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FROM CHARLIE CHAN: “Ancient ancestor once say, ‘As mind is fed with silent thought, so should body absorb its food.’"

GREETINGS… and here we are at another Monday! I don’t know about you, but each Monday seems to arrive sooner each week! So, we have now reached the Sidney Toler era in the Charlie Chan film series. “Charlie Chan in Honolulu” was originally planned for Warner Oland’s return to the role with Keye Luke continuing on as Number One Son, Lee. However, as a sad chapter in Chan history, Warner Oland passed away in his native Sweden during his recuperative European tour. For the record, as he died as a result of bronchial pneumonia, it was very probably Oland’s excessive cigarette habit that ultimately caused his passing on August 6, 1938. Oland’s death forced 20th Century-Fox to search for another actor to portray Charlie Chan and, ultimately, to choose another to play an assisting son.

The result, was the film we know today, “Charlie Chan in Honolulu.” In this adventure Sidney Toler, as Charlie Chan, and Victor Sen Yung as number Two son, Jimmy, search a docked passenger freighter for a killer who lurks among a bevy of unusual suspects!

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 in Honolulu” (1939; 68 minutes) along with our “extra,” the FOURTH episode of “Lost City of the Jungle” with Keye Luke! (1946; 17 minutes [Begin viewing at the 54:00 mark!]).

“Charlie Chan in Honolulu” CAST:

Sidney Toler: Charlie Chan
Phyllis Brooks: Judy Hayes
Sen Yung: James [Jimmy] Chan
Eddie Collins: Al Hogan
John King: [Chief Officer George] Randolph
Claire Dodd: Mrs. Carol Wayne (alias Mrs. Elsie Hillman)
George Zucco: Dr. Cardigan
Robert Barrat: Captain Johnson
Marc Lawrence: Johnny ["Mac"] McCoy
Richard Lane: Joe Arnold
Layne Tom, Jr.: Tommy Chan
Philip Ahn: Wing Foo
Paul Harvey: [Chief] Inspector Rawlins

UNCREDITED CAST (alphabetical):

Richard Alexander: Tough Sailor with Cigar

David Dong: Chan Son

Frank Dong: Chan Son

James Flavin: Desk Officer

Grace Hayle: Stout Woman

Allan Hoo: Chan Son

Grace Key: Mrs. Chan

Al Kikume: Police Officer

Faye Lee: Number Four Chan Daughter

Margie Lee: Number Five Chan Daughter

Arthur Loft: Peabody

Shirley Louie: Telephone Operator

James Pierce: Police Officer

Constantine Romanoff: Stanislav Usepopokovski

James Spencer: Hawaiian Peddler

Florence Ung: Ling

Blue Washington: Seaman

Billy Wayne: Seaman

Iris Wong: Number Two Chan Daughter

Barbara Jean Wong: Number Three Chan Daughter

Sinclair Yip: Older Chan Son

FEATURE SUMMARY: A murder is committed on the passenger freighter Susan B Jennings, as it reaches Honolulu. After a circuitous route to the docked ship, Charlie Chan learns that the murdered man's identity is a mystery and that secretary Judy Hayes is the only eyewitness to the fatal shooting. The rest of the freighter's passengers include animal keeper Al Hogan, Mrs. Carol Wayne, psychiatrist Dr. Cardigan, criminal Johnny McCoy, and police detective Joe Arnold, who is taking McCoy back to the U.S. from Shanghai. Another person is murdered and $300,000 has gone missing.

FEATURE NOTES: This film was the first in which Sidney Toler appeared as Charlie Chan. According to a ‘Hollywood Reporter’ news item, associate producer John Stone had chosen Toler to be the successor to Warner Oland, who had played Chan from 1931 until his death in 1938, after seeing him play a Chinese character in the Paramount film “King of Chinatown.” Toler was the thirty-fifth actor tested for the role, with ‘Hollywood Reporter’ noting that others considered for the role included Leo Carrillo, Cy Kendall, and J. Edward Blomberg who appeared in “Charlie Chan on Broadway” (1937). Toler continued to play Chan until his death in 1947. This was also the first film in which Sen Yung played Jimmy Chan. Yung had replaced Keye Luke, who had portrayed Lee Chan in earlier entries in the series. Luke left the series after Oland's death, when he and Twentieth Century-Fox disagreed on his new contract. According to ‘Hollywood Reporter’ news items, the search for Luke's replacement was "frantic," and led to casting director James Ryan seeking applicants among the Los Angeles university students and Chinatown residents. The ‘New York Times’ had speculated that “Charlie Chan in Honolulu” would cost $300,000 to produce, and that Toler would receive $15,000 per Chan film. Many reviewers applauded Toler's and Yung's performances and noted that followers of the series would be satisfied with the new actors. The ‘Motion Picture Herald’ review remarked on the novelty of a Chan film being previewed at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, and stated that the December 16, 1938 showing was very well received by the "top-ranking executives, the most sought after reviewers and commentators and invited guests" who attended. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, Richard Lane was originally signed to play the "romantic lead" opposite Phyllis Brooks. A tribute to Warner Oland appears in the film Mr. Moto's Last Warning, starring Peter Lorre. During that picture's production in August 1938, cast and crew learned of Oland's passing in his native Sweden while on the final leg of a tour of Europe. Oland was set to resume his role as Charlie Chan upon his return in a film that was to have been “Charlie Chan in Honolulu.”

TRIVIA: A tribute to Warner Oland appears in “Mr. Moto's Last Warning” (1939), the next film in the Moto series. During the movie's production in August 1938, cast and crew learned of Oland's passing in his native Sweden (five months after the completion and release of "Mr. Moto's Gamble"). Over the title "Charlie Chan in Honolulu" (the next Charlie Chan film which was originally planned to star Warner Oland), on the bill of the Sultana Theatre of Variety, they placed the banner "Last Day."

THIS WEEK’S TERM: stir bug - (Slang) A prisoner.

Joe Arnold: "Wait'll I get my hands on that stir bug!"

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: Which of these two Charlie Chan films better exemplifies the current coronavirus threat that we are now experiencing in our time?


QUESTION: As, by all indications, the conclusion of Charlie Chan's case in “Charlie Chan in Egypt” occurred in late April 1934, and his next adventure, as seen in “Charlie Chan in Shanghai,” is documented as commencing on May 7, 1935, which explanation would you choose to best explain "Charlie Chan's off-year"?

Charlie Chan was engaged in "run of the mill" cases in Honolulu 13%

Charlie Chan was taking a break from his work to be at home with Mrs. Chan, his family, and to be there for the impending birth of the Chans' next daughter (first seen in Charlie Chan at the Circus) 34%

Charlie Chan was engaged in heretofore "undocumented" cases 13%

Two or more of the above 40%

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, May 4, for a shared viewing of “Charlie Chan in Reno.”

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 REMAINS 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 join “Charlie Chan in Honolulu.”



Rush Glick