In 1972, Hanna-Barbera Productions adapted Chinese detective Charlie Chan (originally created by Earl Derr Biggers) into his own animated series – The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan. The series would run for one season of 16 episodes but has often been rerun through the years. The lead role of the series “Mr. Chan” went to Keye Luke who had previously played “Number One Son” Lee Chan, opposite Warner Oland, Sidney Toler and Roland Winters in the long-running Charlie Chan film series of the 1930s and 1940s by 20th Century Fox and later, Monogram Pictures. Ironically, Luke was the first (and currently only) person of Chinese heritage to portray Chan.
The series follows Mr. Chan, his 10 children and their dog Chu Chu (voiced by Don Messick) as they solve various crimes and mysteries as they travelled around in a transforming Chan Van made by Chan’s fourth son Alan (voiced by Brian Tochi)- a mechanical genius. The van could change into a wide variety of vehicles when the plot needed it too. Some of Chan’s older children were also a pop group called The Chan Clan; they would perform a song in each episode at some point!