Vacation in Waikiki inspires crime no...

Vacation in Waikiki inspires crime novels - Features Stories

There are 2 comments on the Honolulu Star-Bulletin story from Oct 21, 2008, titled Vacation in Waikiki inspires crime novels - Features Stories. In it, Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports that:

Honolulu detective Chang Apana is widely considered to be the prototype for fictional detective Charlie Chan.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Honolulu Star-Bulletin.


Honolulu, HI

#1 Oct 21, 2008
Chang Apana, while being a hero of local folklore, was not the primary inspiration of the Charlie Chan character. It was during Earl Derr Biggers' youth that he came into contact with a Chinese cook with whom he bonded with on some level. On vacation in Hawaii, Biggers fell in love with the scenery and the ironic character of a growing Honolulu. It is true that Chang Apana may have served as an amended inspiration but Biggers had the idea of a Chinese Detective far earlier than printing of the exploits of Apana in the Star Bulletin or any local newspaper for that matter.

As far as the column by Riley Allen, it has been well-documented that the Biggers estate has questioned the validity of articles appearing in Hawaii's newspapers at the time. For the record, Earl Derr Biggers met Chang Apana once and this meeting was shortly before both of them passed away. Eleanor Biggers, Earl Derr Biggers' widow, spoke very critically of those who took credit for the inspiration of the Charlie Chan character, especially after her husband's death (note: there were other men of Chinese descent in the Continental U.S. also taking credit at the same time).

Since: Apr 08


#2 Oct 21, 2008
Speaking of quotes, although Charlie Chan originated the line about a long journey beginning with a single step, it was apparently Lao-tzu (sometimes credited to Confucius) who originated the idea. The Lao-tzu quote is "The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one's feet."

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