Day By Day: 1936

Monday, February 17th: Charlie & Paulette set sail for Honolulu.

Chaplin, Alta, and Paulette 

Embarking from Los Angeles Harbor aboard the SS President Coolidge, the couple are accompanied by Paulette’s mother, Alta, and Chaplin’s valet, Frank Yonamori.

Chaplin told reporters that the voyage was “for a rest.”

“We’ll stop at Honolulu,” he said. “Maybe we’ll take a boat there to the South Seas, perhaps Tahiti. I want to do some fishing.” They planned to be gone for six weeks.1

Charlie and Paulette waving from the ship. ©Roy Export Co. Est.

Before Chaplin left Hollywood, he was informed that the Nazi government in Germany had banned his recent film, Modern Times, because of “communistic tendencies.” But he had anticipated this kind of objection:

“A lot of highbrow critics and many professional sympathizers with radical politics have seen in my pictures a significance that is not there. They think the gags about the parade and the strike indicate an antipathy to capital and a desire to present subtle propaganda.”

Chaplin said he disliked to disagree with persons so undoubtedly sincere and so intelligent and sympathetic toward him personally as his self-appointed highbrow interpreters who see his comedy as a solemn effort to carry out a mission but feels he has to set himself right.

“Maybe I’m wrong in trying to be funny,” Charlie said, “but all I was thinking of and trying to bring about was something that would induce people to laugh. I have my serious moments, but my movie was only trying to amuse. I want people to laugh at me, not to think big thoughts.”2

The SS Coolidge will make a stop in San Francisco before heading to Hawaii. More on that in tomorrow’s “Day By Day.”

©Roy Export Co. Est.

1Oakland Tribune, Feb. 18th, 1936. In reality, the trip would last 4 months. They do not visit Tahiti.
2Chicago Tribune, Feb. 20th, 1936

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