The China History Podcast
CHP-159-Chinese American Stars and Entertainers of Old Hollywood

In this episode Laszlo focuses on the history of Chinese Americans in the early years of Hollywood.  The period will focus on the 1920's to the 1950's.  During those years Asian Americans had a rough time in Hollywood trying to break away from stereotypical roles. American laws and attitudes stacked the deck against them but through their sacrifices and perseverance they blazed the trail for today's generation of Chinese-American movie, theater and TV artists.  CHP-159 looks at the lives of Anna May Wong and Jadin Wong as a window into these times. Below are the terms from this episode as well as some resources about Chinese Hollywood and Chinatowns.

Terms from this Episode

Marion Wong  黄女娣  Young film pioneer, established Mandarin Film Co. in 1916

Esther Eng    Producer, Director of Chinese language films in the US

James B. Leong  Chinese American actor between 1923-1960, directed Lotus Blossom in 1921.

Joseph Sunn Jue  The Darryl Zanuck of Chinatown, director and producer

Wong Chin Foo  王清福   Subject of Scott Seligman's book "The First Chinese American."

Anna May Wong   黄柳霜  1905-1961 American actress of the early days of Hollywood

Wong Sam Sing  黄善兴  Anna May Wong's father

Lee Gon Toy    Anna May Wong's mother

Taishan  台山  Historic town in the Pearl River delta region

Chang On  长安  Anna May Wong's father's ancestral village

Jadin Wong   黄玉美  Chinese American entertainer and later agent

Bok Kai Temple 北溪庙  Temple in Marysville, CA

Charlie Low  He built the Forbidden City nightclub in San Francisco

Arthur Dong 曾奕田 Documentary film maker, founder of Deep Focus Productions

Noel Toy  The Chinese Sally Rand, early Forbidden City club performer of risque dances

Coby Yee Entertainer and later owner of the Forbidden City

Haing S. Ngor吴汉润 Winner of the 1985 Oscar for Best Supporting actor for his unforgettable performance in the Killing Fields, gunned down in Chinatown in 1996.

Bessie Loo  Early Hollywood agent who specialized in roles for Asian American artists

John Lone  尊龙  Actor who played Pu Yi in Bertolucci's The Last Emperor

Joan Chen  陈冲  Actress who played in many roles in the 80's and 90's

Lucy Liu   刘玉玲  Reigning queen of Hollywood martial arts action films

Bai Ling  白灵 Actress who was also a client of Jadin Wong

David Henry Hwang  黄哲伦  Multi-talented artist best known for his play and film M. Butterfly

Larry Ching  The Chinese Sinatra, and a future CHP topic one day.

The Kim Loo Sisters  known as The Chinese Andrews Sisters

Dorothy Fong Toy  known as The Chinese Ginger Rogers

You Yat Mar  The Chinese Sophie Tucker

Chai Hong   The Chinese Chaplin

Barbara Jean Wong  The Chinese Shirley Temple

Nancy Kwan   关家蒨  Famous for her roles in The World of Suzie Wong and The Flower Drum Song

Keye Luke   陆锡麟  Best known for his role as Charlie Chan's Number One Son, Keye Luke had a very prolific and successful career in Hollywood.

Victor Sen Yung   杨森  Best known for his role as Hop Sing on Bonanza

Benson Fong   邝炳雄  Famous for many roles and for his Ah Fong's restaurants

Sammee Tong  Played John Forsyth's houseboy Peter Tong in The Bachelor Father TV series

Kam Fong  Most famous for his role as Chin Ho Kelly in the old Hawaii Five-0 series.

Tsai Chin   周采芹  Had a rich career on stage and on screen. Unforgettable in You Only Live Twice and The Joy Luck Club

Lisa Lu  卢燕  Three time Golden Horse Award winner. Still active in the movies and on TV since 1958.  Played the dying Empress Dowager Cixi in The Last Emperor.

James Wong Howe   黄宗霑  The immortal Hollywood cinematographer. Did over 130 films. Famous for Deep Focus cinematography. Nominated for ten Oscars, won two.  His own life was like a movie.

James Hong   吴汉章  One of the best known faces in Hollywood in over 500 roles on TV and in the movies. Played Lo Pan in John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China and Kahn, the butler in Chinatown.

 

Suggested Links for Further Study: 

Arthur Dong: Deep Focus Productions

Anna May Wong's IMDb Page

The Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles

The Chinese Historical Society of Southern California

Asian American Arts Alliance - Jadin Wong Award

 

Books: 

Forbidden City USA  - Book of the Arthur Dong documentary

"Anna May Wong: From Laundryman's Daughter to Hollywood Legend", Graham Russell Gao Hodges"

Scott Seligman amazon page

Jenny Cho amazon page 

Peter Kwong amazon page

Bonnie Tsui amazon page

Edward Said: Orientalism

 

Videos

Forbidden City USA DVD 

Hollywood Chinese - Arthur Dong documentary

Danwei TV Video on Anna May Wong with Sufei

Anna May Wong in The Toll of the Sea (YouTube) 

Anna May Wong in Bombs Over Burma (YouTube)

Anna May Wong The Lady From Chungking (You Tube)

Yunah Hong speaking about her documentary on Anna May Wong

Direct download: CHP-159-Chinese_American_Stars_and_Entertainers_of_Old_Hollywood.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 11:05pm PDT