian, 83, 84, 86 

Empalme, Mexico, 202 

Ervine, St. John, 156, 157 

Essanay Company, 76, 77, 79, 80, 83 

Fairbanks, Douglas, 72, 97, 116, 131, 157, 

160, 343 

Famous Players-Lasky Company, 152 
Farnum, William, 83 



402 



INDEX 



Farrar, Geraldine, 84 

Ferguson, Helen, 96 

First National Distributors, 116 

Fiske, Dwight, 330 

Flynn, Errol, 384 

Fox, William, 129 

Francis I, 37 

Frank, David Waldo, 146, 148, 149 

Frederick the Great, 295, 396 

Fred Karno Comedy Company, 46, 61, 

62, 69 
Furuye Company, 24 

Garden, Mary, 319 

Gatti-Casazza, 240 

George, Lloyd, 147, 161, 162, 275, 276 

Gerrard, Douglas, 248 

Gish, Lillian, 72 

Glass, Montague, 128, 129 

Glendale Sanitarium, 36 

Glenshore Mansions, 46 

Goddard, Paulette, 368, 369, 371, 376, 

377, 378, 379-80 

Gold Rush, The, 197, 198-201, 205 
Goldwyn, Samuel, 169, 216, 351 
Gould, Frank Jay, 316, 317 
Grauman s Chinese Theater, 249, 250, 

351 

Grauman, Sid, 250, 350, 351, 352 
Grey, Lita, 199-204, 208, 209, 211, 212, 

213, 216, 224, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 

374 

Griffith, David Wark, 116 
Guaymas, Mexico, 200, 201, 202 
Guedalla, Jacobson and Speyer, 341 

Hale, Georgia, 199, 254, 348 

Harding, Warren G., 248 

Harley, Lily, 31 

Harrington, Tom, 86, 87, 88, 109, 110, 

113, 129, 145, 163, 167 
Harris, Mildred, 97, 99, 100, 102, 104, 

105-13, 124-203 
Hart, Wmiam S., 72, 97, 116 
Hartmann, Sadakichi, 204, 281, 282, 325 
Harunobu, 360 

Hearst, William Eandolph, 299 
Henry HI, 37 
Herrick, Myron T., 158 
Hersholt, Jean, 72 
Hiroshige, 360 
Hiroshima, 19, 20, 23, 27 
Hishigawa, 360 
Hitchcock, Raymond, 83 
Hitler, Adolf, 387, 388 
Hofbrau House, 82, 83, 84 
Hokusai, 360 
Horikoshi, Mme., 359 
Hotel Utah, 119 
Hunter, Kathryn, 367 

Idle Class, The, 126 
Imugai, Kensuke, 355, 356 
In the Park, 71, 73 

Japan, 92, 354-61 
Jones, Grover, 72, 79 
Joyce, Peggy, 185 
Juan-les-Pins, 332-35 

Kaiser Wilhelm, 150 
Kaufmann, Al, 152, 153 
Kelley, Arthur, 53, 55, 167, 168, 840 
Kelly, Hetty, 47-59, 62, 81, 128, 136, 167, 
168 



Kengekl, 347, 348, 352, 353 

Kennedy, Myrna, 213, 249 

Kennington, 29, 32, 45, 59, 128, 136, 137 

Kent, Mr. and Mrs. Atwater. See At- 
water-Kent 

Kerner, Gus, 85, 86 

Kessel and Baumann, 63, 70 

Keystone Comedies, 62, 67* 77 

Kid, The, 94, 114-17, 120, 124, 125, 128, 
138, 157, 158, 172, 199 

Knight, Castleton, 162, 163 

Knoblock, Edward, 132, 134, 135 

Kono, Suki and Huyemon, 19 

Kono, Toraichi, 10, 11, 86, 87, 88, 92, 
100, 102, 104, 106, 107, 108, 110, 111, 
112, 118, 120, 121, 122, 129, 177, 179, 
180, 187-96, 200, 201, 206, 216-21, 226, 
227, 228, 236-39, 240-48, 258, 259, 261, 
263, 264, 268, 271, 286, 290-95, 303, 
304, 305, 306, 315, 317, 326, 328, 329, 
332, 333, 334, 336, 337, 338, 340-42, 
347, 348, 349, 351, 354, 356, 357, 360, 
361-65, 369, 370, 375 

Koriusai, 360 

Kreisler, Fritz, 225 

Lahon, Renee, 133 

La Jana, 294, 302 

Larned, Livingston, 229 

Lasky, Jesse L., 63 

Latin Quarter, 149 

Lee, Lila, 185 

Leeds, William B., 132 

Lehr, Abe, 169, 170, 172 

Lehr, Mrs. Abe, 169 

Letellier, Henri, 161 

Liberty Loan, 97 

London, 29-43, 45, 46-54, 57, 59, 128, 

136-57, 161-66, 268-89, 344 
Los Angeles Daily News, 12 
Los Angeles Athletic Club, 86, 88, 104 
Louvre, 37 
Ludwig, Emil, 323-25 

MacDonald, Alastair, 274 

MacDonald, Ramsay, 274, 275, 287, 288 

MacFadden, Bernarr, 224 

McMein, Neysa, 132 

McMurry, Edwin T., 200 

McNab, Gavin, 221-23, 247 

McPherson, Aimee Semple, 328-31 

Maeterlinck, Georgette Leblanc, 132, 133 

Maeterlinck, Count Maurice, 132, 133 

"Maisie," 204-208, 215, 264-66, 304 

Majestic Theatre, Clapham, 162 

Making a Living, 66 

Malone, Dudley Field, 146, 147 

Marseilles, 328-31 

Maxwell, Elsa, 158, 319-20 

Mencken, H. L., 229 

Menjou, Adolphe, 94, 95 

Mihara, Shigekichi, 360 

Milan, 345 

Millington, Frances, 379, 380 

MiUington, Peter, 379, 880 

"Million dollar" contract, 80 

Mitchell, Jimmy, 201 

Modern Times, 277, 361, 367, 369, 375-79, 

381, 382 

Monaco, Prince of, 320-22 
Monte Carlo, 320-22 
Moore, Alexander, 231 
Moore, George, 10 
Moore, Owen, 96, 97, 98 



INDEX 



403 



Morgan, Gloria and Thehna, 337 
Morocco, 326, 327 
Moronobu, 360 
Mumming Birds, The, 60 
Music Box Theater 353 
Mussolini, Benito, 277, 345, 387 
Mutual Film Company, 93 



Naples, Italy, 345 

Napoleonana, 308, 309 

Nast, Conde, 132 

Nathan, George Jean, 166 

Negri, Pola, 153, 154, 185, 186, 188, 189, 

190, 191, 192, 193, 195, 196 
New York, 53, 54, 81, 82, 131, 132, 216, 

221-35, 240, 244, 245, 267 
Nice, 316-20, 323 
Night in a, London Music HaU, A, 54, 

60, 61, 62 
Nijinski, 72, 181 
Nogales, 202 

Normand, Mabel, 64, 67, 72, 96 
Normandy, 306, 310-15 

Otani, 361 
Oxford, Lady, 340 

"Pack of Hounds," 252-53 
Page, Walter Hines, 158 
Palais Hemroth, 151, 152 
Paramount Pictures, 154, 260 
Paris, 145-50, 306-09 
Pay Day, 115 
Perkins, Ed, 333 
Pershing, General J. J., 160 
Philadelphia, 236-40 
Piccadilly Circus, 52 
Pickford, Mary, 97, 116, 131-32, 353 
Pilgrim, The, 115 
Potsdam, 295 

Prussia, Prince Henry of, 295 
Purviance, Edna, 75, 87, 89, 90, 91, 94, 
95, 98 

Ray, Charles, 96 

Reeves, Alfred, 60, 61, 63, 93, 167, 223, 

339, 372 

Reeves, Billy, 60, 61 
Reeves, May, 318, 319, 326, 332-34, 342, 

343, 344, 345, 346 
Regent Film Company, 95 
Reinhardt, Max, 294 
Reisner, Chuck, 200 
Reno, 90 

Reynolds, Dr. Cecil, 189 
Rialto Theater, 60 
Ritchie, Billie, 77 
Robinson, Carl, 9, 129, 145, 150, 152, 

157, 163, 167, 268, 270, 286, 290, 291, 

293, 303, 304, 317, 318, 326, 327 
Rome, 345 
Rubens, Alma, 97 
Russell, Lillian, 231 

St-Moritz, 343, 344, 345 

Salt Lake City, 118, 119-25 

Sans Souci, 296 

Santa Monica, 58, 86 

Sassoon, Sir Philip, 147, 154, 155, 275, 

276, 294, 295, 302 
Schenck, Joseph, 351, 368, 374 



Schildkraut, Joseph, 132 

Seattle, 21, 23, 24, 28, 361, 362, 364, 

Sem, 312 

Sennett, Mack, 62, 63, 67, 69, 70, 71, 78, 

Shaw, Bernard, 271, 284 

Shawn, Ted, 358 

Sheean, Vincent, 285 

Shepherd, May, 336, 340, 341, 342 

Sheridan, Clare Consuelo, 169-84, 171 

Sheridan, Richard Brinsley, 170, 172-74 

Sheridan, Richard Brinsley m, 172, 177, 

179, 180, 181, 183 
Sheridan, Wilfred, 169 
Sherlock Holmes, 42 
Shockiku Cinema, 361 
Shoulder Arms, 150, 290 
Silverstone, Murray, 340 
Simpson, Wallis Warfield, 335 
Southampton, 58, 136, 167, 268 
Spicer, Mrs. Lillian, 200 
Spitzer, Nat, 78, 79 
Steinbeck, John, 387 
Sterling, Ford, 72, 83, 96 
Stevenson, Robert Louis, 138, 382 
Stewart, Anita, 105, 109 
Stokowski, Leopold, 175 
Studio, Chaplin, 103 
Sullivan and Considine, 62 
Sunnyside, 41, 115 
Sunset Inn, 85 

Thaw, Harry K., 250 
Theater, Duke of York s, 42 
Tulitfs Punctured Romance, 64 
Tokigawa, Prince, 347 
Tree, Iris, 85, 147 
Tree, Sir Beerbohm, 84 
Trocadero Theater, 158 

Ulitz, Arnold, 252 

United Artists, 53, 116, 135, 142, 163 

Utamaro, 360 

Vagabond, The, 93, 137 
Vanderbilt, Mrs. W. K., 85 
Venice, Calif., 28, 100 
Victoria Music HaS, 65 
Vieux Columbier, 148 
Voltaire, 296 
Von Hindenberg, 151 
Von Vollmoeller, Karl, 294 

Wales, Prince of, 319, 335, 336, 340 

Weber, Lois, 97 

Wells, H. G., 142, 143, 144, 155, 156, 157, 

163, 327, 328 
Wells, Mrs. H. G., 156 
West, Billy, 77, 79 
Westminster, Duke and Duchess of, 806, 

310, 311, 312, 314 
White, Alice, 258-60 
Wilhelm, Crown Prince, 151 
Wilson, Jack, 151 
Windsor, Claire, 175, 185 
Windsor Square Theater, 852 
Woman of Paris, 94, 95, 115, 197 
Woolcott, Alexander, 132 
Wright, Arthur, 109, 110, 113, 124 
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 355 
Wright, Lloyd, 109, 215, 283-34, 247, 871 

Ziegfeld, Florenz, 61 




106503 



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