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    Ben Turpin's handwritten (unpublished) autobiography with other correspondence. Historical archive of comedy legend Ben Turpin's personal biographical information and business correspondence. A highlight of the collection is a 56-page autobiography by Ben Turpin handwritten in pencil. Known as an intensely private man, Turpin begins "My Life Story", in part: "I was born in New Orleans La Year 1869 - I left there when I was 2 years old - My parents were French. My Father's name was Ernest Turpin. He was in the Confectionery Business and my Grand Father was an auctioneer. My right name is Bernard Turpin But I took the name of Ben Turpin." After detailing his boyhood, Turpin describes his many travels, odd-jobs, and his first taste of the actor's life. Of his break into the movies Turpin describes: "...One day, I was standing on the corner of Randolph and Clark (Chicago), and a man came up to me, and said, 'Young man, would you like to work in moving pictures?' This was in the year of 1908, in the Spring. Now, I didn't know what he was talking about, when he said, 'Work in pictures'. I said, 'What do you pay?' '$20.00 a week.' I says, 'How long will you keep me?' He says, 'As long as you make good.' That gentleman's name is, Mr. B. M. Anderson. He said, 'I'm a part owner of the Essanay Film Company.' So he brought me over to his office, so I laid around two or three weeks, and did not do anything, but I got my $20.00 every week. I thought that was the softest job I ever had. Then we started a picture...I was supposed to be a comedian, property man, worked in the office, and when the weather was bad, those days, we did not have to work, then I had to clean up the offices for Mr. Spoor and Mr. Anderson. Well, we made three or four pictures..." He quit, but soon begged to come back to work. It was then that Turpin finally met Charlie Chaplin (he also mentions his famous fall, the "180"): "Well, a director by the name of Mason E. Hooper talked to me, and we organized a police department with funny makeups, like the Keystone Kops, and we had a lot of drill work to do plenty of bumps. Mr. Hooper saw me do a fall, with only a bathing suit on, on the cement walk, in front of the studio, and he named this fall a hundred and eighty, known by everybody in the picture game, and I'm the originator of that fall, and it was a very dangerous stunt to do. Well, I got back to the salary of $20.00 a week again. Along came Charlie Chaplin. I did not know him, but I'd seen him in lots of pictures. I was sitting on the extra bench and he told me to put on a makeup and come on the set...I got busy and put on the makeup. I cut a mustache from an old wig, which I'm wearing the same mustache today. It has been my trademark for many years. Well, sir, Charlie took a look at me, and started laughing. I didn't know what to say. I really thought he was making a damn fool out of me, before the people on the set. The picture was called 'His New Job'. It was a hard picture to make. He did everything, step on my face, hit me with a board on the head. It was a very rough work picture, but a very good one, and went over big. Well, Charlie took a liking to me, and I was to say right here, I owe all my success to Charlie Chaplin. I often wonder where I would be today, only for him, bringing me out West. Oh, I do thank him. Perhaps I would have been doing some more of those nickel shows." Turpin then describes how he traveled with Chaplin from Chicago to California: "... I started to work on the second picture, 'His Night Out', it was called. We went to Oakland for the exteriors. I never in my life saw such a big crowd watching us take pictures. When the director said, 'We'll all go to lunch', we went all to a cafe in Oakland. The crowd was so packed in front of the restaurant in front of the restaurant where we were eating, they very near broke the windows. All you heard was 'Charlie, Charlie Chaplin'. They had to get the police to clear the sidewalk. They all wanted to take a good look at my dear pal Charlie. As for me, I was unknown, nobody even looked at me. I sat at the table with some extra people and I said to myself, 'Oh, I wish I could become famous as Charlie Chaplin'. Everybody was laughing at him. He was the king of the day." Turpin continues his story, detailing how he joined the newly formed Vogue company, as a lead performer, and finally negotiated a contract with the Keystone Company for $ 200.00 a week, with a $ 30.00 raise every three months, and a two year contract. Turpin writes: "Oh, boy, I was a big actor now." Turpin ends his autobiography with the following paragraph: "...And now to end my story, I am still having the roaming disposition, and I do hope this is my last season, as the old age is creeping on me. I met Mr. Marco of Fanchon and Marco, and I signed up for thirty more weeks in the 'Slapstick Revue'. I think after this tour, with five shows a day, I'll be ready for some hospital." Turpin's handwritten autobiography is accompanied by (1) typed 17-page manuscript of the handwritten material (with minor differences between the handwritten and typed copy) entitled "MY LIFE STORY" by Ben Turpin, (1) additional 37-page typed manuscript of Turpin's story (same content), entitled "THE COCKEYED TRUTH", (1) typed 67-page manuscript entitled "MY COCK-EYED PAST" by Ben Turpin, as told to Willis Gordon Brown with Turpin handwritten cover, detached but present: "My Cock-Eyed Past by Ben Turpin as told by Willis Gordon Brown".) It embellishes the stories that Turpin tells of his life, and is slightly more readable that the handwritten material, (1) page of handwritten biographical data, penned on the verso of a typed letter on Tom Conlon Corporation letterhead stationery, Beverly Hills, California, dated August 26, 1932, addressed to Turpin at his N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, California, address, which states in part: "We are enclosing herewith a blank for information desired of all featured players by the Motion Picture Producers Association. In checking the records recently, they discovered that they did not have your biography." Turpin writes out the requested information: "Copy mailed to Conlon Corp. Aug 12 - 1932 - Birthplace N.O. / Educated - N.Y.C. / Married - Babette Dietz / Children - none / Prev. exp. - Vaudeville / If stage exp, give outstanding roles = Comedy parts for 35 yrs. / Name of prod. = Starred at Mack Sennett Studio for 11 years / Essanay - Chgo 3 [years] / Vogue - L.A. 1 [year] / Father & Mother's name = Ernest & Sarah Turpin / Their prof. = (father) Confections (mother) non-prof. / Favorite Sports = Swimming & Golf / Height = 5 ft. 4 in = Weight 130' / Color eyes, Brown - Hair, Brown / Remarks = Did single act for R.K.O. 40 weeks / Pantages = 10 weeks...", (1) typed legal contract, 4-pages (8.5 x 13 in.), Los Angeles, California, February 25, 1930, being an agreement between Turpin and Frank G. Mollenhauer, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, who agrees to act as Turpin's Manager for motion pictures and vaudeville in Europe and all foreign countries (not in the U.S. or Canada). Boldly signed on page four by Turpin, as well as by Mollenhauer and various witnesses. (1) 2-page red ink typed address list including the home addresses of Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Swanson, Norma Shearer, Clark Gable, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, William Powell (Carole Lombard), Groucho Marx, and dozens of other notables of the day, (5) Western Union telegrams dating from August 15th to November 4th 1928 from agent S. George Ullman to Turpin regarding live stage appearances and offers including a part in a Broadway production, and (1) handwritten telegram from Turpin to Ullman regarding a stage booking dated August 16, 1928, (2) Typed letters signed from Ullman to Turpin including 1-expressing his diligence in pursuing Turpin's stage and film interests and (1) regretfully ending his association with Turpin likely as a result of sound films causing a slump in Turpin's desirability, and (2) 8 x 10 in. photographs of Turpin, 1-is a youthful head & shoulders portrait of Turpin - eyes crossed - wearing a tie, jacket, and straw hat and 1-is a full-figure portrait of Turpin, sporting his signature moustache, wearing mis-matched clothes. A fantastic collection of materials relating to Turpin's personal life and career. Ranging from vintage good to very good condition.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2016
    29th Wednesday
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    The movie quite literally changed my life. I have included a pic of me in Sly's Rocky 3 Cashmere overcoat, would much appreciate if it is possible for you to forward this email to Sly to let him know the overcoat is in good hands, and will be well taken care of, (as will be the Rambo knife forging tools, the other lot I won!) Wish you very happy holidays and a great 2016!
    Atul J. ,
    Irvine, CA
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