The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong
September 5, 2017 10:24 AM   Subscribe

In 1951, Anna May Wong was TV’s first Asian-American leading actor. And then her groundbreaking show disappeared... The Search for Madame Liu-Tsong.
posted by Artw (10 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
From the article:
“And how could you not be hooked by the show’s bare-bones description — Anna May Wong runs a global empire of art galleries and also solves crimes!”
This sounds amazing.
posted by Fizz at 10:27 AM on September 5, 2017 [5 favorites]

What the actual fuck:
“[One of the DuMont lawyers] had three huge semis back up to the loading dock at ABC, filled them all with the stored kinescopes and two-inch videotape, drove them to a waiting barge in New Jersey, took them out on the water, made a right at the Statue of Liberty, and dumped them in Upper New York Bay! Very neat, no problem!”
Was this seriously what happened?
posted by Hermione Granger at 10:57 AM on September 5, 2017 [5 favorites]

A hell of a story (by Nicole Chung). Thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 11:02 AM on September 5, 2017 [6 favorites]

Always happy when i see old names from The Toast pop up.
posted by Artw at 11:03 AM on September 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

i was wondering about that quote too, Hermione Granger. In the 70s, reruns were already a big thing -- was the archive genuinely seen as solely a money loser? I mean, what were they *buying* when buying a long-defunct network, if not the archives?
posted by tavella at 11:14 AM on September 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

It was a dispute over who would handle the storage and copyright renewal costs of the film. Apparently some of the archives had already been destroyed in 1958, when the network (or someone who had bought the network) wanted to recover their silver.
posted by sysinfo at 11:58 AM on September 5, 2017 [4 favorites]

Was this seriously what happened?

NYC dumped its garbage out at sea up until about 25 years ago.
posted by octothorpe at 12:17 PM on September 5, 2017

octothorpe: Yes, I saw that testimony, but I'm still wondering a) why they thought it was negative value, I grew up in the 70s and by then reruns of old shows were a thing all day, so it's surprising that no one thought there was any possible value at that point and b) what on earth were they buying of a network that had been defunct for close to two decades if not the archives? From Wikiapedia it looks like the actual stations were spun off into Metromedia which didn't have any ownership changes in the 70s.

If I had to guess, maybe Paramount inherited the archive (they seem to have seized control of DuMont as it was failing) and the library disposal was actually part of them being brought by Gulf & Western in 1966, rather than anyone actually purchasing the DuMont assets. I wonder if anyone ever got more details out of Edie Adams or anyone else.
posted by tavella at 1:03 PM on September 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Footage from her 1936 trip to China was screened on Bold Journey in the 50s and still exists today.
posted by brujita at 2:52 PM on September 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Aw, now I want to see the show!
I would also settle for a book series based on the show.
posted by Gadgetenvy at 1:22 PM on September 6, 2017

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