Charlie Chan is a fictional U.S. Chinese detective created by Earl Derr Biggers. Loosely basing Chan on Honolulu detective Chang Apana, Biggers conceived of the benevolent and heroic Chan as an alternative to Yellow Peril stereotypes and villains like Fu Manchu. Chan is a detective for the Honolulu police, though many stories feature Chan traveling the world as he investigates mysteries and solves crimes.
Chan first appeared in Biggers' novels, then was featured in a number of media. Over four dozen films featuring Charlie Chan were made, beginning in 1926. The character was first portrayed by East Asian actors, and the films met with little success. In 1931, the Fox Film Corporation cast Swedish actor Warner Oland as Chan in Charlie Chan Carries On; the film became popular, and Fox went on to produce fifteen more Chan films with Oland in the title role. After Oland's death, U.S. actor Sidney Toler was cast as Chan; Toler made twenty-two Chan films, first for Fox and then for Monogram Studios. After Toler's death, six films were made, starring Roland Winters.
On radio, Charlie Chan was heard in several different series on four networks (Blue, N.B.C., A.B.C., M.B.S.) between 1932 and 1948. Walter Connolly initially portrayed Chan on Esso Oil's Five Star Theater, which serialized adaptations of Biggers novels. Ed Begley, Sr. had the title role in N.B.C.'s The Adventures of Charlie Chan (1944-45), followed by Santos Ortega (1947-48). Leon Janney and Rodney Jacobs were heard as Lee Chan, Number One Son, and Dorian St. George was the announcer. Radio Life magazine described Begley's Chan as "a good radio match for Sidney Toler's beloved film enactment." (Source: wikipedia.org)