Inspector Charlie Chan of the Honolulu Police Department was the first Asian character to serve as a detective hero in American literature. He became immensely popular and appeared in novels, films, radio serials, and a comic strip.
Charlie Chan was the brainchild of Earl Derr Biggers (1884–1933), who introduced the Chinese-born investigator as a secondary character in House without a Key, a 1925 novel serialized in the Saturday Evening Post (see entry under 1900s—Print Culture in volume 1). The response was so positive that the Post asked Biggers for another novel, with Chan as the main character. The result was The Chinese Parrot (1926), followed by Behind the Curtain (1928), The Black Camel (1929), Charlie Chan Carries On (1930), and Keeper of the Keys (1932).
A series of movies also featured Chan, beginning with Charlie Chan Carries On (1931), in which he was played by Warner Oland (1880–1938). Later, Sidney Toler (1874–1947) took on the role. Charlie Chan has never been portrayed by an Asian actor.
For More Information
Berlin, Howard M. The Charlie Chan Film Encyclopedia. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1999.
Hanke, Ken. Charlie Chan at the Movies: History, Filmography, and Criticism. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1989.
Mitchell, Charles P. A Guide to Charlie Chan Films. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1999.
Schmidt, Kurt. CharlieChan.net.http://www.charliechan.net (accessed January 23, 2002).
Welcome to Charlie Chan's World.http://home.thirdage.com/Movies/vaboy1960 (accessed January 23, 2002).
"Charlie Chan." Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th-Century America. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 19, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/culture-magazines/charlie-chan
"Charlie Chan." Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th-Century America. . Retrieved January 19, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/culture-magazines/charlie-chan
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.