You Don't Know Jack Soo
You Don't Know Jack Soo Previous Broadcasts
KQED Plus: Sun, May 6, 2012 -- 6:30 PM
This program profiles American entertainer Jack Soo, an Oakland native who became the first Asian American to be cast in the lead role in a regular television series Valentine's Day (1963), and later starred in the popular comedy show Barney Miller (1975-1978). The film traces Jack's early beginnings as a nightclub singer and comedian, to his breakthrough role as Sammy Fong in Rogers and Hammerstein's Broadway play and film version of The Flower Drum Song.
This profile also explores why Soo, a former internee who was actually born Goro Suzuki, was forced to change his name in the post WWII era. Because of his experiences, throughout his career in films and television, Soo refused to play roles that were demeaning to and often spoke out against negative ethnic portrayals. With plenty of clips to showcase his talent, this is a fun program on the "first Asian American hipster."