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2 corrections, most recently by Brooksie - Show corrections

Chaplin Would Scarcely   Recognise Old Studio  

HOLLYWOOD (AP)-Charlie  

Chaplin would scarcely re   cognise his old studio; the old  

Hollywood landmark is getting a face lifting.

The last time I visited the   Chaplin Studios was when the   comic was shooting "Lime   light." The place was quiet, old   and musty, a throwback to the  

casual days of the silents.

I went back again this week   to find a transformation tak-  

ing place. Workmen were nois ily converting the drab offices  

into modern rooms with the   latest styles in equipment. Over   the noise. of the hammers,  

general manager David Garber told me that Chaplin had sold   the lot to a New York real   estate firm, Webb and Knapp,   for 650,000 dollars (£292,300).   The company had given a 10   year lease of Kling Studios, a  

Chicago commercial art con cern branching out into TV.   Stanley Kramer, again an in   dependent producer, will also   have offices there.  

Garber introduced me to Eddie Mann, a Chaplin em-  

ployee for seven years. Mann showed me around the lot,   much of which is still a wond   erland of Chaplin lore.  


First stop was the leading   lady's dressing room, it was   first created for Edna Purvi   ance, then made over for Paul   ette Goddard. Among the later     occupants were Martha Raye   and Claire Bloom. It was a  

roomy place, but the faded maroon drapes and wicker fur niture made it look like a sec   ond-class hotel room.  

On the sidewalk outside were the duck-walk footprints of the famous Chaplin brogans. They led to the Sound stage, where a block of cement recorded Chaplin's signature and the date the studio opened, Janu- ary 21, 1918. The legend says that it was here Sid Grauman got his idea of having stars'

prints in the cement before his Chinese theatre.

The prop room would stir memories of any movie fans. I found the baby carriage Jackie Coogan was wheeled in for "The Kid," snowshoes from "The Gold Rush," a shell from "Shoulder Arms," the defend- ant's stand that was used in "Monsieur Verdoux," the doublecross insignia of "The

Great Dictator."

"Between pictures - and he only made them every five years or so - Charlie would come to the studio only twice a year," Mann explained. "He'd be here once in the summer and once before Christmas-to

see that those on the payroll got their Christmas cheques. He kept many oldtimers on salary for years. This business (Government's refusal of a re- entry permit) hasn't been as tough on him as it has on his employees."

The tour continued through   a scenery dock, which largely contained sets from "The Great Dictator," his biggest production. Mann pulled up

some boards from the floor and  

I could see tiles underneath.

The storage place had been built over a swimming pool wáere Charlie and the senior Douglas Fairbanks cavorted in the old days.


The only outdoor set is a street scene. On one side is   the ghetto used in " The Great Dictator." The other is a French street from "Monsieur Verdoux." Parked by the side- walk was the street cleaner's brush and wagon from "City Lights."

Mann showed me Chaplin's dressing room, a wooden build- ing with a drab interior.

"Charlie was like that - he didn't believe in anything fancy," Mann remarked. "The closet contained the comic's

tramp costume, which is being

sent to him in Switzerland, along with the prints of his

pictures and the furniture from   his Beverley Hills home."  

Near the dressing room was a mass of wood debris. It had been a large backdrop support- ed by telephone poles, which snapped in the last big wind. Termites were the trouble. The wood will be removed, along with a shed containing such props as the wooden gear used in the machinery of "Modern Times." This part of the lot will be taken over by a huge

chain market fronting on Sun

set Boulevard and Labrea   Avenue. Chaplin has never used   the frontage and refused fabu-  

lous offers for it.

I saw other sights: The big   frame house where Chaplin's   brother, Sydney, lived; the cut   ting room where Charlie would   spend 10 months editing a film  

he had shot in a month or two; the aged projection room in which he ran film for many   hours or dreamed up scores on   the piano.  

I was jolted back to the   present when I visited Kling   Studio head, Lee Blevin, in his   renovated office. It was a   smart, modern affair unrelated   to the antique nature of the   rest of the studio.     "We thought of perhaps hav   ing tours through the studio to   see the Chaplin mementoes,"   Blevins explained, "but we de   cided that would interfere with   our operations here. It's pos   sible that we may have a    

Chaplin museum here."

Chaplin's only outward sym   bol of ownership-a small brass   plate with the words " Chaplin   Studios "-has been stolen. The   only sign left says "Free