- Ethnic Scrappy: The truly cringe-worthy appearances of black character actors Stepin Fetchit and Mantan Moreland as characters such as "Snowball" (wince) and "Birmingham Brown".
- Fair for Its Day: As noted here, the series actually averted the Yellow Peril stereotype by showing a Chinese person as a good guy, and the Chan children are largely nonstereotypical, but the whole thing can still be embarrassing today.
- First Installment Wins: Largely averted. Charlie Chan sequels, spoofs and homages pay little attention to The House Without a Key, which in both film and prose started the Charlie Chan series (the film remains lost as of 2009, however). The "Number One Son" Henry first appeared in the novel Black Camel. Keye Luke played him in the films (in the first film, they explicitly refer to Luke's role as Henry; later installments generally preferred the name "Lee" with the exception of the 1972 animated series).
- Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Biggers invented the character partly as a refutation of the Yellow Peril villains who were common in the Mystery Fiction of the Genteel Interbellum Setting.
YMMV / Charlie Chan