Incident from my past weekend, I shall now share with you. But, uplifting at the end.


Incident from my past weekend, I shall now share with you. But, uplifting at the end.

Well, not cancer or Russian missiles coming at you, we reminded ourselves, but pretty stressful when in the middle of it.

My wife Dian and I were at our trailer in our magical meadow near Idyllwild, watching Alex put the finishing touches on a redwood deck, and roof over new acquisition, a second trailer on the adjacent pitch to our first one. At some point in the day’s busy activities the key to the Prius dropped out of a pocket. Small piece of plastic, black, and we’re in the mountains, roaming all over. Needle in a haystack.

You know the feeling. If you can’t locate some vital object and you can’t stop until you find it, but you have now checked every possible place three or more times. Total frustration and upset. We’re stuck in the mountains until we can get the spare key from our home in Santa Monica and then somehow get back up here. But how?

Then up rides (by text) a white knight named Matthew Hausle, who lives happy in Idyllwild for some years but maintains, with wife Laura, their longtime apartment in SM. Matt is in SM! And will go get the key and bring it up Monday late afternoon! Halle-friggin’-lulah!


After six soul- scorching hours it appears, almost miraculously, in an unexpected place. This is much better all around than having to hang out until late Monday, and we yell Let’s get the truck out of here, and hit the highway.

So here’s where the great comedian, writer, producer, activist, songwriter (many don’t know he wrote the touching song, “Smile”) Charlie Chaplin comes in. Dian has his autobiography on streaming audiobook and we listen to it on the way home. She’s at a part fascinating to me because it deals with the politics of early WWII and his superb but controversial film, “The Great Dictator.” After sound and color came in, Chaplin continued to work without either, but made one exception at the end for this one.

The Little Tramp plays a timid Jewish barber trying to escape the Gestapo, who winds up impersonating his doppleganger, the German Fuhrer, “Adolph Hynkel.” At the climax he is thrust onto a stage to make a speech by radio, to millions across the world, and for the first time Chaplin speaks in a film. That speech is famous, and still sometimes moves me to tears.

I forgot how he and others had to fight to get the U.S. to fight Nazi Germany. At a time when the concentration camp atrocities were not known, and there were many Nazi sympathizers here. British-born Chaplin warned that evils like fascism don’t ever go away, and he was so right.

I certainly recommend you watch”The Great Dictator,”, but here is the transcript of that speech.


“I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible. Jew, Gentile, Black Man, White, we all want to help one another, human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another.

And this world has room for everyone, and the good Earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities life will be violent, and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood, for the unity of us all.

Even now, my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think, and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate, the unloved and the unnatural!

Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power, let us all unite! Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future, and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise! They never will! Dictators free themselves, but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! In the name of democracy, let us all unite!” – Charlie Chaplin, 1940

Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 37 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at therealmrmusic@gmail.com