Charlie Chan IS a) dead b) at the Olympics and c) David Packard

August 14 – 15:
Charlie Chan at the Olympics (1937) 7:30
d H. Bruce Humberstone. w Robert Ellis, Helen Logan, based on a story by Paul Burger. ph Daniel C. Clark. md Samuel Kaylin. 20th Century-Fox. 71 min.
Warner Oland, Katherine De Mille, Pauline Moore, Allan Lane, Keye Luke, Layne Tom.

Chan accompanies son Lee and his US Olympic teammates to Berlin for the 1936 Olympics. While onboard the ship, Charlie encounters spies, and Lee is kidnapped to ensure his silence.

Newsreel footage of Jesse Owens’ triumph at the Olympics (while Lee and his teammates cheer him on) enhance this entry of the series.

first played at the Stanford Theatre June 6, 1937; last played Feb 2004
The marquee of Packard’s movie museum brings me the news: more movies, old movies, including “Charlie Chan at the Olympics” from 1939. I doubt I’ve seen this. From first take, it reminds me that I have seen a glut of content at Stanford Theatre that I would call racist or sexist or anti-Semitic. Sometimes it looks like the scheduling was done to highlight the political non-correctness. (If I can think of my examples, I will edit to update).

Terry, my Terry, Terry Acebo Davis to you, did some work with Jessica Hagedon, who edited two books about modern interpretations of anti-Asian stereotypes in the media: Charlie Chan is Dead and Charlie Chan, too, is dead. Also, my former client Dao Strom (born in Vietnam) is a colleague of Hagedorn. Dao’s story “Chickens” won her the Nelson Algren Award (from Chicago Tribune) and other prizes and to my (not entirely unbiased) mind captures something real about the Vietnamese diaspora and what makes America. (More than this film does, today, 75 years later).

I’m also an Olympics buff, and wrote about Harry Hillman earlier. Hillman who boycotted the 1936 Berlin Olympics, while his friend and rival and coaching partner Lawson Robertson soldiered on, or didn’t care, or thought “constructive engagement” and Jessie Owens was worth sitting thru all the pageantry of evil.

This also makes me want to follow up and persist with my ROI about “the Gunn graffiti hate crime” case, or non-case. I think I am going to cold call Max McGee, my fellow Dartmouth intramural football hero — he for Fayerweather, me for Richardson — and see if he can get traction: how exactly did Juan or Dijon Doe depict Asians in his utterance?


This all fits together, here in Plastic Alto.

If you have 71 minutes, you can, it seems, watch the movie here, although I would recommend going to Stanford Theatre and its big screen effect nonetheless.

In October, 2010 (and Plastic Alto post 9 of 800 — early works) Stanford Theatre, indeed for Halloween had Charlie Chan and I posted thusly:

Jumping to last night, Terry and I were debating the merits of checking out a “Charlie Chan” movie at the Stanford Theatre and we opted against it. Boris Karloff plays the Chinese-American detective. Is it playing because this is Halloween weekend? I.e, a European actor playing an Asian is good programming because we can think of it as his costume? Charlie Chan is Dead, guys!

edit to add: two weeks later, now i also have in my view cue several titles from library, “reefer madness”, ‘thirteen’ rachel ewen wood vehicle or whatnot, life of brian again, plus tivoed finish of all the president’s men, broadway danny rose and 30 episodes of Charlie Rose, a Bill Moyers or two, Lincecum’s last start, a loss, and more readings, and laundry and what about exercise?

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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