Thursday, February 21, 2013

CHARLIE CHAN "Trick Ending"

As our contribution to RetroBlogs' Black History Month articles we present...
...a tale from a series already notorious for racial stereotypes!
(NOTE: Story may be NSFW due to politically-incorrect stereotypes)
In this tale from Charlton's Charlie Chan #7 (1955) Birmingham the Black chaufeur/aide solves the case and brings the police.
It's interesting to note that most of Birmingham's word balloons appear to be relettered, perhaps to make his dialogue less "Stepin Fetchit" than in his previous comic book appearance.
Charlie Chan (Sidney Tolier), Jimmy Chan (Victor Sen Yung), and Brimingham Brown (Mantan Moreland)
Not a character from the original novels, Birmingham Brown was introduced into the Charlie Chan film series in Charlie Chan in the Secret Service (1944), and appeared in all 14 remaining films until the series ended in 1949.
Birmingham appeared in only two issues of the comic book series.
In both appearances, he was featured on the cover.
Mantan Moreland, who played Birmingham on-screen, was a gifted comic performer who was one of the few actors to play both leading roles in "race" films (shown almost exclusively to Black audiences), and featured roles in mass-market b-movies, often listed in the credits right after the lead actors.
Charlie Chan (Roland Winters), Tommy Chan (Victor Sen Yung), and Birmingham Brown (Mantan Moreland)
Here's a couple of examples of Moreland performing a variation of his trademark act with Ben Carter (his partner in a comedy routine the two performed on radio and stage) in a couple of Chan films, Scarlet Clue and Dark Alibi...
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