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The Famous Television House.

The Famous Television House [1949-1958] (Gone)

Field review by the editors.

Pasadena, California

The Famous Television House was in fact the house of Yort Wing Frank, his wife, and their five children. They lived upstairs, while the downstairs served as a store from which Frank, a Chinese immigrant and electrical engineer, sold and repaired televisions. Its lightning bolt side panels were not postcard embellishments; they really were part of the facade. A subsequent postcard showed that by the late 1950s Wing's brand loyalty had shifted from RCA to Philco and the tiny human figures on its exterior had been moved from the second floor down to flank the entrance doorway.

Selling and repairing televisions in the 1950s was a profitable business, and Frank's eye-catching store probably attracted a lot of upscale Los Angeles customers. Frank saved his money, retired in 1958, and bought Chateau Montelena, a Napa Valley pseudo castle. Still possessing a sense of visual flair, Frank built a Chinese garden and an 11-acre lake. They continue to attract visitors to the property, which is now a winery (of renown after a famous 1973 taste competition with snooty French wines).

The Famous Television House, however, vanishes from the public record after Frank's departure, and the building lot is now occupied by second-run movie theater.

The Famous Television House [1949-1958]


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