Thursday, June 19, 2014

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Chan Clan visit Scotland Yard (1972)

Many, many moons ago, the sage detective Charlie Chan traveled to London to solve a mystery. Hanna-Barbera paid homage by sending The Amazing Chan & the Chan Clan to England to work with "Scotland Yard" on a brand new mystery.

A few notes before we go on. As you'll see a 5-piece Chan Clan band performing "Happy" at the start of the episode, you can tell that the movements of Stanley and Suzie were copied from H-B stablemates Josie & the Pussycats. Simply sub Stanley (singing voice provided by Ron Dante) for Josie and Suzie for Valerie, since they both play the tambourine. Len Weinrib was the speaking voice for Stanley, and after wholesale changes were made with the younger Chans, future Oscar winner Jodie Foster was cast as Anne. Henry's speaking voice was done by future primetime star Robert Ito, better known for playing second banana to Jack Klugman on Quincy a few years later.

Actor Jamie Farr (M*A*S*H) served as a writer on this show, as well as the following year's Inch High, Private Eye, but it's curious that he didn't submit any scripts for M*A*S*H.

Rating: B.


magicdog said...

Interesting that Farr was writing episodes for this. Perhaps the bigwigs wouldn't let him write for a show like MASH. When the show got more "Alan Alda-ized" as time went on, he was probably shut out.

To be fair, I do think CC could have been done a bit better. Often the episodes are full of red herrings and non-sequiters which frustrate viewers. When the perp is finally revealed, it's opten out of nowhere. Rarely do you have any clues to work with, and even then, it was often Charlie Chan who solved the case, not because of anything the kids had done.

The premise itself was great and it's a testament to the creators who made all ten Chan children very unique and independent characters. It would be easy for them to have been lost in the shuffle. Once again, I blame the restrictions on cartoons during this time. Had this been a live action show airing in early primetime, I think it might have worked well - music or not.

Funny to have the band singing "Happy", rather than the song the show is most famous for - "Number One Son". Funnier still is having band members Alan and Tom playing instruments NOT heard on the record. Reminds me of all the guff The Impossibles got for not having a drummer or keyboardist whenever they played!

hobbyfan said...

Consider also the Don Kirshner-Ron Dante factor. H-B was still trying to create their own Archies, but after Chan Clan and Flintstone Comedy Show were cancelled (Bedrock Rockers), that was the end of pre-fab SatAM rock until the Kroffts brought in Kaptain Kool & the Kongs.