Friday, May 21, 2021

Asians Out West / Captain's Theatre LONE RANGER "Chinese Gold"

Yesterday, we presented a never-reprinted Lone Ranger comic story...
...which was adapted from an episode of the long-running radio series!
The Lone Ranger character is famous for promoting tolerance of others, belief in equal rights for all, and constantly-reiterating the concept that no matter what our race, religion, ethnicity, or even pizza-eating preference, we are all Americans!
The radio episode, titled "Chinese Gold" aired March 31, 1952.
Here it is in all it's glory.
Note: commercials have been edited out, replaced by longer versions of "William Tell Overture" (of course) and "Les Preludes" (best remembered as the main theme for the movie serial Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe!)...

The comic story appeared in Dell's Lone Ranger #70 (1954)
Note: while many radio episodes were adapted into the Lone Ranger TV series, this episode wasn't.
I'd like to think it was because, with the large groups of characters, the syndicated television series' budget couldn't afford to hire all the cast and extras needed for the tale.
BTW, I was serious about the pizza-eating preferences...

Yes, that's Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels!
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Monday, May 10, 2021

Captain's Theatre: Asian Avengers AMAZING CHAN AND THE CHAN CLAN

What was the connection between the animated Amazing Chan and the 1940s Charlie Chan films?
Keye Luke, who was the voice of Charlie in the cartoon also played "Number One Son" Lee Chan in eight films of the 1930a/40s series!
When Warner Oland (seen above with Luke) died, Luke left the series.
His character wasn't recast, but replaced by "Number Two Son" Jimmy Chan and "Number Three Son" Tommy Chan!
Luke returned for the final two films, playing opposite Roland Winters as Charlie...despite the fact Roland was two years younger then Keye!
As for "The Case of the Missing Chan Child": Only Tommy, out of all the named Chan movie siblings is part of the Chan family in the cartoon, and he's a totally-different personality than the movie kid!
In an example of Six Degrees of Pop Culture Separation, Keye was also the original on-screen Kato in the two 1940s Green Hornet movie serials!
A constant guest star on TV of the 1950s and 60s (including Star Trek), he had ongoing voice roles on several other cartoons including Space Ghost (Brak) and Battle of the Planets (Zoltar)!
To Baby Boomers, though, he'll always be remembered as blind monk Master Po who trained Kwai Chang Caine (David Carradine) in the 1970s TV series Kung Fu and appeared in flashbacks in almost every episode to impart wisdom to his ex-student, who would then use it to kick butt!
What's the connection between Amazing Chan, The Archies and The Amazing Spider-Man?
A singer/musician named Ron Dante!
The kids in Amazing Chan were also musicians, with the older kids performing a song in every episode as the "Chan Clan"!

Ron Dante supplied the lead singer's voice, just as he did on The Archies cartoons!
Dante was also the lead singer on the Amazing Spider-Man lp album/cassette From Beyond the Grave (1972), which we posted HERE!
And, finally, "Who was the Amazing Chan voice performer who won an Academy Award?"
Jodie Foster, who voiced tomboy Anne Chan!
Politically-Correct Note: Initially, the entire Chan family were voiced by Asian-American performers, but most of the youngsters had thick accents and their roles were recast with a mix of more experienced Asian-Americans and a couple of white performers, including Foster.
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Friday, May 7, 2021

Captain's Library & Theatre: Asian Avengers AMAZING CHAN AND THE CHAN CLAN "Hot Ice Cream Man" Conclusion

...visiting a museum, legendary detective Charlie Chan and his family become witnesses to a baffling robbery of jewels from an exhibit.
When a ransom note demands $100,000 for the jewels' return, Lord Buckley hires Charlie to lay a trap at the ransom drop-off.
The impetuous kids want to help their dad, and, in separate groups, proceed to the site, with each group laying a trap...without telling the others!
As they used to say in TV Guide listings, "Hilarity Ensues!" as the kids trap each other!
However, they do notice an ice-cream truck in the midnight...and theorize the thief is using it as "cover"...
"I would've gotten away with it, if not for that mob of kids...and the world's smartest living detective!"
Yeah, the show's basically Scooby Doo, Where Are You? with more than double the amount of kids, a less obtrusive dog, and the smartest guy in any room, Charlie Chan!

Doesn't the show's credit sequence have a "Scooby Doo" vibe?
Remember we mentioned there were differences between the comic and the aired episode?

No "Chan Van" (though it's in the credits above)!
No explanation as to how the kids set up their traps!
And we don't get to see how Chan recovered the jewels!
Want More?
The Hidden Connection between the cartoon and the 1940s Charlie Chan movies!
The Case of the Missing Chan Child!
The Hidden Connection Between Chan Clan, the Archies, and...Spider-Man???
And, the Chan Clan voice actor who became an Oscar winner!
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Monday, May 3, 2021

Captain's Library: Asian Avengers AMAZING CHAN AND THE CHAN CLAN "Hot Ice Cream Man" Part 1

TV series with Asian characters in the title role are a rarity.
American tv series starring Asian actors playing those characters are even rarer!
Before the current Kung Fu reboot/updating on The CW, there were less than a dozen, and the second one ever was an animated cartoon!*
Here's the never-reprinted first issue of the Gold Key comic based on the cartoon...
Writer Mark Evanier and artist Warren Tufts adapted the pilot episode "The Crown Jewel Caper" into a book-length comic tale on an incredibly-tight deadline, using an early script and storyboards.
As you'll see on Friday, there were some interesting alterations in the final aired version...

*The first series with an Asian performer as the title character, 1951's Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong, about an art gallery owner/amateur sleuth starring the legendary Anna May Wong, is long-lost with all videotapes and kinescopes destroyed during a legal dispute over the defunct DuMont network's assets.
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