Charlie Chan in the Secret Service

Charlie Chan in the Secret Service is a 1944 mystery film starring Sidney Toler as Charlie Chan. It is the first film made by Monogram Pictures after the series was dropped by 20th Century Fox, and it marks the introduction of Number Three Son (Benson Fong) and taxi driver (later Chan's chauffeur), Birmingham Brown (Mantan Moreland).[1]

Charlie Chan in the Secret Service
Directed byPhil Rosen
Produced byPhillip N. Krasne
James S. Burkett
Written byEarl Derr Biggers (characters)
George Callahan (screenplay)
Starringsee below
CinematographyIra H. Morgan
Edited byMartin G. Cohn
Distributed byMonogram Pictures
Release date
  • February 14, 1944 (1944-02-14)
Running time
63 minutes
CountryUnited States


In the two years since the last Charlie Chan feature film (Castle in the Desert), Charlie Chan is now an agent of the U.S. government working in Washington DC and he is assigned to investigate the murder of the inventor of a highly advanced torpedo. Aiding Chan is his overeager but dull-witted Number Three son Tommy (Benson Fong) and his Number Two Daughter Iris Chan (Marianne Quon). Also involved in the case is the bumbling and easily frightened Birmingham Brown (Mantan Moreland) who works as a limo driver for one of the suspects.



20th Century Fox stopped making Charlie Chan films in 1941. In May 1943 Monogram Pictures announced they had purchased the rights to the character from Fox and would make two Charlie Chan films a year. Sidney Toler would reprise his performance as Chan.[2] Keye Luke was reportedly unable to reprise his role as Number One Son, so a search started for an actor to plan Chan's son.[3][4]

In June 1943 Monogram Pictures announced Charlie Chan and the Secret Service would be one of 24 movies and 16 Westerns the studio would make over the following year. This was eight less than the previous year as Monogram said they wanted to make "fewer and higher budgeted pictures".[5]

The film was to star Sidney Toler and Iris Wong from the Fox movies. In July 1943 Benson Fong was signed to play Chan's son.[6] Wong eventually was replaced by Marianne Quon.

Filming started 10 September 1943.[7]

See also


  1. Charlie Chan in the Secret Service Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 11, Iss. 121, (Jan 1, 1944): 28.
  2. Of Local Origin New York Times 24 May 1943: 11.
  3. DRAMA AND FILM: 'Sons o' Fun' Comedian Recruited for 'Rookie' De Mille Selects Dave Willock for Sailor Role Opposite Barbara Britton Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 25 May 1943: 13.
  4. BY WAY OF REPORT By THOMAS M. PRYOR. New York Times 30 May 1943: X3.
  5. Of Local Origin New York Times 14 June 1943: 13.
  6. Of Local Origin New York Times 20 July 1943: 15.
  7. DRAMA AND FILM: Newcomer Ella Raines Lead in 'Phantom Lady' 20th Will Film Unusual Subject, 'Sunday Dinner for a Soldier' Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 10 Sep 1943: 15.
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