Day By Day: 1936

Monday, January 13th, 1936: Chaplin Studio Manager, Alfred Reeves, informs Joseph Breen, head of the production code office, that Chaplin had made the eliminations to Modern Times that his office had requested and that they were awaiting their certificate of approval.

The certificate arrived later that day:

The requested eliminations can be seen in my Day By Day post from one week ago. In an interview in March 1936, Chaplin said he regretted having to make the changes:

“We had to take out a number of shots we made in the department store using wax models of women. Then in the jail sequence we had to cut entirely a gag that I thought was pretty good. In this sequence, as I am being led to my cell, the officer who has me in charge has another prisoner in tow. This other fellow walks with a mincing feminine step (here Chaplin acted the part of the other prisoner). The big laugh was supposed to come when the officer starts to put this fellow in the same cell with myself.” (Atlanta Constitution, March 22, 1936). 

The fellow with the “mincing feminine step” is still in the final film if you watch closely the scene where the prisoners are being led in and out of the cafeteria. There is one man (below, 4th from the front, with his hand on his hip) who walks in a very effeminate manner.

Monday, January 13th: On the same day, Chaplin along with Irving S. Cobb sponsored a lecture by poet John Masefield at the Philharmonic Auditorium in Los Angeles. In My Autobiography, Chaplin described a visit by Masefield to his studio several years earlier:

John Masefield visited the studio; he was a tall, handsome, gentle man, kindly and understanding. But for some reason these qualities made me extremely shy. Fortunately I had just read The Widow in the Bye Street which I admired, so I was not entirely mum and quoted some of my favourite lines from it: 

There was a group outside the prison gate,
Waiting to hear them ring the passing bell,
Waiting as empty people always wait
For the strong toxic of another’s hell.


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