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"The House Without a Key," "The Chinese Parrot," "Charlie Chan's Chance," "Charlie Chan's Courage," and "Charlie Chan's Greatest Case" are all lost forever, as far as we know.
Call me an optimist, but I prefer to say "temporarily misplaced".
Even at this late date, films that disappeared decades ago have reappeared. Just within the last few months, a Valentino film and a foreign language Laurel and Hardy film have both been found and both in good shape!
The Chan films you mention face long odds though. The original negatives are believed to have been destroyed in a fire at the Fox vaults. If the fire occured back in the 30s (as some contend) then it is unlikely that 16mm copies of these were ever produced for TV airings.
Have there been any accounts of anyone who can verify that that they actually saw any of the 4 lost films either on TV or some movie theatre in the 1950s or 1960s?
I have heard of a few persons who claim to have watched at least one of these movies on TV in the early days of that medium. However, the only reliable way to determine if any of the four "lost" charlie chan films were ever shown on television would be through painstaking research of old channel listings in newspapers and 'TV Guide' magazine. To my knowledge, no one has approached this daunting task.
By the way, Gene, are you the one (your name rings a bell) who mentioned, sometime back, the showing of "Charlie Chan at the Race Track" at an El Segundo, CA theater the weekend of September 25? I plan to be there for a showing or two...