Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chung Shan T’ang

Over the past couple of years, I've posted four separate pieces about the Bob Hope USO show that came to Taipei in 1962.   Hope described Taiwan as an island "bounded on the east by the magnificent Pacific Ocean and on the west by the beautiful 7th Fleet."

At the time I wrote those pieces, nobody could remember exactly where the show was held.  Until today, that is.  Les Duffin sent me some photos of the location and identified it as the Chung Shan Hall.  Here are his comments:
Here are the photos I mentioned earlier of Chung Shan T’ang – Chung Shan Hall.  We Americans had a habit of calling it Taipei City Hall, which was misleading.  We should have called it the Taipei City Auditorium or maybe just Chung Shan Hall.  This was the site of Bob Hope’s Christmas 1962 show and of many other concerts and shows.  I was there at least twice, the first time for the Hope show, and again for the Double Ten Day concert in October 1966.  I was poking around on Google Earth a couple of weeks ago, looking to see how much Hsimending has changed now that the Hsin Sheng Theater and the Chung Hua Market buildings are long gone and was amazed to see that the hall is still there.  I wonder if it is still the main venue for major concerts and state shows in Taipei?
This is a shot I took in the 70s, probably in 1972 or 73.  On the left is the tri-level Chung Hua Market and on the right the Hsin Sheng Theater.  Just behind the theater, the dull-looking brown building is the rear of Chung Shan Hall.

This one is similar to the above photo, this shows a better view of the building’s rear.  I’m not sure where I got this photo but I probably pulled it off the internet somewhere.

This is Chung Shan T’ang:  I took this badly-lighted shot of the front of the hall in 1963, not long after the Hope show.

And these two photos are ones I pulled down from Google Earth – the present day hall!

******** UPDATE ********
As a result of the comments to this article, Les sent the following additional comments and photograph.

I believe the attached photo is of a court building that was somewhere in the general vicinity of CS Hall.  I don’t recall exactly where it was, but my photos of the two buildings were sequential which means this was the next shot I took after the one of the hall.  I believe this was in fact a court building of some sort and you’ll notice how similar it is in appearance to CS Hall.


Victor said...

The following is what I've found from the news archives of the Academia Sinica, Taiwan. The date of the show is Dec 28, 1962.

Don said...

Excellent video, Victor!

Thanks very much for posting the link.

Note the USTDC and MAAG emblems on the stage.

George said...

Can Victor or Misty (anyone currently in Taipei) find out locally what the building is currently used for? I believe it may have served temporarily for a City Hall in the 50's/60's/70's. In fact, I could be wrong, but I believe weddings were conducted in the courts inside this building back then? I was married in 1972 and believe it was here that my mass wedding took place (several couples). It may not have been this building, but I tend to think it was here??

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Victor, for finding that video. I was one of those standing outside in the long line to get inside and see the show. Unless you were a VIP, there were no tickets or assigned seats. Instead we had to arrive very early -- I think two or three hours beforehand -- and line up hoping to get in. I don't remember anyone complaining though. Anita Bryant closed the show by singing Silent Night. For a bunch of young guys far from home, it was a pretty emotional experience.


Anonymous said...

I believe you may be thinking of another building that was somewhere nearby and looked much like this one. I believe I attended at least three shows in Chung Shan Hall and, as far as I remember, it was just a very large auditorium with a balcony and restrooms off the entry foyer. There were the usual spaces behind the stage but I'm pretty sure there was no office space. I may have a photo of the similar-looking court building. I'll see if I can find it and send it to Don.

Don said...

See the update above.

Victor said...

The sixth photo is the Judicial Yuan(Supreme Court) of Taiwan.

Victor said... Introduction to the Zhongshan Hall -- 2005-05-10 --
As a tribute to mark the ascension of the Japanese Emperor Hirohito in 1928, Japanese government dismantled the Ching Dynasty goverment office in Taipei (pronounced Taibay) and began the plan to erect the former Taipei City Hall.
In November 26th, 1936, the construction of Taipei City Hall was finally completed after four years of extensive labor, starting from November 23rd, 1932. Kenshen, the main architect serving as a Chief Engineer in Taiwan under Japanese government, put to good use the full cost of ¥980,000 and some 94,500 engineers and workers.
The four-story-steel-structure of Taipei City Hall was designed to be fire-resistant and to withstand severe quakes or typhoons. Accounting for roughly 44,179 square feet for the ground floor , the total area of the Taipei City Hall is around 113,750 thus placing itself as the forth-largest City Hall of Japan at the time, smaller only to the City Halls of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.
In the celebration of the recovering Taiwan after the World War in 1945, the Chief of Taiwan Provincial Administrative Office, Chen Yi represented Supreme Military Commander of the Republic of China and accepted a formal surrender from Antan, Commander of the 10th Japanese Regional Army and Japanese Governor of Taiwan. The year marked Taiwan's return to China of over five decades of Imperial Japanese rule. The former Taipei City Hall was renamed as Zhungshan Hall and functioned as an official meeting place under the Chinese government.
Zhungshan Hall has always been one of the formal reception area for welcoming foreign guest of honors, including: former US president Richard Nixon, former Korean President Lee Chen-Wine, former Viennese President Wu Tien Yeng, former Philippines President Chiasia among presidents or sovereigns of other distinguished countries. Zhungshan Hall has also hosted memorial ceremonies such as the signing of the Sino-US Taiwan Mutua l Defense Treaty and the formal inauguration ceremonies of the second, third and forth presidency and Vice-Presidency of the Republic of China. The historical value that is embedded within each stone and every brick of Zhungshan Hall inevitably draws special attention toward its preservation as the Internal Ministry Department legitimizes Zhungshan Hall under the shield of Relics Protection Act as a major national cultural monument.

Victor said... 臺北市政府自民國62年首次在臺北市中山堂光復廳舉辦市民集團結婚(The first mass wedding held by City of Taipei took place at Chung Shan Hall in 1973.)
So there might've been mass weddings at Chung Shan Hall before 1973 but not held by the city government?

sarj said...

Boy oh boy How did I miss this? I guess this is why you asked me if I had been following your blog. Anyway thanks so much for finding this stuff Les.
I couldn't remember the building up until now even though I took photos that night. I had forgotten how funny it was that he came in on stage in the pedicab. I scanned the video over and over again to see if I could see anyone I knew or could see myself. I only sat down for the start and then had to walk up and down the aisles taking pictures now and then.
Don you can embed the video from the site that Victor gave. I put it on my Navy Photo site just to test that it would work. '
maybe you want to embed it on this blog?
thanks a million for opening up those ol' memory doors of my brain.

sarj said...

Les ..I guess I must have been a VIP huh? You know Photographers are very important. ha ha It's amazing that we were there at the same time and didn't know one another. I keep looking at the crowd and wish I could enlarge the scene, because I think I see someone I know....?

Misty said...

I have vague recollections of having to go to this building to participate in the lottery that was the process involved to get my Visa extended. I guess sometime in the late '80s early '90s. It might have been another large Japanese era building very, very close to this. Otherwise, I can't think that I have ever been in the place.

Isn't there a coffee shop there now?

Anonymous said...

George, I owe you an apology. Your memory is probably right on. And thanks, Victor, for setting me straight - and for helping identify that sixth photo. As for you, Sarj, yep a photographer was obviously more important than most of us. Plus you had the advantage of being able to move around; you missed the pleasure of sitting on those hard wooden seats for hours. I can still remember a certain part of my anatomy being numb for a long while afterward.

Victor said...

The photos I've found about the show.