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Finding aid for the Irvin Paik papers

Finding aid prepared by Ken Klein, 2013 April

Summary Information

USC Libraries East Asian Library
Creator - Writer of accompanying material
Paik, Irvin, 1940-
Irvin Paik papers
Collection no.
Date [inclusive]
3.0 Linear feet, 3 bankers boxes
The Irvin Paik papers include correspondence, article typescripts, subject files, scripts, photographs, news clippings, slides, and audiotapes created by television and film editor Irvin Paik during a period (early 1970s) when he was actively involved in several organizations (East-West Players, Brotherhood of Artists, Japanese American Citizens League, Asian Americans for Fair Media) centered around the effort to more fairly and accurately represent Asians in the media, to expand the opportunities open to them in the movie and television industries. Paik also conducted research for several related projects.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder# or item name], Irvin Paik papers, Collection no. 3035, Korean American Digital Archive, Korean Heritage Library, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

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Historical background

There was a broad-based effort during the 1960s-1970s to build the foundations of a multi-ethnic society in which mutual respect between people of differing cultural backgrounds could meet on a level field and thereby be accorded more equal access to opportunities of all sorts. In this effort, the importance of the images put forward of Asians and Asian Americans in the mainstream media was recognized and found to be characterized by stereotypical appearances, demeanors, accents and social roles.

The East-West Players, "the nation's premier Asian American theatre," was founded in 1965 in order to provide opportunities for Asian American actors to break out of the stereotypes so common to that point. Their first performances were presented in the basement of a church at the corner of Lucille Avenue and Griffith Park Blvd., in Los Angeles, from which they moved in 1973 to a 99-seat theater on Santa Monica Blvd. In 1998, the company moved to its current housing, in the David Henry Hwang Theater, in Little Tokyo.

Early in 1970, a group of Asian Americans intent on mobilizing for greater opportunities in the stage, movie and television industry, met to organize themselves. At their first meeting, they adopted the name "Ethnic," but voted to change to the "Brotherhood of Artists." The organization appears to have lasted only until late 1972.

The Chinese Media Committee is an affiliated organization of Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), a group founded in San Francisco in 1969 for the purpose of advocating for improved job opportunities for Chinese Americans.

The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), founded in 1929, is the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in the United States. It is a national organization whose ongoing mission is to secure and maintain the civil rights of Japanese Americans and all others who are victimized by injustice and bigotry.

Asian Americans for Fair Media, Inc. (AAFM) was founded in 1973 by a group of Nisei, led by George Yuzawa, to monitor local and national broadcasts and print media for negative Asian stereotypes and racial slurs.

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Biographical note

Irvin Paik was born in Bakersfield in 1940, the youngest of six children--and the only son--of Meung Sun Paik and Rose Park, both of whom came from large immigrant families. The Paiks and Parks were both farming families, in Oregon, Idaho, Utah and California. Irvin was born as his parents were in the process of moving to Los Angeles, which by then had the largest concentration of Koreans in North America. Growing up in postwar Los Angeles, in the midst of a close community and with almost twenty uncles and aunts and dozens of cousins, Irvin had open to him a greater range of opportunities than had most Koreans prior to World War II. In high school, he became interested in drama and photography, and continued to pursue those interests at UCLA. In his effort to foster an acting career, Paik confronted the problems of Asian stereotypes and limited opportunities for Asian American actors. He joined several organizations (East West Players, Brotherhood of Artists, Japanese American Citizens League, etc.) and became an active advocate, as reflected in this collection.

He enlisted in the Army to avoid the draft and enrolled in a unit of college graduates resulting in a 2nd Lieutenant commission in the artillery. Paik was assigned to the Field Photographic Unit of the Army Pictorial Center, where he was able to develop technical skills that he later used to gain entry into the Producer Training Plan, which was established to provide more equal access to men and women of diverse backgrounds by training them for careers in the motion picture and television industry. This led to a successful career as a film editor, in movies and, more particularly, television.

Aside from his early activism and career as a film editor, Paik has been an active member of the Korean American Pioneer Council (KAPC), originally formed as a support group for the Korean American Museum, in Los Angeles, but with the specific mission to gather and preserve the history of the First Wave of Koreans in America. He has been most prominently involved in the KAPC's oral history program, for which he has served as cameraman and, very often, as interviewer. Irvin himself was interviewed for that series in 2012, during the course of which the existence of this collection came to light.

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Scope and Content

This collection documents a period of Irvin Paik's life, roughly 1970-1974, during which he was active in the campaign to improve opportunities for Asian Americans in the movie, television and theater business, on the one hand, and to push for more accurate and rounded characterizations of Asians in the media. Contents include correspondence, article typescripts, subject files, scripts, photographs, news clippings, slides, and audiotapes.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

USC Libraries East Asian Library
2013 April
Doheny Memorial Library
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, California, 90089-1825

Conditions Governing Access

Check USC Digital Archive for online availability. Advance notice required for access to original items.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head, East Asian Library. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the East Asian Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of Irvin Paik, 2012.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Brotherhood of Artists (Los Angeles, Calif.) . -- Archives
  • Chinese for Affirmative Action (Organization). -- Archives
  • Chinese Media Committee (San Francisco, Calif.). -- Archives
  • East West Players (Los Angeles, Calif.). -- Archives
  • Japanese American Citizens' League. -- Archives


  • Audiotapes
  • Clippings
  • Correspondence
  • Photographs
  • Scripts
  • Slides (photographs)
  • Sound recordings

Personal Name(s)

  • Dhiegh, Khigh, 1910-1991 -- Archives
  • Kwan, Nancy -- Archives
  • Mako, 1933-2006 -- Archives
  • Morita, Pat, 1932-2005 -- Archives
  • Paik, Irvin, 1940- -- Archives
  • Quo, Beulah, 1923-2002 -- Archives
  • Takei, George, 1940- -- Archives


  • Asian Americans in motion pictures--Archival resources
  • Asian Americans in the motion picture industry--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources
  • Asian Americans on television--Archival resources

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Collection Inventory

Series 1:  Irvin Paik: writings 

Scope and Contents

During the early 1970s, Irvin Paik wrote several articles relating to the issues of the image of Asians depicted in American movies and television and the limited opportunities Asian Americans open to Asian Americans in those industries. As part of his research process, he interviewed a number of Asian American actors. At the same time, Paik wrote serveral stage scripts, centered around Asian themes. Contents in this series notes from his articles and interviews, original scripts and script adaptations.


 Articles - notes 

 East-West Players 


 Drafts of an article on EWP 

 Notes from interviews with EWP figures 

 Notes from Bridge interview with EWP personnel 

 "That Oriental Feeling" 

1 2

 "Chinatown's First Tourists" 

1 3

 "Kung Fu Fan Klub" 

1 4

 "Hawaii Without Hawaiians" 

1 5

 "Asians and Asian Themes in American Films and TV" - slide show documents 

Box Folder

 Asians and Asian Themes in American Film and TV 

1 6

 Stereotypes of Asians in Motion Pictures and TV 

1 7

 Asians in the movie and TV industry 

Box Folder


Box 1 8

 Korean American Youth Foundation 

Box Folder

 Asian Quest for a more beautiful motion picture and tv world 

Box 1 10
Box Folder

 Frank Chin 

1 11

 "Writer casts satiric glance at TV programmers' insensitivity" (Rafu Shimpo 2/22/75) 

1 12

 Interviews - notes 

Box Folder

 Interview with Nancy Kwan - notes 

1 13

 George A. Sunga 

1 14

 George Takei 

1 15

 Geoff Wong, KCRA-TV (Sacramento) 

1 16

 Khigh Dhiegh - interview 

1 17


Box Folder

 "Three Sisters" - theatrical review 

1 18

 "A Brief Biographical Sketch of a Newly-Found Asian Male" - dramatized 

1 19

 "Korean Pumpkins" (teleplay) 

1 20

 Cultural and Ethnic Minorities Series, LAUSD 

Box Folder

 #11: "Asian American History" 

1 21

 #12: "Asian American Culture" 

1 22

 #13: "Asian American Problems" 

1 23

 East-West Players scripts 

Box Folder


1 24

 "Miss Asia 1975" 

1 25

 "Kusabira: a commentary" 

1 26

 "Migawari Zazen" 

1 27

 "The Fox and the Trapper" 

1 28
Box Folder

 "Bible Bomber" (script outline for "Harry-O" 

1 29

 "The night Yuki threw the potato chips at Pat Li" (EWP vignette) 

1 30

 "Nolbo and Heungbo: a Korean folk tale" (empty document binder) 

1 31

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Series 2:  Asian American organization records 

Scope and Contents

In the early 1970s, Irvin Paik was active in several organizations relating to the issues of the image of Asians in media and the demand for increased opportunities for Asian Americans in movies, television and stage. Contents of this series include meeting minutes, documents, correspondence and photographs.

Box Folder

 Brotherhood of Artists 

1 32

 Chinese Media Committee 

1 33

 Japanese American Citizens League 

1 34

 Asian Americans for Fair Media 

Scope and Contents

Irvin Paik was active in several organizations concerned with Asian American media issues, both for the promotion of opportunities for Asian Americans and for elimination of stereotypical images of Asians. Contents of this series include documents, meeting minutes, correspondence, and photographs.

1 35

 East-West Players 

1 36

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Series 3:  Miscellaneous files 

Scope and Contents

As part of his research, Irvin Paik collected information relating to the condition of Asian American actors, plays developed for performance by the East-West Players and particular issues of protest. Contents of this series include files on actors, specific plays and photographs.

Box Folder

 Asian actors 

1 37

 Asian actresses 

1 38

 Charlie Chan - notes 

1 39

 Game shows 

1 40

 "Gold Watch" - "Ghosts" 

1 41


1 42

 "Lovely Ladies..." 

1 43

 Anna and the King of Siam : TV 

1 44

 Misc photos 

1 45


1 46

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Series 4:  News clippings 

Scope and Contents

This series consists of newspaper and magazine articles collected on a range of Asian and Asian American-themes in American movies, television and stage, including broad themes (e.g. "Asian theater"), individual actors, plays and programs.

Box Folder

 Ahn, Philip 

2 1

 Asian contacts 

2 2

 Asian History, Nisei 

2 3

 Asian humor 

2 4

 Asian theater 

2 5

 Asians and war 

2 6

 Asians in media 

2 7

 Asians in move/tv industry 

2 8

 Asians in World War II 

2 9


2 10

 Bride of Fu Manchu 

2 11

 Bridge on the River Kwai 

2 12

 Catfink cartoon: Crusader Rabbit, Dr. Doolittle 

2 13


2 14

 Channel 52 

2 15


2 16

 Charlie Chan - reviews 

2 17

 Chicken Coop Chinaman 

2 18

 A child in prison camp 

2 19

 Chung, Byron 

2 20

 Cry for Happy 

2 21

 Current prejudice, 1972 

2 22

 East-West Players 

2 23

 Farewell to Manzanar 

2 24

 "Five Fingers of Death" and other karate 

2 25

 Focus - NBC 1972 

2 26

 Fong, Benson 

2 27

 Fu Manchu 

2 28

 Funai, Helen 

2 29

 General Yamashita 

2 30


2 31

 Go For Broke 

2 32

 Gold Watch, No Place Tired Ghost 

2 33

 Gone With the Wind 

2 34

 Good Earth 

2 35

 Guilty By Reason of Race 

2 36

 Harada, Ernest 

2 37

 Haru, Sumi 

2 38

 Hawaii 5-0, television 

2 39

 Hayakawa, Sessue 

2 40

 Hays Office, MP censorship 

2 41

 Howe, James Wong 

2 42

 Ichino, Laurie 

2 43

 Iko, Mimiko 

2 44

 Japanese culture, people 

2 45

 Judge Dee 

2 46

 Kentucky Jones 

2 47

 KHJ-TV documentary search of reality 

2 48

 Kim, Randy 

2 49

 King and I 

2 50

 Korean imigrants 

2 51

 Kung Fu - Beaton / Miller 

2 52

 Kung Fu - Davide Carradine 

2 53

 Kwan, Frank 

2 54

 Lee, Ming Cho 

2 55

 Little People, 1972 

2 56

 Lost Horizon, 1972 

2 57

 Luke, Keye 

2 58

 M.A.S.H. TV, 1972 

2 59

 Madame Sin 

2 60


2 61

 Misunderstanding China - CBS-TV 

2 62

 Mr. Moto 

2 63

 Mr. T and Tina 

2 64

 Non-stereotypes, Asian 

2 65

 Oh, Soon Taik 

2 66


2 67

 Pacific Overtures 

2 68

 The "Peking-Taiwan Project" / Sam Rolfe 

2 69

 Portrayal of Asians 

2 70


2 71

 Quo, Beulah 

2 72


2 73

 Retreat from Kiska 

2 74

 Shimoda, Yuki 

2 75

 Soh, John 

2 76

 Soon, Terrance Tam 

2 77

 Story ideas 

2 78

 Stranger and the Gunfighter 

2 79

 Tamiroff, Akim 

2 80

 Teahouse film 

2 81

 Three Stooges 

2 82

 Toguri, Iva 

2 83

 Tora! Tora! Tora! 

2 84

 Toyota, Tritia 

2 85

 20s and 30s whites as Asians 

2 86

 Two Worlds of Jim Yoshida 

2 87

 Vietnam in media 

2 88

 Vietnam refugees 

2 89

 Will the Real Jerry Lewis Please Sit Down, television, 1970-71 

2 90

 Wong, Anna May 

2 91

 World War II invasion - Japan 

2 92

 Yashima, Momo 

2 93

 Yoshioka, Adele 

2 94

 Yun, Lang 

2 95

 Yung, Victor Sen 

2 96

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Series 5:  Audio-Visual 

Scope and Contents

Apart from his writings, much of Irvin Paik's contributions were as a photographer, videographer and sound recorder. Contents of this series include recordings of interviews and television and stage programs (reel-to-reel tapes) short video programs (DVDs), and a narrated slide show.


 Asian American actors - interviews 

Box Reel

 Philip Ahn interview   1.0 Reels

3 1

 Pat Morita interview   2.0 Reels

    Box Reel
Audio   3 2
    Box Reel
Audio   3 3

Box Reel

 George Takei interview 

3 3

 Sam Chu Lin, etc. on Asians in media 

3 3

 Irvin Paik productions 

Box Reel

 Asians in Movies 

3 4
Box Disk

 Commercial Spoof 

3 Commercial Spoof & A Hyphenated American

 A Hyphenated American 

 Recorded programs 

Box Reel

 Gold Watch (scenes) 

3 5


3 5

 James Wong Howe 

3 6

 Japanese American panel 

3 7

 Korean Pickle Jar (Korean-American talent show, 1962) 

3 8


 "A Bushel and a Peck" 


 "I Enjoy Being a Girl" 

 "Gliding Through My Memory" 

 "Grandmother Has a Fine Time" 

 Korean drama 

 Korean song 

 Latin piece 

 "Lovely Hula Hands" 

 "The Man Who Never Returned" 

 "Never Part" 




 "Stroll Along the Shore" 

 "Who's Gonna Hold Her Hand?" 


 Asian Stereotypes 

    Box Carton
Slides (Photography)   3 3
    Box Carton
Slides (Photography)   3 2
    Box Carton
Slides (Photography)   3 1
    Box Carton
Slides (Photography)   3 5
    Box Carton
Slides (Photography)   3 4

Box Roll

 Reel of unmounted B&W slides 

3 1

 Misc B&W unmounted slides 

3 2

 Reel of unmounted B&W slides 

3 Extra slides B&W


Box Roll

 Karate-themed commercial 

3 3

 Unnamed commercial 

3 4

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