Wednesday, September 27, 2023

A Few Details About Greg Jein, Pop Culture and Baseball Fan, Collector, Conventioneer, Miniature Modelmaker, and Academy Award Nominee

Greg Jein’s collection of mostly science fiction models, props and costumes will be auctioned on October 14 and 15 at Heritage Auctions. Included are photographic items from The Green Hornet with Bruce Lee; Wah Chang’s Star Trek Tricorder and Salt Vampire creature hand; and photographs of Irene Tsu. The New York Times, September 16, 2023, highlighted some of the auction items. (On October 15 the Star Wars X-Wing fighter model sold for $3.1 million.)

Jein was born on October 31, 1945 in Los Angeles, California. In the 1950 United States Census, Jein (line 28) was the only child of Joseph and Annie who married on January 10, 1944. The California Marriage Record at said his mother’s name, at the time, was Chuey L. Lee. Also in the household was Jein’s paternal grandfather, Chee Sing Jein also known as Jein Lun Lane. In Chinese American Names: Tradition and Transition (1998), Emma Woo Louie said 
... Joseph Jein, who grew up in Santa Barbara, California, recalled that his father adopted this spelling after becoming a Christian—the family name was originally spelled Gin (甄). This surname is also Americanized as Gene, Ginn, and Jean. ...
In Jade: An Asian American Magazine, Winter 1982, Volume 4, Number 4, Jein said
Because of the way my name is spelled, most people think I’m German. My last name derives from Gin, but after my grandfather became a Christian, he thought it sounded too much like the alcohol, so he changed it.

Jein attended Audubon Junior High, Dorsey High School and Los Angeles State College (California State University, Los Angeles). 

 1962 Circle, Dorsey High School yearbook;
yearbook staff had Jein and others on sports

In an interview at StarTrek,  Jein mentioned collecting television memorabilia in 1966 and attending a convention organized by Bjo Trimble

Jein was a Star Trek fan. His drawing of a Klingon warbird was featured on the cover of Inside Star Trek 2, August 1968. 

Jein contributed illustrations to ten issues of T-Negative: #3, September 1969; #4, December 1969; #5, February 1970; #6, April 1970; #8, August 1970; #12, October 1971; #13, December 1971; #15, May 1972; #19, February 1973; #23, July 1974. His article, “The Case of Jonathan Doe Starship”, was published in #27, April 1975. 

T-Negative 5, February 1970

T-Negative 6, April 1970

According to Close Encounters of the Third Kind: The Making of Steven Spielberg’s Classic Film (2007), Jein “earned a degree in fine arts from the Los Angeles State College of Applied Arts and Sciences”. Cinefex #2, August 1980, profiled Jein and explained how he got into film special effects. At Los Angeles State College, Jein “learned the tedious and frequently uncomfortable skill of fiberglassing”. Mastering this process helped him get work at a small effects outfit in Santa Monica. The project involved creating fiberglass props for the “Chicken of the Sea” show at San Diego’s Sea World. Jein worked with Bill Hedge who offered him a chance to work a pornographic parody of Flash Gordon. Jein accepted and met Dennis Muren, Jim Danforth, Rick Baker, and Doug Beswick who were working on Flesh Gordon.

Jein’s earliest film credits were the 1974 films Flesh Gordon (effects technician and special miniature constructor) and Dark Star (special effects). His film and television work include Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977); Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979); 1941 (1979); The Hunt for Red October (1990); V (1983); Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994); Fantastic Four (2005); Avatar (2009); Oblivion (2013); Interstellar (2014); and Mulan (2020). The starship USS Gregory Jein appeared in Star Trek: Picard.

Jein shared Academy Award visual effects nominations on Close Encounters of the Third Kind with Roy Arbogast, Douglas Trumbull, Matthew Yuricich and Richard Yuricich, and 1941 with William A. Fraker and A.D. Flowers. 

Jein was a guest at the 1984 San Diego Comic-Con.

Souvenir Program Book

Jein can be found in many publications at the Internet Archive as Greg Jein and Gregory Jein

Star Trek The Next Generation
Behind the Scenes card #26, 1993

Public records at said Jein resided at 3770 Cherrywood Avenue in Los Angeles. 

Jein passed away on May 22, 2022 in Los Angeles. The Hollywood Reporter, June 29, 2022, published an obituary. 

Further Reading and Viewing
Fansided, Truths about Greg Jein from the friends who knew him best 
Memory Alpha, Gregory Jein
StarTrek, Remembering Gregory Jein, 1945–2022
National Public Radio, ‘Star Wars’ Red Leader X-wing model heads a cargo bay’s worth of props at auction

A Few Details About Greg Jein’s Family History

Greg’s roots are in “Toy-shan, Kwangtung, China” (Taishan, Guangdong, China), where his paternal grandfather, Jein Chee Sing aka Jein Lun Lane, was born on August 22, 1862 according to his Petition for Naturalization application (at which was signed on May 2, 1956. On June 8, 1956 in Los Angeles, he was naturalized as Lun Lane Jein.   

The application said his lawful admission for permanent residence was at San Francisco on December 2, 1897. Aboard the steamer Gaelic, Jein Chee Sing, a grocer, was number 42 on the passenger list (below) which said he was landed on December 2, 1897. 

The passenger list also said his last residence was in Santa Barbara, California. Another passenger list, at, dated July 26, 1888 listed a “Jain Chee Sing”, number 657, whose case went to court. I believe “Jain Chee Sing” was the same person as Jein Chee Sing.

In Santa Barbara, Jein Lun Lane operated the Shanghai Company. 

Morning Press, January 4, 1898

While visiting San Francisco, Jein Lun Lane met his future wife. The San Francisco Examiner, October 4, 1903, reported their upcoming marriage. 
Ward of Mission to Marry Next Tuesday
The wedding of Miss Chew Kum Lom, a ward of the Presbyterian Mission, and Jein Lun Lane, which will take place next Tuesday night, will be an interesting event. Half a thousand invitations are out, and the guests will include some of the most prominent Presbyterian people of this city. The girl is a favorite with visitors to the Mission, and ever since she was old enough to go into company she has been entertained in many of the beautiful Western Addition homes. 

The romance of these two Chinese young people began two months ago during the visit of the merchant to this city. He caught eight of the girl on her way back to the Mission from a fancy afternoon tea. In gay silk clothes, and with arms full of flowers, Miss Chew made so pretty a picture that Jein Lun Lane decided that he must make tho acquaintance of the winsome maiden. 

Through the influence of a mutual friend, Miss Chew and Jein Lun Lane met, and soon after became engaged. 

The merchant is a heavy taxpayer and the proprietor of the largest Chinese bazaar in Santa Barbara. He has built and furnished an artistic house, which will be his gift to his bride. He has already given her a casket of jewels.

Tho wedding will take place in the large reception room of the Mission. The Rev. Dr. Condit will officiate. 
The San Francisco Call, October 6, 1903, marriage license notice said 
Jein Lun Lane, 27, Santa Barbara, and Chew Kum Lon, 18, 920 Sacramento street. 
The 1910 United States Census counted the Jein family of five (lines 62 to 66) in Santa Barbara at 414 West Islay Street. 

On June 11, 1913, Greg’s father, Joseph, was born in Santa Barbara. 

The Morning Press, April 18, 1916, reported Jein Lun Lane’s retirement. 
Chinese Hints Now Ready to Retire 
Shanghai Company to Close After Twenty-Nine Years Continuous Business
Twenty-nine years’ continuous business in this city is a record of which any firm could well be proud, especially when coupled with a reputation for honesty and square dealing. This is the record of the Shanghai company, dealers in oriental gods, 716 State street. Twenty-nine years ago Jein C. Sing and Jung Yung came to Santa Barbara and opened their first store. As the years passed their reputation for reliability increased and their stock was accordingly enlarged from time to time. Business acumen and pertinacity have brought their reward, and now they are retiring from the cares of business, comfortably fixed, so far as the comforts of this world are concerned, content to rest with their well earned laurels. Mr. Yung will return in the near future to Canton, China, his old home, where he has been but three times in the twenty-nine years. His last visit to the land of his birth was eight years ago. Mr. Sing is well satisfied with Santa Barbara, and will remain here, as he desires his children to finish their course in the public schools. The firm will close out their business with a sale which will be announced in the advertising columns of the Morning Press tomorrow morning.
Jein Lun Lane changed his mind as told in the Morning Press, December 2, 1916. 
Chinese Merchant Opens New Store
Jein Lun Lane, a Chinese merchant who was interested in the Shanghai company throughout its twenty-nine years’ business in this city, discontinued only a short time ago, has made arrangements to reembark in the same line of trade, Chinese and Japanese fancy goods, and his store will be opened today at 1228 State street, under the name of the Jein Curio company. The new concern will carry a large stock of fine goods, especially appropriate to the Christmas holidays, and Jein Lun Lane will be glad to welcome to the establishment all of the many friends he has made during his long career as a dealer in Santa Barbara.
Morning Press, December 2, 1916

Mission Santa Barbara: Early Days in Alta California (1917) included a Classified Business Directory. 
Art Goods
Jein Curio Co., Chinese and Japanese Art Goods, 1228 State St.
In the 1920 census, Jein Lun Lane and his wife, Helen, had five children, David, Nora, Helen, Joseph and Barbara (lines 83 to 89). They lived at the same address, 414 West Islay Street.

The Santa Barbara County telephone directory, January 1926, had this listing: “Jein Curio Co 1228 State 2811-J”.

According to the 1930 census, the Jein family (lines 9 to 15), resided at 418 West Islay Street. 

In 1931 Joseph graduated from Santa Barbara High School. 

Olive and Gold yearbook

The 1940 census said Joseph, a cook, and his sister, Dorothy, lived with their parents (lines 72 to 75) at the same address. 

On October 16, 1940, Joseph signed his World War II draft card. He was described as five feet seven inches, 150 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. His veteran’s file (at said he served in the Navy. Joseph enlisted on December 10, 1942 and was discharged on November 25, 1945. 

Joseph married Chuey L. Lee on January 10, 1944 somewhere in California. 

The Handbook of Chinese in America (1946) included the following entry. 
甄倫合古玩店 Jein Curio Co., 1228 State St., Tel. 27122
Greg’s uncle, David, passed away on March 14, 1949. 

The Santa Barbara News-Press, January 24, 1962, reported Jein Lun Lane’s passing. 
Funeral services for Jein Lun Lane, 98, who died at his home at 418 Islay St. Monday will be held in the Chapel the Chimes in Inglewood Park Cemetery at 1 pm Saturday. Friends may call at the Welch Ryce Associates mortuary until 9 am Saturday. 

Mr. Jein was known here as a curio and art dealer. Jein operated Curio Co at 1228 State St. from 1917 to 1945 when he retired. He is survived by his wife Mrs. Helen Jein whom he married in San Francisco in 1903. 

Also surviving are four daughters, Nora May Jung and Helen Soo Hoo of Los Angeles and Barbara Chow-Jowe [1915–2007] and Dorothy Yip [1923– ] of San Francisco; a son, Joseph Jein of Los Angeles; six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
According to the California Death Index, Greg’s mother, Helen, passed away on March 29, 1982. Greg’s father, Joseph, passed away on February 22, 1991. 

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(Updated September 28, 2023; next post on Wednesday: Yun Gee in The Young Companion 良友)

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