Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distributed: Twentieth Century-Fox May 21, 1937
Produced: Late January to mid-February 1937
Copyright: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, May 21, 1937; LP7170
Length: 7 reels (6,400 feet)
Running Time: 71 minutes
Production Code Administration Certificate Number: 3090
Source: “Based on the character ‘Charlie Chan’ created by Earl Derr Biggers”
Director: H. Bruce Humberstone
Associate Producer: John Stone
Screenplay: Robert Ellis and Helen Logan
Original Story: Paul BurgerPhotography: Daniel B. Clark
Art Direction: Albert Hogsett
Art Direction Associate: Chester Gore
Assistant Director: Jasper Blystone
Film Editor: Fred Allen
Sound: E. Clayton Ward and Harry M. Leonard
Musical Direction: Samuel Kaylin
CAST (as credited):
Warner Oland: Charlie Chan
Katherine De Mille: Yvonne Roland
Pauline Moore: Betty Adams
Allan Lane: Richard [Dick] Masters
Keye Luke: Lee Chan
C. Henry Gordon: Arthur Hughes
John Eldredge: Cartwright
Layne Tom, Jr.: Charlie Chan, Jr.
Jonathan Hale: Hopkins
Morgan Wallace: Honorable Charles Zaraka
Fredrik Vogeding: Captain Strasser
Andrew Tombes: Police Chief [E.R.] Scott
Howard Hickman: Dr. Burton
UNCREDITED CAST (alphabetical):
Brooks Benedict: Henchman
Stanley Blystone: New York Police Officer
Walter Bonn: Berlin Police Radio Car Officer
Don Brody: Navy Radio Announcer
Frank Bruno: Footman
Glen Cavender: Berlin Police Radio Car Officer
George Chandler: Ship’s Radio Operator
Constant Franke: AttendantArno Frey: Carlos
Hans Fuerberg: Berlin Police Radio Officer
Theresa Harris: Black U.S.A. Olympic Athlete Cheering for Jesse Owens
O.G. “Dutch” Hendrian: Miller
Ben Hendricks: Coast Guard Officer
David Horsley: Edwards
Selmer Jackson: Navy Commander Wright
Hans Joby: Berlin Police Radio Car Officer
Edward Keane: Colonel Webster
Al Kikume: Honolulu Police Radio Officer
Tommy Klein: Page Boy
Phillip Morris: New York Police Officer
Virgil B. Nover: Sign Language Expert
Paul W. Panzer: Berlin Undercover Officer Posing as Snack Vendor
John Peters: Berlin Police Radio Officer
Caroline “Spike” Rankin: Honolulu Hotel Landlady
Ferdinand Schumann-Heink: Officer on the Hindenberg
Perry E. Seeley: Sign Language Expert
Lee Shumway: New York Teletype Division Police Officer
Minerva Urecal: Gang Member Posing as Olympics Dormitory Matron
Dale van Sickel
Emmett Vogan: Ship’s Radio Officer
William von Brincken: Berlin Police Officer Posted as a Guard
Billy Wayne: Ship’s Steward Guarding Stateroom
Luigi Beccali: Himself (1500 Meters Gold Medalist, Italy) (archive footage)
Glenn Cunningham: Himself (1500 Meters Silver Medalist, U.S.A.) (archive footage)
Foy Draper: Himself (Third U.S.A. 4×100 Meter Relay Team Member) (archive footage)
John Lovelock: Himself (1500 Meters Gold Medalist, New Zealand) (archive footage)
Ralph Metcalfe: Himself (Second U.S.A. 4×100 Meter Relay Team Member) (archive footage)
Earle Meadows: “Richard Masters” Pole Vaulting (archive footage)
Jesse Owens: Himself (First U.S.A. 4×100 Meter Relay Team Member) (archive footage)
Fritz Schilgen: Himself (Olympic Torch Runner) (archive footage)
Frank Wycoff: Himself (Fourth U.S.A. 4×100 Meter Relay Team Member) (archive footage)
A pilot, who is testing a device that allows his plane to be guided by remote control, is overcome by an assailant who has stowed away aboard the aircraft. The plane, containing the valuable device is then hijacked.
Charlie Chan comes on the case after he and his young son, Charlie Chan, Jr. discover the missing plane on a deserted Hawaiian beach. The device, which could bring a fortune if sold to a foreign power, is missing, and Chan locates the body of the test pilot who had been murdered. Later, the body of the test pilot’s murderer, Miller, is also discovered.
It is determined that the person in possession of the device has left Honolulu for the mainland and has probably headed for the city of Berlin, Germany. There, the Olympic Games, with its vast international audience would provide ample cover for those involved in foreign intrigue. In a race to arrive in Germany before the possessor of the stolen device, Chan, Hopkins, the stolen airplane’s owner, and Cartwright, the inventor of the remote control device, take the dirigible, Hindenburg. Aboard the ocean liner Manhattan, which is carrying the U.S. Olympic team, is Charlie Chan’s son Lee who is a member of the swimming team. Also aboard the ship are a number of suspects in this case including Dick Masters, pole-vaulter and test pilot who did not fly the Hopkins plane on the day of its theft due to an injured shoulder, Yvonne Roland, who had visited Miller’s hotel room, and Arthur Hughes, a notorious arms dealer who had hoped to buy the Cartwright device.
In Berlin, Chan finds the missing device hidden in a box in the luggage belonging to Master’s girlfriend Betty Adams, a member of the U.S. women’s team. He quickly substitutes a book for the device, returning the box to Hopkins.
Later, when Hopkins disappears, Cartwright tells Chan and the authorities that Hughes had accused Hopkins of a double-cross and had threatened to expose the latter’s plans to sell the device to a foreign government and that Hughes had fled with the box containing the device. Suspicion now falls on Masters because the box was found among Betty’s belongings and due to the fact that he was on the ship with Yvonne Roland.
Roland, however, takes the box, still unopened, to the residence of a foreign diplomat, the Honorable Charles Zaraka. The contents of the box turns out to be an English-German dictionary issued by the Olympic Committee. Charlie Chan is immediately suspected of the deception.
During the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, Lee Chan is kidnapped. Following the instructions of Lee’s abductors, Chan brings the device, which had been substituted for a copy containing a radio transmitter. Appearing at an agreed-upon location, he is taken to Zaraka’s residence. When asked by Zaraka to inspect the device, Hughes declares that it is indeed the real thing.
As Chan and his son are reunited, Zaraka states that he can afford to leave no witnesses. At this moment, Hughes arrives with his thugs who quickly overcome Zaraka’s men, and the device is found to be a phony.
As the Berlin police arrive on the scene, the sound of a gunshot is heard, and Hopkins lies wounded and unconscious on the floor. Chan proves that it was Cartwright who shot Hopkins and that he was also the murderer of Miller back in Honolulu. He had also made it appear that Hopkins had stolen the device.
Sometime later, after Lee wins the 100-meter swimming race, his proud father reveals a paddle similar to that which he had used to train his son as a swimmer years ago, stating, “Was prepared for emergency!”
NOTE: This film contains newsreel footage of the dirigible Hindenburg which exploded only two weeks before the release of Charlie Chan at the Olympics, as well as several highlights of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, including a sequence featuring American runner Jesse Owens participating in the 4×100 relay. John Carradine is listed as a cast member in Hollywood Reporter production charts, but his participation in the final film has not been confirmed.
Adapted from: AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE CATALOG – Within Our Gates: Ethnicity in American Feature Films, 1911-1960
CHARLIE CHAN’S APHORISMS
Good fisherman, like clever merchant, know lure of bright colors.
Would be greatest blessing if all war fought with machinery instead of human beings.
Fish in sea like flea on dog – always present, but difficult to catch.
Truth, like football – receive many kicks before reaching goal.
Race not always won by man who start first.
Good hunter never warn tiger of trap.
Useless to sprinkle salt on tail of time.
Modesty most commendable.
All play and no work make Charlie Chan very dull policeman.
Last step ease toil of most difficult journey.
Hasty accusation like long shot on horse race – odds good, but chance is doubtful.
When all players hold suspicious cards, good idea to have joker up sleeve.
Envelope, like skin of banana, must be removed to digest contents.
Have never met Santa Claus…yet accept gift from same.
Could not be more clear if magnified by two hundred inch telescope.
Players sometime disregard even most expert coaching from sidelines.
Ancient Chinese philosopher say, “Hope is sunshine which illuminate darkest path.”
Wise philosopher once say, “Only foolish man will not acknowledge defeat.”
Better for Oriental to lose life than to lose face.
Perhaps good idea not to accept gold medal until race is won.
OTHER WORTHY STATEMENTS:
If son Lee win 100 meter swimming race, chest expand two inches more. (To Dr. Burton during his annual physical exam)
(Dr. Burton: “What [fishing] line do you prefer, Charlie?”) Oh, just piece of string with hook on one end – optimist on other.
This time fish hunt, not man hunt. (To Dr. Burton and Chief Scott regarding his planned fishing trip with son Charlie, Jr.)
Remarkable achievement of science – body perform work while brain detached. (Regarding the radio-controlled plane overhead)
Evident bird of fine plumage escape sharp eye of eagle. (To the landlady of the Tropic Hotel)
Mr. Hughes now become mysterious needle in hay pile. (To Chief Scott with regard to Hughes’ disappearance)
Suspect recent activities of swimming cause water on brain. (To Lee due to his mentioning his theory about a lady wearing a white fox fur)
Suspect husband, like toupee on bald head, used for cover-up. (To Lee regarding the “husband” who had sent a radiogram to Yvonne Roland)
Humble parent seem to have fortunate fate of cat with nine lives. (To Lee following an attempt on Chan’s life)
Important lesson for good detective: When all players hold suspicious cards, good idea to have joker up sleeve. (To Lee)
(Lee: “Zaraka? You’ve never met him.”) Have never met Santa Claus either, yet accept gift from same. (After mysteriously receiving a box seat ticket to the Olympic Games opening ceremonies from Zaraka)
Danger, like red light on end of moving train, now safely past. (To Lee)
LEE CHAN’S “CHANISMS”:
As my Pop would say, “Man who stretch neck looking up very apt to break neck falling down,” or something like that.
As my Pop would say, “When a woman play with fire, man get burned,” or something like that.
As my Pop would say, “Sugar catch more flies than hamburger steak,” or something like that.
As my Pop would say, “Don’t rub sore finger with sandpaper.”
Variety, May 26, 1937
Another of those elaborately complex detective yarns in which the inscrutable Charlie Chan, with his customary finesse and Oriental adages, outwits a powerful ring of international spies. This time it is a robot airplane piloting gadget with which the film plays hide-and-seek. Action swings all the way from Honolulu to the Olympic Games in Berlin.
Chan, with a party of U.S. Navy officials, tracks the foreign agents by clipper ship, airliner and finally, the ill-fated ‘Hindenburg,’ to the games in Germany. In his sleuthing he is aided, by his No. 1 Son, Lee Chan, a member of the American swimming team.
In Berlin, the invaluable gadget is recovered, only to be temporarily lost again in a series of fairly exciting incidents. It had been hidden in the luggage of a girl member of the American squad on shipboard and Chan has quite a time tracking it down and uncovering the real villain. Needless to say, the actual head culprit is disclosed to be the least-suspected member of the films cast.
Oland is his customary bland, unruffled self in his portrayal of the noted Chinese-American detective. This is the 14th film in a seemingly endless series and provides lively entertainment in its stylized way. C. Henry Gordon and Katherine deMille play the leaders of the spy ring in effective fashion. Slight thread of romance is furnished nicely enough by Pauline Moore and Allen Lane and some helpful assistance is rendered by John Eldredge, Jonathan Hale, Keye Luke, Morgan Wallace and Andrew Tombes. Layne Tom, Jr. as Chan’s youngest son, is a bright youngster, and Fredrik Vogeding is amusing as the Berlin chief of police.
Newsreel shots of the Olympic Games are effectively blended into the action by Director H. Bruce Humberstone, whose work is expert throughout. Photography and production are of a high grade.y
PROBABLE DATES: July 14 – early August 1936. In describing how the missing experimental airplane could have safely landed on the deserted beach where it was discovered days after its disappearance, Charlie Chan states: “…lowest tide of season was Tuesday at 11 a.m. Half hour earlier, same day, plane disappear from Honolulu.” Based on this information as well as the time cards, pictured below, the Hopkins plane disappeared at 10:30 on the morning of Tuesday, July 14, 1936. The S.S. Manhattan, the ship which carried the U.S. Olympic team (including Lee Chan, Dick Masters, and Betty Adams) as well as Yvonne Roland, and Arthur Hughes, departed New York City on July 15, arriving at Bremerhaven, Germany on July 24. To make the Manhattan’s departure would have required those who left Honolulu via the Pan American “Clipper” to make a very fast trip to New York from the mainland’s west coast. They could have, supposedly, caught the vessel at Sandy Hook, as was noted by the police radio broadcast, also included below.
DURATION: About two weeks
LOCATIONS: Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, Bremerhaven Germany, and Berlin, Germany and environs.
ACCORDING TO CHARLIE CHAN, THE EVENT AT THE UPCOMING BERLIN OLYMPIC GAMES IN WHICH HIS SON, LEE, WOULD PARTICIPATE: “…100 meter swimming race.”
THE NAME OF THE FISHING LURE OFFERED TO CHARLIE CHAN BY CHIEF SCOTT: “Waikiki Spinner”
THE WORDING ON THE CALENDAR IN CHARLIE CHAN’S OFFICE: “NYK Line” (Nippon Yusen Kaisha)
CHARLIE CHAN’S OFFICE NUMBER: 210
THE TITLE OF THE BOOK BROUGHT BY CHARLIE CHAN. JR.: “The Fisherman’s Guide”
CHARLIE CHAN’S “MISTAKEN” REFERENCE TO CHARLIE CHAN, JR.: “…Number Two Son…”
THE ALTITUDE GIVEN BY TEST PILOT EDWARDS: “…3,000 (feet) altitude.”
ACCORDING TO HOPKINS, THE OPERATING RADIUS OF THE CARTWRIGHT REMOTE CONTROL DEVICE: “It’s undetermined.”
THE INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN THE TO THE REMOTE CONTROLLER OF THE AIRPLANE BY THE COLONEL IN CHARGE OF THE TEST: “Take her to 6,000 feet and bank while climbing.”
THE REGISTRATION NUMBER OF THE HOPKINS PLANE: NC203R
THE TAKE-OFF POINT OF THE HOPKINS PLANE: Pearl Harbor
THE HONOLULU CITIZEN FRONT PAGE HEADLINE WITH SUPERIMPOSED IMAGERY:
THE HONOLULU POST-DISPATCH FRONT PAGE HEADLINE WITH SUPERIMPOSED IMAGERY:
THE HONOLULU POST-DISPATCH STORYLINE:
“Bold Theft of Valuable
War Plane Shocks Officials”
THE HONOLULU DAILY COURIER FRONT PAGE HEADLINE WITH SUPERIMPOSED IMAGERY:
THE HONOLULU DAILY COURIER STORYLINE:
“Military and Naval
THE NUMBER SHOWN ON THE NAVAL SEARCH VESSEL SEEN SUPERIMPOSED OVER THE HONOLULU COURIER FRONT PAGE: 345
THE IDENTITY OF THE NAVAL SEARCH VESSEL: U.S.S. Preble (DD-345)
THE RADIO FREQUENCY OF THE STATION PLAYING ON CHARLIE CHAN’S CAR RADIO: 90
THE TIME, DAY, AND PROBABLE DATE WHEN THE HOPKINS PLANE WITH THE EXPERIMENTAL CARTWRIGHT DEVICE WAS STOLEN: About 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, July 14
ACCORDING TO THE FISHERMAN’S GUIDEBOOK, THE LOWEST TIDE OF THE SEASON: 11:00 a.m., Tuesday (July 14)
THE DAY WHEN CHARLIE CHAN AND CHARLIE CHAN, JR. DISCOVER THE LOST PLANE: Thursday morning (July 16), 48 hours after the plane’s disappearance.
THE PARTIAL TIMECARDS OF WALLACE AIMES AND E. MILLER:
THE PARTIAL ADDRESS OF WALLACE AIMES (FROM TIME CARD NUMBER 203): 136 Waikiki…
THE ADDRESS OF E. MILLER (FROM TIME CARD NUMBER 432): Tropic Hotel
THE DAY AND TIME WHEN CHARLIE CHAN VISITS THE OFFICE AT HOPKINS’ AIRCRAFT COMPANY: About 9:25 a.m., Sunday (July 19)
ACCORDING TO THE LANDLADY OF THE TROPIC HOTEL, THE TIME AS MILLER TELEPHONED THE ROYAL HAWAIIAN HOTEL: “…about eight o’clock (p.m.).” (Tuesday, July 14)
CHIEF SCOTT’S OFFICE NUMBER: 216
ACCORDING TO CHIEF SCOTT, THE DEPARTURE DAY AND TIME OF THE PAN AMERICAN AIRLINES CLIPPER FROM HONOLULU TO SAN FRANCISCO: “The Clipper left here Wednesday [July 15] at two o’clock.”
THE PARTIAL PASSENGER LIST OF THAT CLIPPER FLIGHT:
ACCORDING TO CARTWRIGHT, THE PERSON MILLER TELEPHONED AND WHEN HE CALLED: “Eight o’clock Tuesday night, Miller called me.”
ACCORDING TO CARTWRIGHT, THE REASON THAT MILLER HAD CALLED HIM: “His return ticket to Los Angeles.”
CARTWRIGHT’S DESCRIPTION OF HUGHES: “He’s a notorious filibuster…”
THE PERSONS WHO WERE STAYING AT THE ROYAL HAWAIIAN HOTEL:
THE DAY WHEN MILLER’S BODY WAS FOUND AT TROPIC HOTEL: Sunday (July 26)
THE POLICE RADIO STATION SENDING INFORMATION TO HONOLULU POLICE: “KGPD”
THE INFORMATION RELAYED BY SAN FRANCISCO POLICE VIA SHORT WAVE RADIO:
“San Francisco Police – reporting tracer on Richard Masters and Yvonne Roland: Both left Oakland airport 9:30 Thursday morning on trans-continental plane for New York. Regarding later request on Arthur Hughes: This passenger removed to emergency hospital under influence of powerful drug. Recovered sufficiently to leave hospital in two hours. Destination as yet unknown. That is all.”
THE INFORMATION RELAYED BY NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT TELETYPE DIVISION TO HONOLULU POLICE (RECEIVED AT 8:58 P.M.):
“San Francisco Police reporting tracer from New York on Masters and Roland: Both sailed on steamship Manhattan for Berlin. Both left New York 11 o’clock tonight. Regarding other inquirey: Arthur Hughes had reservation on same vessel, but missed sailing. Followed in tug to Sandy Hook and boarded ship there. That is all.”
ACCORDING TO CHIEF SCOTT, THE NUMBER OF DAYS SCHEDULED FOR THE MANHATTAN TO SAIL TO HAMBURG: “Their boat docks in Hamburg in seven days.”
CHARLIE CHAN’S PLANNED TRAVEL SCHEDULE TO OVERTAKE THE MANHATTAN TO HAMBURG, GERMANY:
“Honolulu – 18 hours to mainland (aboard the Pan-American “Clipper”).
Then trans-continental plane from San Francisco – 13 hours across country to New York. Take zeppelin Hindenburg from Lakehurst, New Jersey – across Atlantic Ocean to Fredrickhaven, 61 hours.” (tTotal travel time: 92 hours)
THE TRAVEL CLASS OF THE U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM ABOARD THE MANHATTAN: Second class
THE RADIOGRAM RECEIVED BY YVONNE ROLAND ABOARD THE MANHATTAN:
THE DATE AND TIME RECEIVED FOR THE RADIOGRAM: July 29, 1936, 8 a.m.
FROM THE ABOVE INFORMATION, THE DATE AS THE HINDENBURG PASSED THE MANHATTAN: July 29
THE MANHATTAN AS SEEN FROM THE HINDENBURG:
THE OLYMPIC VENUE SEEN FROM THE HINDENBURG AS IT FLEW OVER THE SITE OF THE BERLIN OLYMPIC GAMES: Olympic Stadium
OLYMPIC STADIUM AS SEEN FROM THE HINDENBURG:
YVONNE ROLAND’S CABIN NUMBER ABOARD THE MANHATTAN: A – 91
ACCORDING TO THE MANHATTAN‘S CAPTAIN, THE TIME YVONNE ROLAND WAS LAST SEEN:
“…shortly before midnight.”
THE TIME ON THE BROKEN CLOCK IN YVONNE ROLAND’S CABIN AS STATED BY CAPTAIN STRASSER: “…precisely 17 minutes after 12.” (12:17 a.m.)
ACCORDING TO THE SHIP’S CAPTAIN, THE POSITION OF THE MANHATTAN AT 12:17 A.M.: “About 20 miles off the mouth of the Elbe River. We were proceeding slowly in a heavy fog.”
THE NUMBER ON THE ENGINE OF THE TRAIN TAKEN BY CHARLIE CHAN AND SON LEE TO BERLIN: 74 1204
CHARLIE CHAN’S SOLUTION TO THE SECRET MESSAGE CONTAINED IN YVONNE ROLAND’S RADIOGRAM: (Charlie Chan: “Read every fourth word.”) “YOUR – FOLLOWED – BOAT – WAITING – CUXHAVEN”
THE BERLIN DORMITORY ROOM NUMBER FOR BETTY ADAMS AND HER GROUP: B – 15
THE NAME OF THE MAN WHO WAS ASKED BY ZARAKA TO “EXAMINE” THE CONTENTS OF THE BOX DELIVERED BY YVONNE ROLAND: Carlos
THE LOCATION AT THE OLYMPIC STADIUM WHERE CHARLIE CHAN WAITED FOR THE HONORABLE CHARLES ZARAKA: Box 22
THE TEXT OF THE NOTE ACCOMPANYING THE TICKET TO THE OPENING OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES SENT TO CHARLIE CHAN BY THE HONORABLE CHARLES ZARAKA, AS READ BY CHARLIE CHAN:
“His excellency, the Honorable Charles Zaraka, requests the pleasure of Mr. Chan’s company at the opening of the Olympic Games.”
THE DATE OF THE OPENING OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES ATTENDED BY CHARLIE CHAN: Saturday, August 1 (12 noon)
THE CONVERSATION WITH CHARLIE CHAN AS WRITTEN BY THE LIP-READER’S HELPER:
THE TIME SHOWN ON THE CLOCK IN CHARLIE CHAN’S HOTEL ROOM: 11:29 p.m.
ACCORDING TO CHARLIE CHAN, THE AMOUNT OF TIME UNTIL HE WOULD BE IN CONTACT WITH HIS SON LEE’S CAPTORS: “Eleven more hours…”
BASED ON THE ABOVE INFORMATION, THE TIME THAN CHARLIE CHAN WOULD BE MEETING WITH HIS SON’S CAPTORS AT THE OLYMPIC STADIUM: 10:30 the next morning
THE TEXT OF THE NOTE WRAPPED AROUND A STONE AND TOSSED THROUGH CHARLIE CHAN’S HOTEL WINDOW, AS READ BY CHARLIE CHAN:
“If you wish news of your
son, be in your same seat
in the Olympic Stadium
tomorrow, alone and unguarded.”
THE RESULTS OF THE 1500-METER RACE WATCHED BY CHARLIE CHAN:
Winner: Jack Lovelock, New Zealand, 3:47.8
Second: Jack Cunningham, USA, 3:48.4
Third: Luigi Becalli, Italy, 3:49.2
THE RESULT OF THE 4 X 100 RELAY WATCHED BY CHARLIE CHAN: Winner: USA, 39.8 seconds (with Jesse Owens as one of the runners)
ACCORDING TO THE OLYMPIC STADIUM ANNOUNCER, “DICK” MASTERS’ MARK IN THE POLE VAULT: “…14 feet and 2 inches on his second try.”
THE NOTE RECEIVED BY CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OLYMPIC STADIUM:
THE LOCATION WHERE CHARLIE CHAN WAS TO BE AT SIX O’CLOCK IN THE EVENING: The Brandenburg Arch
THE TIME SHOWN ON THE CLOCK AT THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE BERLIN POLICE: 5:45 p.m.
THE FIRST TRIANGULATION DIRECTION (GIVEN BY CAR 37): “North by northeast, two points east.”
THE POLICE CAR CALLED BY CAR 37: BP 41THE RADIO MESSAGE SENT BY CAR B41: “Calling all cars areas D and F…”
THE SECOND TRIANGULATION DIRECTION (GIVEN BY CAR 46): “West by southwest, six points south.”
THE THIRD TRIANGULATION DIRECTION (GIVEN BY CAR 49): “South by southeast, one point south.”
THE LOCATION OF THE TRANSMITTER AS DETERMINED BY THE BERLIN POLICE: “…Area D, Block 21.”
THE UNFINISHED TEXT OF THE INTENDED CABLEGRAM MESSAGE WRITTEN BY HOPKINS BEFORE HE WAS ATTACKED:
LEE CHAN’S LANE NUMBER DURING HIS SWIMMING RACE: 3
banjo-eyed – (As used) Large-eyed.
Betty Adams: “Just because that banjo-eyed brunette looks at you…”
big noise – (Idiom) An important person.
Charlie Chan: “Letter apparently from big noise…”
block – (Slang) The human head.
Betty Adams: “…now he’s going after him to knock his block off.”
Brandenburg Arch (Brandenburg Gate) – Located on the Pariser Platz, the Brandenburg Gate is the only remaining one of the series of gates through which one entered Berlin. One block to its north lies the Reichstag. It was commissioned by Friedrich Wilhelm II as a sign of peace and built by Karl Gotthard Langhans from 1788 to 1791.
Text of a note sent to Charlie Chan: “Be at the Brandenburg Arch at six o’clock with the device.”
Clipper (Pan American World Airways Clipper) – On November 11, 1935, Pan American Airway’s China Clipper, a Martin M-130 flying boat, made the first transpacific airmail flight from San Francisco to Honolulu, Midway Island, Wake Island, Guam, and Manila in the Philippines.
The China Clipper was the largest flying boat ever and gave passengers the opportunity to fly in airborne luxury. The Clipper had a spacious lounge that was wider than a Pullman club car. In the lounge, passengers could sit in broad armchairs, and they could dine on food served on china.
Following the route pioneered by Captain Musick, Pan American World Airways Clippers flew on a schedule of stops that stretched from San Francisco to Manila. Hong Kong was soon added as the final leg of a journey that would allow passengers to fly all the way from the U.S. mainland to China.
Although the Clippers were each named for their destinations, that is, “Hawaii,” “Philippine,” and “China,” they were commonly referred to as “China Clippers.” The China Clipper cruised at about 160 miles per hour and had a range of 3,200 miles. Later models that were added to the Clipper fleet could cruise at just over 180 miles per hour at a range of about 3,500 miles. A flight between San Francisco and Honolulu cost passengers a hefty $720 and would take between 18 and 20 hours, flying at an altitude of about 8,000 feet.
Regular Clipper service between Honolulu and the mainland continued throughout the 1930s and into the start of the next decade until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Charlie Chan made fairly regular use of the Clipper route between Honolulu and San Francisco, flying on the plane to the mainland in Charlie Chan’s Secret, Charlie Chan at the Olympics, Charlie Chan in Reno, and Charlie Chan at Treasure Island.
Hopkins: “The Clipper left here Wednesday at two o’clock.”
dope – (Slang) Information.
New York Police Teletype Officer: “Here comes the dope on that Honolulu tracer.”
filibuster – An adventurer who engages in a private military action in a foreign country.Hopkins: “He’s a notorious filibuster…”
finger wave – A wave set into dampened hair using only the fingers and a comb.
Female Olympic Athlete: “Say, I wonder how you ask for a finger wave in German?”
Friedrichshafen – A city in southern Germany on the Lake of Constance. The Zeppelin aircraft works were located here and provided the operations facility for transatlantic zeppelins such as the Hindenburg.
Charlie Chan: “Accross Atlantic Ocen to Friedrichshafen…”
goof – (Informal) A stupid or foolish person.
Betty Adams: “Oh, that poor goof.”
Hamburg – A city in northern Germany on the Elbe River northeast of Bremen. Hamburg is a major port and financial, industrial, and cultural center.
Police Chief E.R. Scott: “Their boat docks in Hamburg in seven days.”
Hindenburg – At 803.8 feet in length and 135.1 feet in diameter, the German passenger airship Hindenburg was the largest aircraft ever to fly. The commercial flights of Hindenburg, along with Graf Zeppelin, pioneered the first transatlantic air service. She carried hundreds of passengers and traveled thousands of miles before being destroyed in a tragic explosion and fire on May 6, 1937 at Lakehurst, New Jersey.
Charlie Chan: “Take zeppelin Hindenburg from Lakehurst, New Jersey.”
Jesse (Jesse Owens) (1913-1980) – A black athlete from the United States, Jesse Owens was the star of the 1936 Olympic Games, which began on August 1 and lasted for two weeks. Owens, called the “Tan Cyclone,” won four gold medals: the 100-meter dash, the long jump (set an Olympic record), the 200-meter sprint around a turn (set a world record), and part of the team for the 400-meter relay, a race which can be seen in Charlie Chan at the Olympics.
Betty Adams: “Come on, Jesse, open up that lead!”
KGPD – The broadcasting station of the San Francisco Police. This station began broadcasting on May 5, 1932.
Honolulu Police Radio Operator: “KGPD coming in.”
Lakehusrt, New Jersey – A borough of east-central New Jersey south of Freehold. The dirigible Hindenburg was destroyed by fire at the naval air station there on May 6, 1937.
Charlie Chan: “Take zeppelin Hindenburg from Lakehurst, New Jersey.”
Lovelock (John Lovelock) (1910-1949) – Olympic runner representing New Zealand at the 1939 Olympic Games in Berlin who won the 1500 meter race at a time of 3:47.8. This race and the awards ceremony can be seen in Charlie Chan at the Olympics. The second-place finisher was Jack Cunningham (USA) with a time of 3:48.4, and third place went to Luigi Becalli of Italy (3:49.2).
Olympic Stadium Announcer: “1500 meter mile won by Lovelock, New Zealand…”
mug – (Informal) (1) The human face. (2) A thug or hoodlum. (3) A gullible person; one who is easily taken advantage of.
Betty Adams: “Oh, ya big mug!”
pin – (Slang) To attribute a crime to someone.
Arthur Hughes: You can’t pin that shooting on me!”
Royal Hawaiian (Royal Hawaiian Hotel) – The Royal Hawaiian Hotel, which opened on February 1, 1927, was built by the Matson Navigation Company at a cost of $4 million. Constructed on 15 acres of beautiful Waikiki beach frontage, the luxurious pink Moorish-style hotel was promoted worldwide as a premier visitor destination. The romance that had made Waikiki so attractive in the past contributed to ensuring that the “Pink Palace” was a favorite of both visitors and local residents, which it has remained for decades.
Police Chief Scott: “Then, the call Miller made to the Royal Hawaiian…”
smooth as silk – (Idiom) Lacking impediments or obstacles, flawless.
Edwards: “Smooth as silk, Mr. Cartwright.”
sock – To hit or strike forcefully; punch.
Lee Chan: “…if I have to sock Hopkins myself.”
steamed up – (Idiom) Excited.
Chief Scott: “Well, son, what are you all steamed up about.”
talking through your hat – (Idiom) To be talking about a subject as if one knows a lot about it when in fact they know very little.
Dr. Burton: “Oh, you’re talking through your hat.”
tracer – An investigation or inquiry organized to trace missing goods or persons.
San Francisco Police Department Radio Officer: “San Francisco Police – reporting tracer on Richard Masters and Yvonne Roland…”
200-inch telescope – At the time of Charlie Chan at the Olympics, the proposed 200-inch telescope that was to sit atop Mount Palomar in San Diego County in California was still in the early preparatory stages. Daunting work to precisely grind the 200-inch mirror for the telescope began in the mid-1930s, and the working telescope itself was not completed until 1949. Evidently, the prospect of peering deeply into the universe by means of this telescope was, for those alive during Charlie Chan’s time, something much akin to how we, today, consider the orbiting Hubble telescope.
Charlie Chan: “Could not be more clear if seen through 200-inch telescope.”
zeppelin – A rigid airship having a long cylindrical body supported by an internal gas cell. Named after Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, the German designer, and builder, of the first successful airships.
Charlie Chan: “Take zeppelin Hindenburg from Lakehurst, New Jersey.”
For a complete glossary list from all films, please visit our Charlie Chan Glossary.