Study: Miscellaneous (MC028)

The Honolulu Advertiser (reformatted), March 27, 2009 (Contributed by Steven Fredrick)

Now you can track Chan in Chinatown

Walking tour visits 31 sites with ties to fictional character

By Dave Dondoneau
TGIF Editor

Starting this Sunday, fans and historians can spend three hours hitting the pavement and playing detective in Chinatown with historian Steve Fredrick on his Charlie Chan Mystery Tour

Fredrick will lead participants to 31 sites that have a documented history associated with the fictional detective’s adventures. He will even take you to the Chinatown neighborhood of Honolulu policeman Chang Apana, who some historians believe inspired writer Earl Derr Biggers to create his Chan character.

“As a historian I pride myself as being as accurate as possible,” Fredrick said. “Out of 31 Charlie Chan-related sites that the tour visits, all are confirmed except for five locations. These five sites take us to within a building or two of the exact location.”

The premise behind Fredrick’s tour: The world-famous detective is missing, and nobody knows where he is. Your job is to hit the pavement with Fredrick and find out what’s happened to him. Cost is $35 per person, and you’d best bring sunblock and wear some good walking shoes.

“By means of a series of clues and historical notes, the tour guests visit the sites frequented by Chang Apana, Earl Derr Biggers, and the cast and crew of the movie ‘The Black Camel,’ ” Fredrick said. “It’s a two-mile walk through downtown Honolulu and the Aloha Marketplace.”

The tour visits the sites of former police stations, coffee shops, gambling houses, movie theaters, and the residence of Number One Son, Chan’s fictional first-born.

Chan has been one of the most memorable characters in detective history. However, the character also has been criticized over the years by some who considered it to foster and perpetuate offensive racial stereotypes.

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