Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

[MUSIC] Kim Sisters - Appeared on Ed Sullivan & Hollywood Palace

Expand Messages
  • madchinaman
    Blast From the Past: Kim Sisters Rock the States Sandra Lee http://www.adiversity.com/magazine/article.htm?ID=18274293 Imagine a Korean sister act capturing
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 31, 2006
      Blast From the Past: Kim Sisters Rock the States
      Sandra Lee

      Imagine a Korean sister act capturing the heart of American pop
      culture by singing "You Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog". It may sound
      far-fetched today, but that's exactly what America was seeing on the
      Ed Sullivan show in 1959.

      Sue Kim was 9 years old when she and her sisters, Ai Ja and Mia,
      started singing for American GIs in the midst of the Korean War. The
      girls' mother, who was once Korea's top recording artist, selected
      country western songs for the girls including "Ole Buttermilk Sky"
      and "Candy and Cake".

      Looking back, Kim said, "I don't know where she came up with these

      Because the girls did not speak a word of English, they learned to
      memorize the songs phonetically.

      "We kept memorizing songs without knowing what they meant," Kim
      said. "All these beautiful songs, but we didn't know what the hell
      we were singing."

      Luckily, the GIs didn't care. Hearing the familiar melodies was
      enough. And once the sisters expanded their repertoire to include
      Elvis Presley songs, hearing the lyrics "You can burn my house, you
      can steal my car . . . " coming from three young girls was no doubt
      a riot.

      "When we learned 10 years later what the lyrics meant, we thought,
      Oh my God, what were we singing?"

      In 1958, an American agent caught the girls' performance and booked
      them for a four-week engagement at the Thunderbird Hotel in Las
      Vegas. The show was so good that other hotels in the area
      immediately booked the act. The temporary job ended up turning into
      a lifelong career.

      The girls' next break came only a year later when Ed Sullivan got
      wind of the sister act and booked them on his show. Their appearance
      was a hit, and soon calls started pouring in from Dinah Shore and
      Steve Allen requesting the sister act. Over the years, the Kim
      Sisters would appear on the Ed Sullivan show a total of 22 times.

      "We really had no clue how big we were," Kim says. "We were just
      grateful to be working. We ate, we worked, and we sent money to our
      family in Korea. [My sisters and I] shared a one-room apartment, and
      we thought it was just great."

      Although their family had once been prosperous in Korea, the war had
      left them impoverished. Their father, Hae Song Kim, was an acclaimed
      symphony orchestra conductor, but was shot by the North Korean army
      for consorting with American soldiers.

      Because of the Kim Sisters' enormous popularity in the United
      States, the girls did not take a single day off in their first year
      in the country. Their fan club eventually grew to include stars like
      Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee.

      All three of the sisters had married by the mid-1970s, and the group
      inevitably began to fall apart. In 1987, Ai Ja died of lung cancer,
      and Mia and Sue have since become estranged. Sue, who continued
      performing with her brothers, was in a car accident a few years ago,
      leaving her unable to perform on stage.

      Today, she is helping put together a documentary film on The Kim
      Sisters' meteoric rise to fame, and Koreana News, based in Los
      Angeles, is compiling a book on this important footnote in
      entertainment history.

      Sue Kim now works as a real estate agent. "I love it. It's just like
      show business ?you're constantly meeting and dealing with people."

      Kim is impressed by the Asian Americans in entertainment today, and
      is a fan of Lucy Liu's character on Ally McBeal. Despite the current
      lack of diversity in entertainment, Kim believes that it is
      impossible to ignore true talent.

      "If you have talent, people will accept it," Kim said.

      Her only regret is that The Kim Sisters did not promote their album
      sufficiently ?a move that could have made their fame more lasting.

      "At the time, we were too busy working and nobody really thought
      about it," she said. Although the girls did make a record, it was
      not properly promoted and did not catch on.

      But when asked if she would like to be 17 years old again, Kim
      said, "Hell no, I worked too hard when I was 17."


      The Kim sisters, composed of three sisters, Sook-ja, Ai-ja, and Mia,
      came from Korea to Las Vegas in February, 1959. Their first contract
      in American was to perform at the Thunderbird Hotel for four weeks
      as part of the China Doll Revue, the main showroom program. This
      engagement led them to a successful career. Their popularity was at
      its height at the end of the 1960s, when they performed throughout
      the United States and Europe. Sook-ja Kim is the oldest of the Kim
      Sisters. After her sister Ai-ja died in 1987, Sook-ja teamed up with
      her two brothers and continued to perform until 1989. Now semi-
      retired from show business, with occasional performances in Korea,
      she is working as a real estate agent. In this interview, she talked
      about her childhood, her career, and the family she has built since
      coming to America.

      She was born in 1941 in Seoul, Korea, as the third child of seven in
      a musical family. Her father was a conductor, and her mother, a
      popular singer. After the Korean War, her mother arranged to send
      the Kim Sisters to America. When they came to Las Vegas, there were
      virtually no Koreans in the area. They depended on each other to
      take care of themselves. Some of the difficulties they had to adjust
      to in America were language, food, and cultural differences. Over
      the span of almost forty years in America, Sook-ja became
      acculturated without discarding her ethnic identity or family
      priorities. Her life-long guiding principle has been to combine
      certain American values while continuing to keep cherished Korean
      ethnic values.

      Through their performances, the Kim Sisters informed the audience
      about Koreans and their culture. As the oldest of the group, Sook-ja
      was entrusted the care of her sisters, and later her brothers, the
      Kim Brothers. Once she settled in Las Vegas, she brought more than
      40 members of her extended family, contributing to the growth of the
      Las Vegas Korean community.


      Self - filmography

      "Toast of the Town"
      ... aka The Ed Sullivan Show (USA: new title)
      - Episode #21.15 (1967) TV Episode .... Singers
      - Episode #20.9 (1966) TV Episode .... Musicians
      - Episode #18.39 (1965) TV Episode .... Themselves -
      - Episode #18.32 (1965) TV Episode .... Singers
      - Episode #18.16 (1965) TV Episode .... Singers
      (14 more)
      "The Hollywood Palace"
      - Episode #4.27 (1967) TV Episode .... Themselves -
      - Episode #3.30 (1966) TV Episode .... Themselves -
      - Episode #3.16 (1966) TV Episode .... Themselves - Musicians


      Spanky & Our Gang / Richard Pryor / Patti Page

      Episode Number: 940 Season Num: 21 First Aired: December 17,
      --Spanky and Our Gang - "Lazy Day" & "Sunday Morning"
      --Patti Page - sings "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" &
      recites "Child's Christmas Prayer"
      --Richard Pryor
      --Joel Grey (railroad song medley)
      --Stiller & Meara (comedy team)
      --Topo Gigio
      --David Frye (comedian)
      --The Kim Sisters - "Thoroughly Modern Millie"
      --The Berlin Mozart Choir (thirty singers perform)

      Cast and Crew
      Add Cast | Add Crew Star: Bern Bennett (Announcer (1948-1949)), Ed
      Sullivan (Host), Ralph Paul (Announcer (1959-61, 1964-71)), Art
      Hannes (Announcer (1949-1964))

      Recurring Role: Richard Pryor (Himself), Patti Page (Herself),
      Jerry Stiller (Himself), Anne Meara (Herself), David Frye
      (Himself), The Kim Sisters (Themselves), Topo Gigio (Guest)

      Guest Star: Spanky and Our Gang (Themselves), Joel Grey (Himself)


      Hosts: Cyd Charisse & Tony Martin / Buffalo Springfield

      Episode Number: 117 Season Num: 4 First Aired: April 8, 1967
      --Cyd Charisse & Tony Martin (co-hosts) - "Walking Happy" and "The
      Honeymoon Is Over"
      --Cyd Charrise - production number in which Cyd plays an Asian woman
      in love with a soldier (music: "Mack the Knife")
      --Tony Martin - "And We Were Lovers" & "Born Free"

      --Buffalo Springfield - "For What It's Worth" (30-second excerpt)
      & "Mr. Soul"
      --Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner (comedians) - comedy monologue:
      Reporter (Reiner) interviews an advertising executive (Brooks).
      --Danny Sailor (Canadian lumberjack - high-pole acrobat) - balances
      on top of 80 foot pole outside of theater
      --The Kim Sisters (3 sisters from Korea) - the trio sings "Goin' Out
      of My Head" and "Caramba," then plays "La Bamba" and "The Peanut
      Vendor" on the xylophone.
      --Jackie Clark (stand-up comedian) - tells jokes about his family,
      --Milo and Roger (comic magicians / illusionists)

      Cast and Crew
      Add Cast | Add Crew Star: Dick Tufeld (Announcer (1964-1970)),
      Mike Post (Orchestra Leader (1969-1970)), Raquel Welch (billboard
      girl (1st season)), Bing Crosby (Host (1964-1970)), Ernie Anderson
      (Himself/Substitute Announcer (1968)), Les Brown (Orchestra Leader
      (1964)), Mitchell Ayres (Orchestra Leader (1964-1969))

      Recurring Role: Cyd Charisse (Herself, co-host), Tony Martin
      (Himself, co-host), Mel Brooks (Himself), Carl Reiner (Himself)

      Guest Star: Buffalo Springfield (Themselves), Jackie Clark
      (Guest), The Kim Sisters (Themselves), Danny Sailor (Himself)


      Host: Victor Borge / Jane Powell

      Episode Number: 87 Season Num: 3 First Aired: April 23, 1966
      Host: Victor Borge
      --Victor Borge - "The Viennese Waltz" and does a routine about
      phonetic punctuation.
      --Jane Powell (singer) - "I'm in Love with a Wonderful Guy" & "On a
      Wonderful Day Like Today"
      --Peter Gennaro (choreographer-dancer) - "Ol' Man River"
      --The Kim Sisters (singing-musicians) - "Birth of the Blues" & "Bill
      --The Brothers Kim (instrumentalists)
      --The Kim Sisters and the Brothers Kim - "Fingers of Fire," "Steel
      Guitar Rag," "You'll Never Walk Alone" & "Violin Hoedown"
      --Professor Irwin Corey (comedian)
      --Gala Shawn (trapeze artist from Ireland)

      Cast and Crew
      Add Cast | Add Crew Star: Dick Tufeld (Announcer (1964-1970)),
      Mike Post (Orchestra Leader (1969-1970)), Raquel Welch (billboard
      girl (1st season)), Bing Crosby (Host (1964-1970)), Ernie Anderson
      (Himself/Substitute Announcer (1968)), Les Brown (Orchestra Leader
      (1964)), Mitchell Ayres (Orchestra Leader (1964-1969))

      Recurring Role: Victor Borge (Himself, host)

      Guest Star: Jane Powell (Herself), Peter Gennaro (Himself), The
      Kim Sisters (Themselves), Irwin Corey (Himself), The Brothers Kim


      Host: Phil Harris / Alice Faye

      Episode Number: 73 Season Num: 3 First Aired: January 15, 1966
      Host: Phil Harris
      --Alice Faye
      --Tim Conway
      --Georgie Kaye
      --Sergio Franchi
      --The Kim Sisters

      Cast and Crew
      Add Cast | Add Crew Star: Dick Tufeld (Announcer (1964-1970)),
      Mike Post (Orchestra Leader (1969-1970)), Raquel Welch (billboard
      girl (1st season)), Bing Crosby (Host (1964-1970)), Ernie Anderson
      (Himself/Substitute Announcer (1968)), Les Brown (Orchestra Leader
      (1964)), Mitchell Ayres (Orchestra Leader (1964-1969))

      Recurring Role: Phil Harris (Host), Sergio Franchi (Himself), Tim
      Conway (Himself)

      Guest Star: The Kim Sisters (Themselves), Georgie Kaye (Himself),
      Alice Faye (Herself)
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.