Charlie Chan
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Quotes for
Charlie Chan (Character)
from Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936)

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Charlie Chan in The Chinese Cat (1944)
Tommy Chan: Pop, I've got a case that will knock your hat off!
Charlie Chan: Can remove hat without assistance, thank you.

Charlie Chan: You talk like rooster, who thinks sun come up just to hear him crow.

Tommy Chan: My gosh, Pop, are you a mind reader?
Charlie Chan: If mind not too small.

Charlie Chan: You should get married and raise large family. Once you have large family, all other troubles mean nothing.

Tommy Chan: You're lucky to have your assistant on hand, Pop.
Charlie Chan: Assistant? That you?
Tommy Chan: Sure!
Charlie Chan: Your assistance about as welcome as water in a leaking ship!
Tommy Chan: But you've always said that two men can find a clue quicker than one.
Charlie Chan: [looking from side to side] Where is other man? Do not see other man!

Charlie Chan: Not glad to see me, Birmingham?
Birmingham Brown, Taxi Driver: Oh, it's nothing personal, Mr. Chan, but the last time we met was in Washington, and if I can remember right, there was two or three murders.
Charlie Chan: Murder is my business.
Birmingham Brown, Taxi Driver: Murder's all right, Mr. Chan, but you wholesales it!

Tommy Chan: And besides, didn't I get you a swell case?
Charlie Chan: Every time you appear, I have swell case of assorted troubles.

Tommy Chan: I don't get it, Pop!
Charlie Chan: [laconically] Fear you are weak limb to which no family tree may point with pride.

Charlie Chan: You are smart enough to keep eyes open?
Tommy Chan: You bet!
Charlie Chan: Do likewise - keep mouth shut!

Charlie Chan: [to Tommy] You put two and two together and get result bigger than national debt.

Charlie Chan: [to Tommy as he looks over Charlie's shoulder] Please remove breath from back of my neck! Go away! Go away!

Charlie Chan: [to a semi-conscious Tommy] How you feeling?
Tommy Chan: My head seems to be spinning.
Charlie Chan: Oh. Then you're all right. Everything back to normal.

Charlie Chan: [to Tommy] Next time you try this, you experience sudden collision in rear end of pants.

Charlie Chan: Never start anything unless I see end of road.
Dr. Paul Recknik: How are you coming along to date?
Charlie Chan: Did not say which end of road I could see.

Charlie Chan: [looking at funhouse figures] See one with no head?
Tommy Chan: Un-huh.
Charlie Chan: He remind me of you.

Tommy Chan: [entering room where Charlie is being held by thugs] Hi ya, Pa! What're you doing in there?
Charlie Chan: [laconically] Like puppy who come to smell subway third rail, you will receive complete information in few moments.

Birmingham Brown, Taxi Driver: [after knocking bad guy unconscious by breaking flashlight over his head] Uh-oh! Mr. Chan, I ruined your flashlight!
Charlie Chan: [looking at bad guy on the floor] Even trade... his light out, too!

Charlie Chan: Bull in china shop is gentle creature compared to detective who make pass at man wearing glasses.

Charlie Chan: Three murders. All different. Dog cannot chase three rabbits at same time. Manning Case like modern highway. Sooner or later come to detour.

Charlie Chan: You are like turtle. After everything all over, you stick head out and find truth right under your very nose.


Charlie Chan in Shanghai (1935)
Charlie Chan: Holiday mood like fickle girl - privileged to change mind.

Ship's officer: [seeing Charlie on the deck playing leap-frog with a bevy of little kids] They seem to have you down, Mr. Chan.
Charlie Chan: Sixty summers young, sixty winters old.

Sir Stanley Woodland: I made an important discovery this afternoon. That's what prevented me from meeting you. We can get together after this is over.
Charlie Chan: [softly] Two ears for every tongue.

Colonel Watkins, police commissioner: Sir Stanley had so many friends, but few enemies.
Charlie Chan: Only *one* enemy necessary to commit *murder*.

Charlie Chan: Motive like end of string - tied to many knots. End may be in sight but hard to unravel.

Lee Chan: Hi, Pop!
Charlie Chan: [softly] Hi.
[embracing Lee]
Charlie Chan: Joy equals astonishment at seeing offspring in Shanghai.

Charlie Chan: [seeing that Lee has no money to pay the cab driver] Pocket book, of course, left in other suit?
Lee Chan: Believe it or not!
Charlie Chan: Eh! Old excuse like ancient billy goat - has whiskers.

Charlie Chan: [looking at photo of his children] Distance no hindrance to fond thoughts.
Lee Chan: [from other bedroom] Good night, Pop.
Charlie Chan: Good night. Do not forget your prayers. May need 'em.

Charlie Chan: Cold omelet like fish out of sea - does *not* improve with *age*.

Charlie Chan: [to Lee] Let capture be good lesson of virtue of silence.

James Andrews: They tried to kill you too?
Charlie Chan: Spider does not spin web for single fly.

James Andrews: [referring to the opium trade] The terrific toll of life taken yearly by this insidious traffic is beyond belief.
Charlie Chan: Beauty of poppy contains sting of death.

Charlie Chan: Long journey always start with one short step.

James Andrews: One man can't move mountains, you know.
Charlie Chan: But *two* can start *digging*.

Charlie Chan: Hasty conclusion like hind legs of mule - kick backwards.

Charlie Chan: Soothing drink like summer shower - bring pleasant relief.

Colonel Watkins, police commissioner: The evidence is as clear as the nose on your face.
Charlie Chan: Owner of nose cannot always see nose.

Colonel Watkins, police commissioner: [to Andrews and Chan] Okay, gentlemen, it's your funeral.
Charlie Chan: Hope not.

Charlie Chan: Only foolish dog pursues flying bird.

Lee Chan: Got a clue, Pop?
Charlie Chan: Shot in dark sometime find eye of bull.


The Black Camel (1931)
Charlie Chan: A thousand pardons. Assault and battery not permitted without license from boxing commission.

Charlie Chan: [solemnly] There is old saying, 'Death is a black camel that kneels unbidden at every gate.' Tonight black camel knelt here.

[after the murder has been solved]
Kashimo: Clue, clue!
Charlie Chan: Too late- Save for *next* case!

Rita Ballou: If I were a dose of poison, I'd give myself to you.
Charlie Chan: Thank you so much.

Wilkie Ballou: Your theory's full of holes. It won't hold water!
Charlie Chan: Sponge is full of holes. Sponge holds water.

Charlie Chan: Always harder to keep murder secret than for egg to bounce on sidewalk.

Charlie Chan: [about his assistant Kashimo] Can cut off monkey's tail, but he's still monkey.

Charlie Chan: Way to find rabbit's residence is to turn rabbit loose and watch.

Alan Jaynes: [angrily] Look here, Inspector, I haven't time to sit around for Chinese picture puzzles! My ship sails at midnight!
Charlie Chan: You are rejected suitor.
Alan Jaynes: But I've given you an airtight alibi.
Charlie Chan: Sorry, but alibi have habit of disappearing like hole in water.

Tarneverro: Would you be surprised if I asked you to arrest a murderer?
Charlie Chan: No, all foxes come at last to fur store.

Charlie Chan: Alas, mouse cannot cast shadow like elephant.

Charlie Chan: Secret of this case harder to determine than alley cat's grandfather.

Charlie Chan: Kashimo, I despair trying to make you smart man. Soap and water never can change perfume of billy goat.
Kashimo: [smiling] Yes!

Kashimo: Think we make mistake?
Charlie Chan: Who can say? Even wisest man sometimes mistake bumblebee for blackberry.

Charlie Chan: Learn from hen- Never boast about egg until *after* egg's birthday.

Charlie Chan: [in car being driven by Chan] May I ask your, uh, continued assistance? Sometimes very difficult to pick up pumpkin with one finger.
Tarneverro: [reacting to Chan's poor driving] Have you been driving long?
Charlie Chan: No. At first I'm pretty bad driver. But now me and road turn corner same time.

Charlie Chan: You quench fire of my curiosity with handful of *straw*!

Charlie Chan: [after finding a desperate letter from the murdered woman] Always happens- When conscience try to speak, telephone out of order.


Charlie Chan at the Race Track (1936)
Charlie Chan: [Opening lines] Record indicate most murder result from violence, and murder without bloodstain like Amos without Andy - most unusual.

Charlie Chan: Man with gun like lightning - never strike twice in same place.

Charlie Chan: Useless talk like boat with no oar - get no place.

Charlie Chan: Gee, Pop, what are you always stopping me for? Why don't you give me a chance to clean up this case for you?
Charlie Chan: Foolish rooster who stick head in lawnmower end in stew.

Charlie Chan: Hasty conclusion like toy balloon - Easy blow up, easy pop.

Charlie Chan: Confucius say, "No man is poor who have worthy son."

Charlie Chan: [to Bagley as he is being arrested] You lose before race start.

Warren Fenton: Any progress yet?
Charlie Chan: Long road sometimes shortest way to end of journey.

Charlie Chan: Truth sometimes like stab of cruel knife.

Charlie Chan: When player cannot see man who deal cards, much wiser to stay out of game.

Police Chief: Charlie, you've a very suspicious mind.
Charlie Chan: Suspicion often father of truth.

Lee Chan: [asking his father to bet on the race] You want to get in on the gravy, Pop?
Charlie Chan: Smart fly stay out of gravy.

Charlie Chan: Root of tree lie in many directions.

Charlie Chan: Man who flirt with dynamite sometime fly with angels.

Charlie Chan: Rabbit run very fast, but sometimes turtle win race.

Lee Chan: [after being kicked in the seat from behind] Oh, gee, Pop, how'd you know it was me?
Charlie Chan: Frequent spankings when young make rear view very familiar.

[last lines]
Lee Chan: Pop, I've got another hot clue!
Charlie Chan: Save for next case please.


Charlie Chan in Paris (1935)
Yvette Lamartine: Too bad you don't dance, Mr. Chan.
Charlie Chan: Mud turtle in pond more safe than man on horseback.

Charlie Chan: Perfect case, like perfect doughnut, has hole.
Inspector Renard: Ha, I see. Same old pessimist, aren't you?
Charlie Chan: Optimist only sees doughnut. Pessimist sees hole.

Charlie Chan: Hasty conclusion like gunpowder. Easy to explode.

Charlie Chan: Grain of sand in eye may hide mountain.

Lee Chan: What'ya going to do?
Charlie Chan: Cannot see contents of nut until shell is cracked.

Charlie Chan: Joy in heart more desirable than bullet.

Charlie Chan: [after giving money to a beggar at aerodrome] It is always good fortune to give alms upon entering city.

Max Corday: [in a condescending pidgen English/Chinese accent] Me happy know you. Mebbe you likee havee little drinkee?
Charlie Chan: Very happy to make acquaintance of charming gentleman.
[imitating Corday]
Charlie Chan: Me no likeee drinkee now - perhaps later.

Charlie Chan: Kindness in heart much better than gold in bank.

Charlie Chan: Wait here - observe closely.
Lee Chan: Observe what?
Charlie Chan: Don't know. Good detective never ask what and why until after he see.

Albert Dufresne: Be assured we'll help you to get to the bottom of this, Mr. Chan.
Charlie Chan: Must turn up many stones to find hiding place of snake.

Charlie Chan: We must follow.
Lee Chan: Who? Him?
Charlie Chan: Important fox must not know hounds pursue.

Charlie Chan: Many strange crimes committed in sewers of Paris.

Charlie Chan: Only foolish man waste words when argument is lost.

Henri Latouche: You meddling devil!
Charlie Chan: Honorable ancestors refute suggested kinship.


The Shanghai Cobra (1945)
Walter Fletcher: [after Chan has checked the radium in the bank safe] Why, Mr. Chan, surely you didn't expect to find anything wrong?
Charlie Chan: In my business always expect to find something wrong...

Paula Webb: [as Chan leaves Ned and Paula in the restaurant] Must you go, Mr. Chan?
Charlie Chan: Oh, quite necessary. Besides, much better for you to have dinner with young detective than with old detective.

Charlie Chan: [annoyed that Tommy is still sitting down] Rising generation sit too much!

Charlie Chan: You get illegal u-turn ticket?
Birmingham Brown: Mr. Chan, I'll tell you just how it... Tommy, you tell 'im.
Tommy Chan: I warned you, Birmingham. I said, "No u-turn here."
Birmingham Brown: Yeah, that's what you said - "No, you turn here."
Tommy Chan: I said "No u-turn here."
Birmingham Brown: That's what I did. You said, "No, you turn here."
Tommy Chan: Pop, I told him, I said, "No u-turn here."
Birmingham Brown: Yeah, that's what you said - "No, you turn here," and I did.
Tommy Chan: You see what I mean, Pop? I said, "No u-turn here."
Birmingham Brown: Mr. Chan, did you hear? He said, "No, you...
Charlie Chan: Ple-please, please! U-turns, so many u-turns, you have my head spinning like merry-go-round. You remain here until I find doghouse big enough to hold both of you.

Charlie Chan: Ancient ancestor once say, "Even wise man cannot fathom depth of woman's smile."

Tommy Chan: People are always getting in trouble for talking too much, Pop.
Charlie Chan: Be sure you remember that.

Charlie Chan: Cannot sell bearskin before shooting bear.

Charlie Chan: Mice will never play so long as cat is in house.

Bradford Harris: [annoyed] Visitors are supposed to be announced!
Charlie Chan: [sarcastically] Sorry, police do not read Emily Post.

Tommy Chan: [trapped in a cave-in as Charlie taps Morse Code] Do you think you will get through, Pop?
Charlie Chan: If not, Number Three Son and father will join honorable ancestors.
Birmingham Brown: Mr. Chan, tell your honorable ancestors to move over and make room for me.

Bradford Harris: [noticing Stewart who has come through a secret door] Where'd you come from? I didn't see YOU come in?
Charlie Chan: [laconically] You can see us all go out.

Charlie Chan: Skeleton key, please!
Police Inspector Harry Davis: You know, this is strictly illegal.
Charlie Chan: Four murders much more illegal!

Tommy Chan: Pop, I want to talk to you as man to man.
Charlie Chan: I am ready, but you still have few years to go.
Birmingham Brown: That's right.

Charlie Chan: Can you describe Van Horn?
Joe, Coffee Shop Owner: Oh, sure. He was a sort of a short... oh, well, not too... kind of... well, he was a little bit on the heavy... oh, but his hair - oh, he had his hat on. He was just... j-just one of them mediocre guys, like you and me.
Charlie Chan: Oh, thank you so much. Yes. Splendid.

Charlie Chan: Too many hands sometime spoil pudding.


Charlie Chan in the Secret Service (1944)
Charlie Chan: When alibi pushed at me, always suspect motive in woodpile.

Charlie Chan: Detective without curiosity is like glass eye at keyhole - no good.

Charlie Chan: Man who never leave wheelchair should never wear out shoe leather.

Tommy Chan: If you're stuck, I'll help you out.
Charlie Chan: You are like business end of water spout - always running off at mouth.

Charlie Chan: [referring to Tommy and Iris] Children go through life with same tact as tornado.

Charlie Chan: If man places self in way of finger of suspicion, must not be surprised if he receive poke in the eye.
Paul Arranto: You suspect me?
Charlie Chan: Suspicion like rain - fall upon just and unjust. You protect yourself with umbrella of innocence, but at moment I'm afraid your umbrella have big leak.

Charlie Chan: May learn something of Germans and Japanese here.
Sgt. Billings: All I wanna know about them is what I can get lookin' over a rifle sight.
Charlie Chan: Most excellent viewpoint!

Charlie Chan: How can man walk around after he is dead?

Charlie Chan: You are David Blake, D.P.E. What does that stand for, please?
David Blake: Department of Political Economy. If you read your newspapers, you'd know more about me.
Charlie Chan: I, uh, know what columnists say about you in morning paper: Quote, "What David Blake does not know about political economy would fill many books," unquote.

Charlie Chan: Now, Mrs., uh, Winters. When Miss Arranto scream, you ran out into hall?
Mrs. Winters: Well, not at first. I couldn't move. I was simply putrified.
Charlie Chan: Excuse, please, I do not believe you mean "putrified."
Mrs. Winters: My dear man, I KNOW what I mean.
Inspector Jones, Secret Service: [laughs] Well, I'll be a pop-eyed pollywog.
Mrs. Winters: So will I. Oh, my goodness, I mean no such thing!

Charlie Chan: Very strange woman, Mrs. Hargue.
Tommy Chan: Yeah, Pop. She's strictly icky, right off the cob and way off the beam.
Charlie Chan: Could possibly speak English?
Iris Chan: He means she's a slick chick gone to seed, Pop. She got bats in her head and bees in her bustle.
Charlie Chan: Language sound very strange to elderly ears.
Tommy Chan: Sure, Pop, but we're hepcats of the younger generation. You're Confucius and I'm Confucius Junior.
Charlie Chan: Conficius Junior... Please, go.

Charlie Chan: You told to remain in hall!
Tommy Chan: We were upstairs looking for clues, Pop.
Charlie Chan: Looking for clues upstairs while murderer downstairs shooting at honorable parent.
Tommy Chan: Gosh, did they kill you, Pop?

Paul Arranto: Murdered? But how?
Charlie Chan: Electrocution.
Mrs. Winters: Oh, how shocking!

Tommy Chan: Hey, Pop.
Charlie Chan: Quiet. Detective at work.


Charlie Chan in Egypt (1935)
Charlie Chan: Hasty conclusion like hole in water, easy to make.

Charlie Chan: Drop of water on thirsty tongue more precious than gold in purse.

Tom Evans, Archeologist: She's just making a mountain out of a molehill.
Charlie Chan: Inconspicuous molehill sometimes more important than conspicuous mountain.

Professor John Thurston: [referring to statue] That is Sekhmet, Goddess of Vengeance. The ancients endowed her with supernatrural powers, Mr. Chan.
Charlie Chan: Mmmm. Cannot believe that piece of carved stone contain evil - unless dropped on foot.

Professor John Thurston: Why should anyone have committed such a fantastic crime?
Charlie Chan: Very strange. Might almost believe in power of ancient goddess.

Professor John Thurston: [angrily] Why didn't you warn us? Your carelessness is responsible for that boy's death!
Charlie Chan: Most regretful. Impossible to prepare defense unless direction of attack is known.

Tom Evans, Archeologist: [pointing to the hieroglyphs on the tomb wall] The design alternates with the symbols of life and death.
Charlie Chan: Story of man very short.
[alternately pointing to the symbols]
Charlie Chan: Life... death... life... death. Am reminded of ancient sage Confucious
[extending his arms out to suggest length]
Charlie Chan: who write, 'From life to death is reach of man.'

Charlie Chan: Regret efforts have been unsuccessful. Admitting failure like drinking bitter tea.

Charlie Chan: Varnish on 3000 year old mummy case not completely dry.

Charlie Chan: With back to wall can fight off demon of sleeplessness.

Dr. Anton Racine: You have a theory about this, of course?
Charlie Chan: Theory like mist on eyeglasses - obscures facts.
Dr. Anton Racine: Our local authorities have very clear vision, Mr. Chan.

Charlie Chan: Would so much like to see Ameti tomb.
Tom Evans, Archeologist: Tonight?
Charlie Chan: Waiting for tomorrow waste of today.

Charlie Chan: Journey of life like feather in stream - must go with current.

Charlie Chan: Most grateful for very able assistance.
Carol Arnold: It was terrible sitting here waiting, wondering how your plan would work out.
Charlie Chan: Courage greatest devotion to those we love.


Charlie Chan's Secret (1936)
Charlie Chan: If strength were all, tiger would not fear scorpion.

Charlie Chan: Hasty deduction like ancient egg. Look good from outside.

Charlie Chan: Necessity mother of invention, but sometimes step-mother of deception.

Charlie Chan: Greeting at end of journey like refreshing rain after long drought.

Charlie Chan: Best place for skeleton is in family closet.

Charlie Chan: [to psychic] Most fortunate gift to be able to cross bridge to dwelling place of honorable ancestors before arriving.

Charlie Chan: [to witnesses at the murder scene] Touch nothing - until police arrive!

Charlie Chan: Fingerprints very valuable if detective can catch owner of fingers.

Charlie Chan: Boy Scout knife like lady's hairpin - have many uses.

Charlie Chan: Role of dead man requires very little acting.

Charlie Chan: Finding web of spider does not prove which spider spin web.

Fred Gage: I know this place inside out. It's a regulare honeycomb that starts everywhere and ends nowhere.
Charlie Chan: Will investigate honeycomb later. Maybe find bee.

Charlie Chan: Unknown danger like summer lightning - strike when least expected.


Murder Over New York (1940)
Charlie Chan: One man with gun have more authority than whole army without ammunition.

Hugh Drake: ...it's like finding a needle in a haystack.
Charlie Chan: Needle can be found when correct thread located.

Charlie Chan: [to Drake] British tenacity with Chinese patience like royal flush in poker game - unbeatable.

Charlie Chan: Coincidence like ancient egg - leave unpleasant odor.

Charlie Chan: Number Two Son very promising detective... promise very much, produce very little.

Butler: [Frightened during police interrogation] Yes, sir, but I don't know nuthin'. I don't know nuthin' about nuthin', sir. I's completely in the dark.
Charlie Chan: [Sarcastically] Condition appear contagious.

Jimmy Chan: Say, Pop, what d'ya think about this?
Charlie Chan: Like dog chasing his own tail - getting no place.

Insp. Vance: Looks like the kid's right again, Charlie.
Jimmy Chan: [Excitedly] See, it's the easiest nut I ever cracked!
Charlie Chan: Easy nut to crack often empty.

Charlie Chan: Happy situation never see light of day if truth kept in dark.

Charlie Chan: [to Patricia] Eye easily deceived. Same leopard can hide behind different spots.

Jimmy Chan: Come on, Pop. Let's get goin'!
Charlie Chan: Number Two get going to bed.
Jimmy Chan: Oh, but I'm not tired.
Charlie Chan: Fresh weed better than wilted rose.

Charlie Chan: [to Jimmy] Will inform mother that aid from Number Two Son like interest on mortgage - impossible to escape.

Charlie Chan: Desire to live still strongest instinct in Man.


Dark Alibi (1946)
Charlie Chan: [to Morgan] Government work keep me hopping like dissatisfied flea from dog to dog.

Anthony R. Morgan: Charlie, what can one man do against the entire legal force of the state?
Charlie Chan: Ancient proverb say, "One small wind can raise much dust."

Charlie Chan: [to Birmingham and Tommy] Always sitting! Wish you would wear out brains instead of seat of pants.
Tommy Chan: Pop, we have been thinking...
Charlie Chan: Most impossible.
Birmingham Brown: Oh, yes sir, Mr. Chan. We've been thinkin'.
Charlie Chan: And now you have a headache.

Charlie Chan: Please continue.
Mrs. Foss: That's all I have to say.
Charlie Chan: That's what woman always say, yet go right on talking.

Charlie Chan: [Encouraging June] Remember old saying: "Earthquake may shatter rock, but sand upon which rock stood still right there in same old place."

Birmingham Brown: [Driving] Mr. Chan, is this the shortest way to prison?
Charlie Chan: No, shortest way is commit crime.

Charlie Chan: Skeletons in closets always speak loudest to police.

Charlie Chan: You two not afraid?
Tommy Chan: Afraid of what, Pop?
Charlie Chan: That you sit down so often you get concussion of brain.
Tommy Chan: Pop, I got a swell idea!
Charlie Chan: Good. Save it for old age.

Charlie Chan: I will sit in car while you two enjoy nervous breakdown.

Mrs. Foss: Being a detective is an ugly trade.
Charlie Chan: Ugliest trade sometimes have moment of joy. Even gravedigger know some people for whom he would do his work with extreme pleasure.

Emily Evans: Listen, are you trying to pin something on me?
Charlie Chan: [holding her skimpy dance costume] No, merely at moment trying to figure how you pin upon yourself such very few feathers.

Charlie Chan: Son Tommy is noisy woodpecker on family tree.


Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise (1940)
Charlie Chan: Truth, like oil, will in time rise to surface.

Charlie Chan: Better a father lose his son than a detective his memory.

Charlie Chan: To speak without thinking is to shoot without aiming.

Charlie Chan: Elusive offspring, like privacy, sometimes hard to find.

Charlie Chan: Young man's explanation, like skin of sensitive woman, very thin.

Charlie Chan: When Chinese Emperor have eight suspects of murder, he solve problem very quickly.
Prof. Gordon: Really? How?
Charlie Chan: Chop off eight heads. Always sure getting one criminal.

Charlie Chan: In darkness, sometimes difficult to distinguish hawk from vulture.

Charlie Chan: Life has been risked for jewels far less valuable than friendship.

Charlie Chan: Sometimes quickest way to brain of young sprout is by impression on other end.

Charlie Chan: Hours are happiest when hands are busiest.

Charlie Chan: Man can more safely search for gold if world thinks he dig ditch.

Charlie Chan: Dead men need no protection.


Charlie Chan on Broadway (1937)
Lee Chan, #1 Son: Gee, Pop, you sure missed a wonderful luncheon!
Charlie Chan: [at the shiprail suffering from seasickness] Contradiction, please. Not having eaten have missed nothing.
Lee Chan, #1 Son: I had turtle soup, chicken a la king, and three cream puffs. Then I had some ice cream.
Charlie Chan: Please stop! Mention of food more painful than surgeon's knife without anesthesia.
Lee Chan, #1 Son: Shall I get you medicine, Pop?
Charlie Chan: Good dose of land only effective medicine.

Charlie Chan: [breaking into ship cabin because of screams] Sorry to intrude but etiquette ignored when lady in distress.

Charlie Chan: [annoyed by Lee's whistling] Put a muzzle on peanut whistle.

Charlie Chan: [at testimonial dinner] Police of New York and Honolulu have one thing in common. Both live on very small island, but while we have small volcano, you have biggest shakeup.

Charlie Chan: Mud of bewilderment beginning to clear from pool of thought.

Chief Inspector James Nelson NYPD: Mr. Chan?
Charlie Chan: That is humble name.
Chief Inspector James Nelson NYPD: I'm Inspector Nelson, Mr. Chan. Greetings from New York's Finest. The bigwigs expect you to tear a duck apart with 'em tonight.
Charlie Chan: So sorry, come again please?
Speed Patten, Reporter New York Bulletin: You'll have to excuse the inspector's English, Mr. Chan. He's a Brooklyn immigrant.

Charlie Chan: Camera remember many things human eye forget.

Charlie Chan: [referring to the tell-all diary] No poison more deadly than ink.

Charlie Chan: But murder like revolving door - when one side close, other side open.

Charlie Chan: Someday hope to greet honorable brothers where roar of surf replace noise of subway and hot rhythm of Broadway cooled by strains of 'Aloha.'

Charlie Chan: [to Lee] Keep eyes open, and mouth *closed*!

Charlie Chan: [to Lee] *One* cabin not big enough for *two* detectives!


Charlie Chan at the Circus (1936)
Charlie Chan: Mind like parachute - only function when open.

Charlie Chan: Free ticket to circus like gold ring on merry-go-round - make enjoyment double.

Charlie Chan: Curiosity responsible for cat needing nine lives.

Lt. Macy: [referring to Lee] Hello, Mr. Chan. You sure got a bright kid. He gave me a good steer.
Charlie Chan: Uh, sometimes suspect anxious offspring of giving bull.

Charlie Chan: Man who seek trouble never find it far off.

Charlie Chan: Cannot tell where path lead until reach end of road.

Charlie Chan: Question without answer like faraway water - no good for nearby fire.

Charlie Chan: One grain of luck sometimes worth more than whole rice field of wisdom.

Charlie Chan: Silent witness sometimes speaks loudest.

Charlie Chan: Very wise to know way out before going in.


Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum (1940)
Charlie Chan: Only very foolish mouse makes nest in cat's ear.

Inspector O'Matthews: Why won't he talk?
Charlie Chan: Fear is a cruel padlock.

Charlie Chan: Suspicion is the only toy of fools.

Charlie Chan: Every bird seeks its own tree and every tree its bird.

Inspector O'Matthews: I think I'll catch your act tonight, Charlie. In fact, I'll go with you.
Charlie Chan: No, please. Mice only play when cat supposed to be in bed.

Charlie Chan: Will imitate woman and change mind.

Charlie Chan: Any powder that kills flea is good powder.

Charlie Chan: Knowledge short; suspicion long.

Charlie Chan: Knowledge only gained through curiosity.


Charlie Chan at the Olympics (1937)
Charlie Chan Jr: Gee, Pop, they're having as hard a time finding that plane as we are catching fish.
Charlie Chan: Fish in sea like flea on dog - always present but difficult to find.

Charlie Chan: Good hunter never warn tiger of trap.

Charlie Chan: Truth, like football, receive many kicks before reaching goal.

Charlie Chan: All work and no play make Charlie Chan very dull policeman.

Charlie Chan: Suppose husband, like toupee on bald head, used for cover-up.

Mr. Cartwright: Perhaps we've been a little hasty.
Charlie Chan: Hasty accusation like long shot on horse race. Odds good but chances doubtful.

Charlie Chan: Important lesson for good detective - when all players hold suspicious cards, good idea to have joker up sleeve.

Lee Chan: [Shocked that Charlie has accepted an invitation] Zaraka? You've never met him!
Charlie Chan: Have never met Santa Claus either. Yet still accept gifts from same.

Charlie Chan: Better for Oriental to lose life than lose face.


Eran trece (1931)
Charlie Chan: A big head no more than a place for big headache,

Charlie Chan: No man is a fool until he does something foolish.

Charlie Chan: Only very brave mouse make nest in cat's ear.

Charlie Chan: Events explode without warning like fireworks over passersby.

Charlie Chan: He who waters the tree deserves the fruit.

Inspector Duff: She tried to trick him but it didn't work. What should she have done, Charlie?
Charlie Chan: Too late now. Advice after mistake like medicine after dead man's funeral.

Charlie Chan: Patience and mulberry leaf makes silk shawl.

Charlie Chan: But sometimes blunt stones cut better than sharpened knife.

Charlie Chan: If he comes to, tell him Charlie Chan is carrying on.


Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936)
Charlie Chan: Small things sometimes tell large story.

Sergeant Kelly: [looking at a note written in Chinese] What's that? A laundry list?
Charlie Chan: Much laundry, but all dirty.

Charlie Chan: Honorable father once say, "Politeness golden key that open many doors."

Charlie Chan: Roses and romance like tenor in opera - sing most persuasive love song.

Charlie Chan: Man who ride on merry-go-round often enough finally catch brass ring.

Charlie Chan: Very old Chinese wise man once say, "Madness twin bvrother of genius because each live in world created by own ego. One sometimes mistaken for the other."

Charlie Chan: Case still wide open like swinging gate.
Sergeant Kelly: Watta yuh mean?
Charlie Chan: Gravelle not murderer.
Inspector Regan: Not Gravelle?
Charlie Chan: Excuse please, will demonstrate hypothesis.
Sergeant Kelly: What?
Charlie Chan: Word of Greek origin, hypo meaning...
Sergeant Kelly: [interrupting] Hypo! I get it! He's hittin' the pipe again!

Mme. Lucretia Borelli: Is this some ridiculous attempt at saving your face, Mr. Chan?
Charlie Chan: Humble countenance merely facing facts.

[last lines]
Lee Chan: I knew we were on the right track Pop! The first time I saw Madam Borelli, I was sure she was guilty, because...
[the visor on his helmet slams shut, cutting him off]
Charlie Chan: Case now closed.


Charlie Chan in London (1934)
Charlie Chan: If you want wild bird to sing do not put him in cage.

Paul Frank, alias Geoffrey Richmond: Aren't you rather jumping at conclusions?
Charlie Chan: No, conclusions jump at me.

Home Secretary Sir Lionel Bashford: It's remarkable, Mr. Chan, how you ever suspected Barstow. He puts up an excellent front.
Charlie Chan: Front seldom tell truth. To know occupants of house, always look in backyard.
Home Secretary Sir Lionel Bashford: Provided there is one.
Charlie Chan: Excuse. Every front has back and little things tell story - even in this room.

Charlie Chan: Strange that crime of passion should be committed with gloved hand.

Charlie Chan: Excuse please.
Lake: What do you want?
Charlie Chan: I am very curious man.
Lake: I ain't got no time to waste answering questions. I've got my sleep to get the same as other people.
Charlie Chan: It is unasked question which prevent sleep.

Charlie Chan: But how could Lake's death possibly be connected with the Gray case?
Charlie Chan: Case like inside of radio - many connections not all related.

Charlie Chan: When death enters window, no time for life to go by door.

Charlie Chan: Regret do not understand English - only American.


Charlie Chan in Honolulu (1938)
Capt. Johnson: Who're you?
Charlie Chan: Lt. Chan, Honolulu police.
Capt. Johnson: [referring to Jimmy] Lt. Chan? Well, then, who is this young squirt?
Charlie Chan: Young squirt merely chip masquerading as block.

Charlie Chan: [stopping angry sailors from throwing Jimmy into the harbor] Honolulu police frown on choking bay with bodies.

Charlie Chan: When money talk, few are deaf.

Capt. Johnson: [startled upon coming into the ship cabin] Pardon me, gentlemen, I thought this cabin was occupied only by the corpse.
Charlie Chan: Sorry to disappoint.

Charlie Chan: Making bedfellow of serpent no guarantee against snakebite.

Dr. Cardigan: What a wonderful contribution to science your brain would make, Mr. Chan!
Charlie Chan: Thank you so much, but for present would prefer to keep same for own use.

Charlie Chan: Opinion like tea leaf in hot water... both need time for brewing.

Charlie Chan: How long ago lady escape?
Jimmy Chan: I don't know just how long, Pop, 'cause I was almost unconscious.
Charlie Chan: Have suspected same since birth.


Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo (1937)
Charlie Chan: Humble presence is of no more consequence than one drop of rain in cloudburst.

Lee Chan: [unable to get his hat from the hatcheck after having lost all his comp money at roulette] Oh, Pop, I haven't got a cent in my pocket.
Charlie Chan: Rejoice that you still have honorable pants.

Lee Chan: [stranded on road in broken down taxi] It's no use, Pop. We'd better start walking back.
Charlie Chan: Illustrious ancestor once say, 'Destination never reached by turning back on same.'

Lee Chan: [sitting in jail cell] Why should these officers arrest us? I told them who we are.
Charlie Chan: Fortunately assassination of French language not serious crime.

Charlie Chan: In future remember tongue often hang man quicker than rope.

Charlie Chan: [to Lee at dining table] Can assist in negotiating one order of waffles without danger of arrest?

Charlie Chan: Questions are key to door of truth.

Lee Chan: Gosh, I like detective work better than painting.
Charlie Chan: If paintings as full of imagination as detective work,
[Laughs]
Charlie Chan: he will be Chinese Rembrandt.


Charlie Chan at Treasure Island (1939)
Charlie Chan: Dr. Zodiac is a native of San Francisco?
Doctor Zodiac: Dr. Zodiac is a native of the Universe. He knows all people.

Charlie Chan: If befriend donkey, expect to be kicked.

Charlie Chan: Favorite pastime of man is fooling himself.

Charlie Chan: We are destroying web of spider. Now let us find spider.

Charlie Chan: Father who depend on son is happy or foolish according to son.

Charlie Chan: If request music, must be willing to pay for fiddler.

Charlie Chan: Criminal egotist finds pleasure in laughing at police.

[after a police investigation results in another murder attempt]
Chief J.J. Kilvaine: Well, Charlie, if this don't send me back to pounding pavement on Billy Goat Hill, I'm an eskimo!
Charlie Chan: Not necessary to take such icy view of situation.


The Scarlet Clue (1945)
Tommy Chan: Hey, you know, Pop, I've got an idea about this case.
Charlie Chan: Yes? Well?
Tommy Chan: Well, I had an idea, but it's gone now.
Charlie Chan: Possibly could not stand solitary confinement.

Charlie Chan: Number three son have excellent head. Question have always been, "What it contain?"

Charlie Chan: So many fish in fish market, even flower smell same. Much confusion.

Charlie Chan: [after accidently bumping a passer-by] Oh, I beg your pardon.
Horace Karlos: Sir, to meet a gentleman who apologizes for bumping you in these days is a rare thing, indeed. He is either a coward or a gentleman. I give you credit for the latter.
[they both bow]

Tommy Chan: When it comes to detective work, I know my P's and Q's.
Charlie Chan: But are you familiar with rest of alphabet?

Charlie Chan: I remember you since last time I arrest you. Is six years ago in Singapore, remember?
Cooper: Yeah, I remember.
Charlie Chan: Very great pleasure to arrest you again, Mr. Cooper.

Capt. Flynn: Say, do you suspect any of the people who were present when she died?
Charlie Chan: Suspect everyone on general principle.

Charlie Chan: Someone would have us believe victim fall eight stories up.


Docks of New Orleans (1948)
Charlie Chan: He who takes whatever gods send with smile has learned life's hardest lesson. I, personally, find it difficult to achieve that smile.

Capt. McNalley: [Talking about Tommy] Say, the boy has a head on his shoulders.
Charlie Chan: Oh, yes, even melon grown in shade will ripen in the end.

Charlie Chan: [to Tommy (who has been playing "jazz" violin)] Excuse interruption of music festival, please, but would mind repeating excrutiating sound made with assistance of cat intestine?"

Charlie Chan: If matter not solved, it is will of fate, but still feel inclined to give fate small tussle.

Charlie Chan: [Entering the room] Captain...
Police Sgt. Dansiger: Hello, Mr. Chan.
Capt. McNalley: Charlie, I thought you were on your way to San Francisco.
Charlie Chan: Would have been had not been for appointment with Mr. LaFontaine. Trust am not late.
Capt. McNalley: Late? I'm afraid you're too late . He died no more than five minutes ago.
Charlie Chan: Oh, death one appointment we must all keep and for which no time is set.

Charlie Chan: All cards should repose on table when personal liberty is at stake.

Charlie Chan: [to LaFontaine] He who takes whatever God send with a smile has learned life's hardest lesson. I personally find it diafficult to achieve that smile. Heh-heh.

Birmingham Brown: Mr. Chan, you oughta have all the credit for solvin' this case.
Charlie Chan: [Sardonically] Well, after dinner is over, heh-heh, who cares about spoon?
Tommy Chan: Let's pack and go back to San Francisco, Pop.
Charlie Chan: Yes, wherever one is not, that's where heart is.


The Jade Mask (1945)
Charlie Chan: No barber shaves so close but another barber finds some work to do.
Sheriff Mack: Reckon what he says is what you might call a cutting remark.

Roth: If anyone knew where the formula was kept, I would, but I know nothing about it at all.
Charlie Chan: [to Sheriff Mack] To get information from him is like putting empty bucket into empty well.
Sheriff Mack: Yeah, he is kind of dried up.

Charlie Chan: My boy, if silence is golden, you are bankrupt.

Charlie Chan: Things misplaced sometimes furnish very good clues.

Charlie Chan: Murder know no law of relativity.

Eddie Chan: Now that I'm here, Pop, uh, what type of murder have we got and how soon do you wish me to produce the murderer?
Charlie Chan: Every time you open your mouth you put in more feet than centipede. Remain here and produce nothing but silence.

Eddie Chan: Gentlemen, in this matter of thought I'm sure that I can assist both of you.
Charlie Chan: [to others] He reach oversize decision with undersized brain.
Charlie Chan: [to Eddie] Relax!

Charlie Chan: Please. Pajamas loud enough without you make extra noise.


Black Magic (1944)
Charlie Chan: Shady business do not make for sunny life.

Police Sgt. Matthews: Charlie, about that bullet?
Charlie Chan: You can keep secret?
Police Sgt. Matthews: Of course!
Charlie Chan: So can I.

Charlie Chan: Your suicide most excellent case of murder.

Frances Chan: I bought a crownless hat, and a backless dress, and some toeless shoes.
Charlie Chan: Stores have no clothes which are complete?

Charlie Chan: Very low spirits in Bonner seances. All come from basement.

Frances Chan: You know, Pop, I got an idea about this Bonner case.
Charlie Chan: Water on brain now leaking, huh?

Charles Edwards: Your spirits are a long time coming, Mr. Chan.
Charlie Chan: Spirits always have very long way to come.


The Chinese Ring (1947)
Charlie Chan: [about Davidson] Chinese chimpanzee not interfere with monkey business of big baboon. Not yet.

Charlie Chan: Politeness golden key to many doors.

Armstrong: I hope you're successful solving this case.
Charlie Chan: Well, thank you so much, Mr. Armstrong. Well, you know, sometimes think successful detective one upon whom luck shines smiling coutenance.

Charlie Chan: You know, Confuciussay good luck chain of foolish accidents.

Charlie Chan: [to gatekeeper] How loud it thunder; how little it rain.

Charlie Chan: Man who ride on tiger cannot dismount.
Birmingham Brown: He can't?

Charlie Chan: [Last lines] Man who ride on merry-go-round all the time sooner or later catch brass ring.


Dangerous Money (1946)
Scott Pearson: [talking confidentially] I'm under strict orders to remain undercover, but ever since I came aboard this ship...
[He stops when he hears a young couple walking by]
Charlie Chan: [after they are out of earshot] Yes...
Scott Pearson: Since I've been aboard, two attempts have been made to kill me.
Charlie Chan: You work for government?

Jimmy Chan: Say, I got the doctor's fingerprints from the doorknob, but I couldn't find anything on the murder weapon.
Charlie Chan: Many persons have handled that knife since killer.
Jimmy Chan: But, Pop, all modern detectives take fingerprints.
Charlie Chan: No. Only old-fashioned criminals leave such evidence behind.

Charlie Chan: Kangaroo reaches destination also by leaps and bounds.

Charlie Chan: [to Captain Black] Good hunter never break twig underfoot.

Scott Pearson: I'm sorry to bring you out on such a beastly night.
Charlie Chan: Problems rarely wait for clearing weather.

Charlie Chan: Tiger going away from village is never feared. Unfortunate agent's murder is proof he was approaching prey.

Charlie Chan: Hasty man could also drink tea with fork.


Charlie Chan in Reno (1939)
Curtis Whitman: Mary is still my wife in spite of what we planned, but she didn't - she couldn't have done this.
Charlie Chan: Man yet to be born who can tell what woman will or will not do.

Charlie Chan: Ancient ancestor once say words cannot cook rice.

Jimmy Chan: Pop! Am I glad to see you!
Sheriff Tombstone Fletcher: You mean he's really your son?
Charlie Chan: Must admit to dubious honor.

Vivian Wells: Mind if I snoop along?
Charlie Chan: Charming company turn lonely sandwich into rich banquet.

Charlie Chan: When searching for needle in haystack, haystack only sensible location.

Jimmy Chan: Pop, tell these guys I'm not crazy!
Charlie Chan: Parent must first convince self of same.


Shadows Over Chinatown (1946)
Charlie Chan: [to Tilford as he enters bus station on stormy night] Hot stove make all akin on night like this.

Jimmy Chan: Did you find out anything, Pop?
Charlie Chan: Not enough to fill up ear of gnat.

Charlie Chan: Believe if you will consent to bait trap, we may catch same.
Mary Conover: I'll be very glad to do anything I can to help.
Charlie Chan: Thank you. My first thought, of course, was police, but ancient proverb say, "Never bait trap with wolf to catch wolf."

Charlie Chan: Number Two Son like flea on dog - always must have fine tooth comb to find same.

Charlie Chan: Confucius say sleep only an escape from yesterday.


Castle in the Desert (1942)
Charlie Chan: Your name is?
Watson King: [With disdain] Watson King. I specialize in minding my own business.
Charlie Chan: Very lonely pasttime.

Charlie Chan: Guilty conscience like dog in circus - many tricks.

Lily, Mme. Saturnia: You have enemies, Mr. Chan?
Charlie Chan: Man without enemies like dog without fleas.

Jimmy Chan: Say, Pop, you haven't been drinking, have you?
Charlie Chan: Only wine of discovery.

Charlie Chan: Offspring sound like chip off old chopstick.


Charlie Chan in Panama (1940)
Charlie Chan: Bad alibi like dead fish - cannot stand test of time.

Jimmy Chan: Pop, is he dead?
Charlie Chan: No heart strong enough to hold bullet.

Jimmy Chan: [after being kicked by his father while playing dice] How'd you know it was me?
Charlie Chan: Frequent spankings have made offspring's anatomy most familiar.

Charlie Chan: [Last lines] Intelligent defense of nation best guarantee for years of peace.

Charlie Chan: Patience leads to knowledge.


City in Darkness (1939)
[last lines]
Charlie Chan: [referring to the Munich conference] A wise man once said, "Beware of spider who invites fly into parlor."

Charlie Chan: Birds never divide worm until safe in roost.

Charlie Chan: Patience big sister to wisdom.

Charlie Chan: Confucius say; "A wise man questions *himself*, a fool *others*".

Charlie Chan: Truth is only path out of tangled web.


Dead Men Tell (1941)
Jimmy Chan: Hey, Pop, you're not gonna swallow that story, are you?
Charlie Chan: Swallow much, but digest little,

Charlie Chan: Trouble like first love - teach many lessons.

Inspector Vessey: [Referring to Jimmy] Kid's got a head on his shoulders.
Charlie Chan: Very good news if true.

Bill Lydig: [looking at treasure map] Is it the real McCoy?
Charlie Chan: Quite possible McCoy.


The Trap (1946)
Charlie Chan: Best laid plans of mice and men sometimes, uh, go a little bit haywire, huh?

Birmingham Brown: Jimmy's just gotten murdered. I just got it over the telephone.
Charlie Chan: What? Where? Where call come from?
Birmingham Brown: Uh, uh, 126 Malibu Drive. There's a whole lot of girls there and say they just got murdered.

Charlie Chan: Suicides do not garrote themselves by trying granny knot at back of neck.

Charlie Chan: She may have overheard something of importance, but I will question her later.


The Golden Eye (1948)
Charlie Chan: [to Tommy] People who listen at keyholes rarely hear good of themselves.

Tommy Chan: Whatta yuh think you're gonna find, Pop?
Charlie Chan: Do not know - many needles in this haystack.

Charlie Chan: If you see something, call out.
Birmingham Brown: Whatever happened to yellin' and screamin'.


Charlie Chan in Rio (1941)
Charlie Chan: Interesting problem in chemistry: sweet wine always turn women sour.

Jimmy Chan: Watch out, Pop, he's oily and slippery.
Charlie Chan: Slippery man sometimes slip in own oil.

Charlie Chan: Experience teach unless eyewitness present, every murder case is long shot.


Shanghai Chest (1948)
Charlie Chan: Man who have gun either afraid or have guilty conscience.

Charlie Chan: [to Lt. Ruark] Surprised detective might just as well clutch iron ball and jump in lake.


The Feathered Serpent (1948)
Charlie Chan: Man who improve house before building solid foundation apt to run into very much trouble.


Charlie Chan's Chance (1932)
Charlie Chan: Some heads like hard nuts - much better if well cracked.