Sunday, August 26, 2007

Happy birthday, Earl Derr Biggers.

Playwright and writer Earl Derr Biggers, the creator of wise Chinese Hawaiian detective Charlie Chan (played memorably by Warner Oland, left), was born today in Ohio in 1884.

Chan made his debut in The House without a Key (1925), which was followed by The Chinese Parrot (1926), Behind That Curtain (1928), The Black Camel (1929), Charlie Chan Carries On (1930), and The Keeper of the Keys (1932).

Wrote the New York Times a week after Biggers's death on April 5, 1933, "The creator of Charlie Chan will be missed all the more because the detective novel of today is in danger of becoming a mechanical and lumbering exercise [. . . Biggers] had . . . the swift forward movement of the true detective tale. With him we are on the trail of a slayer and not putting together a jigsaw puzzle."

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