Classic Hollywood #117 – Charlie Chaplin & George Bernard Shaw

Charlie Chaplin and George Bernard Shaw Meet For Lunch – 1936

Movie Star Chaplin & Author Shaw

Charles Chaplin and George Bernard Shaw In Honolulu
Honolulu, Hawaii – Charles Chaplin, film comedian, (left) and George Bernard Shaw, playwright, are shown in a Honolulu restaurant when they meet to keep a luncheon engagement – February 26, 1936 photo: International News

When they met for lunch Chaplin and Shaw were both on around the world tours in opposite directions. Chaplin kept Shaw waiting half an hour, which had Shaw fuming. But all was forgiven once Chaplin greeted Shaw at Waikiki Lau Yee Chai Chinese restaurant.

Shaw (1856-1950) looks spry for being 79, while Chaplin looks older than his 46 years.

Dining with Shaw and Chaplin was novelist Enid d’Arcy Northwood, who wrote under the pen name Shirland Quin.

What the group talked about at lunch is unknown. Perhaps Shaw told them about his encounter years ago with dancer Isadora Duncan.

Duncan told Shaw that if they had offspring together could he imagine how amazing the child would be, having her beauty and his brains.

Shaw’s classic reply was, “I am afraid, madame, that the child might have my looks and your brains.”

Or maybe they talked about film. Chaplin’s first picture in five years, Modern Times was released earlier that month to great acclaim.

Shaw wrote the play Pygmalion in 1913. It was later the the basis for the smash musical My Fair Lady. While Shaw was adamantly against his plays being adapted into movies, he collaborated for the first time ever with producer / director, Gabriel Pascal, in bringing a non-musical version of Pygmalion to the screen in 1938. Pascal wrote the famous line, “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plane.” Leslie Howard was cast as Professor Henry Higgins and Wendy Hiller as Eliza Doolittle.

Wouldn’t Charlie Chaplin have been great in the role of Henry Higgins?

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