Stanley Mu proudly served his country in wartime.
Written by Mable Kong
Stanley Mu was born in China in 1923. He and his parents immigrated to the United States in 1927 and settled in Hawaii. After a fire forced them from Hawaii, Stanley’s family moved first to San Francisco and then down to Los Angeles. He lived in Old Chinatown on Marchessault Street, and his father’s Chinese herb store was a couple of stores down from his home.
He attended Macy Street School in Chinatown, Central Junior High School, and Belmont High School where he enrolled in the ROTC. After graduation, Stanley wanted to enlist into the army, but because he was not a US citizen, he was not allowed to enlist. In 1938-39, with the construction of the Union Station, his family was forced out of old Chinatown, and moved to Kensington Street, east of Echo Park on Sunset Blvd. His father’s shop was relocated to Gin Ling Way, and they sold curios to tourists.
After half a semester at Los Angeles Community College, Stanley volunteered into the army, and was put into the Corps of Engineers. He was stationed in Fort Belvoir, VA for training, and in 1943, he rode on the Queen Mary and sailed to England. At the end of 1943, Stanley was naturalized in England as a US citizen. After the war was over in Germany, Stanley volunteered to enlist in the 44th infantry division to fight in the South Pacific. The infantry reported back to the US for a 30-day furlough in August, 1945. Halfway through his furlough, the US dropped the two atomic bombs on Japan and the war was over. Stanley got discharged, returned to Los Angeles and where he went to school on the GI Bill.
Stanley attended the National School and studied electronics for a year. Upon graduation, he went to work for Hoffman TV as a production technician. During this time, he was responsible for driving his sister to the movie studio where she worked as an extra. It was at the movie studio where he met his wife. After a year and a half at National School (1948), he applied to work at Hughes Aircraft and was hired in the production line. After many years of working, he decided to go back to school and get his engineering degree. By that time, he was already married, raising a family and working 40 hours a week. He attended UCLA, and graduated in 1967 with a BA in Engineering. He continued to work at Hughes Aircraft until his retirement. He passed away in 2008 at the age of 84.
Interview with Stanley Mu, November 3rd, 2007
SM: Stanley Mu
MK: Mable Kong
SM: I was getting about fifteen dollars…I think fifteen a day.
MK: You were an extra too?
SM: Whenever there’s a job. [chuckles]
MK: Oh… What did you usually do? Do you remember?
SM: Well, I remember on that one movie, just before I went into the army… Richard Loo’s wife usually is the one that get a hold of the extras, and she knew I was gonna be in the army, so she got me some job- a job working, and I think I worked almost a week before I went up to the army. It was with Alan Ladd and William Bendix, and I remember I still…I had little over a hundred dollars in my pocket when I went into the army. And they picked me…I was…as a Japanese soldier.
MK: Oh, really?
SM: Yeah, and I can still remember I was coming around a Japanese soldier guarding the truck, and William Bendix and Alan Ladd jumped on me and killed me. [laughs] And that was…I think I got…I got almost a hundred dollars for that.
MK: Did you have any problem being a Japanese soldier?