Charlie Chan's Aphorisms:
The Complete Sayings of Charlie Chan


The honorable Mr. Webster defines "aphorism" thusly:

1. A short, concise statement of a principle.
2. A maxim; a short, pointed sentence containing some important truth or precept.

Nearly as legendary as his finely honed detective skills was Charlie Chan's ability to punctuate his dialogue with aphorisms appropriate to the moment.  Whether it was in the midst of the most dangerous situations or while enjoying a quiet interlude with one of his many children, Mr. Chan always had a timely truth poised on the tip of his eloquent tongue.

What follows is a very complete list, in alphabetical order, of every aphorism, or saying, totaling nearly five hundred, as stated by Charlie Chan in all of his forty-four movies in the film series proper.  Also included are two maxims uttered during Mr. Chan's speech to movie audiences in favor of the passage of a 1935 Pennsylvania referendum measure.  Following each saying, in parentheses, is found the three-letter film designation of the picture from which it was taken.  If Charlie Chan has been quoted by someone else, the aphorism appears in quotation marks.

For lists of Charlie Chan's aphorisms for particular films, please go to The Films of Charlie Chan where, along with other information, the aphoristic sayings for each picture have been compiled (Once there, please click on each film title to access complete film information, including Charlie Chan's Aphorisms.). These lists also include "Other Worthy Statements," which consist of additional comments, asides, witticisms, etc. as said by Charlie Chan.

While we edit this page, adding full titles for the films from which the following aphorisms originate, please use our FILM DESIGNATION KEY:

ALI - Dark Alibi
BWY - Charlie Chan on Broadway
CAM - The Black Camel
CAR - Charlie Chan Carries On
CAS - Castle in the Desert
CAT - The Chinese Cat
CDK - Charlie Chan in "City in Darkness"
CHA - Charlie Chan's Chance
CIR - Charlie Chan at the Circus
CLU - The Scarlet Clue
COB - The Shanghai Cobra
COU - Charlie Chan's Courage
CST - The Shanghai Chest
DAN - Dangerous Money
DKS - Docks of New Orleans
DMT - Dead Men Tell
EGY - Charlie Chan in Egypt
EYE - The Golden Eye
GRE - Charlie Chan's Greatest Case
HON - Charlie Chan in Honolulu
LON - Charlie Chan in London
MAG - Black Magic/Meeting at Midnight
MCR - Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise
MNY - Murder Over New York
MON - Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo
MSK - The Jade Mask
OLY - Charlie Chan at the Olympics
OPA - Charlie Chan at the Opera
PAN - Charlie Chan in Panama
PAR - Charlie Chan in Paris
PEN - 1935 Pennsylvania Referendum 
RAC - Charlie Chan at the Race Track
RED - The Red Dragon
REN - Charlie Chan in Reno
RIO - Charlie Chan in Rio
RNG - The Chinese Ring
SDW - Shadows Over Chinatown
SEC - Charlie Chan's Secret
SER - The Feathered Serpent
SHA - Charlie Chan in Shanghai
SKY - The Sky Dragon
SSV - Charlie Chan in the Secret Service
TRE - Charlie Chan at Treasure Island
TRP - The Trap
WAX - Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum

Absence of proof open cell door. (Charlie Chan in Panama)

Accidents can happen, if planned that way. (Dark Alibi)

Action speak louder than French. (Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo)

Admitting failure like drinking bitter tea. (Charlie Chan in Egypt)

Advice after mistake is like medicine after dead man's funeral. (Charlie Chan Carries On)

A fool and his money never become old acquaintances. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

After dinner is over, who cares about spoon? (Docks of New Orleans)

After wedding bells, prefer no phone bells. (Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)

Alas, mouse cannot cast shadow like elephant. (The Black Camel)

Alibi have habit of disappearing like hole in water. (The Black Camel)

All cards should repose on table when personal liberty at stake. (Docks of New Orleans)

All forgotten, like last year's bird's nest. (Charlie Chan at the Race Track)

All foxes come at last to fur store. (The Black Camel)

All play and no work make Charlie Chan very dull policeman. (Charlie Chan at the Olympics)

Always happens - when conscience tries to speak, telephone out of order. (The Black Camel)

Always harder to keep murder secret than for egg to bounce on sidewalk. (The Black Camel)

Always pleasant journey which ends among old friends. (Charlie Chan's Courage)

Always prefer to utilize element of surprise, never to be victim. (Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum)

Always someone about to stick fly in ointment. (Charlie Chan in the Secret Service)

"Always very hard winter when honorable cheese runs after mouse." (Charlie Chan in Egypt)

Ancient adage say, "Music soothe savage breast." (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Ancient ancestor once say, "As mind is fed with silent thought, so should body absorb its food." (Charlie Chan in Honolulu)

Ancient ancestor once say, "Even wise man cannot fathom depth of woman's smile." (The Shanghai Cobra)

Ancient ancestor once say, "Words cannot cook rice." (Charlie Chan in Reno)

Ancient Chinese philosopher say, "Hope is sunshine which illuminate darkest path." (Charlie Chan at the Olympics)

Ancient proverb say. "Never bait trap with wolf to catch wolf." (Shadows Over Chinatown)

Ancient proverb say, "One small wind can raise much dust." (Dark Alibi)

Anxious man hurries too fast - often stubs big toe. (Charlie Chan's Courage)

Any powder that kills flea is good powder. (Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum)

Anything can happen in hour's time. (Murder Over New York)

Anything possible. (Charlie Chan at Treasure Island)

Appearances sometimes deceiving, like wolf in lamb's clothing. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

A soft word does not scratch the tongue. (Charlie Chan's Greatest Case)

Assistants should be seen, not heard. (The Red Dragon)

Authors sometimes take strange liberties. (The Chinese Cat)

A woman not made for heavy thinking, but should always decorate scene like blossom of plum. (The Chinese Ring)

Bad alibi like dead fish - cannot stand test of time. (Charlie Chan in Panama)

Bad men leave marks wherever they go. (Dark Alibi)

Bait only good if fish bite on same. (Charlie Chan in Honolulu)

Beauty of poppy conceal sting of death. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

Begin at best place - beginning. (Charlie Chan in London)

Best laid plans of mice and men sometimes go a little bit haywire. (The Trap)

Best place for skeleton is in family closet. (Charlie Chan's Secret)

Better a father lose his son than a detective his memory. (Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)

Better for Oriental to lose life than to lose face. (Charlie Chan at the Olympics)

Better ten times a victim than let one man go hungry. (Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)

Best to slip with foot than with tongue. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Biggest mistakes in history made by people who didn't think. (Charlie Chan in Rio)

Biggest mysteries are not always crimes. (1935 Pennsylvania Referendum Message)

Big head is only a good place for very large headache. (Charlie Chan Carries On)

Bills sometimes more difficult to collect than murder clues. (Charlie Chan in Honolulu)

Birds never divide worm until safe in nest. (City in Darkness)

Blind man feels ahead with cane before proceeding. (Charlie Chan's Courage)

Boy Scout knife, like ladies' hairpin, have many uses. (Charlie Chan's Secret)

British tenacity with Chinese patience like royal flush in poker game - unbeatable. (Murder Over New York)

Buildings can be altered without altering plans. (The Shanghai Cobra)

Bull in china shop is gentle creature compared to detective who make pass at man wearing glasses. (The Chinese Cat)

Business conversation at table very bad for digestion. (Shadows Over Chinatown)

Canary bird out of cage may fly far. (Charlie Chan in Paris)

Canary, unlike faithful dog, do not die for sympathy. (Murder Over New York)

Can cut off monkey's tail, but he is still monkey. (The Black Camel)

Can fallen fruit return to branch? (Docks of New Orleans)

Cannot read printing in new book until pages cut. (Charlie Chan in Egypt)

Cannot see contents of nut until shell is cracked. (Charlie Chan in Paris)

Cannot sell bearskin before shooting bear. (The Shanghai Cobra)

Cannot tell where path lead until reach end of road. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Carrying gun very dangerous pastime, sometimes cause great tragedies. (The Sky Dragon)

Car with new sparkplug like flea on puppy dog - make both most active. (Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo)

Cat is like rich man's heir - never dies out of sympathy. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

Cat who tries to catch two mice at one time, goes without supper. (Charlie Chan's Greatest Case)

Caution sometimes mother of suspicion. (Castle in the Desert)

Caution very good life insurance. (Charlie Chan in Honolulu)

Charlie Chan always interested in seeing that innocent do not carry burden of guilty. (The Sky Dragon)

Charming company turn lowly sandwich into rich banquet. (Charlie Chan in Reno)

Chef who cooks with gunpowder make quick fire. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

Chinese people interested in all things psychic. (Charlie Chan's Secret)

Chinese funny people; when say "go," mean "go." (Docks of New Orleans)

Circus performer like detective - must be Johnny-of-many-trades. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Coincidence like ancient egg - leave unpleasant odor. (Murder Over New York)

Cold-blooded murder no joke. (Charlie Chan at the Race Track)

Cold omelet, like fish out of sea, does not improve with age. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

Confucius has said, "A wise man question himself, a fool others." (City in Darkness)

Confucius say, "Luck happy chain of foolish accidents." (The Chinese Ring)

Confucius say, "Luck happy combination of foolish accidents." (Charlie Chan at the Opera)

Confucius say, "No man is poor who have worthy son." (Charlie Chan at the Race Track)

Confucius say, "Sleep only escape from yesterday." (Shadows Over Chinatown)

Contents of safe are only secure so long as someone outside watching safe. (The Scarlet Clue)

Conviction of most dangerous public enemy bring more peaceful sleep. (Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum)

Cornered rat usually full of fight. (Shadows Over Chinatown)

Could not be more clear if magnified by two hundred inch telescope. (Charlie Chan at the Olympics)

Courage greatest devotion to those we love. (Charlie Chan in Egypt)

Crime never solved by books. (Charlie Chan at Treasure Island)

Curiosity responsible for cat needing nine lives. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Dead hands cannot hide knife. (Charlie Chan at the Opera)

Dead man cannot walk. (The Golden Eye)

Dead men need no protection. (Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)

Death, even to deserving, never pleasant. (The Sky Dragon)

Death is the reckoning of heaven. (The Chinese Ring)

Death one appointment we must all keep, and for which no time set. (Docks of New Orleans)

Death usually grim. (Charlie Chan in Reno)

Deception is bad game for amateurs. (Shadows Over Chinatown)

Deer should not toy with tiger. (The Golden Eye)

Desert present many mysteries. (The Golden Eye)

Desert without Indians very safe. (Castle in the Desert)

Desire for ocean adventure is ailment very much like hives - give itch to many boys. (Dead Men Tell)

Desire to live still strongest instinct in man. (Murder Over New York)

Detective cannot work miracle. (Charlie Chan in London)

Detective sometime summoned to witness crime. (Castle in the Desert)

Detective without curiosity is like glass eye at keyhole - no good. (Charlie Chan in the Secret Service)

Disloyalty of husband sometime ample provocation for revenge. (Charlie Chan at the Opera)

Distance no hindrance to fond thoughts. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

Dividing line between folly and wisdom very faint in dark tomb. (Charlie Chan in Panama)

Dog cannot chase three rabbits at same time. (The Chinese Cat)

Do not challenge supernatural unless armed with sword of truth. (Charlie Chan at Treasure Island)

Do not need brass band to commit simple burglary. (Charlie Chan at Treasure Island)

Do not tangle foot on fringe of murder. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

Do not wave stick when trying to catch dog. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

Door of opportunity swing both ways. (Murder Over New York)

Dreams, like good liars, distort facts. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

Drop of plain water on thirsty tongue more precious than gold in purse. (Charlie Chan in Egypt)

Each country's dance most beautiful dance in that particular country. (Dangerous Money)

Each man thinks his own cuckoos better than next man's nightingales. (Charlie Chan Carries On)

Easy to criticize, more difficult to be correct. (Charlie Chan at the Race Track)

Elaborate excuse seldom truth. (Castle in the Desert)

Empty as Robin's nest in January. (Charlie Chan's Greatest Case)

Empty gun can only kill guilty man. (Charlie Chan's Greatest Case)

Enemy who misses mark, like serpent, must coil to strike again. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Englishmen mind own business, not always Chinamen. (Charlie Chan in London)

Envelope, like skin of banana, must be removed to digest contents. (Charlie Chan at the Olympics)

Even bagpipe will not speak when stomach is empty. (The Black Camel)

Even detective sometimes fall in love...quite often with suspect in murder case. (The Red Dragon)

Even draperies may have ears. (Charlie Chan at Treasure Island)

Even if name signed one million times, no two signatures ever exactly alike. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Even melon grown in shade will ripen in the end. (Docks of New Orleans)

Even wise fly sometimes mistake spider web for old man's whiskers. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

Even wisest man cannot answer until he knows question. (Charlie Chan's Greatest Case)

Even wisest man sometimes mistake bumblebee for blackberry. (The Black Camel)

Every bird seek its own tree, never tree the bird. (Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum)

Every detail most important where murder concerned. (Charlie Chan in Egypt)

Every fence has two sides. (Charlie Chan's Greatest Case)

Every front has back. (Charlie Chan in London)

Every man must wear out at least one pair of fool shoes. (Charlie Chan Carries On)

Every maybe has a wife called Maybe-Not. (Charlie Chan Carries On)

Everything grow rapidly in Hawaii. (Charlie Chan in the Secret Service)

Executioner merely servant of law. (Castle in the Desert)

Experience comes with ripe years. (Charlie Chan's Courage)

Experience teach, unless eyewitness present, every murder case is long shot. (Charlie Chan in Rio)

Expert is merely man who make quick decision - and is sometimes right. (The Chinese Cat)

Eye easily deceived.  Same leopard can hide beneath different spots. (Murder Over New York)

Eyes of kitten open only after nine days. (Charlie Chan in Paris)

Faces may alter, but fingerprint never lie. (Murder Over New York)

Facts like photographic film - must be exposed before developing. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Faith is best foundation for happy future. (Charlie Chan in Paris)

Father who depends on son is happy or foolish according to son. (Charlie Chan at Treasure Island)

Favorite pastime of man is fooling himself. (Charlie Chan at Treasure Island)

Fear is cruel padlock. (Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum)

Fear of future is wrong for young people in love. (The Chinese Cat)

Finding web of spider does not prove which spider spin web. (Charlie Chan's Secret)

Fingerprints very valuable if detective can catch owner of fingers. (Charlie Chan's Secret)

Fish in sea like flea on dog - always present, but difficult to catch. (Charlie Chan at the Olympics)

Foolish rooster who stick head in lawn mower end in stew. (Charlie Chan at the Race Track)

Foolish to seek fortune when real treasure hiding under nose. (Charlie Chan at the Race Track)

Free ticket to circus like gold ring on merry-go-round - make enjoyment double. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Fresh weed better than wilted rose. (Murder Over New York)

Friends, like fiddle strings, should not be stretched too tight. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

Frightened bird very difficult to catch. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Front seldom tell truth. To know occupants of house, always look in back yard. (Charlie Chan in London)

Fruits of labor sometimes very bitter. (Charlie Chan in Rio)

Glamour boy who jump to conclusion sometimes get hair mussed. (Castle in the Desert)

Good detective always look for something unusual. (The Red Dragon)

Good detective never ask "what" and "why" until after he's seen. (Charlie Chan in Paris)

Good fishermen, like good merchant, know lure of bright colors. (Charlie Chan at the Olympics)

Good head always gets own new hat. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

Good hunter never break twig under foot. (Dangerous Money)

Good hunter never warn tiger of trap. (Charlie Chan at the Olympics)

Good kitchens kill more men than sharp swords. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

Good policy to have murderer consider detective dope. (Charlie Chan in Rio)

Good tools shorten labor. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Good wife best household furniture. (Charlie Chan Carries On, Charlie Chan at the Race Track)

Grain of sand in eye may hide mountain. (Charlie Chan in Paris)

"Great happiness follows great pain." (Charlie Chan at Treasure Island)

Greetings at the end of journey like refreshing rain after long drought. (Charlie Chan's Secret)

Guest who lingers too long becomes stale like unused fish. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

Guilty conscience always first to speak up. (The Feathered Serpent)

Guilty conscience like dog in circus - many tricks. (Castle in the Desert)

Guilty conscience only enemy to peaceful rest. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Guilty mind sometimes pinch worse than ancient boot of torture. (Dangerous Money)

Gun does not belong with innocent face. (The Chinese Ring)

Habit of being sometimes invisible very useful. (Charlie Chan in London)

Happiest walk in life of mailman are on holiday. (The Shanghai Chest)

Happy solution never see light if truth kept in dark. (Murder Over New York)

Hardly worth exhibiting puzzle until more pieces fit together. (The Shanghai Chest)

Hasty accusation like long shot on horse race - odds good, but chance is doubtful. (Charlie Chan at the Olympics)

Hasty accuse, leisurely repent. (Charlie Chan's Greatest Case)

Hasty conclusion easy to make, like hole in water. (Charlie Chan in Egypt)

Hasty conclusion like gunpowder - easy to explode. (Charlie Chan in Paris)

Hasty conclusion like hind leg of mule - kick backward. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

Hasty conclusion like toy balloon - easy blow up, easy pop. (Charlie Chan at the Race Track)

Hasty deduction, like ancient egg, look good from outside. (Charlie Chan's Secret)

Hasty man could also drink tea with fork. (Dangerous Money)

Have two ears, but can only hear one thing at time. (The Shanghai Chest)

Hen squats with caution on thin egg. (Charlie Chan's Courage)

Hens sit often, but lay eggs. (The Red Dragon)

He who feeds the chicken, deserves the egg. (Charlie Chan Carries On)

He who goes into hills after tiger must pay price. (Docks of New Orleans)

He who squanders today talking about yesterday's triumphs, have nothing to boast of tomorrow. (Docks of New Orleans)

He who takes whatever gods send with smile has learned life's hardest lesson. (Docks of New Orleans)

High-powered bullet take shortest distance between three points. (Charlie Chan's Secret)

Holiday mood like fickle girl - privileged to change mind. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

Hollywood is famous furnisher of mysteries. (The Black Camel)

Honorable father once say, "Politeness golden key that open many doors." (Charlie Chan at the Opera)

Honorable father once say, "Politeness golden key to many doors." (The Chinese Ring)

Honorable grandmother always say, "Do not think of future - it come too soon." (Dark Alibi)

Hospital is for sick, not playground for healthy. (Charlie Chan in Honolulu)

Hours are happiest when hands are busiest. (Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)

Humble presence of no more importance than one drop of rain in cloudburst. (Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo)

Humility only defense against rightful blame. (Charlie Chan at the Opera)

Hunch not sufficient evidence to convince jury of guilt. (The Feathered Serpent)

Ideas planted too soon often like seeds on winter ground - quickly die. (The Sky Dragon)

If answer known, question seem unnecessary. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

If befriend donkey, expect to be kicked. (Charlie Chan at Treasure Island)

If man places self in way of finger of suspicion, must not be surprised if he receive poke in the eye. (Charlie Chan in the Secret Service)

If matter not solved, it is will of fate. (Docks of New Orleans)

If request music, must be willing to pay for fiddler. (Charlie Chan at Treasure Island)

If strength were all, tiger would not fear scorpion. (Charlie Chan's Secret)

If you want wild bird to sing, do not put him in cage. (Charlie Chan in London)

If want wild bird to sing, do not put him in cage. (Charlie Chan in Reno)

Illustrious ancestor once say, "Destination never reached by turning back on same." (Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo)

Important events, like insistent alarm clock, demand attention. (Murder Over New York)

Impossible to miss someone who will always be in heart. (Charlie Chan at treasure Island)

Impossible to prepare defense until direction of attack is known. (Charlie Chan in Egypt)

In China, mahjong very simple; in America very complex - like modern life.  (Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)

In darkness, sometimes difficult to distinguish hawk from vulture. (Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)

In my business, always expect to find something wrong. (The Shanghai Cobra)

Innocence or guilt must be decided by proper parties. (The Feathered Serpent)

Innocent act without thinking; guilty always make plans. (The Sky Dragon)

Innocent grass may conceal snake. (Charlie Chan at the Race Track)

Innocent man does not run away. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

In phraseology of Euclid, X over Y equal proposition still unsolved. (Dangerous Money)

Inquisitive person like bear after honey - sometime find hornets' nest. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Insignificant man has never improved on nature's tonic.  (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

Insignificant molehill sometime more important than conspicuous mountain. (Charlie Chan in Egypt)

Intelligent defense of nation best guarantee for years of peace. (Charlie Chan in Panama)

Interesting problem in chemistry: sweet wine often turn nice woman sour. (Charlie Chan in Rio)

In these troubled times, best to be economical. (Charlie Chan in Rio)

Investigation best way to find answer. (Dead Men Tell)

It is always good fortune to give alms upon entering city. (Charlie Chan in Paris)

It is difficult to pick up needle with boxing glove. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

It is fool in hurry who drink tea with fork. (Docks of New Orleans)

It is not easy to make fire in cold stove. (Charlie Chan's Greatest Case)

It is only once in a very long time that man bites own nose. (Charlie Chan Carries On)

It is unasked question which prevent sleep. (Charlie Chan in London)

It takes very rainy day to drown duck. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

Journey of life like feather on stream - must continue with current. (Charlie Chan in Egypt)

Joy in heart more desirable than bullet. (Charlie Chan in Paris)

Judge always honorable position. (Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)

Justice can be brought to dead men. (Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum)

Justice, like virtue, brings its own reward. (Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum)

Justice must be blind to friendship. (The Sky Dragon)

Kangaroo reaches destination also by leaps and bounds. (Dangerous Money)

Kindness in heart better than gold in bank. (Charlie Chan in Paris)

Kind thoughts add favorable weight in balance of life and death. (Charlie Chan in Egypt)

Kitchen stove most excellent weapon - good for cooking goose. (Murder Over New York)

Knowledge only gained through curiosity. (Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum)

Large sugar bowl draws many flies. (Charlie Chan's Courage)

Last step ease toil of most difficult journey. (Charlie Chan at the Olympics)

Learn from hen - never boast about egg until after egg's birthday. (The Black Camel)

Left-handed man always uses left hand. (Charlie Chan's Courage)

Leisurely hunter have time to stalk prey, but hunter in haste must set trap. (The Trap)

Lending sympathetic ear to lady in distress is pleasure, not trouble. (Shadows Over Chinatown)

Levity is a great cure-all. (The Trap)

Life has been risked for jewels far less valuable than friendship. (Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)

Like all detectives, must consider every possibility. (Charlie Chan in Paris)

Like cotton wool, filial devotion softens weight of parental crown. (Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)

Like last rose of summer, bloom too late. (Charlie Chan at the Opera)

Little knowledge sometimes very dangerous possession. (The Golden Eye)

Little knowledge sometimes very dangerous thing. (The Golden Eye)

Little things tell big story. (Charlie Chan in London)

Little things tell story. (Charlie Chan in London)

Live and learn. (Charlie Chan's Secret)

Long experience teach, until murderer found, suspect everybody. (Charlie Chan in Rio)

Long journey always start with one short step. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

Long road sometime shortest way to end of journey. (Charlie Chan at the Race Track)

Looks sometimes are frightful liar. (Docks of New Orleans)

Lovers use element of surprise...also criminals. (Castle in the Desert)

Magnifying female charms very ancient optical illusion. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Make haste only when withdrawing hand from mouth of tiger. (Charlie Chan's Greatest Case)

Making bedfellow of serpent no guarantee against snakebite. (Charlie Chan in Honolulu)

Man can more safely search for gold if world thinks he dig ditch. (Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)

Man cannot avoid destiny. (Castle in the Desert)

Man has learned much who has learned how to die. (Dead Men Tell)

Man in lowly station does not kill self when possessing much money. (Charlie Chan in London)

Man is not incurably drowned - if he still knows he is all wet. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

Man seldom scratches where he does not itch. (Charlie Chan Carries On)

Man should never hurry except when going to catch flea. (Charlie Chan Carries On)

Man who fears death die thousand times. (Castle in the Desert)

Man who fights law always loses; same as grasshopper is always wrong in argument with chicken. (Charlie Chan Carries On)

Man who flirt with dynamite sometime fly with angels. (Charlie Chan at the Race Track)

Man who have gun either afraid or have guilty conscience. (The Shanghai Chest)

Man who improve house before building foundation apt to run into very much trouble. (The Feathered Serpent)

Man who never leave wheelchair should never wear out shoe leather.  (Charlie Chan in the Secret Service)

Man who ride on merry-go-round all the time, sooner or later must catch brass ring. (The Chinese Ring)

Man who ride on merry-go-round often enough finally catch brass ring. (Charlie Chan at the Opera)

Man who ride tiger cannot dismount. (The Chinese Ring)

Man who seek trouble never find it far off. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Man who walk have both feet on ground. (Castle in the Desert)

Man with ear to keyhole betray excessive curiosity. (Dead Men Tell)

Man with gun like lightning - never strike twice in same place. (Charlie Chan at the Race Track)

Man without enemies like dog without fleas. (Castle in the Desert)

Man without relatives is man without troubles. (Charlie Chan in Panama)

Man yet to be born who can tell what woman will or will not do. (Charlie Chan in Reno)

Man's soul is lost who does not grieve the death of faithful servant. (Charlie Chan's Courage)

Many contemptible persons in prison. (Dark Alibi)

Many strange crimes committed in the sewers of Paris. (Charlie Chan in Paris)

Many times ship of reputation wrecked on rock of crime. (Charlie Chan's Greatest Case)

Maybe some people on sea of matrimony wish they had missed boat. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

Mere identification of suspect no proof of crime. (Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)

Method sometimes hide in madness of practical joke. (Dead Men Tell)

Mice only play when cat supposed to be in bed. (Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum)

Mice will never play so long as cat is in house. (The Shanghai Cobra)

Mind, like parachute, only function when open. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Mistake sometimes bring most fortunate relief. (The Trap)

Mock insanity not always safe alibi. (Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum)

Modesty most commendable. (Charlie Chan at the Olympics)

Money talks. (Charlie Chan in London)

Morbid curiosity sometimes draw murderer back to scene of crime. (Shadows Over Chinatown)

More than one way to remove skin from cat. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Most fortunate gift to be able to cross bridge to dwelling place of honorable ancestors before arriving. (Charlie Chan's Secret)

Most happy to celebrate - even without reason. (Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)

Most happy to find man without enemies. (Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)

Most mysterious is what mankind does to itself for reasons difficult to understand. (1935 Pennsylvania Referendum Message)

Motive, like end of string, tied in many knots; end may be in sight, but hard to unravel. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

Much evil can enter through very small space. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Much fuel tempts men to build fire. (Charlie Chan's Courage)

Mud turtle in pond more safe than man on horseback. (Charlie Chan in Paris)

Murder case like revolving door - when one side close, other side open. (Charlie Chan on Broadway)

Murderer always choose weapon he know best. (Charlie Chan in the Secret Service)

Murder is one way of discharging dangerous employee. (The Red Dragon)

Murder know no law of "relativity." (The Jade Mask)

Murder not very good joke - quite unfunny. (Charlie Chan in London)

Murder without bloodstains like Amos without Andy - most unusual. (Charlie Chan at the Race Track)

Must gather at leisure what may use in haste. (Docks of New Orleans)

Must have patience. (Charlie Chan in Rio)

Must not overlook any possibility. (Charlie Chan's Secret)

Must repeat old police slogan: "Unusual thing always good clue." (The Red Dragon)

Must turn up many stones to find hiding place of snake. (Charlie Chan in Paris)

Necessity drive hard bargain. (Docks of New Orleans)

Necessity mother of invention, but sometimes stepmother of deception. (Charlie Chan's Secret)

Needle can be found when correct thread located. (Murder Over New York)

Nerves make time crawl backward. (Charlie Chan in Panama)

Never believe nightmare no matter how real it may seem. (Dark Alibi)

Night in Bastille not exactly bed of roses. (The Shanghai Chest)

Ninety-nine times out of hundred, right- or left-handed person turn instinctively toward controlling side. (Charlie Chan in the Secret Service)

No barber shave so close but another barber find some work to do. (The Jade Mask)

No experiment is failure until last experiment is success. (Dark Alibi)

No heart strong enough to hold bullet. (Charlie Chan in Panama)

No one knows less about servants than their master. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

No poison more deadly than ink. (Charlie Chan on Broadway)

Not always easy to reduce many suspects to one. (Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)

Not always wise to accept simplest solution. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Nothing but the wind can pass the sun without casting shadow. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

Nothing ever entirely disappear - something always remain. (The Red Dragon)

Nothing is impossible. (Dark Alibi)

No use to hurry unless sure of catching right train. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Numbers cannot control life expectancy. (Shadows Over Chinatown)

Nut easy to crack often empty. (Murder Over New York)

Obstructing justice is very serious crime. (The Trap)

Obvious clues, like tricks of magic, usually prove deceptive. (Charlie Chan at Treasure Island)

Ocean have many fish. (Charlie Chan at the Race Track)

Officer of law cannot escape long arm of same. (Murder Over New York)

Often round-about path to correct destination. (Charlie Chan's Courage)

Old Chinese proverb say, "Hsing zhong kong zhu, yuan hsua wu tu." ("When fear attack brain, tongue wave distress signal.") (Charlie Chan at the Opera)

Old English adage say, "Give man plenty rope, will hang self." (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Old excuse, like ancient billy goat, has whiskers. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

Old proverb says, "Strange laws make even more strange bedfellows." (1935 Pennsylvania Referendum Message)

Old solution sometimes like ancient egg. (Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum)

One at a time is good fishing. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

One cloud does not make storm, nor one falsehood criminal. (Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)

One enemy one too many. (Charlie Chan in Panama)

One grain of luck sometimes worth more than whole rice field of wisdom. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

One man with gun have more authority than whole army without ammunition. (Murder Over New York)

One ounce of experience worth ton of detective books. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

One picture still worth ten thousand words. (Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo)

One scholar in family better than two detectives. (Charlie Chan at Treasure Island)

"Only a very sly man can shoot off a cannon quietly." (Charlie Chan Carries On)

Only facts and motives lead to murderer. (Charlie Chan's Greatest Case)

Only foolish dog pursue flying bird. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

Only foolish man waste words when argument is lost. (Charlie Chan in Paris)

Only foolish mouse plays with cat. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

Only make haste when catching flea. (Charlie Chan's Greatest Case)

Only one enemy necessary to commit murder. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

Only very brave mouse makes nest in cat's ear. (Charlie Chan Carries On)

Only very clever man can bite pie without breaking crust. (The Black Camel)

Only very foolish mouse make nest in cat's ear. (Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum)

Opinion like tealeaf in hot water - both need time for brewing. (Charlie Chan in Honolulu)

Opportunity will never knock again. (Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)

Optimist only sees doughnut, pessimist sees hole. (Charlie Chan in Paris)

Owner of face cannot always see nose. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

Patience and a mulberry leaf become a silk shawl. (Charlie Chan Carries On)

Patience are virtue one must hug to bosom. (The Shanghai Chest)

Patience big sister to wisdom. (City in Darkness)

Patience lead to knowledge. (Charlie Chan in Panama)

Patience - must harvest rice before can boil it. (Docks of New Orleans)

Patience very lovely virtue. (Docks of New Orleans)

People who have gone beyond cannot harm you. (The Shanghai Chest)

People who listen at keyholes rarely hear good of themselves. (The Golden Eye)

Perfect case, like perfect doughnut, has hole. (Charlie Chan in Paris)

Perhaps better to let cat out of bag than drown same. (Charlie Chan in Panama)

Perhaps good idea not to accept gold medal until race is won. (Charlie Chan at the Olympics)

Person who ask riddle should know answer. (Murder Over New York)

Photograph does not lie. (Charlie Chan in Honolulu)

Players sometime disregard even most expert coaching from sidelines. (Charlie Chan at the Olympics)

Police always dare to tell truth. (The Red Dragon)

Police do not read Emily Post. (The Shanghai Cobra)

Practical joke sometimes disguise for sinister motive. (Castle in the Desert)

Praise in any language very sweet. (Charlie Chan in Reno)

Precaution much safer than daring. (Charlie Chan in Panama)

Prefer not to walk across before coming to bridge. (Charlie Chan in Rio)

Pretty girl, like lap dog, sometimes go mad. (Charlie Chan in Rio)

Problems rarely wait for clearing weather. (Dangerous Money)

Punch in ribs more desirable than shot in back. (Charlie Chan's Secret)

Puppy cannot fool old dog. (The Red Dragon)

Puzzle always deepest near the center. (The Trap)

Question without answer, like faraway water, no good for nearby fire. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Questions are keys to door of truth. (Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo)

Rabbit run very fast, but sometime turtle win race. (Charlie Chan at the Race Track)

Race not always won by man who start first. (Charlie Chan at the Olympics)

Remember kind hearted elephant who tried to help hen hatch chickens. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

Remember old saying: "Earthquake may shatter the rock, but sand upon which rock stood still right there in same old place."  (Dark Alibi)

Revenge and profit two of oldest motives for murder and robbery. (The Sky Dragon)

Reverence for ancestors most commendable. (Charlie Chan in Egypt)

Rising generation sit too much. (The Shanghai Cobra)

Role of dead man require very little acting. (Charlie Chan's Secret)

Roots of tree lead in many directions. (Charlie Chan at the Race Track)

Roses in romance like tenor in opera - sing most persuasive love song. (Charlie Chan at the Opera)

Sea voyage good for health. (Charlie Chan at the Race Track)

See Paris, die happy. (Charlie Chan in Paris)

Shady business do not make for sunny life. (Black Magic/Meeting at Midnight)

Sharp wit sometimes much better than deadly weapon. (Castle in the Desert)

Ship with too many pilots sometimes have difficulty reaching port. (Docks of New Orleans)

Shot in dark sometime find eye of bull. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

Silence best answer when uncertain. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

Silence big sister to wisdom. (Charlie Chan in Paris)

Silence is golden - except in police station. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

Silent witness sometime speak loudest. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

"Sitting man must hold mouth open very long time before roast goose flies in." (Charlie Chan Carries On)

Size of package does not indicate quality within. (Charlie Chan at the Circus)

Skeletons in closets always speak loudest to police. (Dark Alibi)

Sleep sometime very difficult thing. (The Feathered Serpent)

Slippery man sometimes slip in own oil. (Charlie Chan in Rio)

Small flower receive blessing of rain with thanks. (The Sky Dragon)

Small investigation sometimes brings large amount of knowledge. (The Golden Eye)

Small things sometime tell large stories. (Charlie Chan at the Opera)

Small things sometimes tell very large stories. (The Golden Eye)

Smart fly keep out of gravy. (Charlie Chan at the Race Track)

Smart rats know when to leave ship. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

Snooping very dangerous business. (Charlie Chan on Broadway)

Soap and water never can change perfume of billy goat. (The Black Camel)

So many fish in fish market, even flower smell same. (The Scarlet Clue)

Some heads, like hard nuts, much better if well cracked. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

Someone once say, "Out of mouths of babes come wisdom." (The Shanghai Chest)

Sometime jewel found in ashes. (Charlie Chan at the Opera)

Sometime solution to murder problem does not require scandal. (Castle in the Desert)

Sometimes beneath eyes that weep are teeth that laugh. (Charlie Chan's Greatest Case)

Sometimes better to see and not tell. (Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum)

Sometimes black magic very close to blackmail. (Charlie Chan at Treasure Island)

Sometimes dull stone makes very sharp knife. (Charlie Chan Carries On)

Sometimes hope becomes scarce as midnight rainbow. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

Sometimes human tissue tell more than human lips. (The Feathered Serpent)

Sometimes most essential clue very difficult to find. (Docks of New Orleans)

Sometimes muddy waters, when stirred sufficiently, bring strange things to surface. (The Shanghai Chest)

Sometimes must strike innocent to trap guilty. (Charlie Chan in Reno)

Sometimes quickest way to brain of young sprout is by impression on other end. (Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)

Sometimes sad world. Baby cries when born, and often life proves baby right. (Charlie Chan's Greatest Case)

Sometimes, surgeon's scar speak louder than fingerprints. (Shadows Over Chinatown)

Sometimes tears from woman very happy sign. (Charlie Chan in Reno)

Sometimes very difficult to pick up pumpkin with one finger. (The Black Camel)

Sometimes very small cloud hide sun. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

Sometimes witness things without realizing importance. (Docks of New Orleans)

So much for so much. (The Golden Eye)

Soothing drink, like summer shower, bring grateful relief. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

So seldom brains and beauty dance in street together. (The Shanghai Chest)

Spider does not spin web for single fly. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

Spirits always have very long way to come. (Black Magic/Meeting at Midnight)

Spirits cannot kill. (Black Magic/Meeting at Midnight)

Story of man very short: life, death. Am reminded of ancient sage, Confucius, who write, "From life to death is reach of man." (Charlie Chan in Egypt)

Strange events permit themselves the luxury of occurring in strange places. (The Chinese Ring)

Surprise attack often find enemy unprepared. (Charlie Chan at the Race Track)

Surprised detective might as well clutch iron ball and dive in lake. (The Shanghai Chest)

Suspect everyone on general principle. (The Scarlet Clue)

Suspicion is only toy of fools. (Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum)

Suspicion, like rain, fall upon just and unjust. (Charlie Chan in the Secret Service)

Suspicion often father of truth. (Charlie Chan at the Race Track)

Swelled head sometimes give police more cooperation than criminal mistake. (Charlie Chan at Treasure Island)

Talk cannot cook rice. (Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

Talk will not cook rice. (Charlie Chan Carries On)

Tearing hands suggest torn heart. (LON)

The geese who laid the eggs deserve the credit. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

The ignorant always loud in argument. (Docks of New Orleans)

The impossible sometimes permits itself the luxury of occurring. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

The law is honest man's eyeglass to see better. (GRE)

Theories like fingerprints...everybody has them. (GRE)

Theory like mist on eyeglasses - obscures facts. (Charlie Chan in Egypt)

There is an old saying: "Mother know best." (RED)

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

There is old saying: "Good wife's place should be at mate's elbow in time of trouble." (DAN)

The smallest jewel is sometimes brightest. (GRE)

Though loved one seem to be taken away, remain always near. (SEC)

Thoughts are like noble animal - unchecked, they run away causing painful smash-up. (LON)

Thousand friends too few. (Charlie Chan in Panama)

Tiger going away from village is never feared. (DAN)

Time and analysis will tell. (REN)

Time bomb without electric arteries cannot speak. (Charlie Chan in Panama)

Time covers and discovers everything. (GRE)

Time only wasted when sprinkling perfume on goat farm. (GRE)

Timid man never win lottery prize. (CAS)

Tired man's idea sometimes very much like child's nightmare - easily dispelled by bright light of day. (SKY)

To conceal oneself from law is like trying to hide in bird cage. (GRE)

To describe bitter medicine will not improve its flavor. (CDK)

To destroy false prophet, must unmask him before eyes of believers. (TRE)

To know forgery, one must have original. (BWY)

Tombstones often engraved with words of wisdom. (REN)

Tongue often hang man quicker than rope. (Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo)

Too late to dig well when honorable house is on fire. (Charlie Chan Carries On)

Too many hands sometime spoil pudding. (COB)

Too much familiarity breed carelessness. (EYE)

To one who kill, life can suddenly become most precious. (RIO)

Too soon to count chickens until eggs are in nest. (CIR)

To speak without thinking is to shoot without aiming. (MCR)

To study Eskimo or African Pigmy, anthropologist must make their home his home. (CAS)

To think is one thing, to have proof is another. (SKY)

Triangle very ancient motive for murder. (BWY)

Trick sometimes necessary in order to trap criminal. (MNY)

Trouble, like first love, teach many lessons. (DMT)

Trouble with modern children, they do not smart in right place. (SSV)

Trust must be shared. (MCR)

Truth cannot be insult. (Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo)

Truth is only path out of tangled web. (CDK)

Truth, like football - receive many kicks before reaching goal. (OLY)

Truth like oil - will in time rise to surface. (MCR)

Truth sometimes like stab of cruel knife. (RAC)

Truth speak from any chair. (WAX)

Truth win more friendship than lies. (Charlie Chan in Panama)

Two ears for every tongue. (SHA)

Ugliest trade sometimes have moment of joy. Even gravedigger know some people for whom he would do his work with extreme pleasure. (Dark Alibi)

Under strong general there are no weak soldiers. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

Unfortunate profession make detective suspect innocent with guilty. (MCR)

Unhappy news sometimes correct self next day. (TRE)

Unknown danger like summer lightning - strike when least expected. (SEC)

Unloaded gun always cause most trouble. (CIR)

Unwise officer who eat apple not yet ripe get official tummy ache. (OPA)

Useless talk like boat without oar - get no place. (RAC)

Useless to sprinkle salt on tail of time. (OLY)

Very difficult to believe ill of those we love. (REN)

Very difficult to estimate depth of well by size of bucket. (SER)

Very difficult to explain hole in doughnut, but hole always there. (PAR)

Very easy to read mind when clue like rag on sore thumb. (CIR)

Very few after-dinner speeches equipped with self-stopper. (CAM)

Very old Chinese wise man once say, "Madness twin brother of genius because each live in world created by own ego. One sometime mistaken for other." (OPA)

Very wise know way out before going in. (CIR)

Voice from back seat sometime very disconcerting to driver. (OPA)

Wages of stupidity is hunt for new job. (CAM)

Waiting for tomorrow waste of today. (Charlie Chan in Egypt)

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

What detective needs is great patience. (CLU)

What is to be is to be. (GRE)

Wheel of fate has many spokes. (SEC)

When alibi pushed at me, always suspect motive in woodpile. (SSV)

When all players hold suspicious cards, good idea to have joker up sleeve. (OLY)

When death enters window, no time for life to go by door. (LON)

When Chinese emperor have eight suspects of murder, he solve problem very quickly...chop off eight heads - always sure of getting one criminal.  (Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise)

When friend asks, friend gives. (Charlie Chan's Chance)

When money talk, few are deaf. (HON)

When pilot unreliable, ship cannot keep true course. (SEC)

When player cannot see man who deal cards, much wiser to stay out of game. (RAC)

When prepared for worst, can hope for best. (Charlie Chan in Panama)

When searching for needle in haystack, haystack only sensible location. (REN)

When weaving nets, all threads counted. (SEC)

Wherever one is not, that is where heart is. (Docks of New Orleans)

Willingness to speak not necessarily mean willingness to act. (EYE)

Wisdom is strong lever to pry knowledge loose. (GRE)

Wise man has said, "Beware of spider who invite fly into parlor." (CDK)

Wise philosopher once say, "Only foolish man will not acknowledge defeat. (OLY)

Wise precaution to accept "applesauce" with large pinch of salt. (CIR)

Wishful thinking sometimes lead to blind alley. (MNY)

With proper lever, baby's fingers can move mountain. (SEC)

Woman's heart is like a needle at bottom of sea. (Charlie Chan Carries On)

Woman's tongue like sword that never gets rusty. (GRE)

Words of welcome freeze when friend appears troubled. (REN)

Would be greatest blessing if all war fought with machinery instead of human beings. (OLY)

Would much prefer to wait a few moments more to soar with eagle rather than rush to fly with fledgling sparrow. (SKY)

X-ray machine most useful for seeing where eye cannot reach. (Charlie Chan in Egypt)

Young bird must learn to fly. (PAR)

Young brain, like grass, need dew of sleep. (Charlie Chan in Panama)

Youth tonic for old blood. (PAR)


Return to Charlie Chan Family Home ENTRANCE