Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Roland Winters
ROLAND WINTERS (1904 - 1989).

Roland Winters was the third actor to play great detective Charlie Chan in the sound film series which began with Fox studios and ended with Monogram. Winters was younger than Warner Oland and Sidney Toler (both of whom had passed away) when he took on the role, and Chan seems a touch more virile. In any case, his take on the role is effective if different. Keye Luke, who reprised his role as son Lee Chan in the last two Chan Pictures, The Feathered Serpent and Sky Dragon, was actually the same age as Winters.

Winters had a very long career of film and television credits, playing everyone from Mr. Weatherbee in Life with Archie to a murder suspect in Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff. Winters had only three minor film credits [his first film was Citizen Kane] before snaring the role of Charlie Chan in The Chinese Ring.

Winters [born Roland Winternitz] was the son of a famous European violinist and was born in Boston, where Winternitz Sr. worked at the Conservatory.


angelman66 said...

Hi Bill - so interesting that the actors playing Chan were Occidental rather than Asian. Did any Asian ever play Charlie Chan?

I fondly remember all these serials from my childhood! They played them every Sunday morning.

William said...

I'm not certain about any silent films, but I don't think Chan was ever played by an actual Chinese, Chinese-American, or an Asian of any kind.

I have now seen every [sound] Charlie Chan movie ever made that is still in existence. Time to get obsessed with something else, LOL!