The Sand Pebbles Movie Message Board (2006)

(Although individual responses are not usually listed here, I do answer all email I receive)

Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2006 16:37:00 PM
From: David Lee ressel
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: The Sand Pebbles ...WOW !

This morning, I happened to awake at an unusually early hour (6:45 a.m.) and flipped on the television, expecting to see the headlines and back to sleep...

Instead.... I happened to catch the opening title card of "The Sand Pebbles," thought I might give it a chance, and found myself riveted to the TV screen.

I had barely heard of this movie before. In fact, I only know of a only a few movies with Steve McQueen, but recall that he was one of the biggest stars of the Sixties..

Great movie.

And I was happy to find your Web site to found out more..

There are so many movies before our times that deserve attention, and this is one of them.

All the best.


Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2006 07:33:28 AM
From: Bradford Waters
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: Thank you

Thank you for your brilliant work on The Sand Pebbles website. The site is outstanding. There are certain movies and books which come into our lives at critical times and have more impact than they reasonably should. This movie had a great impact on me at age ten in 1967. Like many fans, the book and movie effected my choice to serve in the U.S. Navy. Your outstanding work has kept the movie alive for many fans. How can fans support The Sand Pebbles website?

Bradford Waters


From: Karen Hornbaker
Sent: November 02, 2006 05:59:46 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: your site

I just wanted to let you know I think your site is wonderful!

The Sand Pebbles is my all time favorite movie! I have seen it about 15 times and I cry at the beginning and of course at the end. I have collected many items related to this movie over the years.

Your site is just filled with so much information, it is unbelievable!

Karen Hornbaker


From: Doug Duckwiler
Sent: Monday, October 09, 2006 6:25 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: Any Luck on the "The Sand Pebbles" Showing This Year for the Anniversary?

Hi- I enjoy your website tremendously. Iíve met Mr. McQueen twice when I was a teen. I have one of his screen worn tunics from the movie as well.

Are they ever going to release the movie, any luck on the petition?

Doug Duckwiler

Response - Unfortunately there will be no restored version of the Sand Pebbles for the 40th anniversary this year. There will be a new DVD with more extras but it will not be the roadshow version. The new DVD is mainly intended to replenish their inventory. - CG


From: Mr. Bristle Cone
Sent: Sunday, September 24, 2006 12:10 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: Filming Locations

Had the opportunity to visit Malibu Creek State Park and took the first picture in their visitor center.

The second photo was taken that day at the the same location (anyway, it looks all same-same to me).

Enjoyed your website, thought you might want to add these photos to it.

Would love to see more photos like the first one, if you can find or have them.


Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2006 11:36 AM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: Mako (Po Han) dead at age 72

Ah damn - another gone:

Mako, 72; Actor Opened Door for Asian Americans
By Jocelyn Y. Stewart, Times Staff Writer
July 23, 2006

In the early days of his acting career, when most roles offered to Asian American actors were caricatures or stereotypes, Mako took just such a part and used it to open the doors of Hollywood and Broadway to others.

In the 1966 film "The Sand Pebbles," he played the Chinese character Po-han, who spoke pidgin English, called the white sailors in the movie "master," and treated them as such. But through the power of his acting, Mako transformed Po-han and compelled the audience to empathize and identify with the engine-room "coolie."

The portrayal earned Mako an Academy Award nomination, which he used to continue his push for more and better roles for Asian American actors.

Mako, who in 1965 co-founded East West Players, the nation's first Asian American theater company, died Friday of esophageal cancer at his home in the Ventura County town of Somis. He was 72.

"What many people say is, 'If it wasn't for Mako there wouldn't have been Asian American theater,' " said Tim Dang, current artistic director of East West Players, based in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles. "He is revered as sort of the godfather of Asian American theater."

In an acting career that spanned more than four decades, Mako was a familiar face in film and television. His TV roles included appearances on "McHale's Navy," "I Spy," "MASH," "Quincy," and "Walker, Texas Ranger." In films, he was a Japanese admiral in "Pearl Harbor" and a Singaporean in "Seven Years in Tibet." He was Akiro the wizard in "Conan the Barbarian" and "Conan the Destroyer" with now-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But Mako had a larger view of the possibilities for Asian American actors.

As artistic director of East West Players, Mako trained generations of actors and playwrights. He staged classics such as Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," Chekhov's "Three Sisters," and lesser-known contemporary works. He devoted the entire 1981 season to works pertaining to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The series coincided with the opening of a national discussion on internment reparations. It was a risky endeavor, but Mako said it was crucial.

"Mako, being one of the founders of East West Players 40 years ago, truly is the role model and the pioneer," said Tisa Chang, artistic producing director of the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre in New York. "He nurtured so many playwrights."

Though his own career was marked by moments of success, it was also forged by struggle.

"Generally for him it was particularly hard, because he was an immigrant.... There was the linguistic challenge," said George Takei, who played Sulu in "Star Trek." "But he recognized we needed more opportunities to practice our craft."

Mako was born Makoto Iwamatsu in Kobe, Japan, on Dec. 10, 1933. When he was 5, his parents left Japan to study art in New York. Mako stayed behind to be raised by his grandparents.

Because his parents lived on the East Coast, they were not interned during World War II. Instead they ended up working for the U.S. Office of War Information and were later granted residency. Mako joined them when he was 15.

He had a plan to become an architect and enrolled at the Pratt Institute in New York. But that plan changed when a friend asked him to design a set and do lighting for an off-Broadway children's play. Mako was hooked: "That's when the trouble began," he said. "I was out of class so much that I lost my draft deferment."

During his two years in the military, he traveled to Korea and Japan and re-immersed himself in Japanese culture. After his discharge, he moved to California and studied theater at the Pasadena Playhouse.

Mako married Shizuko Hoshi, a dancer, choreographer and actress. She survives him along with their daughters, Sala and Mimosa. Mako had been working primarily in television and on stage when he was cast as Po-han in "The Sand Pebbles." The movie, which starred Steve McQueen, told the story of a nonconformist sailor assigned to a U.S. gunboat patrolling China's Yangtze River in 1926. It was widely interpreted as a metaphor for U.S. involvement in Vietnam, which brought filmmaker Robert Wise scorn from some quarters and praise from others. In one scene, Po-han dons boxing gloves to fight an American sailor to save the honor of a Chinese woman forced to work in a brothel. The sailor, who towers over his Chinese opponent, lands some crushing blows, but Po-han responds to knock the sailor to the floor and win the fight.

Po-han might have been a less noteworthy character in the film if not for Mako's acting abilities. Other actors played such parts and simply "did what they were told to do: giggle here, shuffle over there, bow and go out," Takei said. "He was one of the early truly trained actors who was able to take stock roles, roles seen many times before, and make an individual a live and vibrant character."

Mako used the prominence the Oscar nomination gave him to address the dearth of parts for Asian Americans in general. Unless a script specifically called for an Asian American, producers and casting directors rejected them for roles.

"Of course we've been fighting against stereotypes from Day One at East West," Mako said in a 1986 interview with The Times. "That's the reason we formed: to combat that, and to show we are capable of more than just fulfilling the stereotypes - waiter, laundryman, gardener, martial artist, villain."

The company's mission soon expanded to include training writers. "Unless our story is told to [other] people, it's hard for them to understand where we are," Mako said.


From: Bryan Wallace
Sent: Saturday, July 22, 2006 8:31 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: the book

I came across a copy of The Sand Pebbles at a used bookstore last week and have been reading it and hour or so at a time. The movie was good but does no justice to the book! In the book you really get a feel for the character of the people, the different things going on in the story that affect everyone. And the background of where the story takes place.

I'm only half way through the book but they had to cut so much out to fit it in a movie. Sad thing about movies. Was looking around on the net about the book and came across your site. Never would have expected such a following!



From: Greg
Sent: Wed, 05 Jul 2006 12:24:11 +0200
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: hi

Hello, I am a French fan of Steve and I devoted to him a blog I wondered whether it were feasible that I appear in the sites that you advised on him.



From: asdtech
Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2006 5:11 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: FROM UTAH


Hello my name is Chris. I was surfing and came across your wonderful website about the Sand Pebbles. This movie inspired me in the early 80's to join the Navy. It has become a part of my life since then. I was reading the Movie Script from your website and I noticed a mistake.

In the movie "Holman" (Steve McQueen) was asked by Candice Bergen, "Where are you from?" He answered, I was born in Utah. On another opportunity she asked him, "Why did you choose the Navy?" He responded, " there is not much water in Utah." On another opportunity Maily asked him , "Where you from?" He answered, Utah. She replied, "oh yes, Salt Lake City." Then she asked, "Is Utah nice?" He replied,, "For some people".

In your script it said he (Holman) was from Nevada. Which is totally wrong. I have watched this movie more than a 1,000+ times. I can't be wrong. I know I don't have a voice on your website but, please state this mistake. Please continue with your beautiful website.

Best Regards,

Response - The early draft of 'The Sand Pebbles' script was simply being true to the novel where Holman states he is from Nevada. Sometime in the process of shooting the film (perhaps as a tribute to McKenna's passing away) it was changed to Utah (McKenna's home state). - CG


From: John Elvig
Sent: Sunday, April 30, 2006 3:46 AM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: Your Web Site


It's hard for me to believe what I'm seeing; your Web Site. I was looking for something on the Internet, and the word "Sand Pebbles" caught my eye. After clicking on a couple of links, etc., I was brought to your Web Site. I say "Hard to believe," because "Sand Pebbles" was one of the best movies that I ever saw, and I had no idea that there was a "following" to such; and here sits your Web Site.

I was in the Navy back in 1966-1969 and one afternoon while on liberty in Sasebo, Japan, I met a Japanese girl, and in turn, we went to see the movie Sand Pebbles which was appearing at a Theater there. She spoke VERY LITTLE English, and I spoke NOTHING in Japanese. I really think that I was the only English speaking person in the theater. Any way, the movie was of course in English, but the Japanese translation was dubbed across the screen. It was very strange for me to see a foreign language dubbed on the screen, rather than the opposite in which most of us Americans are used to seeing.

Any way, thanks for letting me write the above comments.

John in Bellingham, Washington


From: ManHolt
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 1:52 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: The Sand Pebbles


Thank you for the great website. This is a service to history. The Sand Pebbles is the best movie ever made and my all time favorite by far. As a mechanical engineer I identified with Jake and as a long ago Lieutenant in the US Army I identified with the Captain too. His flag day speech had the most stark statement of the military job I've ever heard ...."The trade we all follow is the give and take of death". Stark naked and absolutely true.

Keep up the good work!

Charles R. Holt
Norman, OK


From: Daniel Saez
Sent: Sunday, March 05, 2006 5:02 PM
To: Crispin Garcia


AMC just finished its Sunday showing of 'THE SAND PEBBLES' which prompted me to Google the film - and I found you!


I grew up on Fox films of the 1950's and 1960's, and realized a childhood dream of working for the studio in the advertising department in the mid - 1970's.

In the Spring of 1987, while teaching at Ohio University in Athens where I was pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Film, I flew in noted artist Tom Jung to be our guest for a class I was teaching on motion picture marketing.

During our time together, Tom told me he art directed the "SAND PEBBLES" logo - the San Pablo against the Chinese junk - as well as the Gable-Leigh re-do for the re-issue of 'GONE WITH THE WIND".

Just wondering if your research turned up those 'facts' as well!

Thanks, continued success, and best regards always!

Daniel Saez

PS - Got to meet Mako at a show in Detroit three years ago - he was working on getting permission to duplicate 'Sand Pebbles' photos of him and Steve to sign and sell - here's hoping!


Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:01 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: Costume Designer

Hi my name is Richard Van Dyke, my grandmother was Renie Conley the costume designer on TSP. I just happened to stumble onto your site and was very impressed by the detail that you have gone to for fans of the film.

This film is one of my personal favorite McQueen films. My grandmother was disappointed that she was unable to travel to China for filming there, due to tensions in the area the studio felt that she wasn't "necessary." As most of the filming done there was only going to involve the sailors and their uniforms, it was deemed that she could just give notes to her male assistant so the actors were in their proper uniforms for each scene. My grandmother won an Academy Award for her work on "Cleopatra" and was known for her knowledge of ethnic costumes. In the whorehouse scenes you see how she mixed traditional Chinese costumes with some turn of the century looks.

I'm a sound mixer for motion pictures, "American Beauty," "One Hour Photo," "Crash" to name a few.

Best of Luck to you and continued success with your website.

Rich Van Dyke


From: Violeta El Azael
Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2006 13:44:40
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: Quote

Hi Crispin,

My favourite quote of all time comes from 'The Sand Pebbles', and is especially applicable today, what with the (UGLY) rise of nationalism, etc. "Damn your flag! Damn ALL flags! It's too late in the world for flags..." I think that is BRILLIANT!!!



From: Tom Killion
Sent: Friday, January 13, 2006 3:16 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: NAVY

One of the reasons I joined the Navy was Steve M. in his whites. I served on LST 1184 USS Fredrick. The first thing I did in the engine room was say "Hello engine - I'm Tom Killion". 1974 seems a long time ago but I remember that first day.


From: Jeff Sherry
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2006 9:43 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: Great Website

Thanks for the work you put in creating this website. I just found it today. I saw The Sand Pebbles for the first time on TV - The CBS Thursday & Friday Night Movie (who else remembers that????) The movie ended on Thursday night at the theatrical intermission and resumed Friday. I love this movie and tonight after watching the deleted scene about the fire on board during the attack on the boom, I understand why Holman and his BAR crew are not at their position when they cheer the hit on the mast of the center junk. Great site!



From: George B
Sent: Friday, January 06, 2006 4:46 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: The Sand Pebbles

Dear Sir,

Thank you for that great web site about the movie: "The Sand Pebbles". This is my way of showing you my gratitude, by giving you my home made MovieWallpaper:



From: Awe, Mike
Sent: Friday, January 06, 2006 1:23 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: I wrote to you in 1998

Hello Crispin

The Sand Pebbles has always been one of my favorite movies (and my absolute favorite Steve McQueen film). I read the novel in 1998, then I discovered this site at that time. Such a wealth of information! It has grown mightily since '98, too.

When I wrote to you on Aug 4, 1998, it was about 8 pm in the evening. Little did I know that in about 10 more hours, my son would be born! He came 5 weeks early, so we were very surprised. I had forgotten all about writing in this message board until today, when I was doing a google search and came upon this site again. It had slipped my mind after all these years, but I am bookmarking it as it has so many interesting features.

Congratulations on this remarkable website.

Mike Awe


Past years of the Sand Pebbles Movie Message Board are available below: