Charlie Chan

Charlie Chan is a fictional Honolulu police detective created by author Earl Derr Biggers for a series of mystery novels. Biggers loosely based Chan on Hawaiian detective Chang Apana. The benevolent and heroic Chan was conceived as an alternative to Yellow Peril stereotypes and villains like Fu Manchu. Many stories feature Chan traveling the world beyond Hawaii as he investigates mysteries and solves crimes.

Charlie Chan
Warner Oland as Charlie Chan
First appearanceThe House Without a Key
Last appearanceKeeper of the Keys
Created byEarl Derr Biggers
Portrayed by
Voiced byKeye Luke
In-universe information

Chan first appeared in Biggers' novels and then was featured in a number of media. Over four dozen films featuring Charlie Chan were made, beginning in 1926. The character, featured only as a supporting character, was first portrayed by East Asian actors, and the films met with little success. In 1931, for the first film centering on Chan, Charlie Chan Carries On, the Fox Film Corporation cast Swedish actor Warner Oland; the film became popular, and Fox went on to produce 15 more Chan films with Oland in the title role. After Oland's death, American actor Sidney Toler was cast as Chan; Toler made 22 Chan films, first for Fox and then for Monogram Studios. After Toler's death, six films were made, starring Roland Winters.

Readers and moviegoers of America greeted Chan warmly. Chan was seen as an attractive character, portrayed as intelligent, heroic, benevolent, and honorable; this contrasted the common depiction of Asians as evil or conniving which dominated Hollywood and national media in the early 20th century. However, in later decades critics increasingly took a more ambivalent view of the character. Despite his good qualities, Chan was also perceived as reinforcing condescending Asian stereotypes such as an alleged incapacity to speak idiomatic English and a tradition-bound and subservient nature. No Charlie Chan film has been produced since 1981.

The character has also been featured in several radio programs, two television shows, and comics.

Share this article:

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Charlie Chan, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.