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Last night, our Weekly Chat featured "Black Magic" (also known as: "Meeting at Midnight." In this film we meet Charlie Chan's daughter, Frances, played by Frances Chan! She could be presumed to be the Chan's Number Three Daughter as Frances Chan also appeared in "Charlie Chan's Greatest Case," and through the image of the gathered family (below) we can see the then-eight-year-old Frances as the apparent third-oldest of four depicted daughters as she stands next to her Pop. At this time in Chan family history, Mr. and Mrs. Chan had 12 children, of which 10 are pictured, and the two not seen could safely be presumed to have been in bed asleep as the Chan family gathered very early that morning to see their famous Pop called away to a murder case!
Here is some interesting information that Frances Chan's son posted on the Internet (including typos, etc.):
"My mother Frances Chan, a.k.a. Frances C. Eng is now passed away. She and my father owned the Sunset Pacific Motel for 40 years which is only a mile away from the studios where she filmed "Meeting at Midnight" back in 1943 at age 18. She was 79 years old when she fell down the stairs and passed away in 2004.
She never saw the moving "Meeting at Midnight" until age 70 when I saw it on TV and called her on the phone. Until then it was on some shelf at some studio archives. Her pay at the time was only $800.00.
"Frances Chan's career ended when she married my father Edward J. Eng in 1944. They lived about a mile from the Monogram Studios where "Meeting at Midnight" was filmed. It is now KCET studios. They have 5 children, 4 daughters and 1 son, myself. The have 9 grandchildren. My parents owned a lot of real estate around Los Angeles. So even though her career as an actress did not endure her career as the landlady collecting rent lasted for 60 years.
"Frances Chan's movie career included "The Good Earth 1937", "Samurai 1945" and "God is My Copilot." Her parents Anthony (Suey) Chan and Mary Chan also acted and had numerous bit parts as Chinese actors during the 1930s and 1940s. They were close friends with Keye Luke, Peanuts, and Anna Mae Wong, who were the major Chinese actors during this time period.
"Frances Chan got her start by being Miss Chinatown in 1939, and a search of the Los Angeles Times from that period will bring up several articles on her."
Frances Chan is also the ONLY Chan daughter to work with her Pop alone on an adventure. It is also fun, I feel, that Frances Chan shared her real name with that of the character she portrayed onscreen! How nice would it have been had she appeared in more Chan films?
Wow! What a great article this is Rush. I searched for it in your "Study" under the topic "Cast," but this must be new!
I Hope you preserve it on the site! This would also make a great entry in our Annual Newsletter (as not everyone will read it via the msg board)...your thoughts? Lou
Thank you! Yes, let's use it in the newsletter as you suggest. Never too early to make submissions!
Great. Thanks for sharing.
I am glad that you enjoyed it.
*applause from DC*
We both really enjoy hearing about the people behind the characters in the films. Thanks, Rush, for this interesting info.
This is great information! She was wonderful and should have continued, she outdid Benson Fong as an offspring. I still wish I remembered who that Chan offspring was that came onto the old board in the 1990's and posted. She just made the one honorable appearance and left