Ah! The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan. Hanna-Barbera chose to bless us with some of 1972's state-of-the-art animation in the service of telling us, the young Saturday Morning viewers, of the worldly exploits of Charlie Chan and his 11 children. It seems that those from the era either fondly remember it, or have wiped away all traces of it from their neural net.

It's basically an attempt to ride Hanna-Barbera's world-beating cash cow of the time (Scooby Doo, Where Are You?) into near-exhaustion. It's a ripoff of the structure of that venerable classic, from the mystery-an-episode to the stereotypes employed right down to a funky 70's dream ride named the Chan Van. Charlie Chan led the way, followed by eleven bumbling Americanized progeny.

Yes, Americanized - in what may be a case of wonderful foresight, none of the Chan kids had much of an accent, or even displayed much of an Asian look. This fact was well-loved by the sons and daughters of Asian immigrants, who were being assimilated into American culture at warp speed, and saw people like them (sort of) for the first time on TV. Charlie Chan himself sported a thick accent (provided by Keye Luke, Number One Son of the old Charlie Chan film classics), but no one here had slanted eyes, yellow skin, or buckteeth, no silk raiments... the kids were your next-door neighbors with a jet-black dye job. The only stereotypes in play were the standard comedy-role jobs that you'd expect from Hanna-Barbera... the oldest, the hunky Henry (think Freddy from Scooby-Doo), the sloppy Shaggy-alike comedy relief of Stanley, the smart daughter, the mechanic son, the scrappy family Pekinese, etc., etc..

The show ran for two seasons, from 1971 to 1973, with 16 shows produced. (Various websites say that 8 episodes per season were created, or that all 16 episodes were in the first season and everything else was repeats, but that's edging close to levels of detail only of interest to collectors and insane asylum inmates.) I don't think the plots of the episodes were very interesting (in classic Scooby style), and they were never buoyed by appearances by Sonny and Cher, so slow death was assured. You can still catch this cartoon late at night on the Cartoon Network; like, late, late, late night. So late it almost ain't night anymore.

Obligatory aside - the voice of Anne Chan is one of Jodie Foster's first credits.

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