There once was an attorney who almost never lost a case for: Charlie Chaplin, Errol Flynn, Robert Mitchum, Tommy Dorsey

People have always behaved… questionably, but in Hollywood from 1930-1950 if you came up on criminal charges the “go to” guy to get your case successfully argued was Jerry Giesler.

Let’s start with Mr. Chaplin, who was brought up for charges under the Mann Act for allegedly transporting an under age Joan Barry to New York for immoral purposes — he was acquitted. Mr. Chaplin was well known for consorting with young women. However, here’s the irony — Miss Barry filed a paternity suit against the actor the following year, and even though blood tests determined Charlie Chaplin was not the child’s father he was ordered to pay child support. His legal troubles were just beginning…

Jerry Giesler conferring with Charlie Chaplin in court when he was charged with violating the Mann Act in 1944:


Jerry Giesler got Errol Flynn off on three charges of statutory rape:

At a party at Tommy Dorsey’s apartment Dorsey and a colleague of Bugsy Siegel’s, Allen Smiley got into a fight with an actor named Jon Hall. Hall was beaten so badly he required facial reconstruction. Here we have Tommy Dorsey’s jubilant wife bestowing a kiss on Jerry’s cheek as Allen Smiley and her husband look on. Yes, another victory for Jerry:


A couple of years later Robert Mitchum was busted for smoking pot (yes, my darlings, illicit substances have been around since way before 1948). Giesler argued the case directly before a judge. Mitchum got off with a misdemeanor and a sixty day sentence. Here he is sentence completed:

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  1. July 28, 2012

    As always, great content! And the Black and White photography you’ve been including with your posts is divine!
    Enjoy your weekend!

    • July 28, 2012

      Thank you and ditto — except you take your own pics — and they are a wonderful window on your adventures!

  2. Vickie, thank you for looking in on the NotebookM blog. Your stuff is just wonderful. If you already haven’t, you might want to take a look at a recent book called, “Hollywood Rides a Bike.” It was put together by a Philadelphia film critic — Steve Rea — who loves both films and bikes and for years had been collecting photos of stars on two wheels. I’ll keep looking back in on you from time to time. I, too, love films, with a special love for films about films — like the great Cinema Paradiso.

    • July 28, 2012

      Thank you — I’ve come across several pictures of stars on bicycles in my research — the imagery is so whimsical — I’ll certainly check out the book!

  3. January 4, 2014

    So is there a ‘go to’ guy/lady now?

    • January 5, 2014

      Yes indeed! Please see my reply to The Dandy.

  4. January 4, 2014

    Dearest V
    One wonders what today’s stars are getting away with under the auspices of similarly amoral attorneys!
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  5. July 21, 2014

    I’M SMILEY’S daughter. Dad was protecting Pat Dane from Hall’s advances.
    Tommy was going to throw punches and Dad knew he’d get a publicity hit if he did.
    Dad didn’t care if he was demoralized because he already had a reputation.
    Great website!

    • July 21, 2014

      Ms. Smiley!
      Thank you so much for the clarification. What insight you must have… All my best, V

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