Sunday, August 01, 2004

An American Movie Classics Introduction

Bob Dorian's Introduction:
"[Boris Karloff was seeing about a movie] called 'Juggernaut' in England when he received a transatlantic telephone call. It was 20th Century-Fox and they wanted Boris Karloff for the newest Charlie Chan movie.

"Now who better to play a patient in a mental hospital, suspected of murder, than Boris Karloff?!

"The ads proclaimed it was a battle of wits--Chan versus Karloff--in the most exciting Chan ever made. For once the ads didn't exaggerate because of Karloff's classic performance.

"Now as you may know, the inscrutable Oriental detective was never played by an actor of Chinese heritage, unfortunately. As a matter of fact, Warner Oland was born in Sweden, which was as far as you could possibly get.

"In each Charlie Chan picture, the leading charactor was sent to an exotic foreign capital or he was placed in a very special world likethe circus or the race track.

"This entry in the Chan series see the detective at the Opera. Oscar Levant and Wiliam Kernell actually wrote an opera called 'Carnival,' specifically for this movie.

"And one unusual note before we get into the movie:

"For some reason it was banned in Germany by special order of the Reich censor. Now, remember this was in May of 1936, three years before World War II was to begin.

"What did the German govenment find objectionable about a Charlie Chan movie?

"I don't know.

"Maybe you can figure it out along with Warner Oland and me in 'Charlie Chan at the Opera'. . . .

"Keye Luke, Charlie Chan's # 1 son, he was originally an artist and designed movie posters and things like that before turning to action as a second career. And what an amazing career Keye Luke had.

"In addition to gaining world~wide fame in the Chan series, he was one of Hollywood's biggest character actors.

"He had continuing roles in the Dr. Kildare series (remember those?!), and he played the Green Hornet's assisstant, Kato, in two series during the 40'.

"And he appeared as guest in more television series then probably I would have time to mention.

"His credits included 'Fireside Chats,' 'Star Trek,' 'Charlie's Angels,' as well as his memorable role as Master Po in the series, 'Kung Fu.'

"That was a great series, too.

"He wasn't always regulated to playing Chan's # 1 son.

"He finally got to play to Chan himself and that was on a Saturday morning cartoon called 'The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan. . . .'"

[May 24, 1993]


Blogger Chris M. said...

Good Intro, Virginia. I recall reading somewhere on Rush's site(I think), that someone asked Warner about his "almond-shaped" eyes with him being Swedish. His response was that his country was invaded by the Mongols centuries before, hence the Asian look.


3/8/04 7:53 AM  
Blogger Rush Glick said...

Thank you for this transcription. How wonderful AMC once was! It is so sad that they became just another commercial purveyor of pop culture.

Rush Glick

3/8/04 10:34 AM  

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