Charlie Chan At The Wax Museum (1940)

charlie chan at the wax museum 1940

Entertaining entry in the series. Along with Sidney Toler, Victor Sen Yung appears as number two son Jimmy. Most of the movie takes place in Dr.Cream’s Crime Museum. It’s night and there’s a constant rain storm outside for atmosphere.

Charlie is instrumental in getting Steve McBirney convicted of murder and sentenced to death. After the verdict is announced McBirney vows to give Charlie payback. Then he shoots his way out and goes to Dr.Cream’s Crime Museum.

Dr.Cream was a plastic surgeon. Now he practices on gangsters. McBirney wants a new face, Dr.Cream likes playing chess with a large dummy. Inside it is his assistant Lily.  McBirney wants Charlie in the museum so he can get revenge. An elaborate plan is set to have Charlie take part in a radio broadcast from the museum. It’s a weekly show about unsolved crimes. Charlie accepts the invitation.

The show will be about the unsolved case of Joe Rock. He was hanged in 1929 for murder on the scientific evidence of  Dr.Otto Von Bron. He was supposed to have gunned down gangster Bullets Dagan. McBirney and Lily have set up the chair they want Charlie to sit as an electric chair. The dimwitted night watchman Willy will pull the switch. He thinks Dr.Cream is the warden and he’s following orders. He doesn’t know he’s in a wax museum.

The plans go awry when Von Bron insists on sitting in Charlie’s chair. Watching from another room is Rock’s widow. Her smarmy lawyer Carter Lane is there. Also attending is reporter Mary Bolton (Marguerite Chapman). Von Bron dies but not from being electrocuted. Someone shot a poison dart into his neck.

Jimmy is ordered to call the police. No one knows the phone is rigged so no outside calls can be made. McBirney’s pal pretends to be a cop.  Someone tries to murder Charlie. Later he finds Dr.Cream’s secret basement surgery. Someone in the crowded museum is really Dagan.

It’s a fun movie and one of the better entries in the Chan series.

Marguerite Chapman-Sidney Toler

Marguerite Chapman-Sidney Toler


About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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