The House on Punchbowl Hill





















The Black Camel
















Fox Film Corporation; Hamilton MacFadden Production
Distributed: Fox Film Corporation, July 1931
Production: Early April (location shooting in Hawaii began on April 4) to early May 1931
Copyright: Fox Film Corporation, May 27, 1931; LP2301
Opened: Roxy, New York, N.Y., the week of July 3, 1931
Sound: Western Electric System
Film: Black and white
Length: 8 reels, 6,560 feet
Running Time: 67 or 71 minutes
Passed by the National Board of Review
Source: Based on the novel The Black Camel
by Earl Derr Biggers (Indianapolis, 1929)
Songs: "Uheuhene" and "Na Lei O Hawaii,"
words and music by Charles E. King;
 "I Have a Thought in My Heart For You,"
words and music by Sol Hoopii, Jr.;
"Aloha Oe,"
words and music by Queen Liliukalani
 

Producer: Hamilton MacFadden
Associate Producer: William Sistrom
Director: Hamilton MacFadden
Assistant Director: Sam Wurtzel
Original Story: Earl Derr Biggers 
Adapted by: Hugh Strange
Screenplay and Dialog: Barry Conners; Philip Klein
Sound Recorder: W.W. Lindsay, Jr.
Art Director: Ben Carre
Photography: Joseph August; Daniel Clark 
Original Music: Samuel Kaylin (not credited)   
Continuity Writer: Dudley Nichols (not credited) 
Film Editor: Al DeGaetano (not credited)
Costumes: Gary (not credited); Dolly Tree (not credited) 
Business Manager: W.F. Fitzgerald (not credited)

CAST:

Warner Oland: Charlie Chan
Sally Eilers: Julie O'Neill
Bela Lugosi: Tarneverro
Dorothy Revier: Shelah Fane
Victor Varconi: Robert Fyfe
Murray Kinnell: Smith
William Post, Jr.: Alan Jaynes
Robert Young: Jimmy Bradshaw
Violet Dunn: Anna
J.M. Kerrigan: Thomas MacMasters
Mary Gordon: Mrs. MacMasters
Rita Rozelle: Luana
Otto Yamaoka: Kashimo
Dwight Frye: Jessop (not credited) 
Richard Tucker: Wilkie Ballou (not credited) 
Marjorie White: Rita Ballou (not credited)
C. Henry Gordon: Huntley Van Horn (not credited)
Robert Homans: Chief of Police (not credited)
Louise Mackintosh: Librarian (not credited)
Hamilton MacFadden: Movie Director [Val Martino] (not credited)
James Wang: Wong (not credited)
Melvin Paoa: Hawaiian Beach Boy (not credited)
Ivy Ling (?): Number One Chan Daughter (not credited)
(Unknown): Miss [Diana] Dixon (not credited)

 
 

SUMMARY:

Shelah Fane, a motion picture star who is filming in Honolulu, consults the mystic Tarneverro, her spiritual advisor, to decide if she should marry Alan Jaynes, a wealthy globetrotter whom she met on the ship to Hawaii.  During a crystal ball session, Shelah confesses to Tarneverro that three years earlier she fell in love with her co-star, Denny Mayo, and that she was in his house on the night he was murdered.

Agitated following her consultation, Shelah tells Julie O'Neill, her protg, that she cannot marry Alan. Anna, Shelah Fane's maid, is greatly upset when, as she brings Shelah an orchid corsage from stage actor Robert Fyfe, who is currently appearing in town, she sees Shelah tearing up a photograph of Denny Mayo.

That evening, just before a dinner party that Shelah Fane is giving, Julie, along with Jimmy Bradshaw, a tourist bureau employee who wants to marry Julie, find Shelah stabbed to death in her pavilion.  Without explaining why, Julie has Jimmy remove Shelah's emerald ring.

During his investigation, Inspector Charlie Chan finds the orchid corsage crushed next to the actress' body with their pin missing.  He also notices in the sand outside the pavilion a footprint made by a shoe with a hole in
it. Chan gathers the guests, all of whom were in Hollywood at the time of Denny Mayo's murder, and relates the old saying: "Death is a black camel that kneels unbidden at every gate," adding, "Tonight, black camel has knelt here."

Chan's blundering assistant Kashimo finds the pieces of the ripped photograph of Mayo, which disappear during a scuffle in which the room is plunged temporarily into darkness.  When Kashimo brings in a beach bum who calls himself "Smith," and whose shoes match the footprints found outside the pavilion, Fyfe, Shelah's ex-husband, suddenly confesses to Shelah's murder.  Alan, greatly upset at being detained, and declaring that Fyfe's confession resolves the case, wants to leave immediately to catch a boat to the mainland.  However, Chan deduces that Fyfe could not have been at the pavilion at the time of the murder, and warns none of the guests to leave the island.

In need of money, Smith, who is an artist, threatens Fyfe that he will tell what he overheard Shelah say in the Pavilion unless Fyfe buys one of his paintings.  After Fyfe gives him $100 with the promise of an additional $200 later, Smith is shot by an unseen assailant as he walks along the beach.  He staggers to a shack on the beach where his native girlfriend, Luana, comforts him.

At Jimmy's urging, Julie confesses to Chan that she took the emerald ring because it contains an inscription from Mayo.  She tells him that she had wanted to keep Shelah's relationship with him a secret.

The next day, Chan learns from Mr. and Mrs. MacMasters, an Australian couple who know the renowned psychic, that Tarnverro is really Denny Mayo's brother Arthur.

Luana accuses Fyfe of shooting Smith, and takes Chan and Fyfe to her shack on the beach where the artist lies dying.  Before Smith dies from his gunshot wound, he reveals to Chan that he had overheard Shelah Fane tell Fyfe that she had confessed to Tarneverro that she had killed Denny Mayo.  Fyfe confirms this and says that after Shelah had found out that Mayo had a wife in England, she shot him during a quarrel.  Fyfe tells Chan that he had confessed to her murder because he still loved her and wished to protect her memory.  Smith also reveals that he took a diamond pin from the pavilion that he had found next to the crushed orchids, which, Chan notices, has a missing pin.

Back at the house, Chan finds scratch marks on the floor beneath the dinner table that he believes were made by the shoe in which the missing part of the diamond pin, embedded in the murderer's shoe when the corsage was trampled under foot, is probably still lodged.  As he makes this discovery, a knife is thrown at him.  Chan deduces that Fane's murderer must have sat in the chair situated above the scratches.

Meanwhile, Julie accepts Jimmy's proposal and agrees to remain with him in Hawaii.

CONCLUSION:

Later, Chan has the suspects sit at the table in the same positions in which they had sat the previous
night. Tarneverro sits at the chair nearest to the scratches, but upon further investigation, Chan learns that later that night, the maid Anna sat in the same chair.  When Chan finds a piece of the diamond pin embedded in the heel of her shoe, she reveals that she is Denny Mayo's wife and that she killed Shelah Fane.  Tarneverro tells that he came to Hollywood to find his brother's murderer, and that when Shelah confessed to him, he told Anna.  He asks to share Anna's fate.  As Chan goes to arrest Anna, Jessop, the butler, who is in love with her, pulls a gun.  After a brief struggle, Chan disarms him.  Jessop then admits that he shot Smith because he knew too much and that it was he who had thrown the knife at Chan.

Just then, Kashimo enters with a clue, but Chan instructs him to "save for next case."

NOTES: The novel The Black Camel, by Earl Derr Biggers, was originally published serially in The Saturday Evening Post between May 18 and June 22, 1929.  Sources conflict concerning the release date of the
film.  According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, some scenes were shot in Honolulu, where some of the of the film's music was also recorded.

Adapted from: AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE CATALOG - Within Our Gates: Ethnicity in American Feature Films, 1911-1960



CHARLIE CHAN'S APHORISMS:

Wages of stupidity is hunt for new job.

Alas, mouse cannot cast shadow like elephant.

Hollywood is famous furnisher of mysteries.

Always harder to keep murder secret than for egg to bounce on sidewalk.

Very few after-dinner speeches equipped with self-stopper.

All foxes come at last to fur store.

Sometimes very difficult to pick up pumpkin with one finger.

There is old saying: "Death is a black camel that kneels unbidden at every gate."

Alibi have habit of disappearing like hole in water.

Even bagpipe will not speak when stomach is empty.

Way to find rabbit's residence is to turn rabbit loose and watch.

Always happens - when conscience tries to speak, telephone out of order.

Even wisest man sometimes mistake bumblebee for blackberry.

Soap and water never can change perfume of billygoat.

Only very clever man can bite pie without breaking crust.

Learn from hen - never boast about egg until after egg's birthday.

Can cut off monkey's tail, but he is still monkey.


OTHER WORTHY STATEMENTS:

Like shadow follow man, so fame has followed you from Hollywood.  (To Tarneverro)

Rumor announce you have been sightseeing in crystal globe.  (To Tarneverro)

Supernatural powers of fortunetellers make very bad smell in nostrils of Honolulu.  (To Tarneverro)

 
Assault and battery not permitted without license from boxing commission.  (To Alan Jaynes, who was about to strike Tarneverro in anger)

You quench fire of my curiosity with handful of straw.  (To Tarneverro)

(Tarneverro: "Have you been driving long?")  No.  At first, I'm pretty bad driver; but now, me and road turn corner same time.

Most unfashionable hole in one shoe.  Fortune could not have smiled on owner.  (To Tarneverro, observing a footprint on the beach)

(There is old saying: "Death is a black camel that kneels unbidden at every gate.")  Tonight, black camel has knelt here.  (To assembled suspects)

I am not in mood tonight for turning other cheek, but will return assault with compound battery.  (To assembled suspects, after being assaulted in the darkness and having important evidence stolen)

(Huntley Van Horn: "Inspector, you need a lie-detector...an invention that detects instantly when anyone is telling a lie.")  Oh, I see.  You mean a wife.  I have one.

Kashimo, you are zebra...Sport model jackass.  (To Kashimo)

(Smith: "The name might be Smith.")  Might also be Jones(Responding to Smith who had stated his name in an unconvincing manner)

(Alan Jaynes: "Your theory's full of holes - it won't hold water!')  Sponge is full of holes; sponge holds water.
 
Baloney, applesauce, beans!  One would think you all took lessons in grocery store instead of at school.  (To his children, who had used those terms to criticize their Pop for claiming that he had not yet determined who had murdered Shelah Fane)

I am gratefully retreating from bosom of honorable family to peace and quiet of murder case.  (To Kashimo)

Secret of this case harder to determine than alley cat's grandfather.  (To Kashimo)

Bright spark appears in darkness.  (To Julie O'Neill, as her information sheds light on the case)

Person who threw this (knife) evidently think a long life is only extra time for more trouble.  (To Chief of Police)

(Kashimo: "Clue!")  Clue?  Too late - save for next case!



REVIEW:

Variety, July 7, 1931

Charlie Chan, the Chinese Sherlock Holmes of Earl Derr Biggers' imagination, must be gathering a screen rep for himself by now.  He's an extremely interesting character while solving mystery plots and sprinkling comic epigrams on the dialog.  And he always comes out on top. In "The Black Camel" Chan clears up a three-in-one murder.  The killing of a femme film star on location in Honolulu is the plot's hub.  As a story, it's interesting, with the film star stuff compounding the interest.  Plus what might come through the Chan rep the picture will do moderate business.

In the building-up process for the character Chan, Fox seems to have in Warner Oland an actor who can keep the role going indef.  This ex-heavy makes the Oriental dick a man who can be watched often.

Amidst the soft Hawaiian beach scenery this time two murders are committed.  The third murder cleared up was the first, having occurred in Hollywood years before this narrative starts.  The Hollywood victim was a director called Denny Mayo.  It is brought out early that that Shelah Fane, the star, murdered Mayo, but who murdered Miss Fane later is the question.

Most of the suspicion is directed at the star's personal fortune teller, Tarneverro, and the next most at her ex-husband, an actor.  The maid is directed into almost tipping her mitt at the start of the film, cut [sic] when the climax arrives, just before she's nabbed, the girl is the least suspected member of the cast.  That's the usual way with mystery plots.  When it's not the maid, it's the butler.  "The Black Camel's" butler is, of course, implicated too, having committed the other killing.  He was in love with the maid, and he shot a beachcomber who knew too much.

Cleverly directed, and as much as any mystery-satiated customer would suspect the maid and butler at the start, there's enough plot development to switch anyone's convictions.  The maid angle is cleared up sensibly enough.  She was Mayo's widow. The fortune teller was Mayo's brother.  They were both on Shelah Fane's trail to bring her to justice, but the girl couldn't wait for justice to catch up.

Bela Lugosi, the crystal peeker, and Victor Varconi as the first husband, are boys who can always look guilty under the right conditions, and in this instance the conditions are perfect between dialects and scowls.  Sally Eilers and Dorothy Revier were capable of dolling up the South Sea scenery, which is all they were required to do.

Otherwise no acting standouts. In that department the film is all Oland.



FILM NOTES:

THE PROBABLE DATE OF CHARLIE CHAN'S INVOLVEMENT: Early spring 1931 (two days)  NOTE: It is possible we can state that the action in this film takes place in early April.  We might further surmise that, owing to the brightness of several "nighttime" scenes, that there was a full, bright moon over Waikiki at the time.  If this were so, we can, perhaps, noting that the moon was full on the evening of April 2, 1931, venture to state that the action portrayed in The Black Camel occurred on the above date and the following day (April 3), a Thursday and Friday.

DURATION: 2 days

LOCATION: Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii and environs
 
SONG PLAYED OVER OPENING SCENE WITH SURFERS: "On the Waves of Waikiki"

THE TEXT OF THE FIRST NEWSPAPER HEADLINE AND STORY:
 
"Honolulu Welcomes Hollywood
Motion Picture Company"
"Shelah Fane, Star of Troupe,
 Leases Beach Home"
 
THE PARTIAL TEXT OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE: 
    
     "Planning to spend a month with Hawaii's beaches and
moontales[?] as the background for their scenes, a group of
players and technicians from Hollywood studios will reach
Honolulu this afternoon.
     "Shelah Fane, starring in the picture, and Huntley Van
Horn, her leading man, head the delegation with Val Mar-
tino directing and two assistants.
     "A number of sites have been selected for location and the
beauty and romance of the islands are to lend their en-
chantment to the romance of the drama."

THE TEXT OF THE SECOND NEWSPAPER HEADLINE AND STORY:
 
"SCREEN STAR INVOLVED IN ROMANCE
WITH ALAN JAYNES, WEALTHY GLOBETROTTER"
 
"Trip to Islands Brings
Noted Pair Together;
Secretly Engaged"
 
THE PARTIAL TEXT OT THE ABOVE ARTICLE:
    
"According to reliable ad-
vices, Shelah Fane, now in
Honolulu making scenes for
her forthcoming picture, was
secretly engaged to marry
Alan Jaynes, wealthy travel-
er, whom she first met while
enroute to the Islands.  Miss
Fane could not be reached
for a statement, but mem-
bers of her company admitted
that their star was evidently con-
templating matrimony at an early
date."
 
ACCORDING TO DIRECTOR VAL MARTINO, THE LENGTH OF TIME THAT THE FILM COMPANY HAS BEEN IN HONOLULU:  "...a week..."
 
THE TIME GIVEN TO SHELAH FANE BY VAL MARTINO TO BEGIN SHOOTING AGAIN THE NEXT DAY: "Eight o'clock in the morning, and don't be late."
 
ACCORDING TO ANNA, THE TIME FOR SHELAH FANE'S APPOINTMENT WITH TARNEVERRO: "Four o'clock."

THE HEADLINE AND STORY OF NEWSPAPER ARTICLE THAT WAS SHOWN TO SHELAH FANE BY JULIE O'NEILL:
 
"TARNEVERRO, WORLD FAMOUS
MYSTIC, ARRIVES IN HONOLULU
FOR BRIEF VACATION"
 
"Sensation in Psychic Circles Proves of
Interest to Local Scholars and Society"
 
THE PARTIAL TEXT OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE: 
    
"Tarneverro, world-famous mystic, has arrived in Honolulu
for a brief vacation and local society has shown an interest
in aiding him to perform to the elite.  Various clubs and [several]
[local] hostesses have asked the gifted and cultured Tarneverro
[to honor them?] by accepting their invitations to part[icipate?]..."
 
JULIE O'NEILL'S UNUSUAL, "MUSICAL," ANSWER TO JIMMY BRRADSHAW'S CALL TO HER ON THE BEACH: "I'm COM-ing!"  (In the early 1930s, there was a fad car horn that sounded like Julie O'Neill's voice as she answered the insistant call of Jimmy Bradshaw.  This car horn sound may be recalled in older cartoons, movies, and even songs or advertisements.)
 
THE DEPARTURE TIME OF ALAN JAYNES' SHIP: Midnight (that night)
 
THE FAMOUS HONOLULU HOTEL SHOWN AND FEATURED: Royal Hawaiian Hotel
 
ACCORDING TO CHARLIE CHAN, HIS CURRENT POSITION: "Inspector Chan, Honolulu Police."
 
ACCORDING TO CHARLIE CHAN, THE LENGTH OF TIME THAT DENNY MAYO, MURDERED IN HOLLYWOOD, HAD BEEN DEAD: "...dead now, three years."

PARTIAL TEXT OF THE NOTE SENT TO TARNEVERRO:
 
"The name of the
man she wants to
marry is Alan Jaynes.
I will see you
again shortly and
[te]ll you..."

ACCORDING TO SHELAH FANE, THE DATE OF THE DENNY MAYO MURDER: "...three years ago in June." (June 1928) 

THE INSCRIPTION ON SHELAH FANE'S PHOTOGRAPH OF DENNY MAYO:
 
"To my lovely lady
forever
Denny Mayo"
 
THE NOTE WRITTEN ON ROBERT FYFE'S CARD ACCOMPANYING THE ORCHIDS FOR SHELAH FANE:
 
(with a line drawn through "Mr. Robert Fyfe")
"With love from
           'Bob'
Phone 1313 Royal Theatre"
 
CHARLIE CHAN'S STATED PLANS FOR THAT EVENING: "I attend Rotary Club banquet here at (the Royal Hawaiian) hotel."
THE TYPE OF RING THAT JIMMY BRADSHAW REMOVED FROM SHELAH FANE'S FINGER AT THE REQUEST OF JULIE O'NEILL: Emerald
 
RITA BALLOU'S MAIDEN NAME BASED ON THE ANECDOTAL STORY THAT SHE TOLD A FEW GUESTS AT SHELAH FANE'S HOUSE: Smith
 
THE TIME GIVEN BY TARNEVERRO TO THE ROYAL HAWAIIAN DESK CLERK FOR HIS RETURN LATER THAT NIGHT: "...about eleven."
 
ACCORDING TO CHARLIE CHAN, THE EXTENT OF SHELAH FANE'S MORTAL WOUNDS: "Stabbed through heart."

THE FIRST CLUES, AS NOTED BY CHARLIE CHAN: "Orchids torn from dress; crushed angrily under feet.  Pin is missing."

THE SECOND CLUE, NOTED BY TARNEVERRO: "The wrist watch is smashed.  That establishes the time of the murder."  (Charlie Chan: "Maybe.")

THE THIRD CLUE, IN THE BEACH SAND, AS NOTED BY CHARLIE CHAN OUTSIDE OF THE PAVILLION: "Fresh footprints.  Most unfashionable hole in one shoe."

ACCORDING TO JESSOP, THE LAST TIME THAT HE HAD SEEN SHELAH FANE ALIVE: "About a quarter of eight, when she came downstairs to meet Mr. Jaynes."
 
HUNTLEY VAN HORN'S DEROGATORY REFERENCE TO CHARLIE CHAN: "...Mr. Too Soon, or whatever your name is."
 
ACCORDING TO ROBERT FYFE, THE LAST TIME AND PLACE THAT HE HAD SEEN HIS ESTRANGED WIFE, SHELAH FANE: "Seven years ago, in New York."

THE TIME, ACCORDING TO ROBERT FYFE, AS HE ARRIVED AT SHELAH FANE'S HOUSE: "Five minutes before eight."

THE TIME, ACCORDING TO ROBERT FYFE, AS HE LEFT SHELAH FANE'S HOME: "...four minutes past eight." 
 
ACCORDING TO ROBERT FYFE, THE AMOUNT OF TIME THAT HE WAS LATE FOR HIS PERFORMANCE AT THE ROYAL THEATRE: "...five minutes..."
 
THE INSCRIPTION ON SMITH'S MEDAL AS READ BY CHARLIE CHAN: "Temple Bronze Medal - Third Prize - Landscape in Oil - Pennsylvania Academy of Art"
 
THE TIME AS ROBERT FRYE ARRIVED BACK AT THE ROYAL THEATRE: 8:20 p.m.
 
ACCORDING TO CHARLIE CHAN, THE AMOUNT OF TIME IT WOULD TAKE FYFE TO TRAVEL BETWEEN SHELAH FANE'S HOUSE AND THE ROYAL THEATRE: "Journey takes fifteen minutes."
 
THE TIME AS WONG, THE COOK, HAD LAST SEEN SHELAH FANE "ALIVE AND WELL": 8:12 p.m.
 
MR. SMITH'S "ADDRESS" AS STATED TO CHARLIE CHAN: "Sandy spot, any beach, Honolulu."
 
THE TEXT OF THE NOTE RECOVERED FROM UNDER THE CARPET BY CHARLIE CHAN:
 
"Dear Tarneverro -
Please forget what
I told you this after-
noon. I must have
been mad!
Please - please forget.
                Shelah"
 
THE PRICE "REQUESTED" BY SMITH OF FRYE TO PURCHASE HIS PAINTING: $500

THE AMOUNT OFFERED BY FYFE: $300 ("I'll give you 100 now, and 200 next week.")

THE CAPTION BENEATH THE CUT-OUT PHOTO IN THE LOS ANGELES TIMES:
 
"THE LATEST PICTURE OF DENNY 
MAYO BEFORE HIS TRAGIC DEATH"
 
THE TEXT OF THE NOTE TYPED TO JULIE O'NEILL:
 
"If you really loved Shelah Fane
visit public library and remove
damaging references to her from
copies of Los Angeles Times three
years ago - June.
                         A Friend"
 
THE TIME, ACCORDING TO MRS. MAC MASTERS, AND AS RESTATED BY CHARLIE CHAN, THAT TARNEVERRO WAS WITH MR. AND MRS. MACMASTERS: "...from before eight o'clock until half-past last night..."
 
THE COUNTRY VISITED IN THE PAST BY DENNY AND ARTHUR MAYO, WHERE THEY BECAME FRIENDS WITH MR. AND MRS. MACMASTERS: Australia

 
 

GLOSSARY:

applesauce - (Slang)  Nonsense; foolishness.
Charlie Chan's Oldest Daughter: Ah, that's a lot of applesauce!"
 
baloney - (Slang)  Nonsense.
Charlie Chan's Young Son: "Ah, baloney!" 
 
bird - (Slang)  A person, especially one who is odd or remarkable.
Chief of Police: "I'm going to nail that bird now!"
 
hocus-pocus - (1) Nonsense words or phrases used as a formula by quack conjurers.  (2) A trick performed by a magician or juggler; sleight-of-hand.  (3) Foolishness or empty pretense used especially to disguise deception or chicanery.
Wilkie Ballou: "Look here, you can count me out of this hocus-pocus right now."
 
Honolulu - The capital and largest city of Hawaii, on the southeast coast of Oahu.  Honolulu's harbor was first entered by Europeans in 1794.  Settlement of the area began in 1816, and the city soon gained prominence as a whaling and sandalwood port.  Honolulu has been a major tourist center since the early twentieth century.  Population - 1930: 202,807; 1940: 257,696.
 
Honolulu was the home of Charlie Chan and his multitudinous family who lived on the slope of Punchbowl Hill.  This city is at least the starting point for a number of adventures, and, in two films, including Charlie Chan's Greatest Case and The Black Camel (filmed on location), serves as the backdrop for the entire film.  Other titles where at least some of the plot, if only implied, takes place in Honolulu include Charlie Chan Carries On, Charlie Chan's Secret, Charlie Chan at the Race Track, Charlie Chan in Honolulu, Charlie Chan in Reno, and Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise.
 
Jap - (Offensive slang)  Used as a disparaging term for a person of Japanese birth or descent. Much used during World War II in reference to the Japanese.
Wilkie Ballou: "This Jap has locked all the doors on us!"
 
nail - (Slang)  To stop and seize; catch.
Chief of Police: "I'm going to nail that bird now!"
 
Rotary Club - A group of businessmen in a town organized as a service club and to promote world peace.
Charlie Chan: "I attend Rotary Club banquet here at hotel."
 
shoving off - (Informal)  To be leaving.
Smith: "I'm shoving off, Inspector."
 
spill the beans - (Slang)  To disclose a secret.
The Black Camel - Charlie Chan's Oldest Daughter: "C'mon, Pop, spill the beans!"
 
that's a go(Informal)  To be in agreement toward a proposal.
Huntley Van Horn: "That's a go, there are no more answers."
 
For a complete list from all films, please visit our Charlie Chan Glossary.

 
 

THE ROYAL HAWAIIAN HOTEL:

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel, which opened on February 1, 1927, was built by the Matson Navigation Company at a cost of $4 million.  Constructed on 15 acres of beautiful Waikiki beach frontage, the luxurious pink Moorish-style hotel, was promoted world-wide as a premier visitor destination.  The romance that had made Waikiki so attractive in the past contributed to insure that the "Pink Palace" was a favorite of both visitors and local residents, which it has remained for decades.

As mentioned above, the famous Matson Line that brought visitors to the Islands from the mainland aboard its ships, owned the Royal Hawaiian.  As the liners rounded Diamond Head, they would pause to face the pink landmark and, to signal their arrival, they would blast their horns.  Many of the hotel's guests would arrive aboard these Matson ships.

During World War II, the Royal Hawaiian was used to house Navy personnel for rest and relaxation.  Servicemen returning from duty in the Pacific "unwound" at the famous hotel.  Following the war, the hotel, showing definite wear resulting from the Navy's use, was remodeled.

Following statehood in 1959, rapid development occurred in Waikiki.  Today, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel is surrounded by high-rise hotels, including newer wings of its own.  However, the romance of the old days can still be found at the "Pink Palace," and, if one listens carefully, voices from the past, including those of Warner Oland and the cast and crew of The Black Camel, can still be faintly heard.

 
 

ROYAL HAWAIIAN HOTEL HISTORICAL LINK:

Catch a room-by-room glimpse of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel as it appeared when The Black Camel was filmed on location within its palatial confines, courtesy of the Historic Hawaii Foundation website.

 
 

SONG:

The song "Aloha 'Oe" ("Farewell to Thee"), written in 1877 by Hawaii's last monarch, Queen Lili`uokalani, can be heard as "exit music" at the very end of "The Black Camel."

 
Ha`aheo `e ka ua I n pli
Proudly the rain on the cliffs
Ke nihi a`ele i ka nahele
Creeps into the forest
E uhai ana paha i ka liko
Seeking the buds
Pua `hihi lehua o uka.
And miniature lehua flowers of the uplands.

Hui: (Chorus:)
Aloha `oe, aloha `oe
Farewell to thee, farewell to thee
E ke onaona noho i ka lipo.
O fragrance in the blue depths.
"One fond embrace," a ho`i a`e au
One fond embrace, and I leave
A hui hou aku.
To meet again.

`O ka hali`a aloha ka i hiki mai
Sweet memories come
Ke hone a`e nei i ku`u manawa.
Sound softly in my heart.
`O `oe n ka`u ipo aloha
You are my beloved sweetheart
A loko e hana nei.
Felt within.

Maopopo ku`u `ike i ka nani
I understand the beauty
N pua rose o Mauna-wili.
Of rose blossoms at Mauna-wili.
I laila ho`ohie n manu,
There the birds delight,
Miki`ala i ka nani o ia pua.
To the beauty of this flower.

 
 

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