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Charles Spencer Chaplin

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Perhaps a miracle... end of June, 1919 [23 Apr 2006|11:28pm]
[ mood | anxious ]

At the Orpheum the other night, I went in expecting distraction, and went away with an epiphany.

Only four years old, young Jackie Coogan took the stage that night and delighted me with his absolute charm. The audience loved him and his few dance steps even more than the headliner before him. What an engaging little fellow! I haven't been able to get him out of my head since...

I found out that the headliner was in fact the boy's father, Jack Coogan Sr. He should be putting his son up there all the time and save himself the exercise...! Roscoe Arbuckle has in fact signed the boy up for a film, which is absolutely genius but at the same time discouraging as he's now been taken even before I could ask for him! Still, I keep running over and over in my mind the limitless possibilities for comedy within this charming boy...! I do believe the dry spell is almost over... if only he weren't working with Arbuckle already and probably tied up in a mercilessly binding contract!!

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Dry Spell: June, 1919 [04 Mar 2006|12:49am]
Dear God. It's been so long I'd almost forgot I existed. Is that even possible?

Let's see here, then... many things to report on, including the official announcement of United Artists which took place in April, much to the delight of the press and everyone in the Hollywood community. I'm excited to see what everyone comes up with for our little company.

In what I can only call "fashion news," a new perfume has been developed by Guerlain, the French fragrance company, called "Mitsouko," meaning, "Mystery." I've taken a liking to the scent and its fancy little bottle. I'm hoping it will therefore make me more "mysterious," though I think being such would be only a detriment to Charlot, who should be, at all times, immediately recognizable. Perhaps I should only wear it off-screen.

Since Sunnyside, I'm afraid to say that I've been at a loss for even one good idea. I did start to film The Professor, about a traveling flea-circus ringmaster, but it was only good for one scene. I need something longer, an idea that can really carry a full film, a grand debut for UA.

Mildred is about to burst. She's due only a month or so from now. Which, as you can imagine, adds a little extra "weight" to our marriage. I am, nonetheless, on the edge of my seat, as they say... Though she's usually away visiting Lillian Gish or some other friend on the weekends, we occasionally brush past one another weekday mornings and I can get a feel of that strangely protruding stomach of hers. Sometimes I ask her if she's lost weight. She never seems to get the joke.

All in all, it's a dry spell in this life of mine, but assuredly it will pick up sooner or later. If it does not, know then that I am dead, for that would be the only thing stopping, as it were, forward movement.
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"The lunatics have taken over the asylum!" February 5, 1919 [29 Jan 2006|10:56pm]
[ mood | hurrah! ]

Friends, I give you UNITED ARTISTS.

The "Big Four," including some of those necessary legal types.
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Notice how cleverly the line of sight moves all down to me, as I look into the camera. I've been grateful that most people do not recognize me on the everyday street without Charlot's moustache, but perhaps when they run this photo there will be no more mistaking...!

The price one pays for freedom.
Buy your Liberty Bonds!Collapse )
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Back and Forth, January 1919 [09 Jan 2006|09:50pm]
[ mood | awake ]

I believe it fit to analogize that my emotional state has been pulled back and released like a rubber-band these days. It is with some pleasure that I announce the actual pregnancy of my wife Mildred. The child is due sometime in the summer.

Since I've written here, Edna and I have been working on Jack of All Trades, now dubbed Sunnyside. I expect it will be like pulling teeth at the rate I've been headed. For weeks I've had a set built and ready and not an idea in my head for what is to occur there. But maybe it will suddenly strike me, and the Hallelujah chorus will sing in my ears...

I think that the setbacks of life and how one handles them are what determine one's character. Yes, that is my motto at the present moment.

The contract with First National has got me quite stuck, I'm afraid (both in the sense of "stuck like a pig" and stuck like an ant in a dribble of molasses... both unfavorable environments for artistic creativity). J.D. Williams, the president, is denying my requests for advances to keep up the quality of my work, which, frankly, has me feeling like a mole in a hole: I can only dig downward.

I would like to start distributing and producing entirely for myself. A man reaches a certain point in his success when he just has to step into his own shoes and wiggle his toes the way he likes them to be wiggled, not the way he's told to wiggle them.

I have talked with Doug about starting a production company. He seems interested in the idea. With the addition of "America's Sweetheart," and another director, Griffith... we could really accomplish something. We'd have the most clout in Hollywood. Maybe we should all go out to dinner someplace conspicuous for the press.

It is good to have friends with whom I share so much in common, both artistically and personally... It's a nice break from the lack of conversation Mildred and I usually encounter over the occasional dinner table.

The other day I stumbled on some fun photos of Doug and I, taken for the Ladies' Home Journal last summer. I'm going to post a few here just for the sake of it. This little journal needs brightening.

And we're off...

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In perfect step.

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I really don't know what I'd do without Doug.
I suppose I'd be reduced to hanging around with Sydney more often.
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November, 1918: Indigestion. [22 Dec 2005|09:16pm]
[ mood | lost ]

It's incredible how something good can be lost so quickly...

The honeymoon ended off on a round note... Mildred and I are well.

Since I returned from Catalina, however... I haven't seen the studio. Three weeks now. I simply can't go near it.

I've got this idea... it's a good one, it really is. Rural setting, sunny little town, Charlot, the Jack of All Trades sleepily passing his time... and that's all I've got.

I've never felt such a maddening sense of immobility. It's like a stone in my head...

On top of creative blockage: since we slid ashore, I've found myself suffering the worst continual case of indigestion I've ever experienced. Maybe I'm manifesting outwardly my inner turmoil... or is it inwardly my outward... well.
It's not been a fun three weeks, anyhow.

We did manage to move everything in, finally, to a rented home on 2000 DeMille in Laughlin Park. It's cozy. There is, however, a small problem of space. We've not enough space for... it's hard to say it... but... Mildred's mother, who has taken ill... Mildred would have us take her in. That's just one more block to bear. So, moving again very soon, I'm afraid... I would rather own than rent anyway.

In this lull between pictures, I've seen little of Edna, but when I do see her, she's been drinking, or she's with Paramount's prize boy... I've told her countless times how detrimental drinking is... especially, often, her kind. The kind where you can no longer distinguish friend from foe. The kind that tears your body apart, and ruins your reputation.

I am confident that if she was working she wouldn't be conducting herself in such a frivolous way.

Well... Let's hope I can figure out this damnable picture and get her back into the studio before she kills herself.

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Wedding Bells, 1918. [15 Dec 2005|04:03pm]
[ mood | very married ]

It would seem that happiness should abound on this, my first day of marriage to Mildred, but I can't put my finger on this terrible feeling I've got about the whole thing...

I'm pasting a photo of her here, for commemoration's sake...

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She is a lovely thing. I don't know why I'm fretting.

People keep harping on the difference in our ages, but I say 'love who you love when you can'... more or less.

...

You're happy for me, aren't you?
I'm happy for me, aren't I?

...I think this place will be a good change of pace for me. Somewhere to set my thoughts... Hopefully set them at ease.

Incidentally, three days ago also marked the release of my wartime three-reel, "Shoulder Arms." Here's an advert for inquiring minds.

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It's even got "my signature."
The work should be well-received. At least, I hope it will be.

I should quit writing and retire to the marital sheets.
Not that I'm complaining, mind you.
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