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As a new mystery unfolds in our Charlie Chan Sunday Comics, can you note what is historically interesting based on the dialogue...or perhaps the LACK thereof?
Hmmmm, gotta think on this one for awhile. This is from May 1941, so we weren't "officially" entered in the war (that happened after Pearl Harbor in December of that year.) The enemies would have been Germany, Japan and Italy if I'm not mistaken and China and Japan were already at war with each other. I have a smidgen of an idea, but not sure. Gonna wait for the wisdom of others...if that is OK with you Monsieur Glick.
Yes, you pretty much got it. So, first, Chan was in Europe "three years ago," which would be 1938. Was Andriola thinking of "Charlie Chan in City in Darkness" which was "hinting" at the prospect of war with Germany? But, also, as you mentioned, China was at war with Japan at this time, and lots of terrible things were happening in Charlie Chan's homeland. I would think that this would be foremost in his mind! There would certainly be some extended family members affected. At the time this comic was published, American pilots of the famous Flying Tigers were preparing to help the Chinese take on the Japanese, officially seeing action about a week after Pearl Harbor was attacked. I feel that the comic reflects that the majority of Americans were not that interested in what japan was doing in China, and this was reflected in Charlie Chan noting "the war in Europe" and not what was happening in China.
Touche, mon ami! Also, at the time, the major language in Switzerland would have been Swiss German (even though French was spoken) and the official written language was (is) German. I thought it interesting that Alfred made the waiter a Frenchman using "French" vs "Swiss German" or "German" language, denoting a subliminal nose-snub to the Germans and their language. Great point of order, Rush!
AH! I didn't consider the French vs. German aspect! Interesting. See? The Chan comics can be DEEP!
By the way ...
In Switzerland back in those days the Charlie Chan movies were shown in french as well as in german and italian.
Lots of Oland and Toler Chans circulated two or three times during the 1930s and 40s.
Obviously a lack of new material. But still popular.
Were the movies re-shown in US cinemas?
Charlie Chan in the opera again in 1942? Treasure Island in 47?
Or was there only one occassion to see them?
Yes, I believe that there were instances of Charlie Chan movies being shown several years after their first runs. Probably this was not too widespread, though. It would be interesting to research this through vintage newspaper movie ads!
Your point about the Chan movies being translated into three languages for showings in Switzerland would mean that there were at least three versions of each movie. This would offer a logical place to consider the existence of one of the four presently "lost" Charlie Chan movies, perhaps.
Thank you for serving us some food for thought!