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Charlie Chan

Charlie Chan wasn't entirely a fictional creation. The author Earl Derr Biggers fashioned him after a real-life detective in Honolulu named Chang Apana. The character appeared in six novels, the first of which was The House Without a Key, but it was his presence in more than forty movies that Charlie Chan replaced the then-pervasive image of the devious, sinister "Oriental villain" (such as Fu Manchu) with that of a calm, insightful, and never-failing sleuth who prevailed no matter how clever his adversary, or how much bumbling interference he experienced from one of his several wannabe sons.
Discuss this classic mystery character below.

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Charlie Chan

Previous MessagesEarliest MessagesOutlineRecent Messages (168 previous messages)
peggy wright - 01:08am Feb 13, 2005 PST(#169 of 178)

I have been a big charlie Chan fan. Always loved Keye Luke ( I think he was #2 son) I have a question, what was his black chauffer name? It has driven me crazy for years. In New York they would not run these movies because they said it offened the Chinese people. Not true, These were classics.

aj abuan - 06:41pm Mar 10, 2005 PST(#170 of 178)

I saw on eBay 18 DVDs of 36 Charlie Chan films. The cost was 70.00 US. This is the best deal I have seen unless there are those who are willing to trade, barrow, etc.

Roger Vann - 04:41pm Mar 16, 2005 PST(#171 of 178)

Many people have found the Birmingham Brown character offensive. I guess I can see that but I would have to be pretty stupid to think that all black people are scared of ghosts, are supersticious, etc.. Hollywood has an unnaturally big influence over people's perceptions. Is that Hollywood's fault? not really. Entertainment is just that... As for Charlie Chan, I can't imagine a Chinese person thinking that Charlie was a degrading stereotype. Charlie was always the smartest and wisest person in the movie. If I said Asian people perform better on math tests, Would I be accused of racism? I love Charlie Chan movies. My favorite is 'Castle in the Desert'. Those movies are great entertainment. It's too bad most people can't see them for that.

Fran Hinkel - 03:38am Aug 22, 2005 PST(#172 of 178)
You can check out anytime you like...but you can never leave!

Frivilous thought: I wonder what they think of the forensics series featuring Dr. Henry Lee. After all these years in this country, Dr. Lee still does not speak English very well. Or is that okay because it is real?

I really have to wonder what the truth is from the majority of Chinese people. Do they really find Charlie Chan offensive? I agree with the comments here that Chan was portrayed as a wise man who was much admired for his abilities. Long live Charlie Chan!!!

Ron Germano - 04:12pm May 5, 2007 PST(#173 of 178)

What many people forget is this is history. You can't change what happened 60-70 years ago.We should all just relax & enjoy a piece of film history.At least there's no swearing,constant sex & blood & guts all over the screen!

Leonard Freeman - 01:09pm Dec 27, 2007 PST(#174 of 178)

Ross Martin's Return of Charlie Chan DID "make the cut" - - I saw it in a movie theater in Sparks, California (of all places) while driving across country.

Fran Hinkel - 01:34am Aug 17, 2008 PST(#175 of 178)
You can check out anytime you like...but you can never leave!

I'm still a diehard fan of the old black and white, Warner Oland stories.

Freddie Mesquit - 05:10am Nov 2, 2009 PST(#176 of 178)

To Peggy Wright,

The chauffer's name, in case you haven't learned yet, was Birmingham. Also, I just wondered if anyone out there collects the books? I have all of them (with dust jackets) including two different covers with dust jackets for "House Without A Key" which was the first Charlie Chan mystery.

chjade - 10:19am May 12, 2012 PST(#177 of 178)

havenot seen a detective who could be as humble as my entire life detective readings...

Bill Dunning - 03:34pm Feb 10, 2013 PST(#178 of 178)

I have just purchased a DVD set of 36 BW films (Oland, Toler, Winters) from the site iOffer. Their price is $23 for the set. No notes, nice square (CD-size rather than DVD tall) box. The set includes "Eran Trece," the Spanish version of "CC Caries On," the one that Oland never finished because of illness and finally, death. Missing (besides all the lost films, of course) are "Secret Service," "Chinese Cat," "Black Magic," "Scarlet Clue," "Jade Mask" as well as two Spanish indies, "Serpiente Roja" and "Monstruo en la Sombra." Also not there, of course, the five (or more?) Chinese-made CC films. Nobody seems to have those. "Return of CC" and "Curse of the Dragon Queen," the two modern color full-length pieces (ca. 90' each) are of course not there, either. And finally, what about that 19' short made a couple of years ago, "CC in Transylvania" by amateur Brian Nichols?

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