Finding aid for the Irvin Paik papers 3035

Finding aid prepared by Ken Klein
USC Libraries East Asian Library
Doheny Memorial Library
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, California, 90089-1825
2013 April

Title: Irvin Paik papers
Collection number: 3035
Contributing Institution: USC Libraries East Asian Library
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 3.0 Linear feet 3 bankers boxes
Date (inclusive): 1971-1975
Abstract: 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.
creator: Paik, Irvin, 1940-

Conditions Governing Access

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of Irvin Paik, 2012.

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.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Brotherhood of Artists (Los Angeles, Calif.) . -- Archives
Chinese for Affirmative Action (Organization). -- Archives
Chinese Media Committee (San Francisco, Calif.). -- Archives
Dhiegh, Khigh, 1910-1991 -- Archives
East West Players (Los Angeles, Calif.). -- Archives
Japanese American Citizens' League. -- 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
Slides (photographs)
Sound recordings

Box 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

Box 1, Folder 1

East-West Players


Drafts of an article on EWP


Notes from interviews with EWP figures


Notes from Bridge interview with EWP personnel

Box 1, Folder 2

"That Oriental Feeling"

Box 1, Folder 3

"Chinatown's First Tourists"

Box 1, Folder 4

"Kung Fu Fan Klub"

Box 1, Folder 5

"Hawaii Without Hawaiians"


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

Box 1, Folder 6

Asians and Asian Themes in American Film and TV

Box 1, Folder 7

Stereotypes of Asians in Motion Pictures and TV


Asians in the movie and TV industry

Box Box 1, Folder 8



Korean American Youth Foundation

Box Box 1, Folder 10

Asian Quest for a more beautiful motion picture and tv world

Box 1, Folder 11

Frank Chin

Box 1, Folder 12

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


Interviews - notes

Box 1, Folder 13

Interview with Nancy Kwan - notes

Box 1, Folder 14

George A. Sunga

Box 1, Folder 15

George Takei

Box 1, Folder 16

Geoff Wong, KCRA-TV (Sacramento)

Box 1, Folder 17

Khigh Dhiegh - interview



Box 1, Folder 18

"Three Sisters" - theatrical review

Box 1, Folder 19

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

Box 1, Folder 20

"Korean Pumpkins" (teleplay)


Cultural and Ethnic Minorities Series, LAUSD

Box 1, Folder 21

#11: "Asian American History"

Box 1, Folder 22

#12: "Asian American Culture"

Box 1, Folder 23

#13: "Asian American Problems"


East-West Players scripts

Box 1, Folder 24


Box 1, Folder 25

"Miss Asia 1975"

Box 1, Folder 26

"Kusabira: a commentary"

Box 1, Folder 27

"Migawari Zazen"

Box 1, Folder 28

"The Fox and the Trapper"

Box 1, Folder 29

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

Box 1, Folder 30

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

Box 1, Folder 31

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

Box 1

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 1, Folder 32

Brotherhood of Artists

Box 1, Folder 33

Chinese Media Committee

Box 1, Folder 34

Japanese American Citizens League

Box 1, Folder 35

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.
Box 1, Folder 36

East-West Players

Box 1

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 1, Folder 37

Asian actors

Box 1, Folder 38

Asian actresses

Box 1, Folder 39

Charlie Chan - notes

Box 1, Folder 40

Game shows

Box 1, Folder 41

"Gold Watch" - "Ghosts"

Box 1, Folder 42


Box 1, Folder 43

"Lovely Ladies..."

Box 1, Folder 44

Anna and the King of Siam : TV

Box 1, Folder 45

Misc photos

Box 1, Folder 46


Box 2

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 2, Folder 1

Ahn, Philip

Box 2, Folder 2

Asian contacts

Box 2, Folder 3

Asian History, Nisei

Box 2, Folder 4

Asian humor

Box 2, Folder 5

Asian theater

Box 2, Folder 6

Asians and war

Box 2, Folder 7

Asians in media

Box 2, Folder 8

Asians in move/tv industry

Box 2, Folder 9

Asians in World War II

Box 2, Folder 10


Box 2, Folder 11

Bride of Fu Manchu

Box 2, Folder 12

Bridge on the River Kwai

Box 2, Folder 13

Catfink cartoon: Crusader Rabbit, Dr. Doolittle

Box 2, Folder 14


Box 2, Folder 15

Channel 52

Box 2, Folder 16


Box 2, Folder 17

Charlie Chan - reviews

Box 2, Folder 18

Chicken Coop Chinaman

Box 2, Folder 19

A child in prison camp

Box 2, Folder 20

Chung, Byron

Box 2, Folder 21

Cry for Happy

Box 2, Folder 22

Current prejudice, 1972

Box 2, Folder 23

East-West Players

Box 2, Folder 24

Farewell to Manzanar

Box 2, Folder 25

"Five Fingers of Death" and other karate

Box 2, Folder 26

Focus - NBC 1972

Box 2, Folder 27

Fong, Benson

Box 2, Folder 28

Fu Manchu

Box 2, Folder 29

Funai, Helen

Box 2, Folder 30

General Yamashita

Box 2, Folder 31


Box 2, Folder 32

Go For Broke

Box 2, Folder 33

Gold Watch, No Place Tired Ghost

Box 2, Folder 34

Gone With the Wind

Box 2, Folder 35

Good Earth

Box 2, Folder 36

Guilty By Reason of Race

Box 2, Folder 37

Harada, Ernest

Box 2, Folder 38

Haru, Sumi

Box 2, Folder 39

Hawaii 5-0, television

Box 2, Folder 40

Hayakawa, Sessue

Box 2, Folder 41

Hays Office, MP censorship

Box 2, Folder 42

Howe, James Wong

Box 2, Folder 43

Ichino, Laurie

Box 2, Folder 44

Iko, Mimiko

Box 2, Folder 45

Japanese culture, people

Box 2, Folder 46

Judge Dee

Box 2, Folder 47

Kentucky Jones

Box 2, Folder 48

KHJ-TV documentary search of reality

Box 2, Folder 49

Kim, Randy

Box 2, Folder 50

King and I

Box 2, Folder 51

Korean imigrants

Box 2, Folder 52

Kung Fu - Beaton / Miller

Box 2, Folder 53

Kung Fu - Davide Carradine

Box 2, Folder 54

Kwan, Frank

Box 2, Folder 55

Lee, Ming Cho

Box 2, Folder 56

Little People, 1972

Box 2, Folder 57

Lost Horizon, 1972

Box 2, Folder 58

Luke, Keye

Box 2, Folder 59

M.A.S.H. TV, 1972

Box 2, Folder 60

Madame Sin

Box 2, Folder 61


Box 2, Folder 62

Misunderstanding China - CBS-TV

Box 2, Folder 63

Mr. Moto

Box 2, Folder 64

Mr. T and Tina

Box 2, Folder 65

Non-stereotypes, Asian

Box 2, Folder 66

Oh, Soon Taik

Box 2, Folder 67


Box 2, Folder 68

Pacific Overtures

Box 2, Folder 69

The "Peking-Taiwan Project" / Sam Rolfe

Box 2, Folder 70

Portrayal of Asians

Box 2, Folder 71


Box 2, Folder 72

Quo, Beulah

Box 2, Folder 73


Box 2, Folder 74

Retreat from Kiska

Box 2, Folder 75

Shimoda, Yuki

Box 2, Folder 76

Soh, John

Box 2, Folder 77

Soon, Terrance Tam

Box 2, Folder 78

Story ideas

Box 2, Folder 79

Stranger and the Gunfighter

Box 2, Folder 80

Tamiroff, Akim

Box 2, Folder 81

Teahouse film

Box 2, Folder 82

Three Stooges

Box 2, Folder 83

Toguri, Iva

Box 2, Folder 84

Tora! Tora! Tora!

Box 2, Folder 85

Toyota, Tritia

Box 2, Folder 86

20s and 30s whites as Asians

Box 2, Folder 87

Two Worlds of Jim Yoshida

Box 2, Folder 88

Vietnam in media

Box 2, Folder 89

Vietnam refugees

Box 2, Folder 90

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

Box 2, Folder 91

Wong, Anna May

Box 2, Folder 92

World War II invasion - Japan

Box 2, Folder 93

Yashima, Momo

Box 2, Folder 94

Yoshioka, Adele

Box 2, Folder 95

Yun, Lang

Box 2, Folder 96

Yung, Victor Sen

Box 3


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.
Box 3

Asian American actors - interviews

Box 3, Reel 1

Philip Ahn interview

Physical Description: 1.0 Reels
Box 3, Reel 2, Box 3, Reel 3

Pat Morita interview

Physical Description: 2.0 Reels
Box 3, Reel 3

George Takei interview

Box 3, Reel 3

Sam Chu Lin, etc. on Asians in media

Box 3

Irvin Paik productions

Box 3, Reel 4

Asians in Movies

Box 3, Disk Commercial Spoof & A Hyphenated American

Commercial Spoof


A Hyphenated American

Box 3

Recorded programs

Box 3, Reel 5

Gold Watch (scenes)

Box 3, Reel 5


Box 3, Reel 6

James Wong Howe

Box 3, Reel 7

Japanese American panel

Box 3, Reel 8

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




"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?"



Box 3, Carton 3, Box 3, Carton 2, Box 3, Carton 1, Box 3, Carton 5, Box 3, Carton 4

Asian Stereotypes

Box 3, Roll 1

Reel of unmounted B&W slides

Box 3, Roll 2

Misc B&W unmounted slides

Box 3, OTHERTYPE Extra slides B&W

Reel of unmounted B&W slides

Box 3


Box 3, Roll 3

Karate-themed commercial

Box 3, Roll 4

Unnamed commercial