Where Is Chaplin's Cane? : Movie Mementos Sought for Capsule

Times Staff Writer

Anyone seen John Wayne's eye patch, worn in "True Grit"? Charlie Chaplin's cane or hat? How about the star worn by Gary Cooper in "High Noon"?

They are some of the Hollywood memorabilia being sought by the Centennial Committee of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for encasement in a time capsule.

Not being sought are Orson Welles' sled from "Citizen Kane" (it was burned, remember?) or the chariot ridden by Charlton Heston in "Ben Hur." The capsule is big--5 feet wide, 2 1/2 feet high--but not that big.

The committee also is passing on the celebrated brassiere worn by Jane Russell in "The Outlaw," Joan Crawford's shoulder pads, Lionel Barrymore's wheelchair, one of Lana Turner's sweaters and both of Betty Grable's legs.

"As you can see, we got some unusual suggestions," said Michael Teilmann as he leafed through the 200 to 300 letters from the public on what should be included in the capsule.

Teilmann, who was hired by the committee to organize events for Hollywood's 100th birthday, found the unusable suggestions as interesting as the ones given serious consideration.

"There's no way we could fit Gene Autry's horse (Champion) in the capsule, or, for that matter, Godzilla," Teilmann said. "I doubt that the committee will give serious thought to another suggested entry, King Kong's toenails."

President Reagan was the subject of several suggestions by both his fans and his critics. One fan suggested including one of his speeches. A non-admirer urged his interment in the capsule.

The committee already has selected a telegram from the President to the Chamber of Commerce for the capsule. Other items include an Oscar awarded especially in honor of Hollywood's centennial and a replica of the late Natalie Wood's star on the Walk of Fame along with a piece of the "HOLLYWOOD" sign, a celluloid of Woody Woodpecker and a video cassette of "Wings," winner of the first Oscar for best picture in 1928.

Johnny Grant, honorary mayor of Hollywood and chairman of the centennial committee, said that his group will decide what else goes in the capsule, with an emphasis on motion picture mementos.

If it comes down to a choice between something prepared by a prominent local politician and Charlie Chaplin's cane, it will be no contest, Grant said. "Charlie Chaplin's cane."

On May 31, about 100 items will be placed in the capsule, which then will be sealed until 2087. Unlike other time capsules, which usually are buried, the Hollywood capsule will be displayed, either in the Hollywood Public library or one of several Hollywood museums.

"Our research showed that several time capsules in other communities were lost, either by being paved over or by having a building built over it," Grant said. "We don't want that to happen to ours."

Until the capsule is sealed, the committee will weigh suggestions.

Don't bother urging the inclusion of one of Carman Miranda's hats, Humphrey Bogart's raincoat (worn in "Casablanca"), Fred Astaire's top hat or the scissors used by Grace Kelly to kill her would-be murderer in "Dial M for Murder."

"Those have already been suggested," Teilmann said.

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