Charlie and Gloria “give them something to talk about.”

The photos in this post were taken by Katherine Hungerford, a photographer who spent 1922-23 in Hollywood taking pictures of movie stars for a lecture. In 1949, she wrote a book about her experience called Early Hollywood Crazy Quilt. The following is an excerpt from her book in which she describes taking these photos of Charlie & Gloria:

I stopped for lunch at Armstrong & Carleton, a popular movie star restaurant rendezvous. I had just started to order when Charlie Chaplin and Gloria Swanson came in and sat down at a table near my own. I could hardly taste my own food as I waited for them to finish their lunch. Then I boldly went over, introduced myself and showed them some of the pictures I had taken, especially of Mary and Doug. They seemed interested and enjoyed looking at the pictures.

Then I followed through with the punch line, ‘‘May I please have a picture of you two? ” And just to complicate things I had to ask them to go with me across the street where the sun was good, as I could only take snapshots. They were very obliging and followed me.

On the way over Gloria whispered to Charlie, “I don’t know whether it is wise for us to pose together.”

Charlie replied, “Oh, let’s give them something new to talk about.”   

Gloria had just returned from Paris with a new wardrobe costing $10,000. On the day I photographed her, she wore one of her new dresses, a lovely navy blue crepe and with this a small flower hat made of a lighter shade of blue flowers, which was most becoming. She had dainty feet and small hands. I had my black and white silk parasol with me for the California sun could be very hot at times, so I asked Gloria if she would like to hold the parasol. After taking her alone, I snapped a few of her with Charlie, but he was cutting up so, she could not keep a straight face. Nearby I saw a young boy leaning against his bicycle gaping at the performance, and I asked him to lend me the bike. Charlie took my parasol and got on the bicycle and I took some snaps like that. He acted like a youngster. By that time a large crowd had gathered and we all had lots of fun. I could hardly hold the camera still I was laughing so hard at Charlie’s antics. 

I finally said trying to sound most business-like, “Mr. Chaplin, you must remember I’m not taking moving pictures.”

Later on, I astonished Charlie’s publicity director by showing him these pictures. “How in the world did you manage to get them? ” he asked. “Charlie hardly ever poses for anyone.”

But I knew the secret lay in treating him like a person and not an actor. 

1 Comment

Leave a Reply to Anonymous Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.