Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Where Charlie Chan fits in.

Charlie Chan is a fictional detective from Hawaii, an American born Chinese. The character was created my an Earl Derr Biggers and loosely based on the exploits of a detective named Chang Apana.

I guess the reason I sometimes suggest calling Charlie Chan when a mystery of some sort shows up goes back to my dad and a rainy Saturday.

We watched a couple of these old black and white movies together on the tube over the years. Dad, the same way he was with old westerns, would conduct a running commentary. It was better thn the movie and funny as all hell.

I guess he had seem some of them when they first came out. What was interesting is that for a month or so afterwards Dad would address me as 'Number One Son' after Charlie Chan's oldest son. 

"Hey, Number One Son, get over here!"

Charlie's oldest son, Lee, would always be running around taking the bait, jumping to conclusions and in general screwing things up.

Charlie, of course, was slow, methodical and very inscrutinable. You never saw him move fast or get upset. He just stood there thoughtful looking with an all-knowing look on his face.

I suppose that today the movies may seem mildly racist but I don't think so. They never seemed to put Asians in a bad light. Charlie was always portrayed as being a very sharp cookie, and astute thinker and highly logical. He was alway the Good Guy.

He was a famiy man, too. At the end of every mystery the person that called him would offer to let him hang out for a few days R&R. He'd always reply "Must go. Have a large family to support." Then he'd show a picture of a bitty little CHinese woman surrounded by about 20 kids of varying ages.

Still, I suppose there was a certain stereotype shown toward Asians.

"Ya know, when I was a kid, we were told to stay out of Chinatown," Dad said."We were told it was full of opium dens and evil Fu Manchu kind of stuff. What a crock! The Chinese are probably the cleanest living people in the whole damned country. You never hear of them involved in many crimes."

I guess because of the couple of rainy Saturdays watching the exploits of Charlie, coupled with Dad's funny commentaries that Charlie is the 'go to' guy in my mind when a mystery pops up.

Which reminds me. I have to give Charlie a call. Something here has turned up missing.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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