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After Warner Oland passed away, I understand Sidney Toler was the 35th actor to be considered (and selected) to follow-on as Chan. Who were the other 34? I see many articles naming a few of them, but never the entire list.
I read somewhere that Edward G. Robinson was one, is that correct? And I mistakenly thought Leo G. Carroll, but it was actually Leo Carrillo. Still, has anyone ever come across the complete list of screen tested actors? Thank you so much.
Great question, Lou! No, I also have only come across probably the same handful of names that you did. It would be a very interesting search possibility to come up with at least a more complete list of "The 35." I would guess that somewhere there exists a record of who auditioned for the role of Charlie Chan in 1938.
Again, a very interesting question!
Good question. What does it mean to be "considered"? Was it a list or just name dropping to the press? Did they really ask the actors or ... screen tested them with makeup?
Is it possible to ask Fox for archive requests? PR?
Theres an awful lot of questions to ask them ;-)
M.H. good point, "How many actually were screen-tested?" I also wondered about something else; would we find the name "Rush Glick" on that list! :kissing_smiling_eyes:
I have been "tested" many times, but never for the screen! Sometimes I think it would have been interesting to have been "of age" in 1938, but I would not be available presently were that true!
From 'The Baltimore Sun,' October 18, 1938: "Toler was the thirty-fifth player tested for the part, among them a majority of the prominent character actors of Hollywood." According to Howard Berlin ("The Charlie Chan Film Encyclopedia"), "When Warner Oland died on August 6, 1938, the call went out for actors to be screen-tested for the new Charlie Chan. Both Noah Beery and Leo Carrillo had been tested and even J. Edward Blomberg had been considered as a replacement when Oland was ill, but associate producer John Stone chose Toler on October 18, 1938, after seeing him play Dr. Chang Ling in the Paramount film 'King of Chinatown' (1938)."
How many were actually SCREEN-tested? Probably not all 35. I would imagine that all started off by reading a script in character. From there the "chaff" were quickly eliminated. The studio was obviously scrambling to find a replacement for Oland, to the selection process was probably pretty streamlined.
A larger question...
Is there any way to learn more about how the movie business worked in general in the "Chan Era?" (1932-42)
We both love finding "Chan actors" in other films of the era and have often wondered (and marveled) at how many projects must have been going on at once. What was "a day in the life of", say, Harold Huber or Kay Linnaker--going to the studio and working on several movies in the same time span.
Also: We're VERY curious about how music was done for the "B" films. Obviously the main features had "custom" scores done by major composers (Waxman, Korngold, Steiner, Rosza, etc.). But the music for the B films gets recycled between films a lot. Who composed it? And who picked what music went with which scenes?
Anyway, all of these questions come down to: "How did the business work?" Hopefully some of our "filmographers" in the Chan Clan can point two interested novices at some sources?
M&R, regarding the musical part of your inquiry....
“I want that you must come to the cosmopolitan club in one
half hour. Inspector Duff will of course accompany you. You
must then display unaccustomed patience and wait like man of
stone. Exactly how long I can not predict now. But in due time
I will point out the killer of Sir Frederic—and I will produce
proof of what I say.”
(Charlie Chan, Behind That Curtain, 1928)
Actually I can produce "how long" you must wait (till August 1st.) Although I won't produce a killer I will answer your question on the composers. Watch for my August 1st, 2020 blog at ThePostmanOnHoliday.com as we celebrate Earl Derr Biggers' 136th birthday!
Thank you so much,
Your questions are really interesting, and hopefully, someone might add their knowledge to what we say here!
Regarding the music that is used in the Monogram films, I believe that the only one that used unique, original music was "Charlie Chan in the Secret Service. The Musical Director was Karl Hajos. Everyone will agree, I am sure, that the music heard was truly unusual in its "booming" nature!
When I spoke some years ago with Noel Neill (or it may have been Elena Verdugo!), who was in "The Sky Dragon," she told me that the actors who appeared in several films made at about the same time would just come in to work the scene or scenes that they were to appear in, and that was that. They didn't hang around while other scenes were shot. That is how we can see them in all the other movies from the same time period.
Take care, and thank you...!
Rush, you spoke with Noel Neill? Man, haven't you learned, "You don't step on Superman's cape!" :movie_camera:
...or his "skirt"?