Sammee Tong

San Francisco, California, USA


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Sammee Tong (April 21, 1901 – October 27, 1964) was an American film and television character actor. One of Tong's more notable roles was that of Peter Tong on the sitcom Bachelor Father, which aired on all three national networks from 1957 to 1962. Tong signed with Columbia Pictures, and in 1934, he made his film debut in a bit part in the comedy film The Captain Hates the Sea. In 1939 he returned to his home town as director of entertainment at the Chinese Village of San Francisco's World's Fair, and began the first Chinese radio hour on KSAN. Throughout the 1940s, he had small, usually uncredited, roles in films. He returned to Hollywood in the early 1950s and took roles on television. Tong made his television debut in 1953 in an episode of You Are There. The following year, he appeared in a recurring role as "George, the cook" in a series of television shorts which aired during The Mickey Mouse Club entitled The Adventures of Spin and Marty. In 1955, he reprised his role as George in the feature-length film Spin and Marty: The Movie. He also had a role in the sequel series The Further Adventures of Spin and Marty. In 1957, he landed a co-starring role in the sitcom Bachelor Father, starring John Forsythe and Noreen Corcoran. In the series, Tong portrayed "Peter Tong", Bentley Gregg's (Forsythe) live-in houseboy and valet. Although he was playing a servant, Tong enjoyed the role stating, "Houseboys in movies and the theater always bow low, mutter a few sing song words and disappear, but not on this show. I get dialogue and laughs." In his Bachelor Father role, Tong was not subservient and at one point walked out because he was not paid enough. He spoke with an accent even though the actor was born in the U.S., making it hard to judge how he spoke in real life. After Bachelor Father's cancellation in 1962, Tong was cast as Sammy Ling in the ABC sitcom Mickey, starring Mickey Rooney. Due to low ratings, ABC was considering canceling Mickey. The network was hesitant to cancel the series due to the popularity of Tong's character who had a solid fanbase thanks to his role in Bachelor Father. Tong's death effectively ended any chance for the series' survival and ABC canceled Mickey in December 1964. His final screen appearance was as "Cook" in the 1965 film Fluffy, starring Tony Randall and Shirley Jones. The film was released after Tong's death. In October 1964, Tong committed suicide at the age of 63. At the time of his death, he was appearing in a supporting role on the ABC sitcom, Mickey, starring Mickey Rooney.


Matinee Theater is an American anthology series that aired on NBC during the Golden Age of Television, from 1955 to 1958. The series, which ran daily in the afternoon, was frequently live. It was produced by Albert McCleery, Darrell Ross, George Cahan and Frank Price with executive producer George Lowther. McCleery had previously produced the live series Cameo Theatre which introduced to television the concept of theater-in-the-round, TV plays staged with minimal sets. Jim Buckley of the Pewter Plough Playhouse recalled: When Al McCleery got back to the States, he originated a most ambitious theatrical TV series for NBC called Matinee Theater: to televise five different stage plays per week live, airing around noon in order to promote color TV to the American housewife as she labored over her ironing. Al was the producer. He hired five directors and five art directors. Richard Bennett, one of our first early presidents of the Pewter Plough Corporation, was one of the directors and I was one of the art directors and, as soon as we were through televising one play, we had lunch and then met to plan next week’s show. That was over 50 years ago, and I’m trying to think; I believe the TV art director is his own set decorator —yes, of course! It had to be, since one of McCleery’s chief claims to favor with the producers was his elimination of the setting per se and simply decorating the scene with a minimum of props. It took a bit of ingenuity.

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Matinee Theater