San Francisco

Early Piece of Charlie Chaplin Lore Occurred in San Jose

Big news for movie buffs in the Bay Area: It appears Charlie Chaplin knew the way to San Jose.

A piece of movie history has been discovered, and it's leading film historians to the Capital of Silicon Valley.

The Alcantara, a building on Post and Market streets in San Jose, was something of a launch pad for Chaplin. He made an early film called "A Night Out" at the location before becoming one of the most famous and important actors in Hollywood lore.

The Alcantara was built in 1903, and after the recent discovery of Chaplin's appearance there, it's just now getting its closeup.

David Kiehn runs a Bay Area museum dedicated to Chaplin's legacy. He said it was a big moment for Chaplin, who at the time was on the brink of superstardom and a $600,000-a-year salary, "making him one of the highest paid people in the world," Keihn said.

"The film industry was already moved mostly to California at this point," San Jose State film history professor Scott Sublett said.

The Alcantara is now home to tech company Electric Cloud, a startup that says it didn't know about the Chaplin legacy but appreciates what he did on screen and off.

Chaplin's love interest in "A Night Out," Edna Purveyance, was discovered in San Francisco and went on to make more than 30 movies with Chaplin.

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