Are All Airships Equal?
First . . . are airships, balloons, blimps, dirigibles and zeppelins all words for the same thing?
Originally, there were two types of lighter-than-air ships: Airships (that are powered, can be controlled horizontally by a pilot, and have a rigid internal framework) and balloons (that aren't, can't be, and don't).
"Dirigible" is like many of the aviation terms that the French gave us (like "aviation" itself, aileron, hangar, etc.) and translates into "steerable" (horizonally and could cover everything from tricycles to nuclear submarines).
"Blimp" is a generic term for airships like the Zeppelin used in Charlie Chan at the Olympics and are the only such airships in use today.
Zeppelins are a trademarked type of rigid airship that were perfected by Ferdinand Adolf August Heinrich Graf von Zepplin early in the twentieth century and the name that became predominant in the field. (There were another firm of rigid airships used during World War I made by Luftschiff Schutte-Lanz G.m.b.H., using laminated plywood framework instead of the Zeppelins' alumium alloy.)
One of these Zeppelins is what carried our hero, Charlie Chan, from the U.S. to Europe.
A blooper note of sorts to watch for in Charlie Chan at the Olympics: All the swastika on the Zeppelin in the movie were covered up, frame by frame, and ended up looking like a wiggly fat worm on amphetimines!