As much as people may be offended by these things now, back on the 1930's and 40's these characters were a regular part of the lives of most Americans. Warner Oland's Charlie Chan was popular, as well as was Peter Lorre's fantastic Mr. Moto, and along with Boris Karloff's Mr. Wong, they were always the smartest men in the room; the Caucasian characters (the good guys, anyway) always deferred to their skill. Of course this wasn't always the case (Amos & Andy is a less flattering example), and in any discussion of the subject the more negative aspects must be fully acknowledged. That said, I don't let those very real issues detract from the artistic contributions of the period. The aforementioned characters have provided some of my fondest watching and listening experiences, whether I'm expected to shun them or not.
During his career Eddie Holden used his skills in far less controversial ways than Frank Watanabe, doing the voices for a number of animated features, including the part of Squirrel in Disney's Bambi, and that of a clown in Dumbo. His other non-radio performances were primarily in b-reel features, including the suspense drama Torture Ship and the mega-fun cowboy picture The Fighting Deputy (featuring my favourite western coot, Al "Fuzzy" St. John). The inscription on the photo to the right is a fun reference to Frank Watanabe, and is written in the dizzy dialect of the character. Very cool. Reginald Sharland also had a short list of films to his name throughout the 1930's, but to me, as a fan of UK television, his claim to fame is that he's the father of Peter and David Croft. Peter Croft made his name as a TV director, working on shows such as Sexton Blake, The Black Arrow, and Lord Tramp. David Croft is especially interesting to me, as he penned the scripts of some of my top favourite programmes, including Dad's Army, Are You Being Served, It Ain't Half Hot Mum, Hi-de-hi, 'Allo 'Allo, Oh Doctor Beeching, and the delectably perfect You Rang, M'Lord
Download the episode "Frank & Archie try to pass a cop in disguise" HERE