Roscoe Arbuckle & Charlie in the final scene of The Rounders (1914)

According to Minta Durfee, Arbuckle’s first wife (& also his wife in the film), the boat filling with water was Arbuckle’s idea and was intended to be a practical joke on Charlie because of his aversion to it. In Kevin Brownlow’s The Parade’s Gone By, Minta is quoted as saying: “Charlie hated water…And later on, he and my husband did one of the most difficult things an actor can do: in the last scene they lay in a boat, pretending to be dead drunk, while it slowly sank in the middle of Echo Park Lake. For a man who hates water, that was pretty good.”
Charlie must have been a good sport because he appears to be unable to keep a straight face as they disappear beneath the surface.

However I find the notion that Charlie was afraid of water interesting because he enjoyed swimming most of his life and gets wet in several other films including A Film JohnnieThe Masquerader (which was released only a couple of weeks before this film), Shanghaied, A Night In The Show, The Cure, The Adventurer, City Lights, Modern Times, etc. Perhaps he didn’t like to be surprised by water, which is understandable.


  1. I doubt he was really as bad as Minta Durfee makes him sound. Along with the swimming there are are also numerous times where he mentions having baths in his autobiography, not to mention that photo of him in the shower. Then there is that old article where the writer claims that Charlie takes several baths daily when working on films- something like one in the morning, one before going out in the evening and another before bed. I bet he didn't like being surprised by water either, who does? Especially when it's cold.

  2. my understanding of her statement that he didn't like water was that she wanted to imply that he had a poor uptake on personal hygene at the time he headed out to hollywood. not to go much by stereotypes, but even today the british aren't neccesarily known for clean underwear.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.