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 24, 2014
Ottawa police officers, with Parliament Hill in the background, guard the area around the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa on Thursday. (Reuters/Landov)

Gunfire in Canada’s capital. Billionaire millions hit the midterms. Huge airbag recall. Ben Bradlee is dead. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Oct 24, 2014
Andrew (Miles Teller) and his often demanding conductor, Terrence (J.K. Simmons) in a scene from the new film, "Whiplash." (Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics)

The new movie “Whiplash”. The thin line between obsession and abuse on the road to greatness. In music, the arts…sports.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 24, 2014
Andrew (Miles Teller) and his often demanding conductor, Terrence (J.K. Simmons) in a scene from the new film, "Whiplash." (Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics)

The new movie “Whiplash”. The thin line between obsession and abuse on the road to greatness. In music, the arts…sports.

 
Oct 24, 2014
Ottawa police officers, with Parliament Hill in the background, guard the area around the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa on Thursday. (Reuters/Landov)

Gunfire in Canada’s capital. Billionaire millions hit the midterms. Huge airbag recall. Ben Bradlee is dead. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Two: Why Is Election Day On A Tuesday?
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

The Explicast is back for another round. This time, we’re looking at Election Day, and why we all keep voting on a random Tuesday in early November.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: October 24, 2014
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

On comments, comment sections, and ROY G BIV.

More »
Comment
 
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 »
3 Comments