This month marks fifty years of The Amazing Chan and The Chan Clan; sixteen cartoon episodes that first aired on television from September 9th – December 30th, 1972. Reruns continued through the summer of 1973 and syndication from 1976 to 1982.
If you’ve never seen the cartoon, a Hanna-Barbera Production, basically Detective Charlie Chan is helped (and hindered) on investigations by his ten children and dog Chu Chu. They travel around the world usually chasing master criminals in the Chan Van, which amazingly can transform it’s shape thanks to genius son Alan Chan. If you’ve got a minute click this link to watch the Intro: Theme Song (OK, it’s actually 1:01 minutes.)
According to TV Guide Magazine you can still watch the cartoon series! Stream it through Amazon or Google Play, and at TVguide.com you can set your cable or satellite provider to find out when it airs on local stations! You’re probably familiar with three of the voice over actors, who went on to achieved marked success:
- The cartoon voice of Detective Charlie Chan was portrayed by none other than veteran Hollywood film star Keye Luke. Chan fans will recognize Mr. Luke as son Henry Chan in eleven Chan films, co-starring opposite Actors Warner Oland and Roland Winters as the Detective. With 230 acting credits in film and TV, he is probably best remembered for portraying Grasshopper’s teacher “Master Po” in 48 episodes of the television series Kung Fu.
- Another young actress Jodie Foster portrayed the voice of daughter Anne Chan. Ms. Foster, with 82 acting, 10 directing and 9 producing credits, went on to win numerous awards (some 66 in all) including four Academy Award nominations with two wins for best actress in The Accused (1989) and The Silence of The Lambs (1992.)
- And a favorite (of mine) Actor Robert Ito voiced Chan’s son Henry Chan. Mr. Ito has over 140 acting credit in TV and film: I Spy, It Takes a Thief, Kojak, Kung Fu, Mannix, Magnum P.I., Star Trek Voyager and Next Generation Series, The Terminal Man (1974), Rollerball (1975) and Buckeroo Banzai Across The 8th Demension (1984). However, he is probably most remembered as the assistant medical examiner to Jack Klugman in 148 episodes of the long running TV series Quincy M.E. (1976-83.)
I’d be remiss not to mention the other eight actors, some who went on to star in many voice and acting roles in television and film: Gene Andrusco (Flip Chan), John Gunn (Tom Chan), Beverly Kushida (Nancy Chan), Cherylene Lee (Mimi Chan), Michael Morgan (Scooter Chan), Brian Tochi (Alan Chan), Lennie Weinrib (Stanley Chan) and lastly, this “nod of the panama hat” to Don Messick (Chu Chu The Dog), one of the most successful voice artist ever:
- Mr. Don Messick became a legendary voice actor who started out wanting to be a ventriloquist. With 240 voice credit it’s doubtful you’ve never heard him voice a character in a television or film cartoon: The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest (Dr. Benton Quest), The Flinstones (Bam Bam), Droopy: Master Detective (Droopy), Garfield and friends (voices), Scooby Do (Scooby Do and others), The Smurfs (Papa Smurf), Various Yogi Bear series (Boo Boo Bear), The Jetsons (Astro), The Transformers TV Series (Ratchet), Heathcliff (Mr. Post), Josie and The Pussycats in Outter Space (Bleep and Sebastian), The Huckleberry Hound Show (Pixie), Space Ghost (Blib, Bronto & Zorak.) And films like Jack Frost (Snip) and Charlette’s Web (Jeffrey, Lamb, Uncle, and Spectators.) OK, you get the idea. To relive your childhood watch, Many Voices of DON MESSICK.)
Now I’m afraid we’ve a bit of a sticky-wicket here! In my July 1st, 2021 post, Move Over Pop! I got a Star on Hollywood, too, I reported Actor James Hong recently joined “only two other” Chan family actors to receive a Star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame: the others being Keye Luke and J. Carroll Naish. But since Jodie Foster voiced cartoon daughter Anne Chan, and also has a Star on Hollywood, does she fit into the mix? To quote Detective Hercule Poirot in the finale of Murder on The Orient Express…”though I confess, I am in two minds!” So mon ami, you decide for yourself.
“Success–what is it? A bubble that explodes when touched by human hands”The Black Camel, 1929, Chapter 23