Saturday, June 18, 2005

Today is an important day in Charlie Chan History for those of us who love--and frankly prefer--Keye Luke as Lee Chan, Charlie Chan's # 1 son.

Keye Luke was born in Canton, China, on June 18, 1904.

What most people don't know is that Luke's love of art and boxing may have had an effect on the Charlie Chan series.

His art work is seen in "Charlie Chan in Shanghai" in the drawing that he did of himself with his "# 1 female telephone call" friend. We also see him draw a copy of a map in "The Feathered Serpent."

His Lee Chan is on the way to an art exhibit where he has one of his works on display in the course of "Charlie Chan in Monte Carlo," the last film Luke was in until the already-mentioned "The Feathered Serpent."

Jimmy Chan also refers to his older brother, Lee, being in New York in "art school" in "Charlie Chan in Honolulu."

Keye Luke also loved the art of boxing. There is no way of knowing what--if any--direct effect this had on the making of "Charlie Chan at the Ringside" since it was never finished, Warner Oland walking off the set and passing away before returning to the Chan movies.

The studio did use at least part of the unfinished picture and utilized it (and Keye Luke as Lee Chan) as "Mr. Moto's Gamble," part of their Mr. Moto series with Peter Lorre in the title role.

Keye Luke also played "Clancy" in the boxing-oriented "Bowery Blitzkrieg, with the East Side Boys (with Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall and company).

Luke may have loved boxing but he ironically became known for the martial arts series of "Kung Fu" on television years later.

Courtesy of www.hollywood-north.net/keyluke.jpg.

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