Haven’t we all brooded over a holiday season or two, deep with regret Author Earl Derr Biggers never got the chance to pen a Charlie Chan Christmas mystery? OK, perhaps that never topped your list of major heartbreaks, but it’s still a shame. I mean who doesn’t love a good holiday “who done it?” Good news! There was a Charlie Chan Christmas mystery, just not a book or film. It was produced for radio, circa 1946.
From 1932 to 1948, Charlie Chan was broadcast over the airwaves heard in different series on four networks (Blue, NBC, ABC, MBS.) Walter Connolly initially portrayed Chan as part of Esso Oil’s Five Star Theater (1932-48), which serialized adaptations of Biggers novels. And at NBC’s The Adventures of Charlie Chan, Ed Begley, Sr. had the title role (1944–45), followed by Santos Ortega (1947–48.) A Radio Life Magazine article described Ed Begley’s Chan as “a good radio match for Sidney Toler’s beloved film enactment.”
Want to own some of these broadcasts? A single episode either downloaded as MP3 or sent on CD costs $5.00, or purchase all 54 episodes on CD at $80.00: https://www.otrcat.com/p/charlie-chan. (P.S. you can download four free Chan broadcasts here including the Christmas episode–though they do ask for a donation of $5.)
But do not fret if your pockets are bare for Santa gave us Youtube! So this holiday of a chilly winter’s night, light the fireplace (or battery-operated candle), turn the lights down low (use the dimmer switch) and curl up around the radio (your laptop or smartphone) with a Hot Cocoa and listen to, The Adventures of Charlie Chan – The Man Who Murdered Santa Claus! (26:05 minutes)
"Buon Natale e felice Anno Nuovo"