Michael Visaroff

  1. Warner Oland, Charlie Chan Carries On, 1930.    After three 20s’ films  when the character was minimalised and played by two Japanese and a Korean, there was much interest as who would – could – play the titular sleuth. Legend insists 34 actors were tested.  The few actually named were Noah Beery (who would die in the arms of his brother, Wallace), the Romanian-born J Edward Bromberg (dead at 48 due to his blacklisting), Leo Carillo (The Cosco Kid’s future sidekick, Pancho), Walter Connolly (wanted to be jockey, but prefered eating – and how),  Cy Kendall  (his 1934 film debut was a detective!) and Moscow-born Michael Visaroff –  usually uncredited in his 122 screen roles, but he was Dr Otto Von Brom in the 25th of 47 Chan tales, Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum, 1940.  None  of these guys were as small as Earl Derr Biggers’  creation. Neither, as you have readily noticed, were any of them Chinese-American!  Nor was the winning Warner Oland an Austrian, as seen that year opposite Marlene Dietrich in Dishonoured, 1930.  Oland, in fact, was… Swedish.  He Channed on for 13 chapters, followed by  a more mirthful Missourian Sidney Toler in 11 and finally, in six late-40s’ outings, by  Bostonian Roland Winters. Since when, nada.  So no more  philosophical nuggets like… “Only a very brave mouse will make its nest in a cat’s ear.”

 Birth year: 1889Death year: 1951Other name: Casting Calls:  1