Sunday, July 31, 2005

Castle in the Desert, our Monday Night Chat Movie*, involves a rather interesting historical figure. Lenita Lane plays Lucrezia (Lucy) Manderley, a supposed descendant of the original Lucrezia Borgia of poison notoriety.

The original Lucrezia lived from 1480-1519 [a short but full life, I'm sure!] during the Italian Renaissance. She was the daughter of Pope Alexander VI and could have written Cole Porter's song, "My Heart Belongs to Daddy."

Apparently, our girl Lucrezia could have sung the song to Brother Dearest, Cesare Borgia, as well!

Her first marriage to Geovanni Sforza (of Pesaro) was annulled five years after the fact in 1497 (which would have made Dear Lu only 12 when she was betrothed . . . and she was supposed to be notorious for POISONING?!?!)

Her brother, Cesare Borgia, saw to her second husband, Alfonso of Aragon (illegitimate son of Alfonso II of Naples) murdered eight years later.

The next year, Lucrezia married Alfonso d'Este, later duke of Ferrara (1505), and began coming into her own right, separate from the soap-opera-ish family of hers.

History doesn't really tell us which of the deliciously scandalous stories are true and which ones aren't but they do help make for some fun movie moments, don't they!

This has been courtesy of

Lenita Lane as Lucrezia (Borgia) Manderley with Sidney Toler as Charlie Chan in Castle in the Desert.
Courtesy of Rush Glick's website at, home to our *Monday Night Chat at 8:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M (EDT). The movie starts at 8:30 sharp! See you there!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Happiness is finding bloopers!

And we have several in Castle in the Desert, our Monday Night Chat Movie (8:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. [EDT], the movie starting at 8:30).

For starters, Charlie "borrows" a carrier pigeon that the government wants Jimmy to let loose during their trip. Question: What happens to the rest of them when Jimmy turns up in Mojave Wells?

And, heaven forbid, something happens to said bird?!

In this same scene in the hotel, Charlie gets a note slipped under his door. Question: Why would someone who probably gets lots of requests for his time suddenly decide to take one that's mysteriously given to him on a vacation with Jimmy? (Courtesy of Robert L. Hiza)

Charlie sits down at one point when talking to Mr. Manderley. Watch carefully to see if you can catch Sidney Toler beginning to cross his legs but doesn't quite make it. He continues the scene without a blink. (Courtesy of Bill Lutters)

How did Charlie know how to solve the mystery of Mrs. Manderley's unfinished bust?

Mr. Manderley has control of a $20,000,000 estate. Why does he only have one car? (Courtesy of Robert L. Hiza)

Since the castle doesn't have electricity, how do they get laundry done, how does the food get cooked, and what happens to the left-overs? (Courtesy of John Cucinotta)

(Courtesy of

Friday, July 29, 2005

We're getting our Chan Dictionary out for Castle in the Desert, for our Monday Night Chat (8:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. [EDT], the movie starting at 8:30). We have several entries so here goes:

BORGIA FAMILY: Renaissance Italians who were ruthless in their ambition. Cesare Borgia's acknowledged father, Pope Alexander VI, appointed him cardinal. He was Machiavelli's model for his "Ideal Statesman" and employed Leonardo da Vinci to invent war machines for him. Lucreza was his sister.

ALCHEMIST: One who was versed in the practice of alchemy, a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease, and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life.

APOTHECARY: A place that prepares and sells drugs and other medicines.

GIVES OUT (slang): Dispensing of information.
("Same old Charlie, he never 'gives out.")

INSOMNIAC: One who suffers from insomnia, the inability to sleep.

ISIS: The principal goddess worshipped by the Egyptians. She was regarded as the mother of Horus, and the sister and wife of Osiris. The Egyptians adored her as the goddess of fecundity (or fertility), and as the great benefactress of their country, who instructed their ancestors in the art of agriculture.
(Madame Saturnia: "The finger of 'Isis' has never touched this house")

NIGHTSHADE: (1) Any of several plants of the genus "solanum," such as the bitter sweet nightshade, most of which have a poisonous juice.
(2) Any of various similar or related plants, such as belladonna.

RUBBER: (1) A series of games of which two out of three or three out of five must be won to terminate the play.
(2) An odd game to break a tie.

SPANISH WAR (also "Spanish Revolution," "Spanish Civil War"): A war in Spain between the years 1936 and 1939. The fascists, led by Generalissimo Franco, eventually prevailed due to the military assistance provided by Germany.

TAGARA (Sanskrit): A slightly hairy, tufted herb with thick horizontal rootstocks that contains a sweet smelling essential oil. Tagara (Indian valerian) is prescribed as a remedy for hysteria, hypocondria, nervous upset, and emotional troubles. The drug contains a group of iridoid or monoterpenic derivatives, known as tranquilizers and sedatives. AN iridod ester glycoside designated as valerosidatum (isovaleryl glucoyide) has also been isolated.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Castle in the Desert!

Doesn't that make your imagination go into overdrive?!

We now know that the castle part was based on Scotty's Castle but what about the Desert?

Well . . . it's the Mojave Desert, second only to Death Valley in conjuring up images of dirt, cacti and just sheer nothingness.

(Courtesy of
"The Mojave Desert stretches from the wedge-shaped Antelope Valley eastward across the Colorado River. Bordering the Sonoran Colorado Desert and running north to the majestic Sierra Nevada mountain range, the land in between is anything but what we first imagine a desert to be, flat and featureless. More information> What and where is the Mojave? . . ."

This is from and has all sorts of interesting links, from Ghost Towns to 360 degree Photos to the Joshua Tree National Park.

(Courtesy of
Definitely worth a trek--at least by computer!--before our Monday Night Chat at 8:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. (EDT) with Castle in the Desert starting at 8:30 sharp!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

We have some great character actors in our Monday Night Chat Room Movie, Castle in the Desert. (Check in time is at 8:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. [EDT] and we start up the movie at 8:30.)

George Chandler is, of course, Joe the cafe owner in The Shanghai Cobra--he of the beef stew!

Lenita Lane, Ethel Griffies and Milton Parsons are reuniting in this movie from Dead Men Tell.

So . . . how many do you recognize?!

Sidney Toler: Charlie Chan
Victor Sen Yung (as Sen Yung)
Richard Derr: Carl Detheridge
Douglass Dumbrille: Paul Manderley
Henry Daniell: Watson King
Edmund MacDonald: Walter Hartford
Arleen Whelan: Brenda Hartford
Lenita Lane: Lucrezia "Lucy" Manderley
Ethel Griffies: Lily, Mme. Saturnia
Milton Parsons: Arthur Fletcher
Steven Geray (as Steve Geray): Dr. Retling
Lucien Littlefield: Professor Gleason
George Chandler: The Bus Driver
Oliver Blake (as Oliver Prickett)
Eric Wilton: Wilson, the majordomo
Paul Kruger: Servant

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Castle in the Desert will be our Monday Night Chat Room Movie (at; 8:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. [EDT]; the movie starts at 8:30 P.M.)

This Charlie Chan picture is widely considered to be based on "Scotty's Castle" in Death Valley, Nevada.

You can find more information on the Castle at

Me . . . I'll be spending a large chunk of today daydreaming about living in a real castle!

Friday, July 15, 2005

We have several entries to
our Chan Calendar today:

Fox Films began production on
"Charlie Chan's Greatest Case" in
mid-July to mid-August in 1933.

Twentieth Century-Fox completes
production on "Charlie Chan on
Broadway" in mid-July, 1937.

Twentieth Century-Fox begins
production on "Murder Over
New York" in mid-July, 1940.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Let's get goofy today!

We have two bloopers from our Monday Night Chat Room at (8:00 to 10:00 P.M. [EDT] and we start our movies at 8:30!):

One is Cy Kendall's character, Webster Deacon, is labeled George Deacon in a newspaper. (

The other blooper is courtesy of Jim Mueller (possible spoiler):

". . . In the scene where Birmingham is lighting the matches? And Tommy is being overcome by the gas line in the keyhole? They step out into the hallway and it's the exact same set as in The Scarlet Clue. Remember where Birmingham steps into the elevator--and the floor drops out? And he grabs onto the side and fusses and fumes, and when the door opens again the floor is back? It's the same elevator as in The Chinese Cat."

(Courtesy of Rush Glick's
I know this picture doesn't have anything to do with either blooper but that's Luke Chan as Wu Sing, a fun bit of Chan trivia!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Our next Monday night movie is The Chinese Cat (8:00 to 10:00 P.M. [EDT] and we start the movie at 8:30!)

Our cast of character actors has the usual "suspects," faces that we've come to love in these old films . . . . Joan Woodbury, Cy Kendall John Davidson, Jack Norton, and George Chandler (Joe, the coffee shop owner in The Shanghai Cobra) as the Hotel Doorman.


Sidney Toler: Charlie Chan
Joan Woodbury: Leah Manning
Mantan Moreland: Birmingham Brown, Taxi Driver
Benson Fong: Tommy Chan, # 3 Son
Ian Keith: Dr. Paul Rebnik
Cy Kendall: Webster Deacon
Weldon Heyburn: Detective Lt. Harvey Dennis
Anthony Warde (as Anthony Ward): Catlen
John Davidson: Cal Karzoff/Karzoff
Dewey Robinson: Salos
I. Stanford Jolley (as Stan Jolley): Gannet
Betty Blythe: Mrs. Manning
Jack Norton: Hotel Desk Clerk
Luke Chan: Wu Song
George Chandler: Hotel Doorman
Same Flint: Thomas P. Manning
Terry Frost: Policeman Giving Parking Ticket

Courtesy of

Monday, July 11, 2005

I'm checking out a book from our Charlie Chan Library today for Charlie Chan at Treasure Island.

You might like to see if you agree with it!

"Second Feature: The Best of the 'B' Films" by John Cocchi; Citadel Press, 1991; New York, NY, Secaucus, NJ; page 128:

"Charlie Chan at Treasure Island (20th Century-Fox 1939) Directed by Norman Foster. Generally regarded as the best of the Charlie Chan series; certainly the best of all those starring Sidney Toler, Warner Oland's replacement. Strains of 'San Francisco' (Bronislau Kaper-Walter Jurmann-Gus Kahn) are heard before the story gets underway with shots of San Francisco's Treasure Island from the air and land. Writer Louis Jean Heydt (filmdom's eternal victim) dies on a plane, a supposed suicide, but Toler naturally suspects murder. Number Two son Victor Sen Yung is along to aid and obstruct honorable father in usual fashion. Magician Cesar Romero, performing on the island, is determined to prove that mystic Gerald Mohr is a fake, in the course of the investigation. Also mixed up in the mystery are Pauline Moore, Douglas Fowley, June Gale as Romero's jealous wife, Douglas Dumbrille, Billie Seward, Wally Vernon, Donald Mac Bride and Sally Blane (director Foster's real-life wife) as Heydt's widow, with a good deal of atmosphere and some nifty seance scenes, featuring Kay Linaker as the lady in ectoplasm.This presents a well concealed killer. One film from Hollywood's Golden year which should be on the list of the best 1939 Bs."

Courtesy of Rush Glick's

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Charlie Chan in Panama is our Monday night movie at Rush Glick's website of, at 8:00 to 10:00 P.M. (EDT) and the movie starts at 8:30!

I'm listing our cast of characters. . . . CC in Panama has some of our very best character actors like Lionel Atwill, Edwin Stanley and Donald Douglas:

Sidney Toler: Charlie Chan
Victor Sen Yung (as Sen Yung): Jimmy Chan
Jean Rogers: Kathi Lenesch (Baroness Kathi von Czardas)
Kane Richmond: Richard Cabot
Jack La Rue: Emil Manolo
Frank Puglia: Achmed Halide
Mary Nash: Miss Jennie Finch
Lionel Royce: Dr. Rudolph Grosser
Lionel Atwill: Cliveden Compton
Chris-Pin Martin: The Lieutenant
Edwin Stanley: Colonel D.C. Webster
Donald Douglas: Captain Lewis
Addison Richards: R.J. Godley
Helen Ericson: The Stewardess
Eddie Acuff: Dance Sailor Suspicious of Kathi
Edward Keane: Army Doctor
Alberto Morin: The Hotel Desk Clerk
Edward Gargan: The Plant Workman
Charles Stevens: Fisherman-Cameraman Spy
Lane Chandler: Powerhouse Search Leader
Allen F. Davis: Soldier
Harold Goodwin: Soldier
Charles Sherlock: Soldier
Max Wagner: Soldier
Jimmy Aubrey: Extra (drunk fisherman with cigar dangling from mouth at club)

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Mata Moto here. . . . We have reached the last of our Charlie Chan Quiz from Kurt Schmidt and his excellent website at Thanks, Kurt, for letting us use your quiz!

Today is the answer to Part Six: Beef Stew!

^ ^ ^
Now, for our Scoring System. Add up all your correct answers.
How did you do?
*Less than ten correct: Nice try!
*10-15 correct: Promising. . . .
*16-20 correct: very good!
*21-24 correct: tremendous job!!
*all 25 correct: obviously (like me), too much free time on your hands. Very impressive!
Neat poster, huh? It's my thanks for coming along on our Quiz Quest this week!
Mata Moto

Friday, July 08, 2005

Mata Moto here, once again, with our Chan Quiz from Kurt Schmidt's

Still with us, getting all the right answers?!

We're in the home stretch today with Part Five's answers and then . . . our last part . . . Part Six.

Tomorrow we'll not only answer Part Six but I'll post the Scoring System to see how you rate with your answers.

Good luck!
^ ^ ^
Part Five:
Question # 22: Willie Best, as Chattanooga Brown, said it in "The Red Dragon."
Question # 23: Milton Parsons, as Arthur Fletcher, said it in "Castle in the Desert."
Question # 24: William Demarest, as Sergeant Kelly, said it in "Charlie Chan at the Opera."
^ ^ ^
Part Six:
In "The Shanghai Cobra," what did Joe make up at the coffee shop that now one wants to buy?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Mata Moto here to bring you the answers and questions to our Chan Quiz from Kurt Schmidt's

You been able to get all the right answers so far?

You wanna go another round?


First the answers to Part Four and then on to Part Five!
^ ^ ^
Question # 14: Charlie Chan in Monte Carlo
Question # 15: Lee tries to explain--in his French--about the car he and his father found at the side of the road. What Lee actually SAID was that they had caused the car to be there . . . complete with the dead man in the back seat!
Question # 16: Charlie Chan in Reno
Question # 17: Marc Lawrence
Question # 18: George Zucco
Question # 19: Eric (a.k.a. Erik) Rhodes
Question # 20: Leo G. Carroll
Question # 21: Alan Mowbray
^ ^ ^
Part Five:
Question # 22:
In what movie did this actor say "I like my scene on the level, not so much on the up and down, especially on the down."
Question # 23:
In what movie did this actor say "If it was known that I didn't have it, no one would attack me, hurt me."
Question # 24:
In what movie did this actor say "You haven't called 'Chop Suey' in on the case, have you, Chief?"

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Hello, again!
Mata Moto here with the answers to Part Three and on to Part Four of our quiz that Kurt Schmidt has let us borrow from his website at
How many have you gotten right so far?!
Remember to keep your answers so you can use the scoring system at the end of the week!
Part Three:
Question # 9: "Charlie Chan Carries On," "Charlie Chan's Chance," Charlie Chan's Greatest Case," and "Charlie Chan's Courage"

Question #10: "The Black Camel," "Murder Over New York," "Dead Men Tell," and "Castle in the Desert"

Question # 11: "Charlie Chan in Honolulu"

Question # 12: b--Robert Barrat

Question # 13: His daughter has given birth to grandson # 1!
^ ^ ^
Question # 14: Identify the film that this production still is taken from.
Question # 15: Why are Charlie and Lee in jail?
Question # 16: Which Chan movie had Charlie gambling that he could find out "whodunit?"
^ ^ ^
The folks pictured below were familiar faces to moviegoers of the 30s & 40s. Though they weren't household names, they seemed to turn up in a lot of the films of the era, including Chan films. Can you correctly match the five faces to five names?
Question # 17: Who is this actor?
Question # 18: Who is this actor?
Question # 19: Who is this actor?
Question # 20: Who is this actor?
Question # 21: Who is this actor?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

This is Mata Moto, hoping that y'all had a great Fourth of July weekend and are ready to continue our Chan Quiz (courtesy of Kurt Schmidt at
First we'll have the answers to yesterday's Part Two and then we'll mush on to Part Three! (Remember to keep your answers since I'll have the scoring system at the end of the week.)
^ ^ ^
Question # 5: Joan Valerie
Question # 6: "Murder Over New York"
Question # 7: Kay Linaker
Question # 8: "Charlie Chan in Rio"
^ ^ ^
Question # 9: Name the four "lost" Oland Chan films.
Question # 10: Of the Fox Chan films, four film titles didn't begin with "Charlie Chan . . . " or "Charlie Chan's . . . ." Name the four flicks.
Question # 11: Pictured above, a murderer, and four red herrings. What single Chan film are these folks the suspects in?
Question # 12: And which one of them turned out to be the murderer?
Question # 13: What happy news does Charlie receive at the film's end?

Monday, July 04, 2005

Mata Moto here wishing everybody a whiz bang good time today with lots of family, fireworks and food to go with it!
I hope y'all got a start yesterday with the first part of our Chan Quizz (courtesy of Kurt Schmidt at 'cause today y'all get to check your answers and on to Part Two.
You should keep your answers 'cause I'll have the scoring system at the end of the week with the last of the answers.
Good Luck!
Question # 1: It's the first line delivered by Sidney Toler as Charlie Chan in Honolulu.
Question # 2: It's the last line delivered by Warner Oland as Charlie Chan in Monte Carlo.
Question # 3: The Painted Veil.
Question # 4: Fu Manchu

Question # 5: In "Charlie Chan at the Wax Muesum," Lily Latimer (above) is played by what actress?
Question # 6: This attractive blonde appears in another Chan flick, in fact, the very next one in the series. Name the film.

The dark-haired cutie pictured above was in no less than four Chans.
Question # 7: Name the actress.
Question # 8: She turns out to be the the murderer in which Chan film?

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Happy Holidays!!
I am Mata, head of a
new department of
Charlie Chan Annex~~
I am introducing
Match Your Mind With Moto;
or, Do You Know Your Chan?
^ ^ ^
Some of you may remember this as
The Charlie Chan Page Quiz # 2
Kurt Schmidt has kindly given
his permission to run it here.
^ ^ ^
I'll be running it over the next week,
Part One today and the answers
tomorrow with Part Two.
Good luck!
^ ^ ^
Question # 1: Identify the significance
of the following line in Chan film history:
"Please! Please! Save football
tactics for gridiron!"
Question # 2: If you got that one,
the significance of this line
should be easy:
"Merci, so much... goodbye."
Question # 3: What 1934 MGM flick
marked the first time Warner Oland
and Keye Luke appeared in the same film??
Question # 4: what evil Sax Rohmer
creation did Oland play
thrice before becoming the
movies' Charlie Chan?
^ ^ ^
I'll see y'all tomorrow
with the answers
and Part Two!
Mata Moto

* * *