Hollywood, California, Monday, October 17, 1938: Darryl F. Zanuck has selected Sidney Toler to play the role of Charlie Chan, succeeding the late Warner Oland. His first picture will be "Charlie Chan in Honolulu" which will start production October 24, with John Stone as the associate producer. Toler was discovered by Sol M. Wurtzel when he looked at rushes of Up the River, current 20th Century-Fox picture in which Toler is a featured player.
Every time you open your mouth you put in more feet than centipede. Remain here and produce nothing but silence.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu is a 1938 American film directed by H. Bruce Humberstone, starring Sidney Toler as the fictional Chinese-American detective Charlie Chan. The film is the first appearance of both Toler as Chan and Victor Sen Yung as "number two son."
Among other actors considered and tested for the new Charlie Chan were Cy Kendall, Walter Connolly, J. Edward Bromberg, Noah Beery Jr., Michael Visaroff, and Leo Carillo. Kendall and Connelly had played Chan on radio.
The film opens with Detective Chan rushing to the hospital to be with his daughter as she prepares to give birth to his first grandchild. While Charlie Chan waits at the hospital, his "number two" son James (Victor Sen Yung) intercepts a message intended for Charlie about a murder on board the freighter Susan B. Jennings.
The freighter is on its way from Shanghai to Honolulu under the leadership of Captain Johnson (Robert Barrat). James wants to prove his investigative skills to his father and so boards the Jennings pretending to be Charlie Chan, with his younger brother Tommy (Layne Tom Jr.) in tow. The ruse doesn't last long and soon the real Chan arrives on board, interrogating a motley assortment of crooks, heiresses and crew as he works to solve a crime whose only witness is secretary Judy Haynes (Phyllis Brooks).