Q & A WITH 1950S CHILD ACTOR DANNY CHANG – PART 2
While Danny Chang’s memories on his co-stars are rather limited due to his being a child, he shared what memories he could recall. He sweetly gave me an autographed photo. Back in November, I tried to go to a play reading hosted by Arlene Dahl and show this to her but she had to attend a funeral.
1. What was it like working with Frank Borzage in China Doll (1956)? I didn’t realize he was still directing then. I saw him act in a 1914 film with Sesseu Hayakawa. His character fell in love and marries a Japanese character played by Hayakawa’s wife, Tsuru Aoki. I’m sure I remember a kissing scene too.
I think I was a disappointment for him, having become as I describe it “stiff” since in those days I did not receive any acting lessons or coaching.
2. In Soldier of Fortune (1955) you worked with Clark Gable. Any memories?
Clark Gable seemed to be a nice guy, but the part as his adopted son was relatively short and certainly the time to develop rapport was limited.
3. What was Keye Luke like?
I think I mainly remember him as being somewhat serious and as his character as Number One Son!
4. From the movie Hong Kong (1951), what were Rhonda Fleming and Ronald Reagan like?
I can tell you that Ronald Reagan was friendly, fun to interact with, and only in the USA are the opportunities for him to become President and for me have a career as an engineering professor after our paths crossed in Hollywood!
Rhonda Fleming set a bar for me for redheads. Again, she was friendly, fun to work with and beautiful. I vaguely remember her leading me out on stage to sing “On Top of Old Smokey” and accompanying me with her guitar for the movie’s premiere … I think it was in San Francisco.
5. Did you marry a redhead?
No, I think that I was still in the generation where cross-cultural marriages were eschewed.
6. I haven’t seen Hong Kong but I can’t believe you were dropped off at an orphanage. Why didn’t Rhonda and Reagan adopt you?
You’d have to ask the writers!
7. What was Philip Ahn like to work with in Battle Circus? Do you know about his father Dosan, a Korean independence leader against the Japanese? I’m from Atlanta. Dosan is inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta.
Don’t remember much about Philip Ahn, but there is an interesting personal story associated with The Boy Who Walked to America (1956) in which I played the role of a Korean orphan who attaches himself to an army unit. I found out at the wedding rehearsal dinner that my daughter-in-law’s father was actually helped by an American army unit and eventually became a Presbyterian minister. I don’t think that he was the child character that screenplay was written about, but it goes to show that there must have been many compassionate American army units that helped and sponsored Korean orphans.