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Tandra Page 1680, China Girl

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I’m sitting on my back porch looking out over the yard as the rising sun brightens the Eastern sky.

I generally watch a movie or old television show in the evening before I hit the sack. This is not a revelation. I have mentioned it before. Presently I am choosing between the television series “Star Trek, The Next Generation” and the “How The West Was Won” television series with Gunsmoke’s James Arness. There are evenings I watch one of each. I’ll return to “Star Trek, The Next Generation”, which I find I am enjoying quite a lot, later. This Observation is about the next to final broadcast of “How The West Was Won” episode titled “China Girl”.

Like “Gunsmoke”, for which the actor is primarily remembered, Arness does not over-saturate the screen with his presence. There are episodes in which his character only shows up for a brief cameo. The supporting cast carries most of the installments for this three year series. The episode “China Girl” is even more of a departure. The story is primarily about Chinese immigrants brought to this country and exploited. Though it is not made explicit, it appears the Macahan Family, of which Arness is the patriarch, is among the exploiters in this case.

In the opening scenes, a voice over explains that ten years after the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, the Chinese immigrants were still not included for citizenship status and naked Chinese girls were being sold openly in the streets of San Francisco. For the Chinese, the Fourteenth Amendment did not apply! Whatever the injustices slaves from Africa endured in the Old South, their daughters were not openly auctioned as sex slaves in the open market. (Neither did we butcher their children by the millions!)

The story begins in China with the China Girl of the title, along with her family, leaving their homeland to travel to opportunity in America. There is never any question the China Girl will go with her family because Chinese tradition demands she go where her father chooses. She regretfully leaves the man she loves and he promises to come to America to join her when he can buy passage.

On the voyage to America, the China Girl is raped by the ship’s captain who does not even bother to learn her name.

In America, the China Girl’s family comes to work at a gold mine owned by the Macahan family. That is how the Macahans are shoe horned into the story. The China Girl reveals she is pregnant from the ship’s captain and goes to the Macahan house for help and her baby is born. When the China Girl’s Father learns of the baby, he rules that the child should be killed. The child is stolen from the room at the Macahan house where the China Girl sleeps and the remainder of the tale is taken up with attempting to locate the baby.

Meantime, the Chinaman who swore to follow the China Girl has arrived in America. His search for her involves observation of a Chinese prostitute, one of those girls sold naked on the streets of San Francisco. The prostitute has been infected with sexually transmitted disease and is executed by her owner. She can be easily replaced.

In the final few minutes of the episode, the China Girl has her child restored and the man who followed her from China comes into the room. The China Girl is joyful to see him, but says she is dishonoured and cannot join with him because she has a child. The man corrects the China Girl and declares, “We have a child!”

They marry and live happily ever after, or so goes the story.

“China Girl” is an amazing narrative coming out of Hollywood and it could not happen today in Planned Parenthood infected Tinsel Town. I looked up the particulars of this episode and archives from a San Francisco newspaper confirms the essentials of the plot. As I noted above, “China Girl” is a departure from the series narrative. Obviously someone involved in production learned of the history of the Chinese in California and decided to do a “message story”. This episode is also remarkable in advancing the conviction that killing a baby is a sin and a crime. That is not the message of Hollywood today.

I would not mebbe consider “China Girl” a great television show, but it is a miracle oasis in the moral desert that Hollywood has become today in the first part of the Twenty-First Century.

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Hanther



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