Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Paris Fashions in Gloves

Hi, it's Etta Kit again!

And since Charlie Chan is in Paris, I can't resist bringing you what Miss Manners, Ms. Judith Martin, has to say on Paris Fashions . . . specifically those sexy things, long gloves!

[What man could resist a woman who knows her gloves . . . and knows even better how to show off taking them off!!]

"Eighteen-Button Gloves
What are 'eighteen-button gloves'?
Those are white gloves that come above the elbow and make a riveting show when the wearer slowly peels them off before she can take a drink. They are called 'eighteen-button' because they have three pearl buttons at each wrist.
No doubt this is a stupid question, and I am demonstrating my unfitness for respectable society but WHY doesn't a pair of eighteen-button gloves have eighteen buttons on it, or even eighteen buttons a glove, for a grand total of thirty-six?
Yes, indeed, this is a silly question, because everybody knows that there are buttons and buttons, and while eighteen-button gloves have three small pearl buttons each at the musketeer (which everyone knows is the opening at the wrist), there are, indeed, eighteen buttons on each in length. That button is a standard of measurement of approximately one inch. The approximate part is because it is a French standard of measurement.
"If you begin measuring at the base of the thumb, you will find that four-button gloves end about the wrist, eight-button below the elbow, ten-button about the elbow, and twenty-six, the longest, up to the armpit. Naturally, this system only comes out right on French arms.
"Dear Miss Manners:
Since we are geared into high fashion now, what about the etiquette of gloves? A lady with standards shouldn't take off her gloves when shaking hands, should she?
Indeed not, unless she is a lady subject to uncontrollable bursts of enthusiasm for direct human contact, in which case Miss Manners prefers the naked handshake to the promiscuous and noisy kissing of near strangers. Truly unforgivable behavior when wearing gloves consists of eating, drinking, smoking and saying 'Pardon my glove.'
"Gentlemen remove their gloves when shaking hands. Please do not expect Miss Manners to justify this discrepancy on any basis of logic, morality or equal opportunity."
(Judith Martin, "Miss Manners(R) Guide to Excrutiatingly Correct Behavior", Warner Books, 1982, New York, page 546.)
[I hope to see you all next Monday Night Chat Room (8:00 to 10:00 P.M. EST) at for Charlie Chan in Paris!]

Charlie Chan History

Monogram Pictures
Completes Production on
Shadows Over Chinatown
In Mid-March of 1946

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Time Out

I will be taking several days off for family reasons.

I unfortunately had to shut down my blog before I could credit and thank Chris Menzter at our brother blog at for several entries in my last post of entries into our Chan Dictionary. Suffice it to say that this blog wouldn't be here if it hadn't been for Chris as well as several others!

Take care,

Saturday, March 05, 2005

CC at the Opera Entries to the Chan Dictionary

We are adding a few entries from Charlie Chan at the Opera into our Chan Dictionary from our Monday Night Chat Movie:

Aria: (1) a solo vocal piece with an instrumental accompaniment, as in an opera.
(2) An air; a melody.

Baritone: a male singer or voice with a range higher that a bass and lower than a tenor.

Bracelets: (slang) handcuffs.

Canary: (slang) a singer.

Chaise Longue: (French: long chair) an elongated seat or couch with a support for the back at one end and a seat (or foot stool)long enough to support the legs and feet.
(Pronounced: chase long)

Chop Suey: (slang) a racial slur used at Asians or people of Asian ancestry.

Coagulated: to have gathered together or formed into a thicker mass or group.

Cold Turkey: (slang) someone who is aloof, apart from things.

Dame: (archaic slang) a woman.

Firecracker: (slang) someone or something reminiscent of (usually paper) cylinders that contain an explosive and a fuse that makes noise when set off.

Ham: (slang) a performer who overacts or exaggerates.

Hitting the Pipe: (slang) slur referring to opium pipe users.

Hypothesis: a tentative explanation for an observation, phenomenon, or scientific problem that can be tested by further and independent investigation.

Incognito: the condition of having a disguised or concealed identity.

Joint: (slang) building or "hangout."

Mephisto: Another name for Satan.

Prima Donna: (1) the leading woman soloist in an opera company
(2) a temperamental, conceited person.

Puccini, Verdi, Wagner: Three well-known composers of operas: Giacomo Puccini, Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner.
Soup and Fish: (slang) a tuxedo or other men's evening wear. The earliest citation for "soup and fish" in the Oxford English Dictionary comes from a P.G. Wodehouse story in 1918, but it may be assumed that the phrase was in common usage for some time, probably since the 19th century, before Wodehouse invoked it.

Teletype: tradename of a device that can send typed messages over telephone lines to a receiving device.

Operatic Odds and Ends

Here are some odds and ends to think about when we're watching Charlie Chan at the Opera for our Monday Night Chat Room, at 8:00 to 10:00 P.M. EST--Thanks as always to our host, Rush Glick!

Gravelle (Boris Karloff) was in a Chicago opera house fire on September 15, 1923. He was committed to the insane asylum in 1929 that had to be in the Los Angeles, CA, for the purposes of the movie. [If I'm wrong, please let me know!]

This raises some questions:

Where was he in the intervening years?

If Lilly Rochelle returned to the Los Angeles area after a seven year absence, was she there about the time her then-husband was admitted into the hospital?

If Enrico and Anita Barelli knew Gravelle and Rochelle were married at the time of the fire, wouldn't others in the operatic world have known (and possibly known they had a little girl)? And if others knew, why didn't Rochelle's second husband, Mr. Whitely?

Why don't we ever hear what Mlle. Kitty's last name was? Had her parents been in fact legally married?!

Why did Phil Childers tell Chan that he and Kitty were in the police station about the time that Rochelle and Barelli were there? If they weren't there, where HAD the young couple been?

If Mr. Arnold was the property master, why would Charlie say that Arnold was "auditioning" a new baritone? Wasn't that the director's job? Where WAS the director?

How did Lilli Rochelle keep her braids looking so good?*

*Our Mrs. Chan (aka Becky Truesdale, my mother, says that the braids were probably carefully tacked together by hand using needle and thread.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Blooping to the Opera Plus Extras

We owe our first blooper to Rush Glick, who's wonderful website at is where we gather Monday nights for our chats at 8:00 to 10:00 P.M. EST:

The newspaper that Gravelle sees at the asylum does a magic act when he reads the headline about Madame Lilli Rochelle. It uses the number 7 printed in letters when he reads it. It's uses the number 7 printed out in letters in the headline seen in the police station.

Later, Lee is dressed as one of the soldiers while he's prowling around for his father. He sees a trap door open just a bet and then closes it. Lee pulls up the door and faces away from the wall as he goes down the hidden staircase.

The next shot is from below the stage as Lee is seen climbing down a ladder with his right shoulder towards the wall--He is now 90 degrees from the last camer shot.

Something else that's been bugging me . . . Gravelle was in the Chicago Opera House fire on September 15,1923. Ennrico and Anita not only remember him but the fire as well. Where was Mr. Whitely in the intervening years that he didn't know his wife, Lilli Rochelle, was not only married but had a daughter? Or wasn't Rochelle well enough for Whitley to have heard about her first husband?

And talking about a lapse of time . . . What was Gravelle (Boris Karloff) doing between the Chicago fire in 1923 and being committed to an insane asylum in Los Angeles in 1929? Mme. Rochelle was in L.A. in 927 and could possibly have heard of his being committed to the asylum.

And who committed Gravelle to the asylum?

What was Mlle. Kitty's last name--Gravelle or Rochelle? Perhaps it was Gravelle since Rochelle would have alerted everybody to the fact that Lilli had a daughter.

Plus our very own Chan Urban Legend! (Or at least one!)

Where is Benson Fong in this movie? Hint: We're fairly sure he's an extra!

I'll probably be back with more little tidbits before Monday night!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A Special Entry for Charlie Chan at the Opera

Sara Karloff Sparkman at the website she created in tribute for her father,

I had sent an email to Ms. Sparkman at her website in June of 2002. I mentioned Charlie Chan at the Opera with her father, Boris Karloff, playing such a prominent role. She very kindly sent me the following note:

"Thank you so much for your lovely email. I always enjoy hearing from my father's fans.

"I know from interviews my Father did that the set of Charlie Chan was sheer chaos with script changes every scene, actually being written as they were being shot.

"There is a wonderful biography on my father written by Scott Nolan in which that is one of the films he discusses.

"Have a lovely summer.

"Sara Karloff"

I hope this will add to your enjoyment as we get ready for our Monday Night Chat Room, 8:00 to 10:00 P.M. EST, at Rush Glick's website at

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A Charlie Chan at the Opera Introduction

American Movie Classic's Bob Dorian introduced "Charlie Chan at the Opera" on May 24, 1993:

"[Boris Karloff had been slated for a movie] called 'Juggernaut' in England when he received a transatlantic telephone call.

"It was Twentieth 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 movie 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, unforunately.

"As a matter of fact, Warner Oland was born in Sweden, which was as far you could possibly get.

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

"This entry series in the Chan series sees the detective at the Opera.

"Oscar Levant and Willim 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 government 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 worldwide 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 assistant, Kato, in two series during the 40's.

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

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

"This was a great series, too.

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

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

"Sounds like a rap group, doesn't it?

"He's still active in Hollywood today.

"He was recently seen in Gremlins.

[Aired on the American Movie Classics Channel on May 24, 1993]

Trivia Answers for Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise

How many do you think you got?

Here goes:

What do CC's Chance, CC's Secret, CC in Honolulu, CC in Reno, CC's Murder Cruise, and Castle in the Desert have in common?

They all have cats!
What do CC in Paris, CC at Treasure Island and CC's Murder Cruise have in common?

They have at least two different actors using the same costume and apparently no one can tell them apart by their voices.
What do CC at the Opera, CC's Murder Cruise, and The Feathered Serpent have in common?

They all involve weapons that have been wiped clean of fingerprints by someone who may be the bad guy. Opera and Feathered Serpent used a dagger or knife and Murder Cruise used a gun.
What do CC at the Race Track and CC's Murder Cruise have in common?

Lee and Jimmy get jobs as stewards aboard ships that carry Charlie as passenger.
What do CC in Honolulu, CC's Murder Cruise, and The Chinese Ring have in common?

They use freighters that carry passengers.
Check back during the next week as we get ready for Charlie Chan at the Opera, the next movie in Rush Glick's Monday Night Chat Room, at 8:00 to 10:00 P.M. EST!