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Charlie Chan's "Off Year" Theory


We hope everyone is staying well! Having just taken the March poll, we would like to share our story about Charlie's activities between May 1934 and May 1935.


In 1934 the US was in the depths of the Great Depression. The federal government, beset by a rise in criminal activity, was working to establish an investigative body from the fledgling "United States Bureau of Investigation," originally formed to investigate white slave trafficking.

The USBI assigned a young agent, Melvin Purvis, to bring the desperate criminal John Dillinger to justice. But alas, Purvis wasn't up to the job. Having tracked Dillinger to the Little Bohemia lodge in April 1934, Purvis and his squad opened fire on "the wrong men," allowing Dillinger and his gang to escape.

This was too much for newly-elected President Roosevelt. He called in the one man who he knew to be capable of handling this dire situation: Detective Inspector Charlie Chan.

After the Little Bohemia debacle, Dillinger had dropped out of sight, but by July Chan had run him to ground. Operating behind the scenes, he collected information that allowed Purvis and other agents to corner and kill Dillinger on July 22, 1934.

FDR was, of course, delighted at this outcome and asked Chan to lead the effort to re-organize the USBI. In early 1935, following the recommendation of Charlie Chan and his working group, this organization became an independent branch of the Justice Department and was renamed the "Federal Bureau of Investigation."

After this lengthy absence from his family, Charlie yearned to return home, but his country called him to duty once again. A large opium smuggling ring, based in Shanghai, China was taking a terrible toll of Asian immigrants in the US. Charlie could not refuse this final request from President Roosevelt. He headed to Shanghai.

The rest, as they say, is "history."


With all good wishes for health and happiness,

Mike n Rachel in DC

Re: Charlie Chan's "Off Year" Theory

M&R, that's a great start for the "next" Charlie Chan film! Good stuff. Lou

Re: Charlie Chan's "Off Year" Theory

Dear Mike and Rachel,

GREAT work! I agree with Lou that this would be a fine basis for a Chan adventure! Perhaps a group-produced script project? Hmmmm...