Monday, August 8, 2011

Teahouse of the August Moon

In 1956 a film called Teahouse of the August Moon was produced by MGM. ("The Teahouse of the August Moon" won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1954). The film starred Marlon Brando*, Glenn Ford and Eddie Albert and was a comedy. According to IMBD the storyline goes like this:

"A satire on America's very own drive of a world changer: One year after world war II, Captain Fisby is sent to the village Tobiki in Okinawa to teach the people democracy. First step is to build a school - but the witty folks know what they really want. They tell him about their culture and traditions - and persuade him to build something they really want: a teahouse. Fisby has a hard time to break this to his superiors."

My grandmother, Miyoshi Jingu who was 63 years old in 1956 was sitting in the kitchen of our home in East Los Angeles. She was reading the Japanese newspaper "The Rafu Shimpo" when she saw an ad asking for someone to try out for a small part in a movie. She made an inquiry about the ad and ultimately got the part of the old woman sitting on top of the jeep.* You will see her in the last frame of this poster for the movie, bottom right. She was strapped to the top of the jeep during the filming along with other passengers, many boxes and a goat. She said that they had to sit on the jeep for a long time and that when they moved she was bouncing around the top of the piled up boxes and she had to hold on for dear life. We all laughed about this at the time but now that I think about it, she might have been in real danger. Anyway this was the start of her movie career and a thrilling new time in her life.

Here is a picture of my grandma on the set of "Teahouse of the August Moon.

Miyoshi Jingu, 1956

*Thus began an active movie career that would span a 10 year period for my grandma Miyoshi. She joined the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and had the premier asian actor's agent of the times Bessie Loo(

1 comment:

menehune said...

Just loved this! Fascinating. And such a lovely, genteel photo of your grandmother. Treasured memories for sure! Lucky you.

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