The House on Punchbowl Hill



















 
 

A Charlie Chan Glossary

Welcome, dear visitor, to our humble collection of words, slang, and terminology that one will encounter during the course of viewing Charlie Chan’s numerous adventures.  Included are some terms that, while they may be somewhat familiar to persons who are familiar with the English language or American popular culture, could, perhaps, prove to be puzzling to others.  However, while some entries will be familiar, other words and terms included may offer an interesting surprise or two!  The rich tapestry of dialogue that runs through the entire Charlie Chan series proper is an integral part of the detective’s films.  It is our hope that this collection will enhance your viewing – and listening – pleasure.

 
 

A

"A" card - The lowest-level gasoline ration card issued by the United States government during World War II.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Birmingham Brown: "Every time he looks at me, he makes me feel as futile as a traveling salesman with nothin' but a 'A' card."

World War II gasoline ration 'A' card

adrenaline - A hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla that is released into the bloodstream in response to physical or mental stress, as from fear or injury.  It initiates many bodily responses, including the stimulation of heart action and an increase in blood pressure, metabolic rate, and blood glucose concentration.  Also called epinephrine.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Dr. Ainsley: "Adrenaline.  She's got to have a heart stimulant."

aerodrome - (Chiefly British)  An airfield equipped with control tower and hangers as well as accommodations for passengers and cargo. 
Charlie Chan in London - Charlie Chan: "To aerodrome at Farnwell."
Charlie Chan in Paris - Sign: AERODROME DU BOURGET

Aerodrome du Bourget - Opened in 1919, Aerodrome du Bourget (today, L'Aéroport du Bourget) was the first civil airport in Paris.  On May 21, 1927, Charles Lindburgh landed his Spirit of St. Louis there following his famous trans-Atlantic flight.  In Charlie Chan in Paris, Chan arrives in Paris at Aerodrome du Bourget following a flight from London.
Charlie Chan in Paris - Sign: AERODROME DU BOURGET

aft - At, in, toward, or close to the stern (rear) of a vessel.
Dead Men Tell - Charlie Chan: "Who occupies cabins aft?"

alchemist - One who was versed in the practice of alchemy, the medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy whose aims were the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for diseases, and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life.
Castle in the Desert - Paul Manderley: "Every sixteenth century castle had its own apothecary or alchemist."

all in - (Idiom)  Very tired; exhausted.
Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo - Evely Grey: "I'm all in with that session with the police last night."

all wet - (Slang)  Entirely mistaken.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Johnny McCoy: "You're all wet!"

aloha - (Hawaiian)  An acknowledgment that can be used to say hello or goodbye.  Other meanings include love, compassion, and a profound spirit of welcome.
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Honolulu Police Chief Inspector: "Aloha - and good luck."
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Charlie Chan: "...where roar of surf replace noise of subway, and hot rhythm of Broadway cooled by strains of 'Aloha.'"

altimeter - An instrument for determining elevation, especially an aneroid barometer used in aircraft that senses pressure changes accompanying changes in altitude.
The Sky Dragon - Lee Chan: "...with the airport altimeter setting..."

Amos...Andy (Amos 'n' Andy) - A situation comedy popular in the United States from the 1920s through the 1950s.  The show began as one of the first radio comedy serials, written and voiced by Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll and originating from station WMAQ in Chicago, Illinois.  First broadcast in March 1928, the series had such an immense popularity that at its peak it was heard six times a week by an audience of 40,000,000 listeners, one-third of the total U.S. population.
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Charlie Chan: "Murder without bloodstains like Amos without Andy - most unusual."

amyl nitrate - A vasodilator that is sometimes used to treat angina pectoris.
Charlie Chan Carries On - Mark Kennaway: "Amyl nitrate - it'll bring him around in a moment."

and how - an expression of emphatic agreement.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Chief of Police King: "And how, I'll circulate it!"

angina pectoris - A heart condition marked by paroxysms of chest pain due to reduced oxygen to the heart.
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness - Landlady: My old man died from his angina pectoris, and only 46 years old."

angle - (Slang)  A devious method; a scheme.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Reporter: "Yeah, what's the new angle?"
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum - Grenock: "Hey, what's her angle?"
The Shanghai Cobra - Ned Stewart: "All right, boys, what's your angle?"

Apia - Town and capital of Samoa (formerly Western Samoa), on the northern shore of Upolu Island, in the South Pacific Ocean.  It is the country's chief port and economic center.
Dangerous Money - Rosa Simmons: "I'm going to Apia - the Robert Lewis Stevenson shrine."

apothecary - One who prepares and sells drugs and other medicines.
Castle in the Desert - Paul Manderley: "Every sixteenth century castle had its own apothecary..."

applesauce - (Slang)  Nonsense; foolishness.
The Black Camel - Charlie Chan's Oldest Daughter: Aw, that's a lot of applesauce!"
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Charlie Chan: "Wise precaution to accept applesauce with large pinch of salt."

aria - (1) A solo vocal piece with instrumental accompaniment, as in an opera.  (2) An air; a melody. 
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Charlie Chan: "Much applause tonight after beautiful aria."

asbestos - (As used)  A fabric woven from asbestos fibers, formerly used for theater curtains, firefighters' gloves, etc.
Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo - Charlie Chan: "Next time must buy asbestos pants."

a screw loose - (Idiom)  Crazy; something wrong.
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Lee Chan: "There's a screw loose somewhere."

assayer - One who examines metallic ores or compounds, for the purpose of determining the amount of any particular metal in the same, especially of gold or silver.
The Golden Eye - Jim Driscoll: "Mr. Bartlett, the local assayer."

automat - A machine from which food or sandwiches is dispensed.
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum - Jimmy Chan: "That's a toothpick from the automat."

Aztec - Pertaining to the people of central Mexico whose civilization was at its height at the time of the Spanish conquest in the early 16th century.
The Feathered Serpent - Joan Farnsworth: "He and Professor Scott came down here last spring to search for the ancient Aztec Temple of the Sun."

 
 

B

baksheesh - (Near and Middle East)  (1) Almsgiving.  (2) For services rendered.  (3) For the granting of favors.
Charlie Chan in Egypt - Dragoman: "But first, baksheesh."

Balboa -  A part of Panama City, located at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal.  It includes Balboa Harbor – the city's main port – and is the location of the Canal Administration Building.
Charlie Chan in Panama - Clivedon Compton: "Stewardess, when shall we be in Balboa?"

baloney - (Slang)  Nonsense.
The Black Camel - Charlie Chan's Young Son: "Aw, baloney!" 

banderillas - (Spanish)  Decorated barbed darts that are thrust into the bull's neck or shoulder muscles by a banderillero in a bullfight. 
The Red Dragon - Tommy Chan: "Banderillas - they use them in bullfights down here."

banjo-eyed - (As used)  Large-eyed.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Betty Adams: "Just because that banjo-eyed brunette looks at you..."

baritone - A male singer or voice with a range higher than a bass and lower than a tenor.
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Lilli Rochelle: "Enrico is the baritone of my company."

bastille - A prison; a jail.  The Bastille was an infamous prison located in Paris in pre-revolutionary France.
Charlie Chan: "Night in bastille not exactly bed of roses."

bats in her hat - (Idiom - as used)  Probably referring to a confused state of mind.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Iris Chan: "She's got bats in her hat and bees in her bustle."

battle-ax (or battle-axe) - (Slang)  A woman held to be antagonistic or overbearing.
The Scarlet Clue - Willie Rand: "Oh-oh. the battle-ax."

Batwa tribe - Located within the borders of present day Rwanda, the Batwa are among the "pygmy" peoples of central Africa.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Sign: "PIGMY HUNTER (BATWA TRIBE)"

bawl out - (Informal)  To scold vociferously; reprimand or scold vigorously.
Charlie Chan in Shanghai - Lee Chan: "...before you bawl me out, Pop..."

beat it - (Informal)  To leave or depart.
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Colonel Tim: "...so, I beat it."
Shadows Over Chinatown - Mike Rogan: "Hold it, Boss, that dizzy dame's beating it!"

bees in her bustle - (Idiom - as used)  Probably referring to being in an agitated state.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Iris Chan: "She's got bats in her hat and bees in her bustle."

beggar - (Informal - as used)  A man or boy.
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise - Jeremiah Walters: "I caught the little beggar red-handed."

belaying pin - A short, removable wooden or metal pin fitted in a hole in the rail of a boat and used for securing running gear.
Dead Men Tell - Gene La Farge: "...I saw him trying to hit this young man with a belaying pin."

Benedictine - A sweet cognac-based liqueur, flavored with various aromatics, fruit peels and herbs.
Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo - Joan Karnoff: "Benedictine."

big house - (Slang)  A prison. 
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Joe Arnold: "The boys will love him back at the big house."

big idea - (Informal)  (1) Any plan or proposal that is grandiose, impractical, and usually unsolicited: You're always coming around here with your big ideas.  (2) Purpose; intention; aim.
Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo - Al Rogers: "Hey, what's the big idea?"

big noise - (Slang)  An important person.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Charlie Chan: "Letter apparently from big noise..."

big shot - (Slang)  An important or influential person.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Pete Lewis: "Rhadini's improved now, Charlie, he's a big shot."

big top - The main tent of a circus.
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Dan Farrell: "Don't let him get near the big top."

bigwigs - (Slang)  Very important persons.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Inspector Nelson: "The bigwigs expect you to tear a duck apart with them tonight."

bilge water - (Slang)  Nonsense.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Captain Johnson: "Aw, bilge water!"

Billy Goat Hill - A location at the top of Beacon Street in the southern portion of the city of San Francisco, California.  Today, the location of Billy Goat Hill Park.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Deputy Chief J.J. Kilvaine: "Well, Charlie, if this don't send me back to Billy Goat Hill pounding pavement..."

bird - (Slang)  A person, especially one who is odd or remarkable.
The Black Camel - Chief of Police: "I'm going to nail that bird now!"
Charlie Chan's Courage - Bob Crawford: "...a hard looking bird followed me down there..."
Murder Over New York - Jimmy Chan: "Well, I thought it was him until I saw this bird."
The Shanghai Chest - Lt. Mike Ruark: "...we should've found out more from that bird."

birds - (see: bird)
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Lee Chan: "We've got to do something to stop those birds."

blab - To reveal indiscreetly and thoughtlessly. 
The Scarlet Clue - Ralph Brett: "He was ready to blab."

blackjack - A leather-covered bludgeon with a short, flexible shaft or strap, used as a hand weapon.
Charlie Chan's Chance - Inspector Flannery: "Last night in Washington Heights he put a man to sleep with a blackjack..."
Shadows Over Chinatown - Charlie Chan: "...you walk in path of descending blackjack."

black sheep - A member of a family or other group who is considered undesirable or disreputable.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Charlie Chan: "Excuse, please, but sputtering firecracker and black sheep are noisiest members of Chan family."

block - (Slang)  The human head.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Betty Adams: "...now he's going after him to knock his block off."

blockbuster - A large bomb used to demolish extensive areas (as a city block).
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - George Melton: "It's more destructive than a blockbuster."

blood and thunder novels - A term for popular adventure novels such as those in the pulp fiction realm. 
Charlie Chan in Panama - Miss Finch: "...like one of those blood and thunder novels you write."

blown over - To have subsided, waned, or passed over with little lasting effect.
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum - Dr. Cream: "...why not come back in a month, when this get away has blown over?"

bluenose - A puritanical person.
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise - Jimmy Chan: "I'm going to keep my eye on that old bluenose."

boanide - A fictitious chemical mentioned by Charlie Chan as being "most deadly when inhaled with smoke from cigarette." 
Charlie Chan in Panama - Charlie Chan: "Poison called boanide?" 

bonanza(1) A rich mine, vein, or pocket of ore.  (2) A source of great wealth or prosperity.
The Golden Eye - Lt. Mike Ruark: "...the way the gold was flowing into San Francisco, it's a bonanza."

boner - (Slang)  A blunder or an error.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Joe Arnold: "Pull another boner like that and I'll loosen up that thick skull of yours."

bon ton - (1) A sophisticated manner or style; the proper thing to do.  (2) High society.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Charlie Chan: "...on-time featured chous girl with Bon Ton burlesque company."

boogeyman - A terrifying apparition; a hobgoblin.
Charlie Chan's Secret - Dick Williams: "I won't let that old boogeyman get you."

Borgia, Cesare - (see: Cesare Borgia) 

Borgias - An Italian family, influential from the 14th to the 16th century, that included the son and daughter of Pope Alexander VI.  Cesare (1476-1507), a religious, military, and political leader, was the model for Machiavelli's The Prince.  Lucrezia (1489-1519), the Duchess of Ferrara, was a patron of learning and the arts.
Castle in the Desert - Professor Gleason: "Aren't you descended from the famous Borgias?"

Bourbon - A whiskey distilled from a fermented mash containing not less than 51 percent corn in addition to malt and rye.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Wally Burke: "I'll stick to Bourbon."

Bourbon Street - A famous thoroughfare in the heart of the French Quarter of the city of New Orleans.
Docks of New Orleans - Sign: "Bourbon Street Garage"

Bourse - The stock exchange in Paris, France.
Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo - Jules Joubert: "They are the enemies on the Bourse as well as in the casino."

bracelets - (Slang)  Handcuffs. 
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Sgt. Kelly: "Listen, young fella, she's lucky I haven't got the bracelets on her." 

Brandenburg Arch (Brandenburg Gate) - Located on the Pariser Platz, the Brandenburg Gate is the only remaining one of the series of gates through which one entered Berlin.  One block to its north lies the Reichstag.  It was commissioned by Friedrich Wilhelm II as a sign of peace and built by Karl Gotthard Langhans from 1788 to 1791.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Text of a note sent to Charlie Chan: "Be at the Brandenburg Arch at six o'clock with the device."

The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

brig - A jail or prison on board a U.S. Navy or Coast Guard vessel. 
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Steward: "...as soon as I get my hands on him, into the brig he goes!"

broke - To be without money or to go into bankruptcy.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Dr. Ainsley: "...I thought he was broke."

bub - (Slang)  Used as a term of familiar address, especially for a man or boy.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Tombstone Fletcher: "What's your name, bub?"

bubonic plague - A contagious, often fatal epidemic disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, transmitted from person to person or by the bite of fleas from an infected rodent, especially a rat, and characterized by chills, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and the formation of buboes.
Charlie Chan in Panama - Jimmy Chan: "Bubonic plague!"

buck -  (Slang)  A dollar. 
Shadows Over Chinatown - Bus Driver: "Okay, bud, cost you six bucks."
Shadows Over Chinatown - Mike Rogan: "Well, I'm always ready to talk business when there's a few bucks to be made on the side."

bud - (Informal)  Friend; chum.  Used as a form of familiar address, especially for a man or boy.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Bus Driver: "Okay, bud, cost you six bucks."

buffaloed - (Slang)  (1) To intimidate, as by a display of confidence or authority.  (2) To deceive; hoodwink.  (3) To confuse; bewilder.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Pete Lewis: "...you might have her buffaloed, but you don't fool me!"

bulldogged - Having thrown a calf or steer by seizing its horns and twisting its neck until the animal falls. 
Charlie Chan in Reno - Tombstone Fletcher: "...I've got him bulldogged!"

bump off - (Slang)  To murder. 
The Feathered Serpent - Lee Chan: "Say, Pop, isn't that the same guy that tried to bump you off the other night in San Pablo?"

bumped off (see: bump off)
Charlie Chan in Rio - Joan Reynolds: "I still think Grace bumped her off!"
Docks of New Orleans - Capt. Pete McNally: "...he bumped himself off before we got here."

burn - To execute by electrocution.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Johnny Burke: "They'll never burn me for that."

B.V.D.'s - A trademark used for undershirts and underpants worn by men and boys.  This trademark sometimes occurs in print with a final 's.
Charlie Chan Carries On - Max Minchin: "You seen what happened to Inspector Duff.  You better get yourself some iron underwear - you know, B.V.D.'s."

 
 

C

cabana (cabaña) - (Spanish)  (1) A shelter on a beach or at a swimming pool used as a bathhouse.  (2) A cabin or hut.
The Trap - "Doc" Brandt: "...I was just in the cabana."

cablegram - A telegram sent by transoceanic cable.
Charlie Chan in Panama - Stewardess: "Cablegram for Dr. Grosser."
Black Magic/Meeting at Midnight - Charlie Chan: "Cablegram report from Scotland Yard."

cahoots - (Slang)  Questionable collaboration; secret partnership.
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Lee Chan: "It's Chester and Fenton in cahoots."

Cain - In the Bible, the eldest son of Adam and Eve, who murdered his brother Abel out of jealousy and was condemned to be a fugitive.
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum - Charlie Chan: "But, Degan, true child of Cain, hate him."

camera hounds - (As used)  Amateur camera enthusiasts.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Inspector Nelson: "Those ain't reporters, they're worse - camera hounds."

Canarsie - A section of Brooklyn, New York.
Murder Over New York - Lefty: "Well, this is 'Shorty' McCoy, the 'Canarsie Kid.'"

canary - (Slang)  (1) Someone acting as an informer or decoy for the police.  (2) A female singer.
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Sgt. Kelly: (Derogatorily referring to Enrico Barelli) "I've got a personal grudge against that canary."
Shadows Over Chinatown - Birmingham Brown: "...we was following a canary..."

cannon - (Slang)  A gun.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Al Hogan: "...somebody drops this cannon down the ventilator."

Cantonese - The Chinese dialect that is spoken in and around Guangzhou (formerly Canton), China.
The Chinese Ring - Charlie Chan: "...am Cantonese."

Carioca - (Tupi-Guarana dialect)  (1) Inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro.  (2) The name of a dance choreographed for the Fred Astaire movie Flying Down to Rio, where he paired with Ginger Rogers for the first time.  It was based on earlier versions of a stage dance with the same name by Fanchon and Marco.
Charlie Chan in Rio - Sign: Carioca Casino

carried the torch - (idiom)  To have felt a painful unreciprocated love.
Charlie Chan in Rio - Bill Kellogg: "I've carried the torch for her ever since."

cartouche - An oval or oblong figure which contains Egyptian hieroglyphics expressing the names or epithets of royal or divine personages.
Charlie Chan in Egypt - Professor Thurston: "There's the identifying cartouche suspended around his neck."

cat intestine (catgut) - A tough thin cord made from the treated and stretched intestines of certain animals, especially sheep, and used for stringing musical instruments and tennis rackets and for surgical ligatures. 
Docks of New Orleans - Charlie Chan: "...would mind repeating excruciating sound made with assistance of cat intestine?"

Cesare Borgia - (1476-1507), a soldier, politician, and the younger son of Pope Alexander VI, was an outstanding figure of the Italian Renaissance.  Pope Alexander VI used his position to empower his son and establish a papal empire in northern and central Italy.  Archbishop of Valencia and a cardinal by 1493, Cesare resigned these offices after the death, in 1498, of his elder brother, the duke of Gandia, in whose murder he was probably involved.

Cesare Borgia now began his political career as papal envoy to France.  There, he was able to make an alliance with King Louis XII who made him duke of Valentinois (Valence).  In 1499 he married Charlotte d'Albret, a sister of the king of Navarre.  At this time, the French had overrun Italy.  Cesare, with his father's encouragement, subdued the cities of the state of Romagna one by one.

After he was named duke of Romagna in 1501 by the pope, Cesare also captured Piombino, Elba, Camerino, and the duchy of Urbino.  He crowned his achievements by artfully luring his chief enemies to the castle of Senigallia, where he had some of them strangled.

By killing his enemies, gaining control of the college of cardinals, extending his conquests as fast as possible, and buying the loyalty of the Roman ruling class, he had hoped to make his position independent of the papacy, or at least to insure that the election of any future pope would be to his liking.  However, before his schemes could be realized, Cesare fell victim, in 1503, to the same poison (or illness) that had suddenly killed his father.

Although Cesare recovered, his political power had suffered a fatal blow.  Pope Pius III, after a short reign, was succeeded by Julius II, an implacable enemy of Cesare Borgia.  King Louis XII then turned against him, and Julius demanded the immediate return of what territory remained to Cesare and had him temporarily arrested.  Returning to Naples, Cesare was soon arrested by the Spanish governor there as the result of collusion between Julius II and the Spanish rulers, Ferdinand and Isabella.

Sent to prison in Spain, Cesare Borgia escaped and finally found refuge at the court of the king of Navarre in 1506.  The next year, he died while fighting for the king during the seige of Viana.  With his death, Cesare Borgia's former possessions had passed under direct papal rule, thus leading to the eventual consolidation of the Papal States.

Cesare Borgia has long been considered the model of the Renaissance prince, the model for Niccolò Machiavelli's Prince: intelligent, cruel, treacherous, and ruthlessly opportunistic.

Castle in the Desert - Paul Manderley: "I try to live and think as Cesare Borgia."

chaise longue - (French: "long chair")  An elongated seat or couch with a support for the back at one end and a seat long enough to support the legs and feet.
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Whitley: "I laid her on the chaise longue."

chamois - A soft leather made from the hide of this animal or other animals such as deer or sheep.  A chamois bag containing pebbles was found with victims of the killer in Charlie Chan Carries On.
Charlie Chan's Courage - Charlie Chan: "Note chamois lined watch pocket."

Charlie McCarthy - A famous character created by ventriloquist Edgar Bergen (1903-1978).  Early performances were in vaudeville and one-reel movie shorts, but Bergen and Charlie McCarthy achieved greatest success on the radio.  He and Charlie were seen at a Hollywood party by Noel Coward, who recommended them for an appearance on Rudy Vallee's program.  Their appearance was so successful that the next year they were given their own show.  Under various sponsors, they were on the air from 1937 to 1956.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Charlie Chan: "Doctor excellent ventriloquist - uncle maybe to Charlie McCarthy."

Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Bergen

chemin de fer - The French version of baccarat, chemin de fer is a casino game in which players bet on either of two hands dealt on the table: the "player" or the "banker."  The hand that comes closer to 9 wins.
Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo - Jules Joubert: "Perhaps you would like to play a little roulette or chemin de fer, no?"

cherchez la femme - (French)  "Look for the woman."
Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo - Jules Joubert: "Cherchez la femme - always at the bottom of trouble is a woman."
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness - Charlie Chan: "Cherchez la femme?"

chezchez la peacherino (cherchez la peacherino) - (Corrupted French and Spanish)  "Look for (cherchez) the peacherino (the peach [woman])."  (See also: peacherino)
The Shanghai Cobra - Tommy Chan: "As the French say: 'Chezchez la peacherino.'"

Chiang Kai-shek - (1887–1975)  Chinese Nationalist leader. He was also called Chiang Chung-cheng.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - (A portrait of Chiang Kai-shek can be seen hanging on the wall in Charlie Chan's office.)

Chicago fire - A disastrous fire that broke out on October 8, 1871, destroying much of the city of Chicago.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Murdock: "It'll make it hotter than the Chicago fire."

Chinaman - (Today considered offensive)  A person of Chinese descent.
Charlie Chan Carries On - Pamela Potter: "The Chinaman in that shop pointed out Jim Everhard to me."
Charlie Chan's Chance - Manager: "A Chinaman came here a few days ago trying to get it..."
Charlie Chan in London - Charlie Chan: "No, not very good detective, just lucky old Chinaman."
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum - Grenock: "Get that Chinaman before he gets us."
Docks of New Orleans - Andre Pareaux: "But that Chinaman could possibly identify you."

Chinatown - A neighborhood or section of a city that is inhabited chiefly by Chinese people.  New York's Chinatown is the largest in the United States.
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum - Tour Conductor: "Next stop, Chinatown, the mysterious Orient in the heart of New York."

Chinese Pagoda - Called the Golden Pagoda of Chinatown, this structure was the prominent feature of the Chinese Village section of the Golden Gate International Exposition, held at Treasure Island in San Francisco from 1939 to 1940.  A pagoda is a religious building of the Far East, especially a multistory Buddhist tower, erected as a memorial or shrine.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Jimmy Chan: "That's the Chinese Pagoda."

The Chinese Pagoda

chin fest - (slang)  A lengthy conversation.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Deputy Chief J.J. Kilvane: "You and I are going to have an old fashioned chin fest, Charlie." 

chiseler - (1) One who cheats or swindles.  (2) One who obtains by deception.
The Trap - Rick Daniels: "This kid Lois was a chiseler."

choke - (As used)  To reduce the air intake of a carburetor, thereby enriching the fuel mixture.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Jimmy Chan: "Did you choke it?"

chlorine water - An aqueous solution of chlorine used as a bleaching agent.
Charlie Chan's Secret - The Substance used by Charlie Chan to determine the cause of the phosphorescent glow of Allen Colby's face during the séance.

chock-gee - (From Chinese)  Certificate proving legal resident status.  Following the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, there were very strict immigration limits placed on the Chinese.  These laws, which were expanded, were in place until repealed in 1943.  During this era, it was not uncommon for persons of Chinese decent, even though they may have been born in the United States, to carry papers proving their legal status.
Charlie Chan's Courage  - Constable Brackett: "Where's your chock-gee."

chop-chop(Pidgin English)  Right away; quickly.
Charlie Chan in Shanghai - James Andrews: "Scotch, two, chop-chop!"
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Lee Chan [posing as a Chinese cabin boy]: "Scat - chop-chop!"

chop suey - A Chinese-American dish consisting of small pieces of meat or chicken cooked with bean sprouts and other vegetables and served with rice. 
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Sgt. Kelly: (Derogatorily referring to Charlie Chan) "You haven't called Chop Suey in on the case, have you, Chief?"
Castle in the Desert - Hotel Owner: "Oh, a chop suey salesman, huh?"

chum - An intimate friend or companion.
The Shanghai Cobra - Ned Stewart: "You've come to the wrong place, chum..."

chump - A stupid or foolish person; a dolt.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Joe Arnold: "...this chump don't look any more like him than I do!" 
Shadows Over Chinatown - Jeff Hay: "I guess I'm the chump of the year."

cinch - A sure thing; a certainty.
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Lt. Macy: "It's a cinch."
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Lee Chan: "Why, it's a cinch!"
Murder Over New York - Jimmy Chan: "With Narvo's photograph and fingerprints, it'll be a cinch."
Charlie Chan in Rio - Jimmy Chan: "The case is in the bag, a cinch."
Docks of New Orleans - Pete McNally: "This looks like a cinch."

Cinderellas - (1) Those who have unexpectedly achieved recognition or success after a period of obscurity and neglect.  (2) (Cinderella) A fictional young girl who is saved from her stepmother and stepsisters by her fairy godmother and a handsome prince.
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness - Marcel Spivak: "I never saw so many Cinderellas."

civvies - (Slang)  Civilian clothing as opposed to a military uniform.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Jeff Hay: "What about the civvies?"

clean bill - (As used)  No evidence found to indicate guilt.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Reporter: "Did you give Burke a clean bill?"

clipped - (Slang)  To have hit with a sharp blow.
The Trap - Jimmy Chan: "Yeah, he clipped Birmingham."

Clipper (Pan American World Airways Clipper) - On November 11, 1935, Pan American Airway's China Clipper, a Martin M-130 flying boat, made the first transpacific airmail flight from San Francisco to Honolulu, Midway Island, Wake Island, Guam, and Manila in the Philippines.
 
The China Clipper was the largest flying boat ever, and gave passengers the opportunity to fly in airborne luxury.  The Clipper had a spacious lounge which was wider than a Pullman club car.  In the lounge, passengers could sit in broad armchairs, and they could dine on food served on china.

Following the route pioneered by Captain Musick, Pan American World Airways Clippers flew on a schedule of stops that stretched from San Francisco to Manila.  Hong Kong was soon added as the final leg of a journey that would allow passengers to fly all the way from the U.S. mainland to China. 

Although the Clippers were each named for their destinations, that is, "Hawaii," "Philippine," and "China," they were commonly referred to as "China Clippers."  The China Clipper cruised at about 160 miles per hour and had a range of 3,200 miles.  Later models that were added to the Clipper fleet could cruise at just over 180 miles per hour at a range of about 3,500 miles.  A flight between San Francisco and Honolulu cost passengers a hefty $720 and would take between 18 and 20 hours, flying at an altitude of about 8,000 feet. 

Regular Clipper service between Honolulu and the mainland continued throughout the 1930s and into the start of the next decade until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Charlie Chan made fairly regular use of the Clipper route between Honolulu and San Francisco, flying on the plane to the mainland in Charlie Chan's SecretCharlie Chan at the Olympics, Charlie Chan in Reno, and Charlie Chan at Treasure Island.

Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Hopkins: "The Clipper left here Wednesday at two o'clock."
Charlie Chan in Reno - Curtis Whitman: "I've reserved seats on the Clipper for both of us..."

Pan American Airways Clipper

cobwebs - Confusion; disorder.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Paul Essex: "This trip blew the cobwebs out of my head."

cockeyed - (Slang)  Foolish; ridiculous; absurd.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Joe Arnold [Mike Hannigan]: "Where do you get that cockeyed dope?"

cocktail - Any of various mixed alcoholic drinks consisting usually of brandy, whiskey, vodka, or gin combined with fruit juices or other liquors and often served chilled.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Tombstone Fletcher: "C'mon, he's probably serving cocktails again." 
Castle in the Desert - Professor Gleason: "That was an excellent cocktail, Mrs. Manderley."
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - David Blake: "Mr. Melton asked me to drop by for cocktails."

Cocktail de Bronx (Bronx Cocktail) - 1 oz vermouth, 1 oz gin, juice of 1/4 orange, 1 slice orange.  Shake all ingredients (except orange slice) with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.  Add the orange slice and serve.  The Bronx Cocktail was supposedly invented by Johnnie Solon of the Waldorf-Astoria bar in Manhattan.
Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo - A "Cocktail de Bronx" was ordered by a couple at the bar in the Hotel Imperial.

Cocos Island - A small island owned by Costa Rica.  Cocos Island lies in the Pacific Ocean about 300 miles south of the Central American country.
Dead Men Tell - Partial text on a poster: "...Dig for $60,000,000 ON COCOS ISLAND"

Cognac - A high quality grape brandy distilled in the Cognac district of France.
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness - Charlie Chan: "Note, bottle of cognac recently disposed of."

cold turkey - (Slang; as used)  A cold fish.
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Sgt. Kelly: "I tell you, the dame is cold turkey."

coloratura soprano - A lyric soprano who specializes in coloratura (vocal ornamentation vocal music featuring trills and runs).
Docks of New Orleans - Charlie Chan: "Beautiful lady singing in high coloratura soprano..."

come clean - (Idiom)  To confess all.
Castle in the Desert - Arthur Fletcher: "Well, I might as well come clean."

comes to - Recovers consciousness.
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Lt. Macy: "If something doesn't break when she comes to..."

confab - (Informal)  To engage in casual talk.
Docks of New Orleans - Pete McNally: "We ought to have a very interesting confab."

conked(Slang)  A blow, especially on the head. 
Murder Over New York - Jimmy Chan: "Just as I stepped in the elevator, he conked me!" 

con men - (Slang)  Confidence men.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Chief of Police King: "We'll show you the choicest collection of con men and crackpots you've ever seen."

cooked up - (Idiom)  To concoct or contrive, often dishonestly.
Dead Men Tell - Captain Kane: "You and Miss Nodbury cooked up this treasure hunt..."

cooking - (Slang)  To happen, develop, or take place.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Iris Chan: "Something's cooking!"

cooking on all burners - (Slang)  Proceeding well or rapidly.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Birmingham Brown: "Now you're cooking on all burners."

cooking up - (see: cooked up)
Charlie Chan in Reno - Cab Driver: "Of course, now I know she was just sittin' back there cooking up the murder."

coot - (informal)  An eccentric or crotchety person, especially an eccentric old man.
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise - Buttons: "Crazy coot."

cootie - (Slang)  A body louse.
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness - Antoine: "Did you pack cootie powder in your kit?"  

cop a sneak (Slang)  Steal.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Johnny McCoy: "Who wouldn't try to cop a sneak with his hooks on 300 grand?"

copper - (Slang)  A police officer.
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum - Grenock: "...and won't that copper be surprised."
Dead Men Tell - Captain Kane: "I want no coppers or coppers' kids on my boat."
The Shanghai Chest - Joseph Pindello: "Don't turn around, copper!"

crackpots - Eccentric persons, especially those with bizarre ideas.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Chief of Police King: "We'll show you the choicest collection of con men and crackpots you've ever seen."

crash - (Idiom)  To gain admittance to a party, performance, etc., without an invitation, ticket, or permission.
Dead Men Tell - Captain Kane: "He's been trying to crash this cruise for a week."

crate - (Slang)  An old rickety vehicle, especially a decrepit automobile or aircraft. 
The Sky Dragon - Captain Tim Norton: "He's crazy to try to take this crate off the ground."

crime passionelle - (French)  "Crime of passion."
Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo - Lee Chan: "It's what the French newspapers call a crime passionelle."

Cristobal - A Panamanian port city located at the entrance of Limon Bay that leads to the entrance to the eastern side of the Panama Canal.
Charlie Chan in Panama - Governor D.C. Webster: "Here's our fleet, concentrated off Cristobal at the Atlantic gate."

Croix de Guerre - with Palms - A French military decoration for bravery in combat, the War Cross.  A bronze palm is added for those cited at he army level.
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness - Marcel Spivak: "We will get the Croix de Guerre - with palms!"

crossed up - (Slang)  To have ruined or confused. 
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Speed Patten: "Yeah, but you crossed me up."

crowned - (Informal)  To have been hit on the head.
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise - Wilkie: "...somebody crowned me."

curtains - (Slang)  The end; death. 
Docks of New Orleans - Pete McNally: "The old man has a weak heart and it's curtains."

cuts no ice(Idiom)  Making no effect or impression.
Charlie Chan in Panama - Military Police Officer: "That cuts no ice here."

 
 

D

D.A. - (Abbreviation)  District Attorney.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Speed Patten: "...but does the D.A. know it?"

dame - (Slang)  A woman. 
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Sgt. Kelly: "I tell you, the dame is cold turkey."
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Inspector Nelson: "...a year ago, that little dame was so hot she had to skip the country."
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Joe Arnold: "You wouldn't be the first dame..."
Shadows Over Chinatown - Mike Rogan: "Hold it, Boss, that dizzy dame's beating it!"
The Trap - Jimmy Chan: "It's a dame, Sarge!"

danse apache - (French)  "Ruffian dance." 
Charlie Chan in Paris - Master of Ceremonies: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, we're going to have that little star, whose interpretation of the danse apache, I know will thrill you."

darn tootin' - (Slang)  Absolutely correct.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Tombstone Fletcher: "You're darn tootin' I'm hurt!"

death house - The cellblock in a prison where those condemned to death await execution.
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum - Steve McBirney: "Your evidence sticks me in the death house..." 

Decoration Day - Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day to remember those who have died in our nation's service.  After the Civil war many people in the North and South decorated graves of fallen soldiers with flowers.  Decoration Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan and was first observed officially on May 30, 1868.  The South did not observe Decoration Day, preferring to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I.  In 1882, the name was changed to Memorial Day, and soldiers who had died in other wars were also honored.  In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday to be held on the last Monday in May.
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Nellie Ferrell: "It was on May 30, 1935 - Decoration Day."

deuce - (Informal)  Used as an intensive
Charlie Chan in London - Geoffrey Richmond: "What the deuce!" 

dick - (Slang)  A detective.
Charlie Chan Carries On - Max Minchin: "Why should I?  He's a dick, ain't he?"
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Gangster: "But, that Chinese dick is wise to the whole thing."
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Sgt. Kelly: "If that Chinese dick knows where he is..."
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Johnny McCoy: "You're acting just like a dick."

Dictaphone - A trademark name for a machine that records and reproduces dictation for transcription.
The Jade Mask - Charlie Chan: "Recording Dictaphone." 

Dieppe - A city of northeast France on the English Channel north of Rouen.  It is a port for channel steamers and a beach resort.
Charlie Chan Carries On - Inspector Duff: "I've just time to catch the night boat fo Dieppe."

dime novel - A melodramatic novel of romance or adventure, usually in paperback.
Black Magic/Meeting at Midnight - Sgt. Matthews: "That's dime novel stuff."

dip - (Slang)  To pick pockets. 
Charlie Chan's Chance - Inspector Flannery: "This is Benny the dip.  He used to imagine he was a pick-pocket but he couldn't get his hand in and out of a sugar barrel."

diphenylamine - A colorless crystalline compound used as a stabilizer for plastics and in the manufacture of dyes, explosives, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Police Chemist: "A solution of diphenylamine and sulfuric acid which reacts instantly to nitrates."

dive - (Slang)  A disreputable or run-down bar or nightclub.
Charlie Chan in Panama - Richard Cabot: "This is no place for you; why, it's just a dive."

dizzy - (Slang)  Scatterbrained or silly. 
Shadows Over Chinatown - Mike Rogan: "Hold it, Boss, that dizzy dame's beating it!"
The Chinese Ring - Peggy Cartwright: "...I'm a little dizzy."  Bill Davidson: "You're telling me!"

dock - To withhold or deduct a part from one's salary or wages.
Charlie Chan in Panama - Powerhouse Worker: Oh, they dock you, huh?"

dogs - (Slang)  The feet.
Docks of New Orleans - Birmingham Brown: "My dogs is killin' me."

dope - (Slang)  Information.
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Lee Chan: "I can give you the dope, Lieutenant Macy."
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Lee Chan: "I've got the inside dope."
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - New York police Teletype Officer: "Here comes the dope on that Honolulu tracer."
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Joe Arnold [Mike Hannigan]: "Where do you get that cockeyed dope?"
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Pete Lewis: All kinds of dope about all kinds of people."
The Shanghai Cobra - Gray: "Chief, here's the latest dope on the Cobra Killings."

doped out - (Slang)  Figured out. 
Charlie Chan in Reno - Jimmy Chan: "I haven't got it all doped out yet."
Charlie Chan in Panama - Jimmy Chan: "I have it all doped out."

do the town - (As used)  To experience a city's nightlife.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Billie Bronson: "Well, you look like you're all dressed up to do the town tonight."

double cross - A deliberate betrayal; violation of a promise or obligation.  Originally, the term was used in sports gambling, referring to the duplicity of a contestant who breaks his word after illicitly promising to lose.
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum - Steve McBirney: "Hope you never double cross me, Doc."

double talk - Deliberately ambiguous or evasive language.
The Shanghai Chest - Birmingham Brown: "You mean double talk."

dough - (Slang)  Money.
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Detective: "What the kid means is to plunk your dough on the nag's schnozzola."
Dead Men Tell - Woman on Pier: "60 million bucks!  Boy, I didn't know there was that much dough in the whole world!"

Dowager Empress of Siberia - Alexandra Fyodorovna, the wife of Tzar Nicholas III of Russia.  She was de-facto in charge of the government business during her husband's time as commander-in-chief during World War I, but she obtained his endorsement of her decisions.  In 1918 the whole family - including the four daughters and son were executed during the revolution.  She was born as Princess Alix von Hessen und beim Rhein and lived 1872-1918. 
Charlie Chan's Courage - Bob Crawford: "...I came down to meet the Dowager Empress of Siberia, but they tell me she's dead."

DPE (Department of Political Economy) (Abbreviation) - A fictitious department of the United States federal government.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Charlie Chan: "DPE.  What does that stand for, please?" 

dragoman - A near eastern interpreter, agent, or guide for travelers. Charlie Chan in Egypt - Dragoman: "I best dragoman in Luxor!"

duck soup - An easily accomplished task or assignment.
The Chinese Cat - Tommy Chan: "It'll be duck soup for a Chan!"

ducky - (Slang)  Fine; excellent.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Inspector Nelson: "Well that's just ducky!"

dud - (Informal)  One who is disappointingly ineffective or unsuccessful.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Iris Chan: Are you a detective or a dud?"

dumbbell - (Slang)  A stupid person; a dolt.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Jack Tillford: "Any dumbbell should have guessed that."

Dyak headhunters - The Dyak, once a fierce and feared people, were among the original inhabitants of the island of Borneo, located in the western Pacific north of Java.  In 1927, forensic doctor William Krohn set off for Borneo to collect ethnological specimens for Chicago’s Field Museum, living among the Dyak people, learning everything he could about their beliefs and way of life.  The results of his work were published in his book Among the Dyak Headhunters.
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum - Charlie Chan: "Tonga poison used by Dyak headhunters in Borneo."

 
 

E

ectoplasm - (1) The visible substance believed to emanate from the body of a spiritualistic medium during communication with the dead.  (2) An immaterial or ethereal substance, especially the transparent corporeal presence of a spirit or ghost. 
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Charlie Chan: "Ectoplasm most interesting - ghost filled with hot air."

effendi - (Turkish)  Master; sir; a title of a Turkish state official and man of learning, especially one learned in the law.
Charlie Chan in Egypt - Dragoman: "Ah, Effendi Snowshoes."

egg foo yung (egg fu yung) - A Chinese omelet containing onions and celery and chopped meat or fish.
Charlie Chan in Shanghai - Charlie Chan: "Will have coffee, rolls, marmalade, and very large omelet - foo yung."
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Sgt. Kelly: (Derogatorily referring to Charlie Chan) "Where's Regan and his pal...Egg Foo Yung?"

eggs (Slang)  Persons.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Randolph: "...some of them are pretty tough eggs." 
 
Emigrant Gap -  A small community in Placer County, California.  Emigrant Gap is located a quarter mile south of Emigrant Gap, a pass through the Sierra Nevada mountains traveled by early settlers in the 1840s.  It lies at an elevation of 5,180 feet on Interstate Highway 80 (formally US 40, the Lincoln Highway, the first coast-to-coast U.S. highway). 
Shadows Over Chinatown - Bus Driver: "Well, folks, looks like we'll make Emigrant Gap before this thing gives up on us."

 
 

F

fag - (Slang)  A cigarette. 
T.M. Brade: "I gave Eagan here a couple because he said he was famished for a good, homey fag."

fan-tan (1) A Chinese betting game in which the players lay wagers on the number of counters that will remain when a hidden pile of them has been divided by four.  (2) A card game in which sevens and their equivalent are played in sequence and the first player out of cards is the winner.
Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo - Charlie Chan: "Venerable grandparent once have large holdings in fan-tan house."

fast one - (Informal)  A shrewd trick of swindle; a deceitful or treacherous act.
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise - Seaman: "Trying to pull a fast one, eh?"
Murder Over New York - Inspector Vance: "I'm going to pull a fast one, Charlie."

Father Knickerbocker - Father Knickerbocker became a symbol for New York City in the early 1800s following the publication of Washington Irving's satirical "History of New York," which Irving attributed to "Diedrich Knickerbocker."  A round, 17th century Dutch character, Father Knickerbocker reminded New Yorkers of their Colonial past.  Wearing knickers, buckled shoes, and a white beard, Father Knickerbocker has been illustrated and depicted in many ways, often symbolizing changes in the city's politics.  The image of Father Knickerbocker, a reminder of old New York, was prevalent until the 1950s when the modern city had securely taken hold.  The name survives today, in abbreviated form, in the name of the New York Knicks basketball team.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Charlie Chan: "Most happy to have placed new broom in hands of Father Knickerbocker."

Feathered Serpent - (see: Kukutan)

fence - (1) One who receives and sells stolen goods.  (2) A place where stolen goods are received and sold.
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise - Charlie Chan: "...had sufficient evidence to convict Ross as fence."

ferricyanide of potassium (potassium ferricyanide) - Red prussiate of potash; a dark, red, crystalline salt, K6(CN)12Fe2, consisting of the double cyanide of potassium and ferric iron. From it is derived the ferrous ferricyanate, Turnbull's blue. 
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Used by Charlie Chan along with hydrochloric acid to bring out the writing on a burnt florist card.

fiddlesticks - (Interjection)  Used to express mild annoyance or impatience.
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise - Mr. Walters: "Duty, fiddlesticks!"

fifth column - A clandestine subversive organization working within a country to further an invading enemy's military and political aims.
Murder Over New York - Kieth Jeffery: "Probably some more of that fifth column work."

filibuster - An adventurer who engages in a private military action in a foreign country.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Hopkins: "He's a notorious filibuster..."

filled full of lead - (Slang)  Having been shot and killed with a gun. 
Charlie Chan in Rio - Joan Reynolds: "...I'd've filled Lola full of lead myself!"

finger - (Slang)  (1) To inform on or identify to the authorities.  (2) To designate, especially as an intended victim.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Speed Patten: "It puts the finger right on Burke."
The Trap - Rick Daniels: "Then Chan caught me and the finger was on me."

finger wave - A wave set into dampened hair using only the fingers and a comb.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Female Olympic Athlete: "Say, I wonder how you ask for a finger wave in German?"

fire away - (Informal)  To begin to talk or ask a question or questions.
The Shanghai Chest - Ed Seward: "Fire away."

firecracker - (Slang)  A feisty person, usually a woman.
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Sgt. Kelley: "Who was that firecracker?"

fishing - (As used)  Looking for clues or answers.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Johnny Burke: "...he's just fishin'." 

flatfoot - (Slang)  A police officer.
Charlie Chan in Rio - Joan Reynolds: "A Chinese flatfoot from Brazil!"
The Chinese Cat - Karl Karzos: "Chan's no flatfoot."
The Sky Dragon - Jane Marshall: "Company this trip?"  Captain Tim Norton: "Yeah, flatfoot."

flipper - (Slang)  Arm.
The Golden Eye - Lt. Mike Ruarke: "I wouldn't be of much use with this bandaged flipper of mine."

flivver - (Slang)  An automobile, especially one that is small, inexpensive, and old.
Charlie Chan's Courage - Man: "Well, the closest thing to it is a flivver across the street."

fluoroscope - A device equipped with a fluorescent screen on which the internal structures of an optically opaque object, such as the human body, may be continuously viewed as shadowy images formed by the differential transmission of x-rays through the object.
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Dr. Mead: "I sent for the fluoroscope..."

fo'c's'le (forecastle) - The upper deck of a ship in front of the foremast.
Dead Men Tell - Charles Thursday: "[The music] seems to come from the fo'c's'le."

fold up - Collapse, break down.
Charlie Chan in Rio - Joan Reynolds: "I wonder why he doesn't fold up?"

four-flusher - (Slang)  One who makes empty claims; a bluffer.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Pete Lewis: "Why, you cheap four-flusher..."

frame - (Informal)  Made up evidence or contrive events so as to falsely incriminate a person.  (see also: framed, framing)
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Randolf: "They were trying to frame her."
Dark Alibi - Warden Cameron: "...our prison cards couldn't have been used to frame these men."

framed - (see: frame
The Shanghai Cobra - Jan Van Horn: "I'm being framed, I tell you."
The Trap - Rick Daniels: "I was trying to keep someone from being framed."
The Shanghai Chest - Joseph Pindello: "He's innocent, he was framed."

framing - (see: frame
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Judy Hayes: "It was a beautiful little piece of framing..."
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum - Willie Fern: "...didn't he knock off Butcher Degan for framin' you?"

fresh - Bold and saucy; impudent.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Inspector Nelson: "I knew there was something fresh around here, I thought it was the ocean air."
Shadows Over Chinatown - Mary Connover: "Don't get so fresh..."

Friedrichshafen - A city of southern Germany on the Lake of Constance.  The Zeppelin aircraft works were located here and provided the operations facility for transatlantic zeppelins such as the Hindenburg.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Charlie Chan: "Across Atlantic Ocean to Friedrichshafen..."

frisk - To search.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Jeff Hay: "You're under suspicion and I'm going to frisk you."

 
 

G 

gab - Idle talk; chatter.
The Scarlet Clue - Willie Rand: "You, see, I gab a lot."

gag - A trick or practical joke.
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise - Jinmy Chan: "...Pop would be too smart to fall for that gag."

Gaillard Cut - The point at which the Panama Canal crosses the continental divide.  The Gaillard Cut was the scene of some of the most arduous work during the construction of the canal.
Charlie Chan in Panama - Governor D.C. Webster: "To reach battle stations in the Pacific, the fleet's full war compliment must pass through the Gatun Locks, the Gaillard Cut, the Pedro Miguel, and the Miraflores Locks."

game - Ready and willing.
Charlie Chan in Rio - Alfredo Marana: "You're a game boy."

garçon(French)  A waiter or attendant. 
Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo - Joan Karnoff: "Garçon, my wraps, please."

garroted - The act of being strangulated in a manner reminiscent of the old Spanish method in which prisoners were executed, usually by the use of an iron collar.
The Trap - "Doc" Brandt: "She was garroted, a cord around her neck."

gat - (Slang)  A pistol. 
Murder Over New York - Jimmy Chan: "I'll never go on a case like this again without a gat."

Gatun Locks - A series of three locks at the eastern entrance to the Panama Canal.
Charlie Chan in Panama - Governor D.C. Webster: "To reach battle stations in the Pacific, the fleet's full war compliment must pass through the Gatun Locks, the Gaillard Cut, the Pedro Miguel, and the Miraflores Locks."

Gauguin (Paul Gauguin, 1848-1903)  A French Post-impressionist painter who traveled to the South Seas to live and work.
Dangerous Money - Rona Simmons: "The Gauguin belongs to Mr. Fitzmorris, the banker at Wellington."

gave/give...the slip - (Slang)  To escape the pursuit of.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Tombstone Fletcher: "He can't give me the slip and get away with it."
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Jimmy Chan: "Gregory gave me the slip at Customs."
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness - Belescu: "...I gave them the slip."
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise - Lt. Wilson: "...he gave me the slip just after he left the hotel." 
Murder Over New York - Inspector Vance: "Say, don't you think the guy that gave you the slip at Ramullah's could be Boggs?"

genealogist - An expert in the study or investigation of ancestry and family histories.
Castle in the Desert - Lucy Manderley: "I didn't know you were a genealogist."

get a load - To look at closely.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Tombstone Fletcher: "Wait'll you get a load of these papers."

get it - To understand something, often after difficulty.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Tommy Chan: "I don't get it."

gilded lily - (As used)  One who gives an often deceptively attractive or improved appearance.
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Charlie Chan: "Miss Lotus Kuang Toy evidently gilded lily."

gilt - (1) To cover with or as if with a thin layer of gold.  (2) To give an often deceptively attractive or improved appearance to.
Docks of New Orleans - Charlie Chan: "Honorable doctor tarnish lily with gilt." 

Gin Rickey - An alcoholic beverage consisting of a mixture of gin, lime, and carbonated water.
Charlie Chan in Shanghai - James Andrews: "I'll join you at noon for a Gin Rickey."

give out - (Slang)  To offer information. 
Castle in the Desert - Carl Detheridge: "Same old Charlie, he never gives out."

G-man - Government man. A special law-enforcement agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 
Charlie Chan in Shanghai - Charlie Chan: "You pretend to be G-man, now turn out to be NG-man."

gold digger - (Informal)  A woman who seeks money and expensive gifts from men.
The Scarlet Clue - Capt. Flynn: "She used to be a gold digger..."

Golden Gate - The straight located at the opening of San Francisco Bay.  At the time of "Charlie Chan's Greatest Case," 1933, the Golden Gate Bridge, which today spans this straight, had not yet been built. 
Charlie Chan's Greatest Case - Second Man: "Most of the time we can see the Golden Gate and Mount Tamalpais."

Golden Gate International Exposition - Held on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay from February 18 through October 29, 1939 and from May 25 to October 29, 1940, the Golden Gate International Exposition, which provides the backdrop for much of Charlie Chan at Treasure Island, demonstrated an eclectic blending of European, Eastern and Latin American architectural, landscape, and artistic styles.  Evoking the exoticism of Pacific Rim cultures such as the Mayas, Incas, Malaysians, and Cambodians, many of the architectural structures reflected a nostalgic look at past civilizations.  However, there were examples of a stream-lined, international style architecture, seemingly out of place with these other styles, but meant to reflect western nations along the Pacific Rim.  Reinforcing this theme of modernism and technological innovation was the celebration of the earlier completion of the Golden Gate and San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridges. 
 
The "West Coast World's Fair" created a distinctive environment, reflecting the dreams and aspirations of its time.  Its theme, the "Pageant of the Pacific" allowed the exposition to look out beyond the continental United States to the Pacific Rim, not only accommodating these diverse cultures, but also making them the focus of the exhibition.  This theme was developed in much of the programming, architectural design and realization of the fair.  Architectural contributors included Arthur Brown, Jr., George Kelham, Lewis Hobart, William Merchant, Bernard Maybeck and Timothy L. Pflueger.

The Golden Gate International Exposition also took advantage of the high-tech developments, especially noted in the lighting of the fair.  Jesse Stanton played the role of Jules Guerin as master colorist; and dramatic, indirect lighting, under the control of A.F. Dickerson, was used once again.  Women played a prominent role in this exhibition, not only in helping with organization, but being focused upon as contributors to art exhibitions and to the special events at the fair.

The fair at Treasure Island, as with all international expositions, attempted to bring together the diverse populations of the world in peace.  Situated on either side by two major difficult times, the Depression and World War II, the Golden Gate International Exposition was the last fair of this scale hosted by California.

Adapted from: Hard Times, High Expectations: Golden Gate International Exposition, www.bancroft.berkeley.edu.

The Golden Gate International Exposition was the location of much of the action seen in Charlie Chan at Treasure Island.

The Golden Gate International Exposition

gone - (Slang)  To be so far advanced as to be "gone."
The Sky Dragon - Birmingham Brown: "I'm tellin' you, you gone!" 

goof - (Informal)  A stupid or foolish person.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Betty Adams: "Oh, that poor goof."

grand - (Slang)  A thousand dollars.
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - "Tip" Collins: "I thought my cut was going to be five grand."
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Johnny McCoy: "Who wouldn't try to cop a sneak with his hooks on 300 grand?"

Grant's Tomb - Officially designated as the General Grant National Memorial, Grant's Tomb stands as a tribute to Ulysses S. Grant, the principal author of Union victory during the Civil War and 18th president of the United States.  Located in Riverside Park in Manhattan, this granite and marble monument is the final resting place of President Grant and his wife, Julia Dent Grant.  It is also the second largest mausoleum in the Western Hemisphere.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Billie Bronson: "I want to see Grant's Tomb."

grape juice - (Slang)  Wine. 
Charlie Chan in Rio - Joan Reynolds: "Bring on the grape juice, Armando."

gravy - (Slang)  Money, profit, or benefit easily or illicitly gained.
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Lee Chan: "Want to get in the gravy, Pop?"

gremlins - (1) Imaginary gnome-like creatures to whom mechanical problems, especially in aircraft, are attributed.  (2) Makers of mischief.
Black Magic/Meeting at Midnight - Birmingham Brown: "I got gremlins gallopin' up and down my spine."

grilling - (Slang)  To question relentlessly; cross-examine.
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Lt. Macy: "We better round up the whole outfit and give them a grilling, Mr. Chan."

guillotined - To be beheaded with a guillotine, a device consisting of a heavy blade held aloft between upright guides and dropped to behead the victim below.
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness - Marcel Spivak: "His mother was guillotined."

gutter snipe - (Slang)  A neglected boy running at large; a street Arab.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Bessie Sibley: "Why, that jealous gutter snipe!" 

gyp - (Slang)  (1) A fraud or swindle.  (2) One who defrauds; a swindler. 
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Pete Lewis: "...I'll give you a blast in print that'll run you out of this town with your gyp fortune telling!"

 
 

H 

habeas corpus - One of a variety of writs that may be issued to bring a party before a court or judge, having as its function the release of the party from unlawful restraint.
Docks of New Orleans - Birmingham Brown: "We're in possession of the habeas corpus and the ne plus ultra..."

Hamburg - A city of northern Germany on the Elbe River northeast of Bremen.  Hamburg is a major port and financial, industrial, and cultural center.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Police Chief E.R. Scott: "Their boat docks in Hamburg in seven days."

hams - (Slang)  Performers who overact or exaggerate.
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Sgt. Kelly: "None of you hams are leaving the theater until this thing is cleared up."

Han dynasty - The Han dynasty lasted four hundred years, from 206 B.C. to 220 A.D. The Han dynasty is the East Asian counterpart of and contemporary with Rome in its golden age. During this dynasty, China officially became a Confucian state, prospered domestically, and extended its political and cultural influence over Vietnam, Central Asia, Mongolia, and Korea before finally collapsing under a mixture of domestic and external pressures.
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise - Professor Gordon: "Your beautiful game has suffered many changes since its introduction in the Han dynasty."

hants - (Slang - Southern U.S.)  Ghosts or other supernatural beings.
Charlie Chan in Egypt - Snowshoes: "Mr. Tom, you stirrin' up them hants again."

heavy sugar - (As used)  Flattery from the opposite sex.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Joe Arnold: "You wouldn't be the first dame in the world to fall for heavy sugar."

heat - (Slang)  (1) An intensification of police activity in pursuing criminals.  (2) The police. (Used with the.)
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Johnny Burke: "We'll lay low 'til the heat's off."

heebie-jeebies - (Slang)  A feeling of uneasiness or nervousness; the jitters.
The Feathered Serpent - Professor Paul Evans: "Oh, that Mexicican songbird, he gives me the heebie-jeebies."

Hell's Kitchen - For decades after the Civil War, Hell's Kitchen on New York City's West Side between 14th and 52nd Streets, and Eighth Avenue and the waterfront, and the Tenderloin just to the east, frequently boiled over with crime and corruption.  Notorious gangs ruled the streets between the tenements, grog shops, slaughter houses, railroad yards, and gas works.  During prohibition Hell's Kitchen was the domain of Owney Madden and "Mad Dog" Coll who scared even the city's underworld.
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum - Dr. Cream: "A little boy from New York's Hell's Kitchen..."

Henri Désiré Landru - the Bluebeard of Paris - (1869-1922)  An infamous murderer who, between the years 1914 and 1918 killed 11 victims, 10 women and the teenaged son of one of the women.  Landru would seduce the women who came to his Parisian villa and, after he been given access to their assets, he would kill them - probably by strangulation - and burn their dismembered bodies in his oven.
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum - Dr. Cream: "And here we have Henri Désiré Landru - the Bluebeard of Paris."

hep - (Slang)  Keenly aware of or knowledgeable about the latest trends or developments.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Joe Arnold: "If he ever gets hep that I'm Mike Hannigan..."
Charlie Chan in Rio - Jimmy Chan: "She got hep that we were closing in on her."
The Feathered Serpent - Lee Chan: "Manuel must have been hep..."

hepcats - (Slang)  Performers or devotees of swing or jazz in the 1940s.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Tommy Chan: "...we're hepcats of the younger generation."

hick - (Slang)  A Provincial; an unsophisticated person.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Wally Burke: "Take your hands off me you big hick!"

high hat - A man's hat having a narrow brim and a tall cylindrical crown, usually made of silk.  Also called a top hat. 
Charlie Chan's Greatest Case - Carlotta Egan: "What's in there - a high hat?"

high sign - (Informal)  An often prearranged secret sign or signal intended especially to warn or inform.
The Sky Dragon - Lt. Mike Ruark: So you could give Blake the high sign..."

Hindenburg - At 803.8 feet in length and 135.1 feet in diameter, the German passenger airship Hindenburg was the largest aircraft ever to fly.  The commercial flights of Hindenburg, along with Graf Zeppelin, pioneered the first transatlantic air service.  She carried hundreds of passengers and traveled thousands of miles before being destroyed in a tragic fire on May 6, 1937 at Lakehurst, New Jersey.
 
Charlie Chan at the Olympics – Charlie Chan: "Take zeppelin Hindenburg from Lakehurst, New Jersey."

The 'Hindenburg'

Hindu - (1) An adherent of Hinduism.  (2) A native of India, especially northern India.
Murder Over New York - Patricia West: "...his Hindu servant, Ramullah, arrived."

hip(Slang)  Keenly aware of or knowledgeable about the latest trends or developments. 
Docks of New Orleans - Birmingham Brown: "You're now hip to the facts, ain't you?"

hit-and-run - Fleeing the scene of an accident or injury one has caused, especially a vehicular accident, thereby attempting to evade being identified and held responsible.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Con Man: "My pal got smacked by a hit-and-run."

Hitler (Adolf Hitler, 1889-1945)  Austrian-born founder of the German Nazi Party and chancellor of the Third Reich (1933-1945). His fascist philosophy attracted widespread support, and after 1934 he ruled as an absolute dictator. Hitler's pursuit of aggressive nationalist policies resulted in the invasion of Poland (1939) and the subsequent outbreak of World War II. His regime was infamous for the extermination of millions of people, especially European Jews. He committed suicide when the collapse of the Third Reich was imminent.
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness - Narrator: "Hitler has pledged Germany to protect the Sudetens."

Hitler, Adolf - (see: Hitler)

hit the sack - (Slang)  Go to bed.
The Feathered Serpent - Tommy Chan: "Well, I'm going to hit the sack."

hiya (hi ya) - Used as a greeting.
The Shanghai Cobra - Taylor: "Hiya, Jarvis."

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.
The Black Camel - Wilkie Ballou: "Look here, you can count me out of this hocus-pocus right now."

holding the bag - (Idiom)  Getting the blame for a bad situation.
Docks of New Orleans - Nita Aguirre: "Why did you leave me holding the bag?"

Home, James! - A reference to one's "driver" to get get going.  Although the origin of this phrase is uncertain, it was in general usage by the early 1930s.
Charlie Chan in Paris - Yvette Lamartine: "Home, James!"

home secretary - The British cabinet minister who is head of the Home Office.
Charlie Chan's Chance - John Douglas: "Inspector, isn't it possible that if the British home secretary knew the facts of this case he would waive extradition?"

honey - (Informal)  Something remarkably fine.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Joan Wendell: "...it's a honey."

honey and molasses - (Idiom - as used)  Sweet talk.
The Chinese Ring - Birmingham Brown: "Uh-oh, listen to that old honey and molasses."

honkey-tonk - A cheap bar or dance hall. 
The Sky Dragon - Wanda LaFern: "I don't intend to work in a cheap honkey-tonk for the rest of my life."

honky-tonks - (see: honky-tonk
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Lady Tiny: "He was only used to honky-tonks."

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.)

hooey - (Slang)  Nonsense.
Charlie Chan in Rio - Jimmy Chan: "It's all a lot of hooey to me."

hook, line, and sinker - (Informal)  Without reservation; completely.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Pete Lewis: "Zodiac took it hook, line, and sinker."

hooks - (Slang)  Hands.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Johnny McCoy: "Who wouldn't try to cop a sneak with his hooks on 300 grand?"

hoo-mali-mali (ho'omalimali) - (Hawaiian, pronounced: "ho-oh-mah-lee-mah-lee")  To flatter; to mollify with soft words or a gift; to soothe, quiet.
Charlie Chan's Courage - Charlie Chan: "Suggest giving Madden hoo-mali-mali until mystery cleared away."

hoosegow - (Slang)  A jail.
The Shanghai Cobra - Charlie Chan: "No. You turn here and go to hoosegow." 

horse feathers - (Interjection)  Used to express disagreement or exasperation.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Tombstone Fletcher: "Horse feathers!"
Charlie Chan in Rio - Jimmy Chan: "Oh, horse feathers!"

hot (1) - (Slang)  Wanted by the police.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Billie Bronson: "I'm not hot anymore, and you know it!"

hot (2) - Very good or impressive.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Vivian Wells: "...I must admit this doesn't look so hot."
Castle in the Desert - Jimmy Chan: "Oh, boy!  Am I hot with a bow and arrow!"

hotfoot - The practical joke of lighting a match that has been secretly inserted between the sole and upper of a victim's shoe.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Birmingham Brown: "Good gracious!  Somebody just give me a hotfoot!"

hot seat - (Slang)  An electric chair.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Joe Arnold: "That's when I end up on the hot seat..."

Hottentot - (1) A Khoikhoin.  (2) Any of the Khoisan languages spoken by the pastoral people of Namibia and South Africa.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Billie Bronson: "The Hottentot Club." 

humidor - A container designed for storing cigars or other tobacco products at a constant level of humidity.
Charlie Chan in Panama - Jimmy Chan: "Why, even this humidor has an English school emblem on it."

hunky-dory - (Slang)  Perfectly satisfactory; fine.
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Charlie Chan: "Happy to report Avalanche and jockey, as son Lee would say, 'hunky-dory.'"

hush money - (Slang)  A bribe paid to keep something secret.
Charlie Chan in London - Charlie Chan: "Hush money, given by murderer."
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Joan Wendell: "We'll blow some of this hush money..."

hydrochloric acid - A clear, colorless, fuming, poisonous, highly acidic aqueous solution of hydrogen chloride, HCl, used as a chemical intermediate and in petroleum production, ore reduction, food processing, pickling, and metal cleaning. It is found in the stomach in dilute form. 
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Used by Charlie Chan along with ferrocyanide of potassium to bring out the writing on a burnt florist card.

hypertrophic cirrhosis - A chronic disease of the liver, characterized by an increase in its connective tissue, a reduction in the size of the organ, and a degeneration of the parenchymatous constituents.
Charlie Chan's Courage - Professor Gamble: "Probably hypertrophic cirrhosis."

 
 

I

icky - (Informal)  Offensive; distasteful.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Tommy Chan: "She's strictly icky."

in a jam - (Slang)  In a difficult, threatening, or embarrassing position; also, unable to solve a dilemma.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Johnny Burke: "Yeah, yeah, I'm in a jam."
Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo - Joan Karnoff: "You know I was in a jam."
Charlie Chan in Reno - Curtis Whitman: "Oh, she's in a jam."

in Dutch - (Slang)  In disfavor or trouble.
The Trap - Jimmy Chan: "...I'm already in Dutch with Pop."

inquisition - (1) A former tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church (1232-1820) created to discover and suppress heresy.  (2) A severe interrogation, often violating the rights or privacy of individuals.
Charlie Chan's Secret - Alice Lowell: "Haven't we had enough of this inquisition?"

insomniac - One who suffers from insomnia, the inability to sleep. 
Castle in the Desert - Dr. Retling: "The old chemists used it for insomniac cases."

in stitches - (Idiom)  Laughing uncontrollably.
Dark Alibi - Danvers: "...she always leaves me in stitches!"

Intelligence Service - A unit responsible for gathering and interpreting information about an enemy.
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness - Prefect of Police Romaine: "Comrades of the Intelligence Service..."

in the bag - (Slang)  Assured of a successful outcome; virtually accomplished or won.
Charlie Chan in Rio - Jimmy Chan: "The case is in the bag..."

in the clear - (Idiom)  (1) Free from burdens or dangers.  (2) Not subject to suspicion or accusations of guilt.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Jeff Hay: "That puts him in the clear."

in the doghouse - (Idiom)  In great disfavor or trouble.
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise - Frederick Ross: "I guess that puts me in the doghouse."

in the red - Operating at a loss; in debt.
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Joe Kinney: "...the show went in the red."

Isis - The principal goddess worshiped by the Egyptians.  She was regarded as the mother of Horus, and the sister and wife of Osiris.  The Egyptians adored her as the goddess of fecundity, and as the great benefactress of their country, who instructed their ancestors in the art of agriculture. 
Castle in the Desert - Madame Saturnia: "The finger of Isis has never touched this house."

 
 

J

Jack the Ripper - The name given to an unidentified serial killer (or killers) active in the Whitechapel area of London in the second half of 1888.  Although there have been numerous theories over the intervening decades, Jack the Ripper's identity may never be determined.
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum - Dr. Cream: "This is Jack the Ripper, London's mystery murderer of the year 1888."

Jake - (Slang)  Suitable or satisfactory; fine. 
Charlie Chan's Greatest Case - Oswald Chan: "Oh, everything's Jake."

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.
The Black Camel - Wilkie Ballou: "This Jap has locked all the doors on us!"
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Tommy Chan: "This is what made the Jap fleet not so fleet."

Jesse (Jesse Owens, 1913-1980)  A black athlete from the United States, Jesse Owens was the star of the 1936 Olympic Games, which began on August 1 and lasted for two weeks. Owens, called the "Tan Cyclone," won four gold medals: the 100-meter dash, the long jump (set an Olympic record), the 200-meter sprint around a turn (set a world record), and part of the team for the 400-meter relay, a race which can be seen in Charlie Chan at the Olympics.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Betty Adams: "Come on, Jesse, open up that lead!"

jitterbugging - The performing of a strenuous dance to quick-tempo swing or jazz music and consisting of various two-step patterns embellished with twirls and sometimes acrobatic maneuvers.  
The Chinese Cat - Birmingham Brown: "A jitterbugging skeleton! Now I've seen everything!"

jiu jitsu (or jiujitsu) - A Japanese method of self-defense without weapons in which holds and blows are supplemented by clever use of the attacker's own weight and strength.
Charlie Chan's Greatest Case - Doctor: "This job was done by either a very powerful man or someone well versed in the Japanese art of Jiu Jitsu."

job - (Informal)  A criminal act, especially a robbery.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Buzz Moran: "Everybody but the cops knows he pulled the job."

"Johnny-of-many-trades" (jack-of-all-trades) - A person who can do many different kinds of work.
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Charlie Chan: "Circus performer, like detective, must be Johnny-of-many-trades."

joint - (Slang)  (1) A cheap or disreputable gathering place.  (2) A building or dwelling.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Joan Wendell: "Hey, what's the idea?  I can't get out of this joint?"
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Taxicab Driver: "I know this spook joint."
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Tommy Chan: "This joint is lonesome."

jug - (Slang)  A jail.
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Lt. Macy: "I'm going to give them a few hours in the jug..."

jukebox - A money-operated phonograph equipped to play a selection of particular recordings.
The Shanghai Cobra - Joe: "That's just the girl that plays records over the jukebox."

jump - (Slang)  To spring upon in a sudden attack, assault, or ambush.
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise - Jimmy Chan: "I didn't jump him."

 
 

K

Kanaka - A South Sea Islander, especially one brought to Australia as a laborer in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Often used disparagingly.
Dangerous Money - P.T. Burke: "You look for a Kanaka or a Melanesian..."

Kansas City bankroll - (Slang)  A term for a roll of money that is actually a few bills of high value rolled around those of lesser or no value fashioned to appear as a big roll of money. 
Jimmy Chan: "It's a Kansas City bankroll."

KGPD - The broadcasting station of the San Francisco Police. This station began broadcasting on May 5, 1932.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Honolulu Police Radio Operator: "KGPD coming in."

kicked off - (Slang)  Died. 
Charlie Chan in Egypt - Tom Evans: "...he kicked off at the ripe old age of 78."

knock off - (Slang)  To kill or overcome.
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Lt. Macy: "He tried to knock her off."
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum - Willie Fern: "...didn't he knock off Butcher Degan for framin' you?"

knot - (Slang)  A lump on the head.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Birmingham Brown: "Look at that knot growin' on my head."

kosher - (Informal)  Genuine, authentic.
The Chinese Ring - Birmingham Brown: "Uh-oh, this don't look kosher to me."

kowtow - (Slang, from Chinese)  (1) To kneel and touch the forehead to the ground in expression of deep respect, worship, or submission, as formerly done in China.  (2) To show servile deference.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Billie Bronson's supposed diary text, as read by Inspector Nelson: "It was sure funny to see everybody kowtow to Johnny and Buzz."

Kukutan (Kulkulcan) - The feathered serpent appeared in the art of all Mesoamerican cultures, including the Aztec.  Many meanings were probably attached to the feathered serpent, although it does not mean that serpents were worshipped.  The temple on which it appears was named the Temple of Quetzalcoatl when these figures were first found in the early twentieth century.  Quetzalcoatl is an Aztec word that means "feathered serpent.The word is also associated with the planet Venus, the wind, and to a mythological Toltec ruler.
 
The Mayan word for the feathered serpent, Kukulcan (or Kukutan), was used in reference to a carved figure that was found in the Aztec Temple of the Sun in The Feathered Serpent.

Kukutan - the Feathered Serpent

 
 

L

laid an egg - (Informal)  Having failed, especially in a public performance.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Fred Rhadini: "...since the first magician laid an egg."

Lakehusrt, New Jersey - A borough of east-central New Jersey south of Freehold.  The dirigible Hindenburg was destroyed by fire at the naval air station there on May 6, 1937.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Charlie Chan: "Take zeppelin Hindenburg from Lakehurst, New Jersey."

lavaliere - A jeweled pendant worn on a chain around the neck. 
Murder Over New York - Charlie Chan: "Very beautiful lavaliere."

lay...cards on the table - To make frank and clear revelation, as of one's motives or intentions.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Thomas Gregory: "Mr. Chan, I've come to lay my cards on the table."

lay low - (Slang)  Keep oneself or one's plans hidden; bide one's time to act.
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Bagley: "Now, get out of here and lay low."
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Johnny Burke: "We'll lay low 'til the heat's off."

lay off - (Slang)  To stop doing something; quit.
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise - Jimmy Chan: "Hey!  Tell him to lay off!

layout - (Informal)  An establishment or property, especially a large residence or estate.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Pete Lewis: "Boy, what a layout."

League of Nations - A world organization established in 1920 to promote international cooperation and peace. It was first proposed in 1918 by President Woodrow Wilson, although the United States never joined the League. Essentially powerless, it was officially dissolved in 1946.
Charlie Chan in Shanghai - James Andrews: "...the Opium Committee of the League of Nations..."

Left Bank - A district of Paris on the southern, or left, bank of the Seine River. It has long been noted for its artistic and intellectual life.
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness - Belescu: "Take me over to the Left Bank."

lid - (Slang)  A hat.
Charlie Chan Carries On - Elmer Benbow: "Just take off the benny, will you -- the lid, you know -- the hat."

life masks - Casts made of the faces of living persons. 
The Jade Mask - Charlie Chan: "Note many life masks of household about place."

liquid smoke - Smoke created for effect as in the making of films.  A chemical called titanium tetrachloride is often used to produce smoke in movies.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Charlie Chan: "Merely experiment with liquid smoke."

live wire - (Informal)  A vivacious, alert, or energetic person. 
Charlie Chan's Chance - Inspector Flannery: "This young lady is what we call a live wire."

lorgnette - A pair of eyeglasses or opera glasses with a short handle. 
Charlie Chan's Greatest Case - Barbara Winterslip: "Aunt Minerva once said something like that, but she traded her lorgnette for a ukelele [sic]."

Lone Ranger (The Lone Ranger) - The Lone Ranger was based on characters created by George W. Trendle and developed by writer Fran Striker. Their inspiration may have come from The Lone Star Ranger, a novel by Zane Grey. The basic premise is that the Lone Ranger is masked cowboy in the Old West who fights injustice, usually with the aid of an American Indian called Tonto. The Lone Ranger aired on radio for the first time on January 30, 1933 on WXYZ-AM radio in Detroit, Michigan and later on the Mutual Broadcasting System radio network. The Lone Ranger became one of the most successful properties on radio.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Charlie Chan: "This is Number Two Son, masquerading as Lone Ranger."

long shot - (1) An entry, as in a horserace, with only a slight chance of winning.  (2) A bet made at great odds.  (3) A venture that offers a great reward if successful but has very little chance of success.
Charlie Chan in Rio - Charlie Chan: "Number Two Son call this - long shot."

looning - Expressing confused ideas; incapable of serious thought.
Charlie Chan in Rio - Rice: "Oh, stop looning like a sick cow!"

Lovelock (John Lovelock, 1910-1949) - Olympic runner representing New Zealand at the 1939 Olympic Games in Berlin who won the 1500 meter race at a time of 3:47.8.  This race and the awards ceremony can be seen in Charlie Chan at the Olympics.  The second-place finisher was Jack Cunningham (USA) with a time of 3:48.4, and third place went to Luigi Becalli of Italy (3:49.2).
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Olympic Stadium Announcer: "1500 meter mile won by Lovelock, New Zealand..."

lowdown - (Slang)  The whole truth.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Speed Patten: "I'm going to see her tonight and get the lowdown."

lubber - (1) A clumsy person.  (2) An inexperienced sailor: a landlubber.
Dead Men Tell - Jed Thomasson: "I'm an awful lubber, I don't know one line from another."

Luger - A German semiautomatic pistol introduced before World War I and widely used by German troops in World War II.
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness - Charlie Chan: "Empty shell, ejected from Luger automatic pistol."

Luxor - The Luxor area of Upper Egypt was the Thebes of the ancient Egyptians - the capital of Egypt during the Middle and New Kingdoms. Today it is famous for its temples and the nearby Valley of the Kings.
Charlie Chan in Egypt - Carol Arnold: "No, he's in Luxor."

 
 

M

made...passes - To have flirted or to have made advances to someone, especially of a sexual nature.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Jack Tillford: "...but she said he never made any passes."

Maginot Line - A fortification built before World War II to protect France's eastern border; initially considered to be impregnable it was easily overrun by the Germans in 1940.
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness - Narrator: "Soldiers pour into the famous Maginot Line."

maharaja - (1) A king or prince in India ranking above a rajah, especially the sovereign of one of the former native states.  (2) Used as a title for such a king or prince.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Speed Patton: "I got a swell human interest yarn on the Maharaja of Radfa today."

mahjong - (Chinese)  A game of Chinese origin usually played by four persons with tiles resembling dominoes and bearing various designs, which are drawn and discarded until one player wins with a hand of four combinations of three tiles each and a pair of matching tiles.
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise - Charlie Chan: "Majong with two players?  Most unusual." 

Manhattan - The S.S. Manhattan was a ship of the United States Lines, and was launched at Camden, New Jersey, in 1931.  Her maiden voyage on August 10, 1932 was from New York City to Hamburg, Germany with calls at Cobh, Plymouth, and Le Havre outbound, and Le Havre, Southampton, and Cobh inbound.  She remained on this route until World War II began in September 1939.  The members of the United States Olympic team, including Lee Chan, took the Manhattan from New York City to Hamburg, Germany for the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games had an interesting history.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - New York Police Officer on the radio: "Both sailed on steamship Manhattan for Berlin." 

Man o' War - (1917-1947) One of the greatest racehorses of the 20th century, Man O'War is the yardstick that greatness is still measured against in horse racing.  His lifetime record, during a racing career lasting 16 months between 1919 and 1920, was 21 starts with 20 wins and a second place and he retired as the leading money winner in America at the time.  He set 8 records, 3 world records, 2 American records, and 3 track records and broke most by several seconds.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Birmingham Brown: "Who do you think I am, Man o' War?"

Manpower Commission (War Manpower Commission) - In January of 1942, as the United States shifted to a wartime economy, all employment services were federalized by executive order and transferred to the United States War Manpower Commission. The goal of the War Manpower Commission was to "stabilize" employment and bring about a full utilization of the labor force by "placing a man on a job where he will use his highest skill in furtherance of the war effort, and keeping him there." With the end of the war in 1945, the War Manpower Commission was dissolved.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Birmingham Brown: "Hello, is this the Manpower Commission?" 

map - (Slang)  The human face.
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum - Steve McBirney: "Change this map.  Fix it so no cop will ever know me."

mapuchari - (Egyptian)  Egyptian colloquial term for confection containing hashish.
Charlie Chan in Egypt - Charlie Chan: "Dr. Racine perhaps buy mapuchari here." 

marker beacons - Also known as lorenz beacons, marker beacons aided in the navigational positioning of aircraft, and, over the decades, this technology has seen considerable improvement.
The Sky Dragon - Lee Chan: "...and the marker beacons you're using."

Matsonia - Flagship steamer of the famous Matson Line.  For decades, the Matson Line carried passengers to and from Honolulu, Hawaii as well as other locations across the Pacific. 
Charlie Chan's Greatest Case - Captain Arthur Temple Cope: "The Matsonia or the Australian boat..."

The 'Matsonia'

Matson Line - In 1882, Captain William Matson begun a shipping service between California and Hawaii.  Matson Navigation Company was incorporated in 1901.  The company's first passenger ship sailing was made by the steamer Lurline in 1908.  Larger passenger and freight vessels were built for the service over the next seven years.  During World War I WilhelminaMaui, and Matsonia were taken over by the Navy and not returned until 1920.

In 1926 Matson took over three ships, Sierra, Sonoma, and Ventura that had been sailing for the Oceanic Steamship Company in the Australian trade and reorganized as Matson-Oceanic Line.  In 1927 a new liner, Malolo, the most lavish yet seen on the west coast, joined the fleet and soon, three larger ships were ordered.  Matson took over its rival the Los Angeles Steamship Company, which had carried more passengers Hawaii in 1927 than Matson.  Briefly called Matson-Lassco Line, the San Francisco company set about, in the early 1930s, building three larger, faster, more luxurious ships, MariposaMonterey, and Lurline. Two ships sailed in Australian trade and two in Hawaiian replacing the older vessels.
 
Four Matson liners were used as war transports and served all over the worldmazingly.  After the war only the Matsonia re-entered the service to Hawaii but was sold in 1948 and replaced by the refitted Lurline.  The two remaining liners were sold but the Monterey was repurchased in the mid-1950s and renamed Matsonia to revive the weekly service to Hawaii.  In 1963 the Lurline was sold after engine problems and Matsonia took her name and continued in the Hawaiian trade.  By 1976 Matson had ended its passenger service and sold all remaining passenger ships.  Today, the Matson Line continues as a freight only line with a large fleet of container ships.
 
Adapted from: Maritime Matters: Ocean liner history and cruise ship lines, www.maritimematters.com

Matson Line

meal ticket - A person or thing depended on as a source of financial support.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Vivian Wells: "...would he be stupid enough to hill his own meal ticket?"

Melanesian - A member of any of the indigenous peoples of Melanesia, a division of Oceania in the southwest Pacific Ocean comprising the islands northeast of Australia and south of the equator. It includes the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, the Bismarck Archipelago, various other island groups, and sometimes New Guinea.
Dangerous Money - P.T. Burke: "You look for a Kanaka or a Melanesian..."

Mephisto - The devil in the Faust legend to whom Faust sold his soul.
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Gravelle: "The voice of Mephisto comes from the flames."

metallurgic - Of or pertaining to metallurgy or metals (in the case of bonds, probably relating to valuable metals such as gold or silver).
Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo - Gordon Chase: "$25,000 of the metallurgic bonds are missing."

Mickey (also Mickey Finn) - (Slang)  Chloral hydrate in combination with alcohol; usually administered surreptitiously to make the drinker unconscious.
Charlie Chan in Rio - Joan Reynolds: "Slip him a Mickey and he'll go under."

Miraflores Locks - The locks located at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal.  The Miraflores Locks have the tallest gates in the Panama Canal system due to the great tidal fluctuation of the Pacific Ocean.
Charlie Chan in Panama - Governor D.C. Webster: "To reach battle stations in the Pacific, the fleet's full war compliment must pass through the Gatun Locks, the Gaillard Cut, the Pedro Miguel, and the Miraflores Locks."

Mission District - The city of San Francisco's oldest section, centered on a Spanish Mission founded in 1776.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Voice Car 31 Police Officer on radio: "Suspect car nowhere in Mission District."

Miss Liberty - An informal term for the Statue of Liberty, the famous monumental sculpture that prominently graces New York Harbor.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Charlie Chan: "Miss Liberty - very lovely lady."

moon-faced - Having a round face.
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Steward: "Good luck to that moon-faced cabin boy."

Mount Tamalpais - A picturesque mountain on the opposite side of the bay from the city of San Francisco. 
Charlie Chan's Greatest Case - Second Man: "Ever see Mount Tamalpais?"

mouse - (Slang)  A discolored swelling under the eye caused by a blow; a black eye.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Inspector Nelson: "Holy mackerel! Look!  Another mouse!"

MP - (Abbreviation)  Military police.  The branch of an armed force assigned to perform law enforcement duties, as on a military installation.
Charlie Chan in Panama - Notation on the arm band of the Military Police Officer: "MP"

mug - (Informal)  (1) The human face.  (2) A thug or hoodlum.  (3) A gullible person; one who is easily taken advantage of.
Murder Over New York - Inspector Vance: "We're going to start with a little cleansing of your mug."
Charlie Chan in Shanghai - Lee Chan: "Tell these mugs to lay off me..."
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Deputy Chief J.J. Kilvaine: "Now listen you two mugs..."
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum - Inspector O'Matthews: "Oh, he'll get five years for lifting mugs' maps."
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Betty Adams: "Oh, ya big mug!"

mugs - (see: mug)

Mussolini (Benito Mussolini, 1883-1945)  Led Italy from 1922 to 1943. He created a fascist state through the use of state terror and propaganda. His entry into World War II on the side of Nazi Germany made Italy a target for Allied attacks and ultimately led to his downfall and death.
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness - Narrator: "Rome parades her troops before Mussolini."

 
 

N

nab - (Informal)  To arrest or capture.
The Shanghai Cobra - Inspector Harry Davis: "...and we'll nab him!"

nag - (Slang)  A racehorse.
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Detective: "What the kid means is to plank your dough on the nag's schnozzola..."

nail - (Informal)  To stop and seize; catch.
The Black Camel - Chief of Police: "I'm going to nail that bird now!"
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Pete Lewis: "Now we can nail him."
The Shanghai Cobra - Inspector Harry Davis: "I'll have my men outside and we'll nail 'em."

Napata - An ancient city of Nubia near the Fourth Cataract of the Nile River in modern-day Sudan. It flourished during the eighth century BC.
Charlie Chan in Egypt - Professor Thurston: "Our last communication came from Napata."

nappy(Mainly British)  Of a horse that is jumpy or irritable; nervy.
Charlie Chan in London - Geoffrey Richmond: "She's [the horse Hellcat] nappy."

needle  - (Informal)  To tease.
Dark Alibi - Danvers: "Always giving me the needle..."

ne plus ultra - (1) The highest point, as of excellence or achievement; the ultimate.  (2) The most profound degree, as of a condition or quality.
Docks of New Orleans - Birmingham Brown: "We're in possession of the habeas corpus and the ne plus ultra..."

N.G. - (Abbreviation)  No good.
Charlie Chan in Shanghai - Charlie Chan: "You pretend to be G-man, now turn out to be N.G.-man."

nicked - Cut short; checked.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Jimmy Chan: "...but we nicked this case."

nifties - (see: nifty)
Charlie Chan in Panama - Jimmy Chan: "Boy oh boy!  Why don't I think of nifties like that?"

nifty - (Slang)  First-rate; great.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Speed Patten: "Looks like Burke pulled a nifty on you."
Charlie Chan in Panama - Jimmy Chan: "Boy oh boy!  Why don't I think of nifties like that?"

nightcap - An alcoholic drink taken just before bedtime.
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise - Professor Gordon: "How about a nightcap, Doctor?"

nightshade - (1) Any of several plants of the genus Solanum, such as the bittersweet nightshade, most of which have a poisonous juice.  (2) Any of various similar or related plants, such as belladonna.
Castle in the Desert - Charlie Chan: "You give desert pests large diet of deadly nightshade?"

1936 Olympic Games - The International Olympic Committee had awarded the Games to Berlin in 1931 with no idea that Adolph Hitler was to take power in Germany two years later.  By 1936, the Nazis had control over Germany and had already begun to implement their racist policies.  There was international debate as to whether the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany should be boycotted.  The United States was extremely close to boycotting but at the last minute decided to accept the invitation to attend.

The Nazis saw the event as a way to promote their ideology.  They built four grandiose stadiums, swimming pools, an outdoor theater, a polo field, and an Olympic Village that had 150 cottages for the male athletes.  Throughout the Games, the Olympic complex was covered in Nazi banners.  These Games were the first ones televised and were the first to use telex transmissions of the results.  Also debuting at these Olympics was the torch relay.

Jesse Owens, a black athlete from the United States, was the star of the 1936 Olympic Games, which began on August 1 and lasted for two weeks.  Owens, called the "Tan Cyclone," brought home four gold medals: the 100-meter dash, the long jump (made an Olympic record), the 200-meter sprint around a turn (made a world record), and part of the team for the 400-meter relay, a race which can be seen in Charlie Chan at the Olympics.

About 4,000 athletes, including Lee Chan, participated, representing 49 countries.

1936 Olympic Games, Berlin, Germany

nitric acid - A transparent, colorless to yellowish, fuming corrosive liquid that is a highly reactive oxidizing agent.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Jimmy Chan: "Nitric acid leaves a nasty burn."
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness - Charlie Chan: "...nitric acid used in making printing plates."

nitroglycerin - A liquid appearing like a heavy oil, colorless or yellowish, and consisting of a mixture of several glycerin salts of nitric acid, and hence more properly called glycerin nitrate.  It is made by the action of nitric acid on glycerin in the presence of sulfuric acid.  It is extremely unstable and terribly explosive.
Charlie Chan in Panama - Miss Finch: "...I wondered if we could use a small portion of that nitroglycerin and blast our way out of here."

Nob Hill District - A small district in San Francisco, adjacent to the intersection of California and Powell streets.  Nob Hill is perhaps one of the most affluent districts in San Francisco.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Voice of Police Officer on radio: "Just covered ten square blocks of Nob Hill District."

North Beach - a San Francisco neighborhood bounded by the former Barbary Coast, now Jackson Square, and the Financial District south of Broadway.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Voice of Police Officer on Radio: "No sigh of convertible in North Beach District."

numismatician (numatist) - A specialist in or a collector of coins and medals.
Dead Men Tell - Charlie Chan: [referring to Jed Thomasson] "Numismatician."

nuts - (Slang)  Crazy or eccentric.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Police Officer: "And suspected of being nuts."

 
 

O

Oakland - A city of western California on San Francisco Bay opposite San Francisco.
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise - Charlie Chan: "Message from Oakland airport."

ocarina - A small, simple wind instrument shaped like a sweet potato and usually made of terra cotta, with finger holes and a mouthpiece. 
Dead Men Tell - Charlie Chan: "Have also heard music. Same comes from ocarina, favorite instrument of ancient pirates."

Oceanic - A supposed ship in the Matson Line of Pacific steamers, the S.S. Oceanic was seen in Charlie Chan at the Race Track.  The name of this vessel could be a reference to the Oceanic Steamship Company, which was bought out in 1926 by Matson.

Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Honolulu Police Chief Inspector: "The Oceanic will be docking in a few minutes."

off the beam - (Idiom)  On the wrong track; off course.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Tommy Chan: Right off the cop and way off the beam."

off the cop - (Slang)  meaning uncertain) Probably a reference to someone being of an unstable mind.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Tommy Chan: "Right off the cop and way off the beam."

Olympic Stadium, Berlin -  For the 1936 Summer Olympics, and to satisfy his own political plans, Hitler's National-Socialist (Nazi) Party built the Olympiastadion surrounded by the massive Olympischer Platz.
(Olympic Stadium in Berlin was the scene of a substantial amount of the action in Charlie Chan at the Olympics.) 

Olympic Stadium, Berlin, Germany

on a dime - (Idiom)  At a precise point; within a narrowly defined area, as the dime (10 cents) is the smallest United States coin in size.
The Sky Dragon - Lee Chan: "I can land it on a dime, too."

once-over - (Slang)  A swift cursory examination or inspection

Charlie Chan at the Circus - Lt. Macy: "Go ahead, fellas, give the place the once-over."

one-horse - Very small or insignificant.
Charlie Chan's Courage - Bob Crawford: "I'm sorry that you have to put up at that one-horse hotel."

on ice - (Slang)  Away from the public.  (as used: In jail.)
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Inspector Nelson: "And that's all I need to put that guy on ice."

on the lam - (Slang)  Running away, especially from the police.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Inspector Nelson: "...a couple of minutes after Burke took it on the lam..."

on the level - (Slang)  Without deception; honest.
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Lee Chan: "Pop, this is on the level."
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Murdock: "How do I know it's on the level?"
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Jimmy Chan: "Let's call up the Granville Insurance Company and find out if Gregory's on the level."
Charlie Chan in Rio - Joan Reynolds: "Are you on the level?"

on the spot - (Idiom)  In a difficult situation.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Marie Collins: "They had Johnny on the spot..."
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness - Belescu: "You're not going to put me on the spot for murder!"
The Shanghai Chest - Lt. Mike Ruark: "You're on the spot, son."

on the up and up - (Idiom)  The truth.
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Lt. Macy: "This marriage certificate's on the up and up."
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Joe Arnold: "Do you think she's on the up and up?" 

opiates - (1) Any of various sedative narcotics containing opium or one or more of its natural or synthetic derivatives.  (2) Drugs, hormones, or other chemical substances having sedative or narcotic effects similar to those containing opium or its derivatives: a natural brain opiate.  (3) Things that dull the senses and induces relaxation or torpor.
The Golden Eye - Dr. Grove: "Mr. Manning will need to have opiates for several days as soon as he recovers consciousness."

Ouija board - A board with the alphabet on it; used with a planchette to spell out supernatural messages.
Charlie Chan's Secret - Henrietta Lowell regularly used a Ouija board, usually with the assistance of her butler, Baxter.

out of the way - In such a position as not to obstruct, hinder, or interfere.
Castle in the Desert - Jimmy Chan: "Gee, now someone wants him out of the way."

out to sea - (Idiom - as used)  Probably meaning that someone is "gone," or out of their mind; crazy.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Iris Chan: "He means she's a slick chick gone to sea, Pop."

overture - An instrumental composition intended especially as an introduction to an extended work, such as an opera or oratorio. 
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Mr. Arnold: "There's the overture!"

Owens, Jesse - (See: Jesse)

oxyzone - A fictitious deadly gas. 
The Chinese Cat - Charlie Chan: "Oxyzone - very deadly gas!"

 
 

P

packing - (Informal)  To be carrying or having available for action, usually in reference to a gun.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Jeff Hay: "You're packing a gun, aren't you?" 

pal - (Informal)  A friend; a chum.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Secret Service Agent: "Going somewhere, pal?"

palooka - A clumsy, easily defeated athlete, usually a prize-fighter. 
Charlie Chan at the Race Track- Lewis: "What's the idea puttin' an unknown palooka in Avalanche's place?"

Panama Canal Zone - A strip of land, about 10 miles (16 km) wide, across the Isthmus of Panama. Formerly administered by the United States for the operation of the Panama Canal, it was turned over to Panama in 1979.
Charlie Chan in Panama - Sign: "MILITARY RESERVATION PANAMA CANAL ZONE"

Panama City - The capital and largest city of Panama.
Charlie Chan in Panama - Emil Manolo: "You know, you will like Panama City."

Panamas (Panama hats) - Natural-colored, hand-plaited hats made from leaves of the jipijapa plant of South and Central America.  These hats come in many styles.
Charlie Chan in Panama - R.J. Godley: "They tell me this fellow makes great Panamas."

paraffin test - A chemical test that is used to indicate the presence of nitrates, which are found in gunpowder.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Charlie Chan: "Perhaps paraffin test better alibi, if negative."

payoff - (iInformal)  The climax of a narrative or sequence of events.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Speed Patten: "You mean it's the payoff?"

peacherino - (Slang)  Variant of peach.  A very attractive woman.
The Shanghai Cobra - Joe: "...he went through here like a flash chasing the peacherino."

pea-souper - A thick, heavy fog.
Dangerous Money - P.T. Burke: "Say, it's a regular pea-souper, ain't it?"

Pedro Miguel - The second-to-last lock encountered by ships heading toward the Pacific along the Panama Canal.
Charlie Chan in Panama - Governor D.C. Webster: "To reach battle stations in the Pacific, the fleet's full war compliment must pass through the Gatun Locks, the Gaillard Cut, the Pedro Miguel, and the Miraflores Locks."

peeling - (Slang)  The taking off of one's clothing.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Joan Mercer: "You heard me, start peeling."

pegged - (Informal)  To classify; categorize.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Jimmy Chan: "Gee, Pop, I certainly had him pegged wrong."

Peiping - An archaic form of Peking or Beijing. 
The Chinese Ring - Charlie Chan: "...Exchange Specie Bank of Peiping."

Pekinese - A Chinese breed of small short-legged dogs with a long silky coat and broad flat muzzle.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Mrs. Winters: "It's my dog, my Pekinese, he has to be fed."

Pentonville prison - Opened in 1840 in London, England, Pentonville prison became the model for British prisons.  Between 1902 and 1961, 120 men were hanged at Pentonville, and this prison remains a major London prison to this day.  In Charlie Chan in London, Paul Gray was scheduled to be hanged at Pentonville prison.  His sister, Pamela, enlisted the aid of Charlie Chan to save her brother's life by finding evidence to prove his innocence.
Charlie Chan in London - Title: PENTONVILLE PRISON

phoney detail - An assigned duty that is not genuine or real. 
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Lewis: "...but, you'll have to admit, it's a phoney detail."

phooey - (Interjection; origin: circa 1925-30)  Used to express disgust, disbelief, or contempt. 
Charlie Chan in Shangahi - Lee Chan: Ah phooey!"

photoelectric cell - An electronic device having an electrical output that varies in response to incident radiation, especially to visible light. Also called electric eye.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Charlie Chan: "Photoelectric cell behind eyes of head."

pin - (Slang)  To attribute a crime to someone. 
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Arthur Hughes: You can't pin that shooting on me!"
Charlie Chan in Reno - Wally Burke: "This is the second time you've tried to pin this thing on me!"
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Jimmy Chan: "Boy, am I going to pin it on him."
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Iris Chan: "He's trying to pin something on us, and it's no bouquet."
Shadows Over Chinatown - Craig Winfield: "But, you can't pin that on me."
The Golden Eye - Jim Driscoll: "You're not going to pin all this on me, Chan!"
The Sky Dragon - Tim Norton: "You can't pin anything on me..."

pinch - (Slang)  To take into custody; arrest.
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Lt. Macy: "We've got enough on him now to make a pinch."
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Detective: "This is a pinch."
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Joe Arnold: "I ought to pinch you for impersonating an officer!"
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Charlie Chan: "Would favorite son like to make personal pinch?"

pip(Informal)  Someone or something wonderful. 
Charlie Chan in Shanghai - Lee Chan: "Yeah, and it's a pip, too." 

pipe down(Slang)  To stop talking; quiet down.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Inspector Nelson: "Pipe down!"
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Randolph: "Pipe down, all of you!"
The Trap - Jimmy Chan: "Pipe down..."

plank - To put or set down emphatically or with force.
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Detective: "What the kid means is to plank your dough on the nag's schnozzola."

plunger - Someone who risks losses for the possibility of considerable gains.
Charlie Chan's Courage - Sally Jordan: "You mean the Wall Street plunger?"

police blotter - The daily written record of events (as arrests) in a police station.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Pete Lewis: "...ever since I started covering the police blotter at the old Powell Street station."

poppycock - Senseless talk: nonsense. 
Charlie Chan's Greatest Case - Minerva Winterslip: "This is all poppycock."

portside - (Baseball slang)  A left-handed ballplayer, most often used in reference to a pitcher.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Charlie Chan: "Even Chinese detective know portside ballplayer is left-handed."

posada - (Spanish)  Inn.
The Feathered Serpent - Sign: "Posada Del San Pablo" 

pounding pavement - (Slang)  Traveling the streets on foot; walking a particular route over and over, as a policeman who pounds a beat.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Deputy Chief J.J. Kilvaine: "Well, Charlie, if this don't send me back to Billy Goat Hill pounding pavement, I'm an Eskimo!"

Powell Street - A major street on San Francisco, California which traverses much of the city and crossing near to the western boundary of Chinatown.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Pete Lewis: "...ever since I started covering the police blotter at the old Powell Street station."

power of attorney - A legal instrument authorizing one to act as another's attorney or agent.
Docks of New Orleans - Henri Castanaro: "You're her guardian, you have full power of attorney."

powwow - (Informal - from American Indian)  A conference or gathering.
The Sky Dragon - Don Blake: "We're just going to sit here and wait for Wanda LaFern and have us a little powwow."

President Benes (Eduard Benes, 1884-1948)  Czechoslovakian politician who was foreign minister (1918-1935) and president (1935-1938) until the German occupation forced him to flee the country. On his return he was again elected president (1946) but resigned after refusing to sign a Communist constitution (1948).
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness - Narrator: "President Benes urges the Czechs to defy the Nazi demands."

President Grant - Built in 1921, one of the ships in the Dollar Steamsip Line (later, the American Presidents Line) that carried passengers to and from Honolulu, throughout the Pacific, and around-the-world during much of the twentieth century.
Charlie Chan's Courage - Sally Jordan: "Thursday morning, on the President Grant."

presidential warrant - A document that gives the bearer special authority.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Jones: "Plenty of authority - I carry a presidential warrant."

President Tyler - A ship based on the ships named after American presidents of the Dollar Steamship Line (later, the American Presidents Line) that carried passengers to and from Honolulu, throughout the Pacific, and around-the-world during much of the twentieth century.
Charlie Chan's Greatest Case - Captain Arthur Temple Cope: "I've changed my mind about the President Tyler."

prima donna - (1) The leading woman soloist in an opera company.  (2) A temperamental, conceited person. 
Charlie Chan at the Opera - A poster advertising the San Marco Opera Company's production of Carnival features prima donna Lilli Rochelle.

Prime Minister Chamberlain (Neville Chamberlain, 1869-1940)  British politician and prime minister (1937-1940) who advocated a policy of appeasement toward the fascist regimes of Europe.  He was forced to declare war on Germany after its invasion of Poland in 1939.
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness - Narrator: "...Prime Minister Chamberlain rushes by plane to Hitler for a last-minute plea to avert war."

prohibition days (prohibition era) - The period from 1920 to 1933 when the sale of alcoholic beverages was prohibited in the United States by a constitutional amendment. 
The Trap - Charlie Chan: "Sliding panel is merely relic of old prohibition days."

Prohibition Party - A minor U.S. political party organized in 1869 that advocated prohibition.
The Golden Eye - Charlie Chan: "At first, think Lieutenant Mike are giving Prohibition Party kick in teeth."

pseudologia fantastica - An elaborate and often fantastic account of exploits that is false but that the teller believes to be true.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Charlie Chan: "He is man of great ego with disease known to science as pseudologia fantastica."  (Charlie Chan continues, reading from History of Psychiatry by Kahne: 'Pathological liars and swindlers suffer from exaggerated fantasy, unleashed vanity, and great ambition which robs them of caution known to saner men.'")

psycognosis - A process, developed by Alfredo Marana, in which a trance-like state is induced in his subjects by a combination of a special cigarette and coffee.
Charlie Chan in Rio - Helen Ashby - "You don't go to Marana for a reading.  He calls it a psycog...a psycognosis."

ptomaine - A term for food poisoning that is no longer in scientific use; food poisoning was once thought to be caused by ingesting ptomaines. (
The Golden Eye - Talbot Bartlett: "Yeah, 'Ptomaine Louie's.'"

Puccini (Giaccomo Puccini, 1858-1924)  Italian operatic composer whose works include La Bohème (1896) and Madame Butterfly (1904).
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Mr. Arnold: "For the sake of Puccini, Verdi, Wagner, and me, get on that stage!"

pump - (Slang)  To question closely or persistently.
Charlie Chan in Panama - Sailor: "This girl here, she's trying to pump me about the fleet."

 
 

Q

Queen of Sheba - The Biblical queen who met with King Solomon of Israel (thought to have occurred around 950-930 B.C.).  On hearing of his wisdom, II Chronicles 9 says that the Queen made the journey north to Solomon's courts "to test him with hard questions."  The conference proved a success, culminating in the two monarchs bestowing wealth and good favor on each other.
Charlie Chan's Courage - Constable Brackett: "And I'm the Queen of Sheba."

queer - (Slang)  To ruin or thwart.
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum - Steve McBirney: "You queer this, and you're both through."

quinine sulphate - A medicine that is mainly used for reducing the occurrence of nocturnal leg cramps, although it is also used against malaria, unknown infective species, and myotonia. 
Charlie Chan's Secret - Charlie Chan: "Quinine sulphate, when exposed to rays of ultraviolet lamp, produce mysterious light which accompany apparition."

 
 

R

racket - (Slang)  A business or occupation.
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Gangster: "Stuck your snoot in the wrong racket this time, didn't you?"
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Joe Arnold: "Yeah, what's your racket?"
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Pete Lewis: "...to write a story about the spook racket?"
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum - Steve McBirney: "Well, you got a great racket."

radar - (1) A method of detecting distant objects and determining their position, velocity, or other characteristics by analysis of very high frequency radio waves reflected from their surfaces.  (2) The equipment used in such detection.
The Scarlet Clue - Hamilton: "All of my radar equipment has been taken away by the government."

radiogram - A message sent by radio telegraphy.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Ship's Steward: "Radiogram for you Miss Roland."
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Arline Steward: "Radiogram for you, Mr. Essex."
 

railroaded - (Informal)  To convict an accused person without a fair trial or on trumped-up charges.
The Shanghai Cobra - Jan Van Horn: "I tell you, I'm being railroaded."

rain check - A promise that an unaccepted offer will be renewed in the future.  This term comes from baseball, where in the 1880s it became the practice to offer paying spectators a rain check entitling them to future admission for a game that was postponed or ended early owing to bad weather.  By the early 1900s the term was transferred to tickets for other kinds of entertainment, and later to a coupon entitling a customer to buy, at a later date and at the same price, a sale item temporarily out of stock. 
Charlie Chan in Panama - Charlie Chan: "...must ask for rain check." 

rattletrap - A rickety, poorly running automobile.
Charlie Chan in Egypt - Professor Thurston: "I thought I heard that old rattletrap of yours..."

razzle-dazzle - (1) Dazzling excitement.  (2) Elaborate action or maneuvers designed to deceive an opponent, as in a sports contest.  (3) Extravagant or showy display, as of technique.
The Feathered Serpent - Lee Chan: "Just how do you fit into this razzle-dazzle, anyway?"

real McCoy - (Informal)  Authentic.
Dead Men Tell - Bill Lydig: "Is it the real McCoy?"

Rembrandt - (Rembrandt van Ryn - 1606-1669) A very influential Dutch painter of the 17th century. 
Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo - Charlie Chan: "...he will be Chinese Rembrandt."

rifling - (1) To search with intent to steal.  (2) To ransack or plunder; pillage.  (3) To rob.
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise - Jeramiah Walters: "Will you be so kind to tell me why your son was rifling my cabin?"

rifling marks - The distinctively unique marks produced on a bullet by its passage through a gun barrel.
The Red Dragon - Charlie Chan: "No rifling marks on it."

Rifs - Berber people of Morocco with whom the French had fought.
Charlie Chan's Secret - Charlie Chan: "Was taken prisoner by Rifs."

ringer (Slang)   A racehorse, athlete, or the like entered in a competition under false representation as to identity or ability.
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - George Chester: "With Avalanche running for you as a ringer at 20-to-1, you'd have cleaned up a fortune."

Robert Lewis Stevenson - (1850-1894)  Scottish essayist, poet, and author of fiction and travel books, best known for his novels Treasure Island (1881), Kidnapped (1886), Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), and The Master of Ballantrae (1889).  In 1889 he and his family set out for the South Seas, settling on the island of Upolu in what is now Samoa.  There Stevenson gained the affection of the natives, who knew him as Tusitala (teller of tales).  He died in Samoa and, by his own request, was buried high on Mt. Vaea "under the wide and starry sky," which he described in his famous poem Requiem.
Dangerous Money - Rosa Simmons: "I'm going to Apia - the Robert Lewis Stevenson shrine."

rogues' gallery - A collection of pictures of known and suspected criminals maintained in police files and used for making identifications.
Charlie Chan's Chance - Inspector Flannery: "This is our Rogues' Gallery."

Rotary Club - A group of businessmen in a town organized as a service club and to promote world peace.
The Black Camel - Charlie Chan: "I attend Rotary Club banquet here at hotel."

Royal Hawaiian (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. 
Charlie Chan's Greatest Case - Arlene Compton: "...that darling emerald necklace we saw in the arcade of the Royal Hawaiian."
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Police Chief Scott: "Then, the call Miller made to the Royal Hawaiian..."

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel

rubbed out - (Slang)  Killed, murdered.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Meeker: "I want to know the time Mitchell was rubbed out."

rubber - (1) A series of games of which two out of three or three out of five must be won to terminate the play.  (2) An odd game played to break a tie.
Charlie Chan's Chance - Kenneth Dunwood: "But you left the room just after we lost the third rubber..."
Castle in the Desert - Dr. Retling: "How about a rubber of bridge?"

rumba  (1) A dance of Cuban origin, combining complex footwork with a pronounced movement of the
hips.  (2) A modern ballroom adaptation of this dance.  (3) Music for this dance or in this style.
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Lee Chan: "Oh, boy, I'll bet you can shake a mean rumba." 
The Shanghai Cobra - Iris Ling: "...I would love to rumba."

rummy - A card game, played in many variations, in which the object is to obtain sets of three or more cards of the same rank or suit.
Charlie Chan in Rio - Grace Ellis: "Rummy!"

run...in - (Slang)  To arrest; take to jail.
The Scarlet Clue - Sgt. McGraw: "I'm going to run you both in."

 
 

S

samba - (1) A Brazilian ballroom dance of African origin.  (2) Music in duple meter for performing this dance.
Charlie Chan in Rio - Sr. Souto: "Have you ever seen the samba dance before, Jimmy?"

Sandy Hook - A large sand barrier spit, or barrier peninsula, along the coast of New Jersey.  On its western side, the peninsula encloses Sandy Hook Bay, a triangular arm of Lower New York Bay.  Throughout history, it has formed a convenient anchorage for ships before proceeding into Upper New York Harbor.  The now-defunct Fort Hancock is located at the north end of the peninsula.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - San Francisco Police Department Radio Officer: "Followed in tug to Sandy Hook and boarded ship there."  

San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (Bay Bridge) - A toll bridge which spans San Francisco Bay and links the cities of Oakland and San Francisco, and is the busiest bridge in the United States.  The Bay Bridge opened for traffic on November 12, 1936, six months before San Francisco's famous Golden Gate Bridge.
 
The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge can be seen during its constriction in Charlie Chan's Secret as the plane carrying Chan to San Francisco prepares to arrive at that city.  The bridge can also be seen in Charlie Chan at Treasure Island in the background as Charlie Chan arrives with son, Jimmy, via Clipper flying boat, at San Francisco's Treasure Island.

San Quentin - The oldest prison in the state of California.  Located near San Francisco.
The Chinese Ring - Bill Davidson: "With a little luck, we have enough to send them to San Quentin for life."

sap - (Slang)  A gullible person; a dupe.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Joe Arnold: "...that Chan guy is no sap."
Charlie Chan in Reno - Jeanne Bentley: "Is it my fault that you're sap enough to trail me wherever I go?"

sarge - (Informal)  Short for sergeant. 
The Trap - Jimmy Chan: "It's a dame, Sarge!"

sarsaparilla - Any of several tropical American plants of the genus Smilax, having fragrant roots used as a flavoring.  The dried roots of any of these plants.  A sweet soft drink flavored with these roots.
Charlie Chan in Shanghai - Charlie Chan: "Sarsaparilla." 

Sauromalus ater - A common chuckwalla.
Charlie Chan's Courage - Professor Gamble: "Did you ever study the Sauromalus Ater?"

schnozzola - (Slang)  Nose.
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Detective: What the kid means is to plank your dough on the nag's schnozzola."

scoop - (Slang)  An exclusive news story acquired by luck or initiative before a competitor.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Speed Patton: "Nice scoop, kid."

scram - (Slang)  To leave a scene at once; go abruptly.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Birmingham Brown: "I better scram out of here before I scram out of my skin!"

sea legs - The ability to adjust one's balance to the motion of a ship, especially in rough seas.
Charlie Chan in Shanghai - James Andrews: "...see if I can get rid of these sea legs."

second story man - A burglar who enters buildings from the second floor.
The Shanghai Chest - Birmingham Brown: "I've been through more windows than a second story man."

Sekhmet - Ancient Egyptian goddess.  Sekhmet means "The Mighty One," and she was considered one of the most powerful of the gods and goddesses.  Sekhmet was the goddess who carried out divine punishment to the enemies of the gods and of the pharaoh.
Charlie Chan in Egypt - Professor Thurston: "That is Sekhmet, Goddess of Vengeance."

sent up - (Idiom)  Sent to prison.  Short for "sent up the river."
Dark Alibi - Anthony R. Morgan: "Harley was sent up for the bank robbery in this city."

shadow (1) To follow, especially in secret; trail. 
Shadows Over Chinatown - Jimmy Chan: "Come on, Birmingham, we gotta shadow that girl."

shadow (2) An inseparable companion.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Jeanne Bentley: "Where's your shadow?" 

shake a leg - (Idiom)  To move quickly; hurry up.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Jimmy Chan: "C'mon, Birmingham, shake a leg."

Shang dynasty - The Shang dynasty (1766 B.C. to 1027 B.C.), considered by many to be the earliest Chinese dynasty, ruled parts of northern and central China.  Its capital city was located at Anyang near the border of Henan from about 1384 B.C.  This dynasty was based on agriculture; millet, wheat, and barley were the primary crops grown.  Aside from their agricultural prowess, the Shang dynasty was also advanced in metallurgy. Bronze ships, weapons, and tools were found from that era. 
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise - Charlie Chan: "Golden era Shang dynasty, north China."  

shooting the breeze - (Slang)  To be spending time talking; to be talking idly.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Jack Tillford: "...I was just shooting the breeze with a friend of mine here at the bureau."

shoving off - (Informal)  To be leaving.
The Black Camel - Smith: "I'm shoving off, Inspector."

shyster - (Slang)  An unethical, unscrupulous practitioner, especially of law.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Inspector Nelson: "Get out of here, Burke, and take that shyster with you!"

Signal Corps - The U.S. Army Signal Corps was formed in 1860, developing a system of communication that used red and white "wigwag" flags.  In the Civil War, the unit's tools included observation balloons and the telegraph.  During the United States participation in World War I, the Signal Corps used airplanes and other advanced means of communication.

During World War II, the Signal Corps' grew in size to more than 350,000 men and women by the end of the war.  As the need to orchestrate rapid communication for air, ground, and naval units required more sophisticated technology and services, the Signal Corps was instrumental in the development of such tools as radar, mobile communications, and deciphering machines.

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, members of the Signal Corps landed during the initial amphibious assaults on enemy beaches, sending the first film of the assaults to England using carrier pigeons.

Castle in the Desert - Jimmy Chan: "...they belong to the Signal Corps."

sit-down strike - A strike in which workers refuse to leave the workplace until a settlement is reached.  This form of protest was very much in the news during the mid-1930s.
Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo - Charlie Chan: "Perhaps like own taxi, on sit-down strike."

skeleton key - A key with a large portion of the bit filed away so that it can open different locks. Also called passkey.
The Shanghai Cobra - Charlie Chan: "Skeleton key, please."

Skippy - A popular cartoon character created by Percy Crosby in 1923. 
Charlie Chan's Greatest Case (script) - Script direction notes: He looks like a Chinese Skippy.

"Skippy"

slave driver - A hard taskmaster; an overbearing employer.
The Scarlet Clue - Willie Rand: "He's the slave driver."

slick chick - (Slang - as used)  Probably a reference to a sneaky woman.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Iris Chan: "He means she's a slick chick gone to sea, Pop."

slip-up - An error, blunder, or oversight.
The Shanghai Cobra - Jarvis: "We must make sure that there's no slip-up."

slugged - Hit hard, especially with a fist. 
Shadows Over Chinatown - Jeff Hay: "Someone slugged him in Salt Lake."

slumming - (Slang)  To "go out on the town." 
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Joan Wendell: "No, just slumming."

smackers - (Slang)  Dollars.
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Detective: I'll take a chance - ten smackers."

Smyrna - A port city also known as Izmir, in western Turkey. 
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Jones: "War refugee, now a traveling salesman for Harig Brothers Exporters of Smyrna."

snappy - (Informal)  Quick; lively or energetic; brisk. 
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Lt. Macy: "And make it snappy!"
Charlie chan in Honolulu - Charlie Chan: "Make short and most snappy, please."

snoot - (Slang)  Nose.
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Gangster: "Stuck your snoot in the wrong racket this time, didn't you?"

sock - To hit or strike forcefully; punch.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Lee Chan: "...if I have to sock Hopkins myself."

socked - (see: sock)
Murder Over New York - Jimmy Chan: "Somebody socked me on the head and stole the briefcase!"
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Sgt. Kelly: "...I suppose it was his ghost that socked me!"

soup and fish - (Informal)  A tuxedo or other men's eveningwear. 
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Charlie Chan: "Please, do not need soup and fish."

Spanish War (also Spanish Revolution, Spanish Civil War) - A war fought in Spain between the years 1936 and 1939.  The fascists, led by Generalissimo Franco eventually prevailed due to the military assistance provided by Germany. 
Castle in the Desert - Lucy Manderley: "He was killed in the Spanish War."

specie - Coined money; coin. 
The Chinese Ring - Charlie Chan: "...Exchange Specie Bank of Peiping." 

spill the beans - (Slang)  To disclose a secret.
The Black Camel - Charlie Chan's Oldest Daughter: "C'mon, Pop, spill the beans!"

spirit oil (or mineral spirits) - A volatile distillation product of petroleum, used as a thinner for paints and varnishes.
The Jade Mask - Edward Chan: "Now we're cooking with spirit oil."

spring - (Slang)  To cause to be released from prison or other confinement.
The Shanghai Chest - Lt. Mike Ruark: "I'll arrange to spring him right away."

sprung - (see: spring)
Murder Over New York - Inspector Vance: "And to think I had that guy sprung."

squawk - (Informal)  To complain loudly or vehemently. 
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Lt. Macy: "Somebody was afraid Marie Norman would squawk..."

squeezing - (Slang)  (1) Extracting by dishonest means; extorting.  (2) Pressuring or intimidating (someone) to comply with a demand, as to make an extortion payment.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island - Deputy Chief J.J. Kilvane: "Was he squeezing Paul Essex?"

squirt - (Slang)  A small or young person.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Captain Johnson: "...who is this young squirt."

stag - (Slang)  A person who attends a social gathering unaccompanied by a partner, especially a man who is unaccompanied by a woman.
Charlie Chan in Rio - Ken Reynolds: "Looks like I'm stag tonight."

stall - To deceptively cause a delay.
The Shanghai Chest - Joseph Pindello: "You're not trying to stall me 'til the cops come, are you. Mr. Chan?"

stalling - (see: stall)
Docks of New Orleans - Nita Aguirre: "Can't you see he's only stalling...?"

stateroom A private cabin or compartment with sleeping accommodations on a ship or train.
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Tom Holt: "Mr. Gaines never let it out of his stateroom."

state's evidence - Evidence for the prosecution in criminal proceedings.
Charlie Chan's Secret - Morton: "You can save yourself a lot of grief by turning state's evidence."

steamed up - (Idiom)  Excited.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Chief Scott: "Well, son, what are you all steamed up about."

steer - (Slang)  To direct the course of.
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Lt. Macy: "You sure got a bright kid, he just gave me a good steer."

stem to stern (Nautical idiom)  Front to back, throughout.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Joe Arnold: "I've been around this tub from stem to stern..."

stevedores - Workers who are employed in the loading or unloading of ships.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Captain Johnson: "We've just docked and a gang of stevedores will be on board any minute."

Stevenson, Robert Lewis - (see: Robert Lewis Stevenson

stiffs - (Slang)  Corpses. 
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise - Coroner: "Well, I know none of those stiffs in there took it!"

stir bug (Slang)  A prisoner.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Joe Arnold: "Wait'll I get my hands on that stir bug!"

stool pigeon - (Slang)  A person acting as a decoy or as an informer, especially one who is a spy for the police.
Charlie Chan in Rio - Joan Reynolds: "Oh, a stool pigeon, eh?"

sucker - (Informal)  One who is easily deceived; a dupe.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Mary Connover: "...Mike Roberts said I'd be a sucker if I didn't marry you."

sugar daddy - (Slang)  A wealthy, usually older man who gives expensive gifts to a young person in return for sexual favors or companionship.
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness - Charlie Chan: "Quite evident sugar daddy attract many butterflies."

sulfuric acid - A heavy, corrosive, oily liquid, colorless when pure, but usually yellowish or brownish, produced by the combined action of sulfur dioxide, oxygen (from the air), steam, and nitric fumes.  It attacks and dissolves many metals and other intractable substances, sets free most acids from their salts, and is used in the manufacture of hydrochloric and nitric acids, of soda, of bleaching powders, etc.  It is also powerful dehydrating agent, having a strong affinity for water, and eating and corroding paper, wood, clothing, etc.  It is thus used in the manufacture of ether, of imitation parchment, and of nitroglycerin.  It is also used in etching iron, in removing iron scale from forgings, in petroleum refining, etc., and in general its manufacture is the most important and fundamental of all the chemical industries.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Police Chemist: "A solution of diphenylamine and sulfuric acid which reacts instantly to nitrates."

Suva - The capital of Fiji, on the southeast coast of Viti Levu. It is a commercial and shipping center.
Dead Men Tell - Partial text on a poster: "...CRUISE Aboard THE SUVA STAR"
Dangerous Money - Freddie Kirk: "I'm bound for Wellington, Sydney, change ships in Suva."

swindle sheet - (Slang)  An expense account.
The Chinese Ring - Peggy Cartwright: "I'll have the chair fixed and put on my swindle sheet."

Sydney - The most populous city in Australia and the capital of the state of New South Wales.
Dangerous Money - Freddie Kirk: "I'm bound for Wellington, Sydney, change ships in Suva."

 
 

T

tagara weed (tagara) - (Sanskrit)  A slightly hairy, tufted herb with thick horizontal rootstocks that contains a sweet smelling essential oil. Tagara (Indian valerian) is prescribed as a remedy for hysteria, hypochondria, nervous unrest, and emotional troubles. The drug contains a group of iridoid or monoterpenic derivatives, known as valepotriates which are useful as tranquilizers and sedatives. An iridoid ester glycoside designated as valerosidatum (isovaleryl glucoside) has also been isolated.
Castle in the Desert - Charlie Chan: "Old Chinese herb doctor use tagara weed as drug."

take a powder (Idiom)  To make a quick departure; run away.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Joe Arnold: "Trying to take a powder on me, eh?"

talking through your hat - (Idiom) To be talking about a subject as if one knows a lot about it when in fact they know very little.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Dr. Burton: "Oh, you're talking through your hat."

Teletype - Trademark name of a device that can send typed messages over telephone lines to a receiving device.
Charlie Chan at the Opera - A Teletype machine was used as a means of instant communication between the Los Angeles Bulletin and the Chicago Sun
The Scarlet Clue - A Teletype machine was used by the gang leader to communicate with  gang members.

tetanus - An acute, often fatal disease characterized by spasmodic contraction of voluntary muscles, especially those of the neck and jaw, and caused by the toxin of the bacillus Clostridium tetani, which typically infects the body through a deep wound. Also called lockjaw.
The Golden Eye - Charlie Chan: "Possibly you were anticipating tetanus?"

tetragene - A ficticious poisonous gas. 
Murder Over New York - Jimmy Chan: "It's [tetragene] a new gas discovered only a few months ago...It kills with one whiff, and then evaporates quickly, leaving a slight, harmless scent."

that's a go - (Informal)  To be in agreement toward a proposal.
The Black Camel - Huntley Van Horn: "That's a go, there are no more answers."

the slip - (see: gave/give...the slip)

third degree - Mental or physical torture used to obtain information or a confession from a prisoner.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Jack Tillford: "Say, what's the idea of this third degree?"
Charlie Chan in Rio - Joan Reynolds: "If you put him under a hot light and give her the third degree she'll talk."
The Chinese Cat - Charlie Chan: "You see? Third degree not work."
Shadows Over Chinatown - Jack Tillford: "Say, what's the idea of this third degree?"
The Trap - Rick Daniels: "Let's get him out of here where we can give him the third degree."

thirty-eight -  A .38-caliber revolver.
The Chinese Cat - Dr. Paul Reknik: "There was no thirty-eight in it."

Smith and Wesson .38-Caliber Revolver

tomato - (Slang)  A woman regarded as attractive.
Docks of New Orleans - Pete McNally: "I know the tomato..."

tomfoolery - (1) Foolish behavior.  (2) Something trivial or foolish; nonsense.
Charlie Chan in London - Major Jardine: "If you think I'm going on with this tomfoolery..."

tommy rot - (Slang)  Utter foolishness; nonsense.
Captain Johnson: "I've listened to enough of this tommy rot!"

tong -  (Chinese)  A Chinese association or political party.
The Chinese Ring - Tommy: "...the head of the Hip Sing Tong."

Tonopah - A small Nevada town located 345 miles southeast of Reno.
Charlie Chan in Reno - Chief of Police King: "Tombstone's on his way over to Tonopah to pick him up."

tracer - An investigation or inquiry organized to trace missing goods or persons.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - San Francisco Police Department Radio Officer: "San Francisco Police - reporting tracer on Richard Masters and Yvonne Roland..."

tramp steamer - A commercial vessel that has no regular schedule but takes on and discharges cargo whenever hired to do so.
Docks of New Orleans - Grock: "An old tramp steamer..."

trichloride acid - An unknown chemical produced from Oscar Swendstrom's formula in Docks of New Orleans.  A trichloride is a compound which contains three chlorine atoms per molecule.
Docks of New Orleans - Simon Lafontanne: "...you know what trichloride acid is."

tub (Slang)  A wide, clumsy, slow-moving boat.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Joe Arnold: "I've been around this tub from stem to stern..."

two bits - (Slang)  Twenty-five cents.
Charlie Chan at the Race Track - Detective: "Hey, Mack, loan me two bits and I'll owe you a dollar."
Charlie Chan in Egypt - Dragoman: "Two bits baksheesh.  Two bits."

200-inch telescope - At the time of Charlie Chan at the Olympics, the proposed 200-inch telescope that was to sit atop Mount Palomar in San Diego County in California was still in the early preparatory stages.  Daunting work to precisely grind the 200-inch mirror for the telescope began in the mid-1930s, and the working telescope itself was not completed until 1949.  Evidently, the prospect of peering deeply into the universe by means of this telescope was, for those alive during Charlie Chan's time, something much akin to how we, today, consider the orbiting Hubble telescope.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics - Charlie Chan: "Could not be more clear if seen through 200-inch telescope."

two-timing - (Slang)  To be unfaithful to a spouse or lover.
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Lt. Macy: "The Norman girl must have found out he was two-timing her..."

U
 

Ubanghis - Collective name for a group of African tribes living along the Congo River in the former French Congo.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Mrs. Winters (reading the title of a book): "Life Among the Ubanghis."

U-boat - A submarine of the German navy.
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service - Secret Service Chief Inspector: "His newest invention, which the Navy believes would utterly destroy the U-boat menace..."

ukulele ('ukulele) - (Hawaiian)  A musical Hawaiian string instrument.  Literally: "leaping flea," probably from the Hawaiian nickname of Edward Purvis, who was small and quick and who popularized the instrument brought to Hawaii by the Portuguese in 1879.
Charlie Chan's Greatest Case - Barbara Winterslip: "Aunt Minerva once said something like that - but she traded her lorgnette for a ukulele."

upset this whole applecart (upset the applecart)- (idiom) To spoil carefully laid plans.
Docks of New Orleans - Theodore von Sherbe: "You see, a note dropped to the right source could upset this whole applecart."

 
 

V

Vaudeville - Stage entertainment offering a variety of short acts such as slapstick turns, song-and-dance routines, and juggling performances. A theatrical performance of this kind; a variety show.
Dangerous Money - P.T. Burke: "Haven't seen that Vaudeville guy, have you?"

Verdi (Giuseppe Verdi, 1813-1901)  An Italian composer of operas, including La Traviata (1853), Aïda (1871), and Otello (1887).  He is credited with raising Italian opera to its fullest artistic form.
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Mr. Arnold: "For the sake of Puccini, Verdi, Wagner, and me, get on that stage!"

Vichy - A small city in central France southeast of Paris noted for its spa and hot mineral springs.  During the German occupation from 1940-1944 this city was the capital of "free France." 
Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo - Jules Joubert: "Since employed as bartender in Vichy and Monte Carlo."

 
 

W

Wagner (Richard Wagner, 1813-1883)  A German composer known especially for his romantic operas, often based on Germanic legends.  Among his works are Tannhäuser (1845) and the tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen (1853-1874).
Charlie Chan at the Opera - Mr. Arnold: "For the sake of Puccini, Verdi, Wagner, and me, get on that stage!"

washed up - (Slang)  To be eliminated or be eliminated as unsatisfactory.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Captain Johnson: "I'd like to get this case washed up as soon as possible."

Wellington - The capital of New Zealand.
Dangerous Money - Freddie Kirk: "I'm bound for Wellington, Sydney, change ships in Suva."

whacky - (Slang)  (1) Eccentric or irrational: a wacky person.  (2) Crazy; silly.
Charlie Chan in Rio - Jimmy Chan: "The cigarette's made Pop whacky!"

wild goose chase - A futile search or pursuit.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Charlie Chan: "...most promising clue come to be wild goose chase." 

Wirephoto - A trademark used for a photograph electrically transmitted over telephone wires.
Charlie Chan at the Opera - A Wirephoto image of Gravelle was sent from the Chigago Sun to the Los Angeles Bulletin.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Captain Allen: "That's the Wirephoto receiver."

wisecracks - Flippant, typically sardonic remarks or retorts.
Shadows Over Chinatown - Jack Tillford: "...she mentioned a guy there that was always making wisecracks at her."

woozy - (1) Dazed or confused.  (2) Dizzy or queasy.
Charlie Chan in Rio - Joan Reynolds: "Whoo, am I woozy."

 
 

Y

yammering (Informal)  (1) Complaining peevishly or whimperingly; whine.  (2) Talking volubly and loudly.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu - Captain Johnson: "I have enough trouble without all this yammering."

Yang Tze - The Yang Tze (or Yangtze) River is one of the world's great rivers.  The Yang Tze valley is home to about one-third of China's population.  Shanghai is known as the gateway of the Yang Tze, and, for two centuries, the Yang Tze has served as a transportation and commercial thoroughfare. 
Charlie Chan in Shanghai - Missionary: "...in the Yang Tze Valley."

yarn - (Informal)  A long, often elaborate narrative of real or fictitious adventures; an entertaining tale.
Charlie Chan on Broadway - Speed Patton: "I got a swell human interest yarn on the Maharaja of Radfa today."
Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum - Mary Bolton: "What a yarn."

yellow - (Informal)  Cowardly.
Charlie Chan at the Circus - Joe Kinney: "Even the ape knows you're yellow."

yodeling - Singing so that the voice fluctuates rapidly between the normal chest voice and a falsetto.
The Feathered Serpent- Professor Paul Evnas: "I want you to cut out the yodelling."

you're a bet - (Slang)  Taking someone up on their offer.
Charlie Chan in Rio - Jimmy Chan: "You're a bet!"

yowza - (Slang interjection; became current circa 1932)  An exclamation of delight or approval; yes, sir; also: yowzah or youzer. Charlie Chan in Egypt - Tom Evans: "...one of these days I'm going to send home for some jazz - the old maestro stuff, yousa!"

 
 

Z

zeppelin – A rigid airship having a long cylindrical body supported by an internal gas cell. Named after Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin (1838-1917), the German designer and builder of the first successful airships.

Charlie Chan at the Olympics – Charlie Chan: "Take zeppelin Hindenburg from Lakehurst, New Jersey."

zombie - A corpse that has been reanimated through a supernatural spell or power.
The Jade Mask - Sheriff Mack: "...I can't see how it was done unless Roth was a zombie."

zoot suit - A man's suit popular during the early 1940s, characterized by full-legged, tight-cuffed trousers and a long coat with wide lapels and heavily padded, wide shoulders.
The Scarlet Clue - Birmingham Brown: "Look at that zoot suit he got on."

zut - (French - interjection) You be hanged!  Confound it!  Hang it!  etc. 
The Trap - Adelaide: Zut!  We know her too well!"

 
 

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