main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Kickstarter Message
TV Tropes Needs Your Help
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
View Kickstarter Project
Western Animation: The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan

The Animated Adaptation of the Charlie Chan series, this Hanna-Barbera series from 1972 on CBS marked the first time and still the only time in the Occident that the Chan character was played by an ethnically Chinese actor: Keye Luke, who had himself played Number One son, Lee Chan, in the Twentieth Century Fox series of films back in the 1930s. It is notable that Hanna-Barbera did not emulate the iconic Genghis Khan moustache and beard, Panama hat and white linen suit of the Charlie Chan of the 1930s and 1940s; their Mr. Chan sported a pencil moustache, a short-brimmed pork-pie hat and a blue blazer.

More importantly, the cartoon featured not only the Chinese detective himself, but his numerous progeny (plus dog Chu-Chu), who would make more or sometimes very much less effective efforts to help "Pop" out in his cases. This motif, which had figured slightly in the old films, was brought to the fore in line with H-B's other "meddling kids solving mysteries" series, and like many of them, featured the kids as a musical group, in this case called "The Chan Clan". Another added feature was the "Chan Van", which could disguise itself as another form of vehicle at the press of a button this idea would be reused for Hong Kong Phooey's "Phooeymobile".

The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan contains examples of:

  • Anti-Sneeze Finger: Alan does this for Anne in the episode "The Greek Caper" when they, Tom and Suzie are being chased by a masked stranger in a museum and disguise themselves as statues. It works...for about half a second.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Tom and Alan
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Stanley in episode 3, so much that he even gets a marriage proposal.
  • Beach Episode: "Will The Real Charlie Chan Please Stand Up?". Yes, including Suzie and Anne in bikinis.
    • The comic book adaptation of the episode (Gold Key #3, Nov. 1973) puts Suzie, Nancy and Mimi in single-piece suits with attached skirts and provides as a result what could be construed as a Panty Shot.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Averted by the funny dancing bear in "The Gypsy Caper".
  • Big Eater: Nancy. Stanley may be one as well; we never see him eating as much as we see Nancy eating, but he does talk about food and being hungry quite a bit. In episode 3, Henry even says "This is no time to be thinking about food" when Stanley complains he just bit his tongue; the tone suggests Stanley has frequent cases of the munchies.
  • Brains and Brawn: Anne and Tom work within the same group and have paired off together several times.
  • Busman's Holiday: A lot of the episodes, but most notably episode 3.
  • Captain Obvious: "Hey! Sing Ha is an elephant!" "Brilliant."
  • Cat Scare: Happens to Henry and Stanley in episode 5.
  • Catch Phrase: Stanley's "Wham bam, we're in a jam!", also the show's Signature Line. Henry has "Will you take off that stupid disguise?".
  • Chekhov's Gun: The violin in episode 14
  • Closing Credits: Jamie Farr, Klinger of Mash fame, was one of the lead writers on this series.
  • Conflict Ball: Anne and Tom catch this in episode 12. Tom explicitly refuses to believe Anne's claim that Ms. Scarlet Avondale is the crook simply because she is "of the female gender"-not because it's her ring, not because they have no reason to believe it could be her, it's because she's a girl. Anne, being a feminist, naturally gets pissed off by this, and to make matters worse Alan and Suzie just tease her when she insists "a woman crook can be just as good as a man crook" as if it were an accomplishment to be proud of. Fortunately, the ball isn't carried for the whole episode and in the end it turns out Anne was right.
  • Cool Big Sis: Suzie
  • Cool Car / Transforming Mecha: The Chan Van
  • Cool Shades: Alan's tinted sunglasses
  • Comic Book Adaptation: Gold Key Comics did ones for episodes 1-3, 5 and 11 plus an adventure not shown in the TV series. They were all drawn by Warren Tufts.
  • Cosplay / Master of Disguise: Stanley has an endless supply of costumes and masks and disguises for whatever occasion. He even crossdresses on more than one occasion!
  • Cross Over
  • Deadpan Snarker: Anne and Suzie both have their moments. Henry falls into this every now and then as well, mostly in reaction to Stanley.
  • Dinosaur Doggie Bone
  • Edited for Syndication: The DVD release contains a lot of scenes that were missing from the TV version.
  • Every Girl Is Cuter with Hair Decs: Mimi's and Suzie's headbands.
    • And Nancy's hair ribbon.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: Usually courtesy of Chu-Chu's antics.
  • Expy: Suzie has often been compared to Daphne Blake in terms of appearance and temperament. The only difference is that Suzie is somewhat more savvy, so she isn't shoehorned into the Distressed Damsel role the way poor Daphne was.
  • Face Palm: Henry in episode 9, Nancy in episode 13, Stanley twice in the comics.
  • Fashion Dissonance: Alan's outfit.
  • Female Gaze: Um, Henry?
  • Five-Man Band: Literally.
  • Flat Character / Character Development: Skirts the line. Though the kids each had one major personality trait and the show didn't delve into them as a modern series would have, they were far from hopeless stereotypes and portrayed as realistic and likeable characters.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Two examples.
    • The four youngest: Flip (choleric), Mimi (melancholic), Nancy (leuquine), and Scooter (sanguine).
    • And the middle four: Anne (choleric), Tom (melancholic), Alan (sanguine), and Suzie (phlegmatic).
  • Friend to All Living Things: Animals really seem to love Suzie. Nancy also has shades of this; in episode 10, Nancy's main concern is rescuing a missing dog, and in episode 15, a donkey refuses to stop licking her face, much to her chagrin.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Alan. He's the one who invented the Chan Van.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The Mardi Gras episode opened with the kids playing a song that seemed to be about a creepy stalker. The lyrics go something like this: I've got you covered / Know every move you make/ when you walk down the street / know every step you take/ You can't escape me so why not surrender/ Honey, I 'll treat you so warm an tender/ I've got my eye on you, yes I do./ There's no place that you can hide/ So I won't be satisfied until you love me too.
  • Good Father: Mr. Chan
  • Gosh Hornet: The four mid-teens have such an encounter in "The Gypsy Caper".
  • Green Around the Gills: Henry in "The Mardi Gras Caper" due to some crazy driving.
  • Heart Symbol: In "The Great Illusion Caper" Chu-Chu gives off hearts from his eyes when he sees Fifi on stage.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!!: Stanley's American voice actor, Lennie Weinrib, also did the voice for the infamous Scrappy, Hunk Garret and Prince Lotor and Timer in the "Time for Timer" ad series.
  • Incest Subtext: When you have a cast made up solely of family members, and have them take on character roles similar to Fred and Daphne, there's gonna be some amount of accidental UST. The most notable cases, oddly enough, are among Anne, Alan and Tom as opposed to the actual Fred and Daphne-alikes. (Though if you think a little too hard about Henry and Stanley...)
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: "It is unfortunate that Ona Bona is made of bronze and not stone." "Why's that, Pop?" "Because then he would really be a rock singer!" "Aww, Pop!"
  • It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: Tom, you may have meant well with your honey-stealing plan, but taking a couple sodas along for energy would be safer and result in less angry bees chasing you and your siblings.
  • Jodie Foster: She's the voice of Anne Chan (though not originally - see The Other Darrin below).
  • Just a Kid: Played for humor; Mimi treats Scooter like this a lot despite being a kid herself.
  • Kid Detective: While all the kids are eager to help solve mysteries, Flip is the one who really gets into this role.
  • The Klutz: Nancy. Stanley, to a lesser extent.
  • Large Ham: Stanley, especially when in costume.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: Usually in the following groups: Anne, Suzie, Tom and Alan; Henry and Stanley; Flip, Nancy, Mimi and Scooter. Sometimes the show mixes things up a little.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Pretty much a given, this being a Hanna-Barbera show in The Seventies.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The standard number of core cast members for a Hanna-Barbera show is five. This show had 12.
  • Love at First Sight: Chu-Chu goes gaga for the magician's dog, Fifi. Fortunately for him, she feels the same way and even kisses him at the end of the episode.
  • The Meddling Kids Are Useless: Though they sure did give it their all.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings
  • Missing Mom: Though no mention is ever made of the trope in-series.
  • Nice Hat: Flip. Anne and Mr. Chan sport some rather cool hats, too.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Heroes!: In episode 2, the kids successfully rescue Boo Blew from kidnappers... only to discover they've nabbed a lookalike who didn't want to be rescued and blown his cover as a double for Mr. Blew.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: The dog was the only character to ever have a romantic subplot.
  • No, You: In the comic book adaptation of episode 1:
    Suzie: I thought you said you felt like a pizza!
    Stanley: Yeah? Well you look like a pizza!
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Chu-Chu is often mistaken for trying to mess around anytime he tries to "tell" the younger kids something important.
  • Off Model: Happens quite a bit, but more often in the earlier eps. And this scene's animation looks downright primitive.
    • That's because after the first few episodes, Hanna-Barbera had the rest of the show farmed out to Eric Porter Studios in Australia. That studio was not known for quality animation even by TV standards, and their work the next year on Super Friends furthered that.
  • The Other Darrin: For the first few episodes all the Chan Clan were voiced by Asian-American actors, but after complaints that the kids were hard to understand most of them (except for Brian Tochi and Robert Ito) were replaced by Occidentals.
  • Panty Shot: Suzie in "The White Elephant Caper."
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Stanley
  • Race Lift: Averted with the lead, this is the only time Charlie Chan was portrayed by an actor of Chinese descent. Played straight with the kids except Henry and Alan, as the original voice actors' Chinese dialects were considered too heavy for American audiences to understand.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Alan, sort of. He's not exactly the "brawny badass who does ballet", but he's a mechanical genius who wears purple and is no less "manly" than his brothers.
  • Recycled In Space: Every crime-solving youth show by Hanna-Barbera ever made... but Asian! And with siblings!
  • Say My Name: Stanley is prone to calling for Henry when in trouble, Henry is prone to scolding "Stanley!" whenever his brother does or says something foolish.
  • Security Cling: Nancy and Mimi, quite often. Sometimes Stanley does this with Henry.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Tom, so much. To quote Suzie: "Who else sounds like he ate a dictionary for breakfast?"
  • Scooby Stack
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: While not secretly a buxom beauty underneath her baggy T-shirt and jeans, Anne shows off quite a cute little figure in her bikini in episode 3.
  • Shorttank: Anne
  • Short Runners: 16 episodes.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Shockingly averted, considering there were ten of them; the closest it ever came to this was Mimi being bossy and Scooter being annoyed by it.
  • Sibling Team: Obviously.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Tom and Anne.
  • Sleep Cute: Mimi and Scooter in episode 4, as a platonic example.
  • Sneeze of Doom: Anne in "The Greek Caper".
  • Snooping Little Kid: Flip, Nancy, Mimi and Scooter.
  • So Unfunny It's Funny: Stanley's jokes
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The "official" spelling of Suzie's name in the comics is "Susie", but other sources spell "Suzie".
  • Stalker with a Crush: Most of the love songs, albeit in a cute harmless way. Given that none of the main characters aside from Chu-Chu are ever involved in romances, it seems more like they're just trying to fit in with the show's detective motif than anything.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Played for laughs with Anne. Her brothers bust her chops with their just a girl comments, but in the end it's clear they view her as their equal.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: In "White Elephant", Stanley jokes that one of the many-armed statues in a temple would be great at a check-out counter. Later in the episode, Flip makes the same comment; Nancy even lampshades this by saying it sounds "like one of Stanley's corny jokes".
  • Team Dad: Mr. Chan, obviously. Sometimes Henry steps in, too, when Pop's not around.
  • Team Mom: Suzie, every now and then.
  • Team Pet: Chu-Chu
  • Tempting Fate: This is how some of the cases get started; usually Flip is the one to make a comment about how easy it'd be to steal something, but in "The Eye of the Idol", Henry's the one to ask whether Pop is sure the idol and its valuable jade eye are safe shortly before the eye is stolen.
  • The Theorem of Narrow Interests: If it weren't for this show having its own section you wouldn't know there was any semblance of a fandom for it.
    • Later More Apparent when the show dominated a poll by Warner Brothers for it's release. Prior to this the chances are high this show was seen much further down the ladder.
  • Token Mini-Moe: Mimi, and to a smaller degree Nancy. Scooter is a Token Shota.
  • Totem Pole Trench: Flip and Nancy do this in episode 3.
  • Translator Buddy: Alan, for Tom.
  • Uncyclopedia: No, really. It's a crossover substituting the more popular Jackie Chan for Charlie, but still, the fact that this little show was known enough to earn a place here is pretty surprising.
  • Vague Age: Only Nancy, Mimi and Scooter are given concrete ages in canon. The others are listed as "in their teens" (or preteens, in Flip's case).
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Mimi and Scooter argue quite a bit, mainly due to the former's bossiness. But they're shown as being quite close regardless.
  • The Walls Have Eyes: There are creepy eyes staring from the shadows at least Once an Episode, though they're never mentioned or perhaps even noticed by anyone in-universe.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Kind of a hallmark to this series. As in your typical episode the kids split up into groups trailing different suspects. It is common for one if not more of the groups to be chased by your typical Scooby-Doo Hoax criminal. While usually this is the episode's antagonists, some have the kids be chased by someone that couldn't have been the one revealed to be the culprit. In the Gypsy episode, Henry and Stanley are chased by a hooded guy, while the middle aged ones get chased by a guy with a deer head and the youngest set get scared out of a gypsy tent by a ghost. None of which apparently related to the episodes actual revealed bad guy.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Suzie and Flip react to Henry and Stanley this way when they inadvertently get their father in trouble with the police due to a misunderstanding and a case of mistaken identity. The whole Clan reacts this way in the comic adaptation.
  • You Go Girl: Anne had a few moments here and there, done quite well without her coming off as a Straw Feminist Jerk Sue.
  • You Meddling Kids: The crook in episode 4 calls the Chan Clan "pesty kid detectives" after he's been snared in a net by Anne and Flip.
  • Youngest Child Wins: In the comic-only adventure "The Phantom of Ophir", Scooter's the one to solve the mystery and catch the culprit. Henry even makes a comment about the trope.

The Adventures of HypermanSaturday Morning CartoonThe Archie Show
Allen GregoryShort RunnersAround the World in 80 Days
The Addams FamilyWestern Animation of the 1970sArchies TV Funnies
Popeye And SonCreator/Hanna-BarberaThe Atom Ant Show
Chromatic ArrangementImageSource/Western AnimationGreen Around the Gills
The Amazing Adrenalini BrothersWestern AnimationThe Amazing Screw-On Head

alternative title(s): The Amazing Chan And The Chan Clan
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy