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Film Stars of Playa Del Rey; Alfred Reeves, The Man Behind Chaplin (Photos)

Alfred Reeves and French movie poster.
Alfred Reeves and French movie poster.

Alfred Reeves was an English musical-hall performer, who took 20 year old Charlie Chaplin under his wing, bringing him to America in 1910.

Alfred Reeves passing by a French movie poster of Chaplain.

The acting group, Karno's Pantomime Company, included Reeves and Chaplin, and Amy Minister, who would become Mrs. Alfred Reeves.

One of their acts was entitled 'The Wow-wows, or A Night in a London Secret Society' in which Charlie appeared as a village busybody. It was at this time that he began developing his famous tramp character which eventually made its transition to the Keystone studios three years later. Reeves continued as his unofficial spokesman for many years.

Reeves provided much of the capital for Chaplin's first films. In fact, Reeves, up until the day he died at his home in Playa Del Rey on April 6, 1946, was the only manager that Chaplain ever had.

Reeves described their relationship, and how Chaplain created the famous character; The Tramp:

"Charlie puts on a fresh mustache every single day he's working. He twiddles a little hair with his finger and a comb, a crepe hair - or gyp, as we say in show business -and there is his famous mustache.

Somebody told me once that I was as English as 'arf a crown. Maybe that's why Charlie likes to have me around. I'm his Dutch uncle sort of. When Charlie's working he likes a friendly atmosphere on the spot. I see that he isn't worried with business until he's finished.They say Charles is temperamental, but he isn't really, alongside some of the stars I could mention.

Chaplin's costume originally was a satire-sort-of-thing on the English gentleman. The English actor especially. All the actor needed to be dressed up was a clean collar, a shave and a cane. He could be without a bob, but he'd still consider himself all togged out with some place to go."

Reeves put aside acting, and became the Production Manager on many of Chaplains greatest films, including: City Lights, 1931, Modern Times, 1936, and The Great Dictator, 1940. He had appeared, uncredited, in A Day's Pleasure, 1919.

He also assisted Chaplain with his many "messy" relationships; and there were plenty of those. He essentially ran Chaplain's studios.

Charlie Chaplin ( 1889-1977) revolutionized the language of cinema and became one of the most loved performers of all time. But he was also a man plagued by loneliness and driven by the search for artistic perfection.

Many film historians consider Alfred Reeves as the main stabilizing force in Chaplains very successful life.

Much of that life can be visited here:

Reeves lived at 128 Argo Street, Surfridge Estates, Playa Del Rey, and his wife (Clara)Amy lived there until her death many years later, in 1972.

For more on "The LAX Ghost Town-Surfridge, CA" see:


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