had other, regular-boy interests, of course. I played a game similar
to your American football. We call it "Association." I played
marbles, skated, climbed trees and went to picnics. And I read omniv-
erously. I spent hours in the little town library pouring over the
books of the Contesse de Segur -- we called them "The Pink Books"--and
there were dozens of them. They were immensely popular adventure stories
similar, I should think, to your Alger and Henty books for boys."
dark-eyed mother would tell you that her exceptional son was called
"The Town Prodigy." She would tell you that when he was
scheduled to appear in a concert of a school play the citizenry of
Figeac turned out, en masse.
Here is another scene from
"L.F.I. Does Not Answer."
Damite Carola is the heart interest.
In 1932, Boyer made one of his biggest stage hits in
Bonheur", with the French star Yvonne Printemps.
strangely, to no one did it occur that a star of stage and screen was
rising in their midst. The cinema, Charles told me, was a sketchy and
unimportant form of entertainment when he was a boy in France. There
were no such things as French "fans."
He recalls now having seen Pearl White in a serial called "The
Mystery of New York." He later recalls having seen Harold Lloyd
in early comedies, when Harold was known simply as "Him",
or, in French, "Lui."
No, Louise Durand simply believed that her son's
remarkable memory and precocious command of audiences meant that he
was indeed predestined to become a doctor of the Sorbonne, an eminent
philosopher, with the wisdom of the ages and the ancients rolling off
his tongue. She would have laughed heartily -- though perhaps with tears
in her eyes -- if anyone had then predicted that he would become an
actor. But no one did.
"When I was nine," Charles Boyer told
me, "my father died. His passing marked the change, the chasm which
divided my life. For I had to become, overnight, the head of my house.
I remember being stunned and spending