The Last Temple was made at CHINA ALLEY in Hanford, California, in
1972, by Producer Maurice Chuck and his SAN FRANCISCO JOURNAL,
Reported by Kathryn Fong, videographer Curtis Choy, and director, Frank
The year that the Last Temple was made, Hanford was famous for being
the birthplace of Bessie Loo, the Hollywood Talent Agent, and formerly
married to Richard Loo, the baldheaded bucktoothed Japanese general
of the WWII movies.
Richard Wing (d: 2010), the owner of the block of buildings, that includes his
Imperial Dynasty restaurant, at one end, and the Last Temple at the
other, was a third generation cook, chef, restaurateur, activist for Chinese
integrity, and a preservationist of Hanford history. From birth to death, the
story of Richard Wing is a Hanford story.
His father had helped Chinese escaping the "pie wah" the persecution of
Chinese in the Mexico of President Calles, by hiding them in his walnut
groves and training them to cook Chinese dishes to White tastes and
sending them east on the railroad.
He was Gen George C. Marshall's food taster during WW II. His post
was in the kitchens of the mighty and powerful of the world. He learned
the most about cuisines around the world in the kitchen of Chiang Kai shek.
The Generalissimo wooed his guests with home cooking.
Richard Wing came home to Hanford and designed and built his The Imperial
Dynasty restaurant with his older brother Earnest. While Richard Wing was
cooking in the kitchen with his father at six years old, his older brother
Earnest at eight was delivering food and foodstuffs to the wineries from a
horsedrawn buckboard. The boy Earnest was often invited to lunch and
wine. Earnest Wing was Imperial Dynasty's nose for wines. Their titles and
Holiday Magazine awards mounted.
The Imperial Dynasty became a popular day trip from Los Angeles Union
Station for Bing Crosby and bandleader Phil Harris and their dove hunting
pals. Doves prepared by Richard Wing in the evening. Drinks on the train
back to L.A. Walt Disney flew to the Imperial Dynasty for snails prepared by
Richard Wing. After the Party Trains and private planes to pick up Richard
Wing's escargot were past. Hollywood old timers still were chauffeured to
the Imperial Dynasty to dine. The only talent agent to work as a studio casting
director Bessie Loo was seen at the Imperial Dynasty with Phillip Ahn, the
velvet voiced Korean character actor in WW II movies, and Marlon Brando's
ONE-EYED JACKS, and as one of the monks on tv's KUNG FU, with David Carridine.
Richard Wing was a big man and deceptively soft-spoken and gentle mannered
and humble, "Think of it. A humble Chinese cook become the food taster for
the Chief of Staff!" Gen. Marshall saw that Richard Wing had "command presence,"
and knew every bite of food crossing his lips was safe under Richard's wing.