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

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

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

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

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

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

Charlie checks out Henk Aalsem’s camera

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

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

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

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

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


1 & 2Chaplin, “A Comedian Sees The World,” 1933


  1. Is it weird that I find the side profile of Charlie gorgeous. Anyway, the more I see of him during the World Tour the more tired and forlorn he seems. Like he really just wants to be left alone. Its odd how Charlie would go from wanting to be the center of attention to wanting to be entirely unknown.

  2. Syd shoulda brought knives and forks….its evident he is thinner. I am WOWed Jess. That is very natural looking….the way he was photographed in conversation. Not put usual for the masses. Syd looks lonely. I wonder if they scored any. Heh heh.

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