“Looking for Mabel”
According to Chaplin in the
C.C. JULIAN, the flamboyant and sometimes charming promoter of the 1920s; who ran the Julian Petroleum Corporation. His swindle was as great and complex a scandal as
PETROUSHKA Café had the exotic atmosphere with a Russian interior down the street from the
Around a large party, which included Mildred Harris, Chaplin’s former wife, and Peggy Browne, a film actress, C. C. Julian and his brother, C. A. Julian and M. A. Roth his personal assistant and another woman came in. According to all reports the ladies had nothing to do with the ensuing encounter. The Julian party had started earlier in the evening at the Montmarte and it was en-route to the Petroushka according to Peggy Browne that she and Mildred Harris had rather reluctantly joined the party.
Julian was extremely boisterous, colluded with the stage spotlight and knocked over a lamp and did various other damage, on one of his trips about the room; Julian apparently resenting the inability of the adamant and inanimate object to remove itself from the course the newcomer wished to pursue, he hurled it to the floor with a loud clatter and crash of glass. Stepping over the debris of the wrecked spotlight Julian and the members of his party proceeded toward a table next to the Chaplin table. Attracted by the crash and lusty shouts of the new arrivals a corps of waiters and attaches of the cafe rushed forward in an attempt to be of assistance and to smooth the apparently ruffled temper of the guests. "Get out of here!" Julian shouted. "Don't bother me. What difference does it make what I break up around here?" Fumbling in his pockets he pulled out a wad of bills, fifteen or twenty of them. They all bore $1,000 on the face. Waving a handful of the currency above his head he again addressed the assembled aggregation of dumfounded waiters: "Look here! "I've got money enough to buy out this whole blooming place and a couple more if I wanted to! Away with you!"
Julian knocked against the chair occupied by Chaplin. Chaplin asked him to be careful, whereupon Julian assaulted the seated bantamweight comedian in the face; whereupon Chaplin arose and with a neat lift-right sent the over six foot, Julian to the floor. Plainly taken back by the comedian's ferocious attack, Julian swung wildly at the agile Chaplin. He missed, but Charlie connected with another stiff punch to the chin, and the six-footer hit the floor, a stream of blood trickling down his face. By this time the cafe was in an uproar. Squads of waiters joined the melee in an attempt to restore order. Another member of the Julian party, said by witnesses to have been the oil man's brother, also of athletic build, pounced onto Chaplin's back a moment after the first knockout. Again the film comic brought his small fists into a fast play and felled the second assailant, while cafe attaches struggled to separate the other combatants.
The other guests of the Petroushka cheered, there was a din of shouts, curses, women's shrieks, thud of blows, and crash of furniture, when the fight had subsided, The orchestra started up “Ain’t We Got Fun?” Members of the Julian party made ready to make their exit, while cafe attaches began to take stock of the damages, the crashed spotlight, a damaged valuable cello and shattered furniture, Julian was presented with a bill for almost $600 to cover destruction. Nat Arlock was given a check for $392 to cover “supper and damages and on Monday morning $203 more in cash was given to pay for the cello, etc.
Mildred Harris and Peggy Browne declare they left the Julian party just before the fisticuffs started. Miss Browne said Julian had been threatening to "get" Chaplin in Miss Harris' presence and that Chaplin's former wife pleaded with him not to create a scene. The young actress declared that she and Miss Harris attempted to leave but were observed by Julian and that he gave chase. Frightened, Miss Browne related that the couple fled through a rear door, scaled fences, and ran through underbrush to her home. When she reached her bungalow, she bolted her door and sat up all night with a revolver in her hand.
And here is the fun part notwithstanding Chaplin's signed statement naming him, and the statement of nearly a score of witnesses C. C. Julian, the oil magnate, strongly held to his denial that he was present or a participant in the affray. He explained that he was in
Mildred Harris, recounting her story of the party, expressed deep regret that her former husband had become innocently involved in the affair. "Poor Charlie," she said. "I do hope my presence there will not be misunderstood. I did not know Charlie was there and I am sure he didn't see me. Charlie and I are perfectly good friends”.
LOS ANGELES TIMES, THE; February. 2, 1962
OGDEN STANDARD-EXAMINER, THE;
PHOTOPLAY, April 1924; The monthly
“The Story of