Friday, August 29, 2014

Yun Gee and the Tri-King Checker and Chess Board

“Four-man chess”
March 12, 1954
United Press photograph caption: Preparing to move, Yun Gee, internationally known artist and inventor, demonstrates his new chess game which allows four people to play. Called “Fourth Dimensional,” the game is played on a board which allows 2, 3, or 4 people to play either chess or checkers. in effect, the board is two checker boards cut in half and separated by an open area permitting diagonal and cross moves. All standard chess rules are used in playing the four-man game. The new chess and checker boards will be installed at Central Park and Sunset Park by the New York City Department of Parks. At Gee’s right is his daughter, Lilan, playing in the demonstration.

April 25, 1954

The Stars and Stripes
June 5, 1955

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(Next post on Friday: Modern Art in Advertising)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Yun Gee’s Lunar Tubes

All Aboard the Moon Express
Yun Gee, well-known Chinese American painter, scaled the above plans for an aluminum, canvas an bamboo “Lunar Tube” which will cost the government only $10 more than World War II. So it’s all aboard the Moon Express by the shortest route, only 221,000 miles. He would start st the Earth’s surface with an aluminum structure something like the Empire State Building which would stretch up about 30 miles to where the Earth’s atmosphere ends. But, he says, “It’s not heavy and all time pushing down. It’s light and pushes up.” Tickets for the 9 1/2-day trip are not yet on sale.

February 15, 1946

All Aboard the Moon Express
New York—Yun Gee (above), well-known Chinese American painter and a teacher of philosophy as a sideline, has it all figured out. Pretty quick we’ll all be running to make the Moon special. He has scaled plans for an aluminum, canvas and bamboo “Lunar Tube” which will cost the government only $10 more than World War II. At the end of the contraption is a giant magnet which will attach it firmly to the moon after a trip at 1,000 m.p.h. lasting 9 1/2 days. That’s by the short route. About the chances of living when you get there, Yun Gee is not concerned. “I’m a philosopher as well as an engineer,” he said. “It’s only my problem to get them up there. What comes later—week that’s their lookout.”

February 15, 1946

May 29–June 4, 1960
Page 27, 31: Oddballs
Yun Gee—the moon tunnel man—is another person with a high reputation in several fields. The Chinese-born artist is the father of diamondism in painting and the inventor of four-man chess. While he was working as an engineer and draughtsman for the Sperry Gyroscope Corporation he conceived the glorious idea of tunnelling to the moon. It’s really quite simple as he tells it. You put up a lot of balloons about fifty miles up and start building a huge tube of bamboo and aluminum. At first it is hung on the balloons but as it gets out into space the air rushing up through it keeps it distended just the way the bag on an upright vacuum cleaner stays open.

Well sir, when this big tube (it’s one mile in diameter) gets out near the moon, say about 200,000 miles from the earth, you throw out a sky magnetic anchor that hooks onto the moon and there you are, cosily tied to the moon with a monstrous umbilical cord. Then you start regular plane services inside the tube, just the way cars drive between Windsor and Detroit, under the river. 

I hope that’s all quite clear to you.

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(Next post on Friday: Yun Gee and the Tri-King Checker and Chess Board)

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Green Turtle in China

On July 18, 2014, I had a morning appointment at the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, the People’s Government of Guangzhou Municipality. With me were my son, Aaron, and Professor Peng Changxin, of South China University of Technology, who drove us to the office.

I brought a suitcase full of books, periodicals, Playbills, comic books, menus, matchcovers, a watercolor painting and a hole puncher; all of them related to the Chinese in the United States. These items were donated for the Guangzhou Overseas Chinese Museum, which is under construction.

I presented the items to Deputy Director Feng Guang Jun and other officers. Included were copies of Blazing Comics, numbers three and four, and The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew. I explained to Feng that the comics books featured a superhero, the Green Turtle, created by Chu Fook Hing, in the mid-1940s. I told him that a new story had been published about the Green Turtle by Yang and Liew. (I received an advanced copy of The Shadow Hero from Yang’s publisher, First Second Books.) Chu’s watercolor painting was donated, too.

Feng Guang Jun (left) and Alex Jay (right).
Photo by Professor Peng Changxin

As you may know, all of the Green Turtle stories took place in China. With my donation of Blazing Comics and The Shadow Hero, the Green Turtle really is in China. It’s up to the museum curator to decide how to use Chu’s comics and watercolor, along with Yang and Liew’s graphic novel.

Related post: Gene Yang at the National Book Festival.

(Next post on Friday: Bruce Lee in Hong Kong and Guangzhou)