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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.

For lots more about Charlie Chan, visit Mystery Net's Charlie Chan website.

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Charlie Chan

Medea - 08:27pm Jul 1, 1998 PST(#1 of 178)

Hi, Barbara! My dad used to collect old radio transcriptions and I remember listening to the Charlie Chan radio program you recalled. It ran, I believe, all during the '30s and '40s and starred Ed Begley Sr in the title role. I can't be sure,but I think Chan was also played by the veteran radio actor Santos Ortega and by Walter Connelly, who played several Oriental roles on film. I know that a number of the shows are still available on cassette.

Mark Troy - 10:44am Jul 14, 1998 PST(#2 of 178)

Biggers not only modeled Chan on a real detective, the first setting, The House Without A Key, was a real place, one of a cluster of beach houses on Waikiki Beach. The beach houses eventually became the Halekulani Hotel, one of the premiere hotels in Honolulu. The Halekulani looks nothing like the original beach house, but through all the renovations, the oldeat part of the hotel was retained and is called The House Without A Key. If you're in Honolulu, you visit it, have a drink, watch the sunset, and think about Charlie Chan.

Anthony John - 06:06pm Jul 16, 1998 PST(#3 of 178)

Greetings suspects

I remember first getting into CHAN way back in 1968 while at college, Villanova, PA

Since then I have been able to videotape every film since IN LONDON through SKY DRAGON

I strongly reommend that people first view a > >TOLER film like PANAMA or WAX MUSEUM, then an OLAND film like EGYPT or BROADWAY......

then compare the two actors' styles, etc.

I have also catalogued each film with starring and supporting casts....just a hobby

Your response like the wind... refreshing!

Anthony John

Paul Bergin - 07:03pm Jul 16, 1998 PST(#4 of 178)

I'm kind of a fair-weather Charlie fan, so probably shouldn't even contribute to this discussion, but what the hell. Sidney Toler was, for me, Chan. Warner Oland was OK, but not really up to snuff. I always liked Mr. Moto better, anyway. Just as Hollywood-phoney as the Chan flicks (there were NO Asian actors who could've done either role?), but the humor in the Moto flicks seemed a little subtler. Not much, but a little.

Bob Hemple - 07:37am Jul 20, 1998 PST(#5 of 178)

I don't know the answer to this so this is not a trivia quiz.

In which movie did Charlie Chan show some students, with a fountain pen and a desk blotter, how blood splattered? It was exactly as the forensic expert did in the O.J. trial only about 60 years before.

David Katzoff - 10:43am Jul 20, 1998 PST(#6 of 178)

In response to Bob's question, it was in the very beggining of the movie Charlie Chan at the Racetrack that Charlie showed with a fountain pen how blood splatters.

Mark J Tilford - 07:58pm Jul 20, 1998 PST(#7 of 178)
A Freak among freaks

I haven't seen any of the movies, but I've read the first five novels. _The Black Camel_ is my favorite, because I loved Tarneverro.

Even so, I feel that they could be put together better.


Jimmy Wallis - 03:03pm Jul 22, 1998 PST(#8 of 178)

I'm looking for more Chan videos. I have the Laser Disc collection (The same ones as offered here on video) Also have all of the Key Videos that are currently offered by Columbia House.

I remembered Chan from my childhood, and am happy to share him with my twelve year old daughter. She really loves "Birmingham" and all of the messes he and the "sons" get into. Great to have movies without excessive ANYTHING except fun!

Judy Anne Coon - 10:57pm Jul 23, 1998 PST(#9 of 178)

Saturday afternoons , A Charlie Chan movie on the t.v. and popcorn, nothing better than that, but that was the old days , now all you get is sports or cartoons, what a waste.(sorry if I offended anyone? sports are ok, but give me a good old fashion mystery movie anytime.)

Karen Hanson - 08:17pm Jul 26, 1998 PST(#10 of 178)

Double amen...and, excuse me, could you pass that popcorn over here?

David Smith - 01:56pm Jul 28, 1998 PST(#11 of 178)

It's great to find this site after years of telling the family about the Charlie Chan movies I used to enjoy on TV as a kid back in the fifties. I'v watched for them on the "old movies" channels, but never caught any if they're there. Nice to know I'm not alone in my fond memories of them, and to find they're still available on video. Thanks.

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 [F] Mystery Net Community  / Mystery Greats  / Charlie Chan

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