He’s not often associated with Charlie Chan these days, but for many Actor James Hong holds a special place in the detective’s career!
At 92-years young (February 22d) actor, voice actor, producer and director James Hong is to acting as Tony Bennett is to singing. He’s been around-the-block, easily recognized and has earned a plethora of awards and distinctions starring in over 600 television and film roles spanning 7 decades! You may have seen him in television series, such as: Sky King, Peter Gunn, Dragnet, The Californians, I Dream of Genie, Zorro, Perry Mason, Seinfeld, Friends, The Big Bang Theory, X-Files, Bones and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. And on the big screen or made-for-television films: Flower Drum Song, The Shadow, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Art of War, Chinatown, Big Trouble in Little China, The Golden Child, Mulan, The Kung Fu Panda films, The Perfect Weapon, and The last Sharknado: It’s About Time. The list goes on and you can view them all at IMDb–James Hong.
But for those entrenched in the world of Detective Charlie Chan, Mr. Hong has another claim to fame: He is the last living actor to portray a son (or daughter) of the fictional Detective in either a television series or film!
He starred in the role of Chan’s No.1 son, Barry, from 1957-1958 on the television series The New Adventures of Charlie Chan. The first five cuts of this 39-episode television series were shot in the U.S. Afterwards, production switched over to England for the remaining 34 episodes. In the series of adventures, Chan (played by J. Carroll Nash) and son (played by Mr. Hong) are on extended vacation traveling together throughout Europe. Want to know more about this series? Webmaster Rush Glick has dedicated an entire page on his website, with sub-pages for each episode. See dates, actors, synopsis, photos and more (even those lovable aphorisms) at: http://www.charliechan.info/id393.html.
Now I’m not one to boast, but my short lived acting career began (and ended) playing opposite Mr. Hong! If you happened to be among the 30-plus people, attending the 2-day Earl Derr Biggers’ birthday bash and events, August 22-23, 2010, Chinatown, Honolulu, HI, you would have experienced my debut. During the event Mr. Hong, who happened to be receiving an award and conducting an acting seminar in Honolulu, dropped in to help celebrate the author’s 126th birthday. The event was held at The Louis Pohl Art Gallery. A special treat, he did a reading from one of the “New Adventure” Chan shows. And he was joined by a young local Acting student and one each…me! I played the part of an Italian for the reading. See for yourself (below!)
So at the beginning of the reading, while using my best Italian accent, Mr. Hong stopped me and asked “what’s that?” I replied, “that’s Italian.” I can’t remember his exact response, but it was something like, “You’d better go back to taking lessons.” The crowd (of course) loved it! I’m sure he was just being facetious, playing up the audience–at least I believe he was? Still, that was my last performance on stage, in film or sitting in a folding chair reading opposite the famous Actor James Hong.
Mr. Hong is currently in the running for a “STAR” on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. If approved it will take place this April. We wish him the best for this very deserving award! Visit him at: https://www.jameshong.com/
HAPPY 92nd BIRTHDAY MR. HONG, from all your Charlie Chan fans!
“Princes have censors and fathers have sons”Charlie Chan, Keeper of The Keys (1932), Chapter 8
3 thoughts on “A special birthday wish to Charlie Chan Series Actor James Hong!”
Very enjoyable article! Loved learning about your [brief] acting career!
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AH, how I remember – and cherish that memory! – of that night! And, to James Hong, the last of the Number One Sons…HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
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