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Western Animation / The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan

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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 20th 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".

Also notable for being an early role for Jodie Foster. No, really. (she was the second voice for Anne - see the Trivia tab.)

The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan contains examples of:

  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: The mother of the Chan children (presumably Charlie's wife), is never seen or mentioned—Charlie seems to be raising his kids as a single parent.
  • 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.
  • Brains and Brawn: Anne and Tom work within the same group and have paired off together several times.
  • Catchphrase: Stanley's "Wham bam, we're in a jam!", also the show's Signature Line. Henry has "Will you take off that stupid disguise?".
  • 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.
  • "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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Kid Detective: While all the kids are eager to help solve mysteries, Flip is the one who really gets into this role.
  • Last-Name Basis: Their father is never referred to as "Charlie" at any point in the show. He is only ever referred to as "Mr. Chan".
  • 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 '70s. Except, of course, Stanley's endless supply of disguises.
  • 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.
  • Laugh Track: Not a Hanna-Barbera series from The '70s without one.
  • The Meddling Kids Are Useless: Though they sure did give it their all. But just as often averted.
  • 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!
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: 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.
  • Obsessed with Food: Stanley. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. All of them bicker and tease each other half of the time, but they always find a way to work as a team and are very close.
  • Spell My Name with an S: The "official" spelling of Suzie's name in the comics is "Susie", but other sources spell "Suzie".
  • Spoofy-Doo: The Chans are basically Mystery Inc., but they are a family comprised of nineteen people.
  • 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".
  • 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 its release. Prior to this the chances are high this show was seen much further down the ladder.
  • 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 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.