90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Sleuthing Out "Charlie Chan"

Reexaming the silver screen detective Charlie Chan. A new book looks at the caricature and the real-life man he was based on.

At left, Charlie Chan played by Warner Oland (Fox Home Entertainment)

Hollywood’s Chinese caricature detective Charlie Chan was a big hit in the 1930s – with his “ah-so” aphorisms – and reviled a generation later as Exhibit A of anti-Asian racism on the big screen. A kind Stepin Fetchit in yellowface.

Now, a mainland China-born, Chinese scholar immigrant to the USA is looking back at Charlie Chan and saying hold on, this guy’s kind of cool. And giving us the whole history of the Charlie Chan story.

Some big Chinese Americans are not buying it. We’ll hear that, too. We’re looking again at the “honorable detective,” Charlie Chan.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Yunte Huang, professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His new book is “Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History.” You can read an excerpt.

Frank Chin, Chinese-American author and playwright. He is considered one of the pioneers in Asian American theatre. His play “The Chickencoop Chinaman” was the first by an Asian-American to be produced on a major New York stage. He’s author of “Gunga Din Highway” and “Donald Duk.”

More:

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 22, 2014
Health workers carry the body of a woman suspected of contracting the Ebola virus in Bomi county situated on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. (AP)

We’ll go to Liberia, and hear from a pastor and a physician at the epicenter of the Ebola crisis.

Oct 22, 2014
Authors Nicholas Kristof and wife Sheryl WuDunn attend the premiere of "Meena" at the AMC Loews Theater on Thursday, June 26, 2014 in New York.

Author and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof says regular folks like us can change the world. He explains how. Plus: we remember the late, great Washington Post editor, Ben Bradlee.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 21, 2014
This undated image provided by Google, shows an early version of Google's prototype self-driving car. For the first time, California's Department of Motor Vehicles knows how many self-driving cars are traveling on the state's public roads. The agency is issuing permits, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 that let three companies test 29 vehicles on highways and in neighborhoods. (AP)

The future of the car: from the fuels they’ll run on, to the materials they’ll be made of, to the computers that may drive them.

 
Oct 21, 2014
David Perdue, Michelle Nunn

Two weeks to go till Midterm Election Day. We’ll look at how the biggest issues are playing out around the country.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Introducing The Explicast: A New Podcast From On Point Radio
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Confused about the news? Don’t worry: so are we sometimes! Introducing a new On Point Radio podcast: The Explicast. You can find Episode One right here.

More »
1 Comment
 
Two LIVE Tracks From Jazz Violinist Regina Carter
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Regina Carter shares two live tracks — one arrangement, and one original composition — with Tom Ashbrook in the On Point studio.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: October 17, 2014
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

We talk Facebook mishaps, whether Katy Perry was actually right and the glory of architectural giants and their iconic windows.

More »
Comment