Charles "Chic" Sale

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Charles Sale)

Chic Sale
Charles Partlow Sale

(1885-08-25)August 25, 1885
DiedNovember 7, 1936(1936-11-07) (aged 51)
Occupation(s)Actor, comedian
Years active1915–1936
SpouseMarie Bishop (m. 1912)

Charles Partlow "Chic" Sale (August 25, 1885 – November 7, 1936) was an American actor and vaudevillian.

Early years[edit]

Sale was born in Huron, South Dakota, and raised in Urbana, Illinois.[3] He was a son of Frank and Lillie Belle (née Partlow) Sale, and the brother of actress and writer Virginia Sale-Wren.[citation needed]


In 1920, after a tour wherein he played "rural parts", he was engaged by Christie Studios on Gower Street in Los Angeles. According to Grace Kingsley in the Jan. 28 edition of the Los Angeles Times, page II11,

It now comes to light that Chic Sale, appearing at the Orpheum this week, will as soon as his present tour is finished, about the middle of next month, return to town in the Capacity of a Christie star. Mr. Sale's first photoplay will be a five-reeler, adapted from Irvin S. Cobb's "The Smart Aleck," after which he will be starred in other well-known stories suitable to his talents.

The item goes on to mention that Charles Christie, business head of the Christie studio, entered into a contract with Exceptional Pictures to produce the Sale film, to be distributed through Robertson-Cole, and notes Sale's occasional appearances in the Ziegfeld Follies and the Shubert Winter Garden shows. The movie was eventually named His Nibs, and co-starred Colleen Moore. Chic played many of the parts himself, the film being a spoof of the sort of "hick", backwater characterizations that were his specialty.

In 1929, inspired by a carpenter named 'Lem Putt' from his hometown of Urbana, Sale wrote The Specialist, a play about an outhouse builder.[4] Because copyright infringement was widespread in Vaudeville, Sale enlisted the aid of newspaper political cartoonist, Roy James, to adapt The Specialist into a book. Mr. James' illustrations brought Chic's humor to life and the book enjoyed great success. Sale spent the next several months responding to fan mail.

Sale had a career in Hollywood, appearing in various comic roles until his death from pneumonia in 1936. In contrast to his comic roles, one of his loftier appearances came as President Abraham Lincoln in 1935. The Perfect Tribute was a short film dramatizing Lincoln's disappointment at the meager reaction to his Gettysburg Address. He encounters a dying and blind soldier who, not knowing he is addressing the President himself, tells Lincoln how inspiring the speech was.

Although an obscure figure today, Sale was a well-known popular culture figure during the 1930s, and was often the subject of jokes by comedians like Groucho Marx, usually in reference to The Specialist. Chic is also mentioned as an aside late in the Marx Brothers film, Animal Crackers, in a conversation between Ravelli (Chico Marx) and Captain Spaulding. For many years—even after his death—"Chic Sale" was used as a euphemism for an outhouse. He is known to have found this unflattering, calling it "a terrible thing to have happen".[4]


Still image from His Nibs of Charles "Chic" Sale, wherein he played several of the roles. The film co-starred Colleen Moore.
Year Title Role Notes
1921 His Nibs Theo. Bender (segment "His Nibs") / Wally Craw / Mr. Percifer / Elmer Bender / Peelee Gear Jr. / Miss Dessie Teed / The Boy
1924 The New School Teacher Prof. Timmons
1927 They're coming to get me Short
1931 The Star Witness Pvt. Summerill
1932 The Expert Grandpa John T. Minick
When a Feller Needs a Friend Uncle Jonas Tucker
Stranger in Town Ulysses Crickle
Men of America Smokey Joe Miller
1933 Lucky Dog Arthur Wilson
Dangerous Crossroads Locomotive Engineer
The Chief Uncle Joe
1934 Treasure Island Ben Gunn
1935 The Fighting Westerner Deputy Tex Murdock
It's a Great Life Grandpa Barclay
1936 Man Hunt Ed Hoggins
The Gentleman from Louisiana Deacon Devlin
The Man I Marry Sheriff Clem Loudecker
1937 You Only Live Once Ethan (final film role)


  1. ^ Sirvaitis, Karen (September 1, 2001). South Dakota. Lerner Publications. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-8225-4070-0.
  2. ^ "Daily Illini 8 November 1936 — Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections".
  3. ^ Slide, Anthony (2012). The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville. Univ. Press of Mississippi. ISBN 978-1-61703-250-9. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Roger Welsh (1999). This Old Farm. Voyageur Press. pp. 51–59. ISBN 9781610605489. Retrieved January 26, 2017.

External links[edit]