In one of the bonus sections of these DVDs, Warner Oland (I think) was quoted as saying he hated those “Chanisms” as too corny, but the public loved it and the studios wisely kept it up.
Another interesting bit was that when Oland (again I think) went to China, even the Chinese thought he was an Oriental.
I really liked the “Gee Whiz Pop” No. 1 Son, for he personified how the kids of non-Western cultures became Americanized.
Some years back, TNT was going to run a “Chan-a-Thon” and a professional victim group showed up complaining that the character was demeaning and showed the Chinese in a bad light. Naturally, the execs folded. I wrote them a scathing letter (pre-email days) saying how come no one complained about Colombo.
Not surprised. Dilbert San Diego also commented on how political correctness has denied generations of Americans the fruit from the earliest years of broadcasting.
I still, though vaguely, recall the Amos n Andy television program. Set in Harlem, the story centered on George Stevens (Moore) who was always conniving to make a fast buck. He was president of the Mystic Knights of the Sea, a fraternal order, where he held the position of "Kingfish." His lodge brothers were always getting snared in his schemes.
Soon the accusations of rascisim swirled around the show. Even though it went off the air in 1953 it was frequently seen in syndication. Civil rights groups complained that the characters stereotyped blacks and in 1966 it was pulled. However, it maintains a place in history as the first dramatic show with an all black cast. Ironically, the descendants of the cast members, are proud of their family member's participation on the program and fought back, unsuccessfully, to have the program restored.
In 2002, Speedy Gonzalez, the rapid rodent was been deemed an offensive ethnic stereotype of Mexicans, and taken off the air by Cartoon Network. A 1952 Hanna-Barbera Tom and Jerry cartoon titled "Little Runaway" is now airing on the Cartoon Network minus a fraction of a scene which features a trash can cover hitting Tom's facing causing him to momentarily appear to be Chinese.
Censorship has gone much too far.