You just never know what will turn up in an Ebay auction

Charles Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" featured two Berninghaus barber chairs in a scene with him and Jack Oakie.

I recieved an e-mail informing me of the auction the day before it ended. The location was listed as Los Angeles. Could this be a dream come true? The thought of owning not one but two such chairs was stagering so I e-mailed the seller immediately to see if it was possible to see the chairs in person before the end of the auction. The chairs were being sold through a second party and the actual owner wouldn't be available until Wednesday April 23rd, after the auction ends. I asked what the reserve was set at, well it was more than I could afford... so much for that dream, but it was fun while it lasted

Pr BARBER CHAIRS from CHARLIE CHAPLIN Film
Item # 3321659661

Auction started on Apr-15-03 10:59:58 PDT
and ended on Apr-22-03 10:59:58 PDT

High bid was $6100.00, far less than the reseve bid.

 

The Chaplin Studios folded in 1953, it's not clear what exactly happened to the chairs at that time but it is thought that the paint was removed and they were reupholstered in the 50's. The current owner has had them for several years and offered them for sale as movie memorabilia rather than as just antique barber chairs.

 

"These barber chairs have a unique history in the annals of American film history, as famous props, featured in the CHARLIE CHAPLIN film," THE GREAT DICTATOR", a political satire on fascism , produced, written and directed by Chaplin in 1940, in which he also starred in dual roles. Painted white, they are visible in a short but key scene in this black and white film for a comic dialogue between Chaplin and Jack Oakie in which Chaplin the director uses the chairs in an ingenius sight gag skillfully engineered by him to ridicule the characters."
"Made of brass-plated cast steel, with a restored dark stained maple seat frames on lever operated pump-action round pedestal bases- elaborately decorated with large drop pendants, ball and spindle turnings, acanthus and cornucopia motifs, the adjustable arm rests terminating in masks supported on swan neck supports. Re-upholstered in a later red cotton velour cut velvet fabric, the seats and backs retain their original padding and shapes. In excellent working condition, with wear to brass finish on the foot rests. Measurements: width: 29 1/2", Height: 46", Length(upright) over all: 54". "

"The chairs retain residue of white paint in the carving and under the seats, and the studio's prop inventory numbers 471 and 472, handpainted in white paint."

 

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