Return to Website

The Charlie Chan Family Message Board

Welcome to our Message Board. Please feel free to post your thoughts, questions, or information.

The Charlie Chan Family Message Board
Start a New Topic 
OUR CCF MONDAY EVENING CHAT AND FILM VIEWING FOR March 23: “Charlie Chan at the Race Track”

FROM CHARLIE CHAN: “Sometime jewel found in ashes.”

GREETINGS! Time to dress upscale and join “Charlie Chan at the Opera”! After the completion of Charlie Chan’s Race Track Case, father and son, while still in Los Angeles preparing to depart for home, are caught up in an investigation of murder at the opera! Can Chan and Son find the identity of the killer? Is the murderer a madman who lurks in the darkness behind the scenes?

OUR CHAT ROOM: Our Chat Room can be accessed the same way that we accessed by going to our “Chat Room” link at, or use this direct link:

THIS WEEK’S PRESENTATIONS: “Charlie Chan at the Opera” (1936; 68 minutes) along with our “extra,” the 12th episode of “The Green Hornet“: “Panic in the Zoo” (21 minutes).

“Charlie Chan at the Opera” CAST:

Warner Oland: Charlie Chan
Boris Karloff: Gravelle
Keye Luke: Lee Chan
Charlotte Henry: Mademoiselle Kitty (also known as Kitty Gravelle)
Thomas Beck: Phil Childers
Margaret Irving: Madame Lilli Rochelle
Gregory Gaye: Enrico Barelli
Nedda Harrigan: Madame Anita Barelli
Frank Conroy: Mr. Whitley
Guy Usher: Inspector Regan
William Demarest: Sergeant Kelly
Maurice Cass: Mr. Arnold
Tom McGuire: Morris
Hilda Vaughn: Agnes (not credited)
Fred A. Kelsey: Dugan (not credited)
Selmer Jackson: Hudson, Los Angeles Bulletin Wire Photo Technician (not credited)
Emmett Vogan: Smitty, Chicago Sun Wire Photo Technician (not credited)
John Bleifer: Orderly (not credited)
Lee Shumway: Sanitarium Guard (not credited)
Stanley Blystone: Police Officer with Rifle (not credited)
Benson Fong: Opera Extra Soldier (not credited)
Sam Tong: Opera Extra Soldier (not credited)
Gladden, James: Secretary (not credited)
Joan Woodbury: Opera Dancer (not credited)
Tudor Williams: Boris Karloff's operatic singing voice (not credited)
Harrison Greene (not credited)

FEATURE SUMMARY: Gravelle, a former baritone believed dead after an opera house fire seven years before, has been confined in a mental institution, suffering from amnesia. His memory, rekindled when sees a news story about his former wife's current appearance in an opera in Los Angeles, escapes and seeks revenge for the failed attempt on his life years earlier. When those involved in the crime are found stabbed to death, Charlie Chan and son Lee try to find out if the fugitive Gravelle is the one responsible.

FEATURE NOTES: The film's title card reads: "Twentieth Century-Fox presents Warner Oland vs. Boris Karloff in Charlie Chan at the Opera." Although contemporary reviews call Margaret Irving's character "Lucretia Barelli," she is called "Anita Barelli" in the film. A ‘Motion Picture Daily’ news item noted that the picture was banned in Germany for having "too many murders." The ‘Hollywood Reporter’ noted that public response to the film's preview was so positive that Twentieth Century-Fox planned to up the production and advertising budgets for the Charlie Chan series, and that future films would see "Warner Oland co-starred with a top name opposite." The first star the studio was said to be approaching to star with Oland was Peter Lorre. According to another ‘Hollywood Reporter’ news item, this film marked the first time that a DeBrie camera, which was lighter and quieter than other models, was used in the United States. According to modern sources, director H. Bruce Humberstone borrowed some of the sets from “Café Metropole” for this film. Oscar Levant, in his autobiographical writings, states that he was assigned to write an operatic sequence that would take advantage of a Mephistophelian costume that had been created for Lawrence Tibbett in a previous Twentieth Century-Fox film (presumably “Under Your Spell”). Levant also relates that the words for the opera were written originally in English by William Kernell and then translated into Italian by "studio linguists." Benson Fong, who later portrayed Number Three Son, Tommy Chan, briefly appeared unbilled in this film as one of the opera extras (the third "soldier" from the left as they are first seen lined up).

TRIVIA: Baritone Tudor Williams provided Boris Karloff's operatic singing voice.

LOCATION: Our Charlie Chan Family Chat Room, which is accessed at

IF YOU LACK A COPY OF OUR FILM: Often our features can be found online. Fortunately, OUR FEATURE IS AVAILABLE ONLINE, so please use the link provided at our Chat Room.

OUR MONTHLY POLL: Please take a moment to cast your vote in our MARCH 2020 POLL, found as you scroll down our Entrance Page (! This month’s question relates to “Charlie Chan‘s off-year.” Please be sure to cast YOUR vote!


How are you like Charlie Chan at times?

I say "Thank you so much." 10%

I use occasional aphoristic statements. 10%

I use Chan-like courtesy at times 30%

From time to time, I do all of the above. 50%

DO YOU HAVE A POLL QUESTION? Please feel free to suggest a Monthly Poll question! Send your ideas to:

OUR CCF CHAT ARCHIVE: Please take a look at our growing collection of CCF Chat Texts from previous years and this year:

NEXT WEEK: Please join us on Monday, March 30, for a shared viewing of “Charlie Chan at the Olympics”!

AND… DON’T MISS THIS GREAT CHARLIE CHAN BLOG!: Continuing strongly in 2020, great blog site, The Postman on Holiday, offered by our own Charlie Chan and Earl Derr Biggers expert, Lou Armagno which is: "A place to explore all things surrounding Detective Charlie Chan, his creator Earl Derr Biggers, and their connection with Hawaii, Cleveland, and mystery fiction." It can be found at this address:

THE CHARLIE CHAN FAMILY NEWSLETTER FOR THE YEAR 2019 IS NOW AVAILABLE! HonoluLou has edited and produced this year's recap of the past year, 2019, for all things Charlie Chan. This tour de force issue can be accessed at: ENJOY!

SO, PLEASE JOIN US for this week’s Monday Evening Chat and Film Viewing as we share “Charlie Chan at the Opera.”



Rush Glick