The highly informative Holiday Extravaganza 2017 presented by Switzerland Tourism was an evening of everything Swiss, delicious and of interest to Swiss travelers. The informal and fun evening was planned by representatives of Switzerland Tourism Ursula Beamish-Mader, Phillippe Vignon CEO GenevaLive Tourism, Matthias Kramer, Francois Michel, and Franziska Amstutz to inform media members of Charlie’s World, along with destination information on Geneva and the Matterhorn areas of Switzerland. The highlight of the evening of Swiss inspired dishes was the authentic Racelette cheese presentation by Mirko Capodanno, who is from the Ticino area. Also in attendance was the Los Angeles Consulate General of Switzerland Emil Wyss and his wife Arie.
Manoir de Ban, Home of the Chaplin Family
The holiday dinner included Swiss favorites of sausage with European rolls, roast chicken, pickles onions, salads and Racelette Swiss cheese. A bevy of outstanding desserts, including pie to die for and cakes, served with coffee provided a divine ending. Wonderful Swiss wines brought to Hollywood for the celebration dinner included Dole Balavaud red wine, and Cave Lacote Swiss White Wine Chasselas.
It was a great pleasure to meet guest speaker Eugene Chaplin, son of the great Charlie Chaplin, and enjoy a presentation by him at Raleigh Studios, where Charlie, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks worked under contract in Hollywood.
Eugene Chaplin shared stories of his childhood with Charlie Chaplin that revealed his father was very strict with all the children about demonstrating good table manners and striving for excellence in school. “He was a loving father, but very strict,” said Chaplin. Eugene spoke about his father’s perfectionism, and love of music. The piano where Chaplin composed music for his silent films, still sits in the living room of the family home turned museum. A folding movie screen was set up and scenes were projected repeatedly until Chaplin felt the music was a perfect match for the scene. It was a ground-breaking transcription process for film music. Eugene also said his father swore he would become an excellent skier, but he never did.
Celebrities have always flocked to Switzerland, but Charlie Chaplin ended up there almost by accident. While in Europe promoting his silent classic, Limelight, London-born Chaplin received a forboding telegram. America was in the midst of the McCarthy era, and the telegram said he would be banned from returning to the United States unless he testified before the House on Un-American Activities. Chaplin refused, saying, “I’m not going back.”
Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith 1919, on the day they signed contracts with United Artists
Eugene Chaplin remembers that his father was considering acquiring property in Southern France with it’s temperate climate. However he fell in love with the beauty of the Geneva region. After purchasing a 13-acre property facing the Alps, Manoir de Ban became the family home for the rest of Chaplin’s life.“We love Switzerland more and more each day.” Charlie Chaplin wrote in a letter to Clifford Odetts, 1954.
Swiss Area Representatives Francois Michel and Matthias Kramer with LA Swiss Consul General Emil Wyss & Arie Wyss
More than sixteen years ago Michael Chaplin, the oldest son, told Yves Durand and Philippe Meyland, that the home was going to be sold. The architect and designer soon convinced the family to turn it into a museum. Today, the museum devoted to the legendary icon is a lovely collection of personal archives full of mementos, costumes and props all preserved in displays. The family dining table is set for dinner with lovely silver and china used daily by the Chaplin family. The movie studio is intact and has been enlarged. Most innovative are the mannequins fashioned laboriously in Madame Tussaud style and placed strategically throughout the venue. Charlie Chaplin is reincarnated, along with wax actors standing in front of scenes from his silent films. Visitors are invited to stand next to Oona Chaplin and Charlie in their private screening room. Everything at Charlie’s World is designed to be touched, to be photographed.
The Studio in Chaplin’s World
“It is not the reality that matters in a film but what the imagination can make of it.” 100 years after his first appearance on stage the brilliant film maker, actor and author Charlie Chaplin gives a glimpse into his life and his work at the place that became not only his home but also his home country. With his great personality and his boundless humanism, he brought joy and happiness to the world, touching people of all ages in every society of the world. The Museum site provides visitors a unique opportunity to meet Charlie Chaplin and to share his precious memories. Cornèrcard expresses their delight to be part of this extraordinary project and promises to strive to spread its message of hope to humankind which will resonate in heartsm across the nation for generations to come, and work in accordance with Charlie’s own observation “we think too much and feel too little.”
Opening Video of Charlie’s World
If you visit Switzerland and Chaplin’s World:
Route de Fenil 2
CH – 1804 Corsier sur Vevey
Every day from 10 am to 6 pm
About Bonnie Carroll
Bonnie Carroll has been a food/travel/lifestyle writer since 1983. She is the founder & publisher of Bonnie Carroll’s Life Bites News (www.lifebitesnews.com), does travel, entertainment and food reporting on local Radio/TV, and contributes to a variety of national and international travel/lifestyle publications. She is a member of IFWTWA and NATJA. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.