Charlie Chan's Chinatown Roots


Fans of Charlie Chan, Chinatown history or just bad-ass lawmen—you’re in luck this month. It’s the anniversary of the birth of mystery writer Earl Derr Biggers, who created the memorable, fictional Honolulu detective Charlie Chan for his novel, The House Without a Key, based on real-life detective Chang Apana.

To commemorate the occasion, local film historian Steven Fredrick is hosting “The Charlie Chan Mystery Weekend” on Sunday, Aug. 22. Over the course of a three-hour walk through downtown Honolulu, Fredrick will lead an interactive tour visiting Chan- and Apana-related sites, as well as Apana’s former police station, coffee shops, gambling houses, movie theaters and the residence of Number One Son.

The tour starts at the foot of the Fort Street Mall at 1 p.m., and costs $30 per person ($20 with military I.D.). Reservations are required; call 395-0674 or e-mail

If you aren’t feeling peripatetic, there’s another Chan event on the following evening. Fredrick will be screening a rarely seen, vintage Charlie Chan film at the V.I.P. Screening Room in Hawaii Kai. Doors open at 6:30 P.M.; program starts at 7 p.m. Cost: $8 per adult, $5 with military ID.