The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan
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Chinese-American supersleuth Charlie Chan made his cartoon transition with his customary grace, only this time he brought along the clan. Maintaining Hanna-Barbera's winning formula (kids, mysteries, canine, van), the hit kid show also introduced some innovations (the van transforms, a double-sized team, HOWdunnits not whodunits). Most significant among these is the casting of the amazing Keye Luke (Kato, Master Po) as the voice of Charlie Chan. Not only was this the first time that an Asian-American would play Charlie Chan, it marked an apropos "graduation" for Mr. Luke, the original "Number One Son" Lee Chan of the classic Warner Oland Chan mysteries. Among those joining Mr. Luke on voice duties are Jodie Foster (Anne Chan), Lennie Weinrib (Stanley Chan) and Don Messick (Chu-Chu) in this complete 16-episode, two-disc collection. The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan - "e pluribus unum" and how!
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The basic premise of each episode: venerable Honolulu detective Charlie Chan is called in to investigate some kind of wrongdoing (never murder - this WAS a kid's show) ... and though he tells his ten children to behave and stay out of the case, all of them somehow become involved (often with not-so-great results) before the culprit is unmasked. Everything about the show was simplistic, from the animation to stories to character development - yet it was just such FUN (and funny), watching Chan solve each mystery, sometimes because of (but more often in spite of) his highly inquisitive children.
I hesitated to purchase this DVD at first, knowing that each one was manufactured directly on DVD for each purchase, but several years back I fell in love with the show all over again - thank you, Boomerang! - and though I haven't seen the series since losing the Boomerang station, this seemed my one shot to own the entire series (sadly, only 16 episodes). I'd always loved Keye Luke voicing Chan, thought the various mix of personalities of the kids (one of them - the tomboy - voiced by Jodie Foster when she was still a "kid actor") a lot of fun - so just had to get it.
I'm glad I did. The sound is great, picture quality could have been cleaned up perfectly but on these DVDs it was actually a LOT better than I expected; brighter and sharper than I remember from Boomerang reruns, and watching the episodes took my back forty years to when I sat entranced in front of the TV on Saturday morning.
I still love this show, and though the DVDs might not be for many beyond those who enjoyed this series in its original airing, this is one DVD set I won't even be loaning out, if asked; it's just too strong a throwback to simpler, happy times ... and each viewing is like hanging out with wonderful old friends again.
(Deducting one star ONLY because the picture quality is great - but COULD have been cleaned up a bit more.)
1. The Crown Jewel Caper
2. To Catch A Pitcher
3. Will The Real Charlie Chan Please Stand Up?
4. The Phantom Sea Thief
5. Eye of the Idol
6. Fat Lady Caper
7. Captain Kidd’s Doubloons
8. The Bronze Idol
1. Double Trouble
2. The Great Illusion Caper
3. The Mummy’s Tomb
4. The Mardi Gras Caper
5. The Gypsy Caper
6. The Greek Caper
7. White Elephant
8. Scotland Yard
The story lines are good, perhaps a little simple for today's viewing audiences. There is no violence, no compromising situations, no inappropriate language. The animation is theater quality, not the crudely drawn images that are so popular today. Thanks to the production crew for making this type of entertainment available, then, and now.
Would I recommend this for purchase by others. YES! It's good entertainment and safe for children, of all ages, to watch!
The kids were bumbling in trying to investigate the crime of the day with disastrous results. Only Charlie Chan would discover the vital clues and zero in on the guilty suspect with his soft spoken questions. And as with teenage mystery solvers in the 1970s, they performed songs at the end (sung by Ron Dante of "The Archies" band fame). Listen for Jodie Foster as tomboy Anne, Robert Ito of "Quincy" fame as Henry, Brian Tochi (Tee Gar on "Space Academy") as Alan, and the great Keye Luke (Master Po on "Kung Fu") as Charlie Chan.