Mr. Wong got his start in several popular stories by Hugh Wiley. They were published in Collier's Magazine. Then, as now, Hollywood was happy to pick up an option and make a movie based on a popular character from another medium. They did 6, five with Boris Karloff, and the last with Keye Luke. That's a shot of Boris from the This is Your Life program. Keye's is a publicity still from his days as Number 1 son in the Charlie Chan series. It wasn't often that they would put Chinese guys in starring roles back in those days and certainly not in bigger budget films. The most well known white guy playing Asian in the 1930's and 40's would be Warner Oland who played Charlie Chan in a bunch of films. Mr. Moto, another popular Chinese detective was played by Peter Lorre. You can get all of these films one place or another. The Mr. Wong films have all been uploaded to the Internet Archive where you can watch them for free.
Just a mention to avoid possible confusion. There is a film called The Mysterious Mr Wong. It's a 1934 film starring Bela Lugosi as a Chinese Criminal Mastermind who's collecting the 12 coins of Confucius for his megalomaniacal plan. He's got a secret door in his shop. It's behind there that he carries out his nefarious business.
I enjoyed these old posters for the movies as much as I enjoyed the movies. That's one of the nice things about bloging about these old films, downloading the cool posters that go with them. I like the Keye Luke one, with the dagger flying through the air and the shadowy figure, the best. The mysteries in the movies aren't much more complicated than the posters. The scripts are pretty much typical, bit a drama, bit a humor, bit a running about, bit a gun waving, but not too much killing. Gotta have a corpse or two to keep it interesting. Mostly it's a game of wits as Mr. Wong sifts through the evidence and nabs the killer with his deductions.
Even for short 60-70 minute movies they move slower than you might hope. It's the time period, there's no reason to rush, there isn't much story. I found them entertaining for the most part. I was glad to see them, especially all in a lump, and for free. I'll probably re-watch them down the road. Who knows when I'll have time to get back to them. I just picked up a hundred western movies this weekend. Must go, lots to see, lots to see.