January 12, 2013

A peek into Charlie's "strictly masculine household"

The following photos & captions are from "How They Manage Their Homes" by Alma Whitaker, Photoplay, June 1929.

Charlie, Jr. remembered his father once saying: "I love this house. I'd never live anywhere else but right here."

The article says: "Here dinner is served at 8 p.m., the fashionable hour."

 Photos of Charlie, from a 1952 issue of  Illustrated magazine, sitting on the steps and standing behind the gong can be seen here and here.  

According to the article, on the mantle, facing Charlie's bed, are "four smiling photographs" of Georgia Hale, his constant companion at the time. "One of those new electric belt exercisers" stands near one of the windows.  I see a phone on the table next to his bed. He also kept a dictaphone nearby to record ideas that came to him during the night. Ms. Whitaker observes only one bed, but Charlie, Jr. noted that there were two three-quarter beds in his father's bedroom.  

Charlie's son said that his father not only liked to look at the stars with the telescope, but also his neighbors. A few more interesting notes from the article about Charlie: he wore pale green silk pajamas, as well as B.V.D.s  (a brand of men's underwear). He also hates to rise before noon. "People are so uninteresting before lunch," says Charlie. 

Lita Grey Chaplin remembered that Charlie's jade collection, "most of them nude figurines," were scattered throughout the living room. His son recalled that the living room also contained an indiscriminate assortment of furniture, including pieces his father bought for his apartments when he first moved to Los Angeles. "After he built his own place he just moved everything he possessed into it. He could never bring himself to part with anything he owned".  Charlie's press agent, Jim Tully, once observed that the colors in Charlie's living room represent his "Gipsy taste." The color scheme boasts "a mixture of reds, green, blues, and yellows, regardless of all conventional opinions on color-harmony."

This photo, taken c. 1933, is not part of the Photoplay article but shows another view of the interior. This hallway, with black & white checkered carpet and wrought iron gate, runs down the center of the house.  Adjacent to this hallway was Charlie's treasured pipe organ which can be seen in the photos below.

Charlie playing the organ, unknown date, probably late 1920s. Charlie once played the organ for David Raksin,  musical arranger for Modern Times. "Had I not been a musician, he might have been less intimidated, but he did play a little just to let me know that he had a real no-kidding organ in his house and it was sort of fun."
Lita Grey Chaplin at the organ, c. 1927
Additional sources:
Charles Chaplin, Jr., My Father, Charlie Chaplin
Lita Grey Chaplin, My Life With Chaplin
Jim Tully, "The Real Life Story Of Charlie Chaplin, Part Two," Pictorial Review, February 1927
David Raksin interview, Unknown Chaplin documentary


  1. Wow, what fantastic pics!

    As much as I enjoy getting multiple installations of this delightful blog every morning, part of me wishes you'd parcel them out a bit more slowly, so that you don't run out,

    1. Thanks for the input. This will be my only post for today. I've been thinking about posting every other day or 2-3 times a week, not because I'm worried about running out of material but because the blog takes up a lot of time.

  2. Btw, I've seen always only pictures with the organ and never the pipes. Are there pics with them too ?

    1. Same here. I have never seen a picture of the pipes.

  3. He had his room painted light green... just like me! :D Only mine is a complete junk hole because I have a small amount of space for a lot of stuff.

  4. Thanks for the tour!

  5. A fascinating snapshot of part of this incredible man's life. Thank you.