Yes, Charlie Chan is a caricature of the East Asian personality and questions of racism do arise, but in his heyday in the 1930s the character of Chan presented an Oriental hero on the screen in what is perhaps the longest running series in movies. (The first Chan film was made in 1926
and the most recent in 1981.) There's something else going on here besides the caricature. Chan is probably unique in being a family detective and his collaboration with his sons is one of the attractions of the character. As with Nick and Nora Charles in THE THIN MAN movies, we're more interested
in the relationship than in the mystery. Of the several actors who have played Chan, Wa...