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FROM CHARLIE CHAN: “When searching for needle in haystack, haystack only sensible location.”
GREETINGS… It’s Monday, again, and that means another adventure for us to share with Charlie Chan! This week we travel to “The Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno, Nevada as the detective works to save a friend who seems to have been wrongly accused of murder. But, between Chan’s departure from Honolulu until the end of this case, MUCH takes place, as father and son, Jimmy, seek the identity of the killer of the greatly disliked Mrs. Russell.
OUR CHAT ROOM: Our Chat Room can be accessed the same way that we accessed by going to our “Chat Room” link at charliechan.info, or use this direct link: http://www.charliechan.info/id17.html
THIS WEEK’S PRESENTATIONS: “Charlie Chan in Reno” (1939; 70 minutes) along with our “extra,” the FOURTH episode of “Lost City of the Jungle” with Keye Luke! (1946; 10 minutes [Begin viewing at the 0:00 mark, finishing at the 9:55 mark!]).
“Charlie Chan in Reno” CAST:
Sidney Toler: Charlie Chan
Ricardo Cortez: Dr. Ainsley
Phyllis Brooks: Vivian Wells
Slim Summerville: Sheriff ["Tombstone"] Fletcher
Kane Richmond: Curtis Whitman
Sen Yung: James [Jimmy] Chan
Pauline Moore: Mary Whitman [Mrs. Curtis Whitman]
Eddie Collins: Cab Driver
Kay Linaker: Mrs. Russell
Louise Henry: Jeanne Bentley
Robert Lowrey: Wally Burke
Charles D. Brown: Chief of Police King
Iris Wong: Choy Wong
Morgan Conway: George Bentley
Hamilton MacFadden: Night Clerk
UNCREDITED CAST (alphabetical):
Jimmy Aubrey: Wisecracker in Lineup
Brooks Benedict: Man in Line-up
Stanley Blystone: Lineup Officer [Mack]
Heinie Conklin: Police Officer
Alphonso DuBois: Waiter
Jerry Frank: Bar Patron
Chuck Hamilton: Police Officer
Harry Hayden: Chemistry Professor
Dick Hogan: College Student [Jack]
Fred Kelsey: Reno Police Desk Sergeant
Al Kikume: Honolulu Police Officer
Barbara McLain: College Student
Frank McLure: Gambler
Hank Mann: "Injured" Con Man/Casino Extra
Jack Perry: Rough Drunk ["Mr. Jones"]
Arthur Rankin: Bellhop
Fred Rapport: Man in Lineup
Virginia Sale: Maid
Robert Shaw: College Student
Allen D. Sewell: Lineup Spectator
Ed Stanley: Police Chemist
Blue Washington: Man in Lineup
FEATURE SUMMARY: Mary Whitman has gone to Reno seeking a divorce from her husband, Curtis. While there, she is arrested on suspicion of murdering a fellow guest at her hotel, an establishment that specializes in accommodating individuals who are awaiting finalized divorces. There are many others at the hotel who harbor strong feelings against the victim. At the request of Mary's estranged husband who is a friend of Charlie Chan, the detective travels from his home in Honolulu to solve the murder.
FEATURE NOTES: The working title of this picture was “Death Makes a Decree,” as it was based on the story of the same name by Philip Wylie. According to materials contained at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Paul Perez wrote a version of the screenplay in December 1938, but his name does not appear in the final credits. In the Call Bureau Cast Service lists, Sheriff Fletcher's name was originally Foster. Mrs. Russell was named Alice Williamson, and Choy Wong was named Sung Li. According to reviews in ‘Hollywood Reporter’ and ‘Motion Picture Herald,’ at the time that this picture was produced, this was the most expensive production in the Chan series.
TRIVIA: "Reno by 1910 was known as the divorce capital," William D. Rowley, a history professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, said. "A divorce capital with a residency requirement willing to be shortened to beat out the competition and bring in the famous divorces Reno has become known for."
"From the civil war on, divorce law in the nation started to tighten up. I suppose in reaction to a greater demand to protect Victorian values," Rowley said.
However, the divorce law in Nevada did not change from the law in existence during territorial time until after New York lawyers discovered Nevada quickie divorce in 1898.
In 1913 the progressive movement and morality reform managed to persuade state representatives to change what had been a six-month residency requirement to a one-year requirement. This put Nevada's quickie divorce at the year-long process many other states were at.
The year requirement did not last long with lobbying from business owners and representatives pushing for the residency requirement to be back at six months. In 1915 Nevada's business owners got their wish. The income brought into Nevada through the divorce business caused a push in 1927 for the Nevada residency to be lowered to three months, and in 1931 the requirement went down to six weeks.
THIS WEEK’S TERM: liquid smoke - Smoke created for effect as in the making of films. A chemical called titanium tetrachloride is often used to produce smoke in movies.
Charlie Chan: "Merely experiment with liquid smoke."
LOCATION: Our Charlie Chan Family Chat Room, which is accessed at http://www.charliechan.info/id17.html.
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 MAY 2020 POLL, found as you scroll down our Entrance Page (http://www.charliechan.info/index.html)!
OUR APRIL POLL RESULT:
QUESTION: Which of these two Charlie Chan films better exemplifies the current coronavirus threat that we are now experiencing in our time?
The threat of the bubonic-infected rats in Dr. Grosser's laboratory (Charlie Chan in Panama) 79%
The threat of an enemy poison gas attack on Paris (Charlie Chan in City in Darkness) 21%
DO YOU HAVE A POLL QUESTION? Please feel free to suggest a Monthly Poll question! Send your ideas to: email@example.com.
OUR CCF CHAT ARCHIVE: Please take a look at our growing collection of CCF Chat Texts from previous years and this year: http://www.charliechan.info/id630.html
NEXT WEEK: Please join us on Monday, May 11, for a shared viewing of “Charlie Chan at Treasure Island.”
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." Updated each month, it can be found at this address: https://thepostmanonholiday.com/
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: https://thepostmanonholidayhome.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/2019-newsletter-master1-dec-28.pdf ENJOY!
SO, PLEASE JOIN US for this week’s Monday Evening Chat and Film Viewing as we join “Charlie Chan in Reno.”
THANK YOU SO MUCH…
For me "Charlie Chan in Reno" is one of the best. Good speed, lot of fun.
The taxi driver is an early Birmingham Brown. The ghost town scenes with the Sheriff are great comedy.
Michael H, I have to agree...one of the best. It seems Charlie does more than usual "analytical detecting", actually gets into a fight (that only happened once that I recall in the novels), and he takes part in a lot more humor than usual.
The scene where he blows out the candle, is a favorite "portrait" shot of mine to feature Sydney Toler as Chan! There's another where he blows out a candle, but I can't remember which film? It's the one with the two twins who are scientists, and one gets killed in a cellar like room. Nice post.
Yes, thats a good scene with Toler.
And the fight happend close to Reno in "Keeper of the Keys". Surprising moment.
Twins and cellar reminds me of Chinese Cat. But I can't remember a candle.
Yes, you are correct about an extinguished candle seen in "The Chinese Cat." It was not blown out, but symbolically snuffed by the killer!
Thank you for the reminder of this one! There was another instance of Charlie Chan himself putting out a candle, and that happens in "Charlie Chan in Paris" near the climax of the film as the killer approaches and is about to enter the secret room in the Paris sewer.