Alice: Number One Son

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Keye Luke, the actor who plays the mysterious Dr. Yang in Alice, has quite the Hollywood story. Making his debut in the 1934 Garbo vehicle The Painted Veil, Luke quickly established himself as a character actor with his recurring role in the popular Charlie Chan pictures, where he played opposite Warren Oland as “Number One Son”. After that series ran its course, Luke’s career stayed strong. He was notably the first Chinese-American to get a contract at RKO, Universal, and MGM. Luke also appeared in Gremlins, Enter the Dragon, and pretty much every TV series you can think of from the 50s-80s. Alice was his final performance in a long career, and while he was used in a somewhat stereotypical “Oriental” role (accents and opium pipes included), that wasn’t always the case, thankfully. In the 1940 detective film Phantom of Chinatown, Luke has a starring turn as Mr. Wong, a role originated by Boris Karloff, though in our estimation, Luke delivers a much more interesting performance