Edna Purviance's bio

June 6, 2018 - Re-editing Edna Purviance's family biography 2nd Draft. Photo: Leading Ladies © used by ednapurviance.org

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Charlie Chaplin's Screen test of Genevieve & Vivian Tobin

Took Film Test Many Years Ago
Genevieve Tobin Owes Part of her
Success in Movie World to Charlie Chaplin

The Centralia, Washington Daily Chronicle
Saturday, November 8, 1930
- pg. 2

By Robbin Coons
Hollywood, Nov. 8th - Genevieve Tobin is a comparative newcomer to Hollywood, but she had her first screen test years ago at the hands of Charlie Chaplin. Genevieve and sister, Vivian, who is still on Broadway, were doing a one-act play in vaudeville, and Chaplin sitting bored in the audience, was startled into interested attention when the two mere children came on stage.

With their mother, there with Genevieve, they were invited to come to the Chaplin's studio next morning for a screen test.

Edna Purviance, the comedian's then leading lady, helped Genevieve make up while himself assisted Vivian --- piquing Genevieve no little.

The test resulted well enough but there was nothing Chaplin had for them to do at the time, and Mother Tobin wanted them to finish school, so that ended the movie idea for a time.

It came again, to Genevieve, when she was playing the lead in "Fifty Million Frenchmen" on Broadway and received an offer of talkie stardom.

The show, says Genevieve, fairly collapsed soon after she left its cast for Hollywood.

Various triumphs on the stage, she allows no false modesty to underestimate their greatness nor her own worth, as she tells of them--- preceded this offer.

She is, to say the least, very confident not only for herself, but for Sister Vivian, who she says, "is not in pictures but could be any time she wanted to."

Genevieve Tobin played many supporting roles, including her work in "The Petrified Forest" with Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis.

Here is a clip of Genevieve Tobin playing Mitzi Olivier in One Hour with You (1932).

As for the Chaplin screen test, where Edna helped, the internet information is a bit confusing, with different birth date for Tobins. Unless someone has this all figured out on the Tobins, it would take me sometime to research.

I am interested, since I have a photo of Edna with two young girls, all in costumes, but dressed in nothing I ever seen in any Chaplin film before. The girls were pretty young looking, so that is why I am most interested in exact birth dates. But from the little information on the web, I would guess this photo we have is not them, because the girls look too young.

This photo I maybe including in the newly updated video I am working on for the Chaplin Conference in Zanesville, Ohio, coming this October, 2010.

Image -
Drawing by Linda Wada - Feb. 2010

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