After a short stay at the William Head quarantine station near Victoria, the Hikawa Maru docked in Vancouver on the morning of June 13th, 1932. Sometime later, a weary Chaplin, who hadn’t been to Vancouver since his vaudeville days, spoke to reporters in the smoking lounge of the ship. He had been unable to sleep the night before, finally going to bed around 6:00am to catch a few hours’ rest. “There was too much excitement for me, I’m afraid, and I couldn’t get a wink. People rushing about, anxious to catch a first glimpse of the British Columbia skyline.”
More than anything, including his next picture which he insists will be silent, Charlie was anxious to discuss his economic theories. “I am reputedly a comedian, but after seeing financial conditions of the world I have decided I am as much an economist as financiers are comedians, if you know what I mean.” He continued, “People everywhere want more material benefits and the privileges that go with wealth. Financiers will have to take less profit and they will have to get on a basis of larger volume of business and smaller return.”
Chaplin said that depression “hangs like a pall of smoke over every country I visited. Wait, perhaps I shouldn’t say every country. There was one place where the people, semi-civilized to our western understanding, didn’t know there was a depression. That was in the island of Bali.” Chaplin thought the place was lovely but he wouldn’t want to live there. “The depression depresses me but I wouldn’t want to be out of it at any cost. I must be in the milieu of life. I like being where things happen.”
|Photo of Chaplin supposedly taken at Nanaimo Harbor, B.C.,
Here a reporter for the Vancouver Sun describes Chaplin’s offscreen appearance and relates a story he told of being chased around Japan by the paparazzi:
Chaplin doesn’t look much like his motion picture self. The hair of his broad, finely modeled head is almost white. His large, luminous blue eyes are serious. Sartorially, he was a “rhapsody in blue.” A double-breasted serge suit of navy blue. Blue tie. Blue shirt. Small blue veins show in the skin of a rather pallid face.
But he displayed one characteristic gesture when he was telling of how reporters and photographers chased him everywhere in Japan.
“It was really embarrassing,” he said. “I’d be looking in a shop window, or I’d stop a moment on the street and there they would be.” He jumped from his chair and pantomimed the figure of a press cameraman, crouched over his camera.
“Being trailed that way makes me terribly self-conscious.”
After spending the day in and around Vancouver, Charlie will sail for Seattle in the evening, arriving the next morning. So more on that tomorrow.
Where was Charlie twelve months before? Hanging out with H.G. Wells in the south of France:
New York Times, June 14, 1932
Seattle Times, June 13, 1932
Vancouver Sun, June 13, 1932