Wednesday, November 14, 2018

CHARLIE CHAN AT THE RACE TRACK - "13 To 1 Odds" (1936)

 And The Stuff it is!
 Tonight's totally Whacked-Out Wednesday feature titled "Charlie Chan At The Race Track" is just exactly that, and I ain't kidding!

 Sometime in the last thirty years, my interest in boxing waned and an interest in horse racing got started! I think the two of them are the strangest sports around for various reasons, so when I get a chance to watch a vintage film about horse racing, I'm all over it, and "Charlie Chan At The Race Track" didn't disappoint me at all!

 It's just that some aspects of society have changed so dramatically over the last 80 years, well, I just find it fascinating! Like here, these guys are literally glued to the radio to listen to a horse race. As a kid, I'll always remember my Dad laying in bed, smoking a cigarette, and listening to boxing matches and baseball games on the radio. Might not sound like a role model, but it worked for me! But we didn't have enough money for my Dad to be interested in the horse races, so that wouldn't happen for me until many, many years later!

 I just dig this shot way too much!

He got kicked in the head by a horse that he loved. Strange and unusual circumstances to be sure!

 I grew up listening to my parent's 78's, and one of my favorite songs that I still have to this day was titled "Horses Don't Bet On People," and the refrain went like this, "Horses don't bet on people, horses have too much sense!" Truer words have never been spoken! (And don't forget, "Horses ain't got no remorses!)

I'm searchin' around but I'm not finding out much about the black actor John Henry Allen who played Streamline Jones! He had 10 roles in 11 years from 1935 to 1946, and most all of them were minor or uncredited! It's hard to imagine the kind of dedication it took for a black man to pursue an acting career back in those days just to get a demeaning role like this!

Charlie say something like "Look like man get kick in head by horse, but fork from ship transmission make similar hoof print mark if hit on head!" Charlie's son Lee is eating it up! Lee Chan was played by Keye Luke who was actually Chinese, and Keye contuned to work steadily until 1991! What an amazing character actor!

Warner Oland was Charlie Chan in 16 different movies. They were making three a year at one point! Is it any wonder he drank himself into lunacy? Charlie Chan was calm and knew everything, but the man inside was headed the complete opposite direction, and the popularity of Charlie Chan was the only thing that was keeping the Fox Studios alive. Warner Oland was Swedish, but they say the only makeup he had to do was to turn his mustache down, and curl his eyebrows up!

Matching up the typewriter with the defective 'e' key to find out who is sending out these threatening letters!

 This guy doesn't look the least bit suspicious!!

 This shot just got to me because the horse is looking straight into the camera! Probably never went to acting school!

 Hey Boss, I gave up everything to make this deal happen, can I get a little help?
 Sure! Don't worry, we'll take care of you! How about a nice pair of concrete shoes!

 The advent of the photo finish!

What a mass of humanity! Like the Woodstock of the 30's!

 If you think any of these names are weird, it's gotten completely out of hand by 2018, and there are horse's with names like Lagoon Macaroon, Shake N Fries, Buckstopper Kit, Stroll Action, Where You Was, The Pooch, and Klaatu, just to name a couple! (Sorry but Klaatu did not end up in the money today!) It cracks me up that they couldn't, or didn't want to use the real name of the Santa Anita racetrack!

 Another clever ruse of a distraction!

Dadda dum dum da dum!


Bob Johns said...

I always loved Charlie Chan movies growing up. Not sure I have seen this one or not but looks really fun.

EEGAH!! said...

Hey Bob! A guy like you deserves the proper link! Enjoy it for what it was and is!

TC said...

Oddly, I can name three characters played by Warner Oland in movies, and all were Asian: Charlie Chan, Fu Manchu, and the Japanese doctor in Werewolf of London.

When Oland died, the script for the next Chan movie was ready. Rather than delay production, Fox changed the lead character and filmed it as Mr. Moto's Gamble, starring Peter Lorre. Keye Luke was still in it as Lee Chan (#1 son), and that may be the first time a character from one movie series guest starred in another. (In comic books, fans call that a "crossover.")

Keye Luke also played Kato in two Green Hornet movie serials ca. 1940, and he played Master Po in the Kung Fu TV series in the 1970s.

Monogram made a Mr. Wong series in the late 1930s, starring Boris Karloff. It was basically an imitation of Charlie Chan. When Karloff left, they made one more, Phantom of Chinatown, starring Keye Luke as Wong. It must have been a reboot or a prequel, since Wong and police detective Street (who had been in the Karloff series) were shown meeting for the first time. That may have been necessary, since Luke was obviously younger than Karloff.

Fox continued the Chan series, starring Sidney Toler. When they cancelled the series, Monogram picked it up, making Chan films into the late 1940s, with Roland Winters. So they finally got to produce the real thing as well as the imitation.

It terrifies me no end that I actually know this stuff.

EEGAH!! said...

Well, I should have written all that info TC, but I'm just too damn lazy, so thanx for filling in the blanks, because it really is an interesting story!

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