poetry & tsismis: emily's blog

October 28, 2010

Day 28 of Filipino American History Month: Uncle Roy Morales in Chevy Ad During World Series

Filed under: FANHS,History Month,Los Angeles,Memorials,Pinoys — EL @ 10:03 am
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Day 28 of Filipino American History Month:

Uncle Roy Morales in Chevy Ad Aired During World Series

Did you watch 3rd-generation Filipino American Tim Lincecum, Cy Young Award winner and star pitcher of the San Francisco Giants, WIN his first game in the World Series against the Texas Rangers last night? If so, I hope you didn’t skip the commercials, or at least the “My First Chevy” ad: it includes a photo of Uncle Roy Morales!

Royal Morales in Lake Tahoe, 1952. Courtesy of Kathy Morales

Yes, that’s right, another double achievement for Filipino American History Month. This is why I love our FANHS family and the power of the coconut wire: community activist/FANHS-LA member/educator/librarian Florante Ibañez, co-author of Filipinos in Carson and the South Bay, forwarded an email yesterday from Kathy Morales, the daughter of the late Royal F. Morales, better known to us proud UCLA alumni as “Uncle Roy”. Kathy said:

> I was waiting to hear confirmation and now that I have, I just wanted to share something really awesome!! The attached picture is of my dad Roy Morales from 1952 when he was in Lake Tahoe. It will be used in a Chevrolet commercial!! And this commercial will be aired during the World Series!!  . . . please share this with everyone who you think would like to know.  I think that this is quite amazing….after almost ten years of he being absent from us physically, he will be seen throughout the whole nation! Isn’t that just so incredibly cool? And as his 20-year old self….WOW!<

If you missed the commercial, you can watch it on YouTube here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsILAyAqMFQ

Uncle Roy’s photo goes by really quickly, but if you pause the commercial at the 0:04 seconds mark, you’ll see him, smiling broadly in this black and white photo. General Motors announced that the ads will air throughout the World Series and maybe even during the SuperBowl.

So how did Chevy get the photo? I had to ask Kathy. She told me that the photo was taken by one of Uncle Roy’s friends when they both worked at the Cal Neva club in Lake Tahoe in 1952. A resource company contacted their family after they found the photo in the Los Angeles Public Library’s collection. Ah, yes, the power of the coconut wire and the FANHS family again: in the mid 1990s, our FANHS-LA Chapter helped the brilliant photographer Carolyn Kozo Cole and my old UCLA classmate Sojin Kim gather Filipino community photos for their “Shades of L.A.” photo archive project. They collected 10,000 photos from many communities of color, setting up cameras in church basements and community centers, and then asked us volunteers to help catalogue and write down people’s memories.  I was blessed to be able to sit down with Uncle Roy (and Uncle Sam Balucas) as they talked story about literally hundreds of photos. As my comadre Meg Thornton says, it was one of the FANHS-LA projects of which I am most proud. Many photos have made it as covers of books and now, commercials.

You can read more about our beloved Uncle Roy or donate to his Memorial Scholarship funds at UCLA and USC here:

http://web.me.com/uclapaa/UCLAPAA/uncle_roy.html

http://articles.latimes.com/2001/jan/27/local/me-17817

http://filipinoamericanlibrary.org/roy.html

http://alumnigroups.usc.edu/apaa/pdf/APAA_Scholarship_App_2010-2011.pdf

http://www.socialworkhallofdistinction.org/honorees/item.php?id=39

As I have written before, I feel truly blessed to have been mentored by many of the pioneers in Filipino American Studies like Uncle Roy. Another photograph of him – singing with a Manong at one of our FANHS-LA events – hangs on my office wall, reminding me daily of his legacy of teaching and community service that we must all carry on to younger generations.  Ironically, now, a Chevy ad with Buzz Lightyear’s voice is a reminder too, even for just a split second, as I sit here in Detroit, a few miles from the GM plant where Uncle Roy’s Chevy was probably made.

Maraming salamat to Kathy and Florante for sharing!

* * *

© Emily P. Lawsin teaches Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan.

www.emilylawsin.com

3 Comments »

  1. Very cool! Thanks for sharing! I don’t know much about Uncle Roy, but I look forward to finding out more about him and other important Filipino American figures. By the way, I like the name of your blog!

    Comment by dypiangco — October 29, 2010 @ 10:49 am | Reply

  2. […] THE FIRST Pinay Bruin to graduate from UCLA. She always generously opened the doors of PARRAL when Uncle Roy Morales and I would lead class tours of Filipino Town. The CSUN students were one of the first to visit […]

    Pingback by Remembering Auntie Helen Brown, 1915-2011 « poetry & tsismis: emily's blog — March 18, 2011 @ 3:40 pm | Reply

  3. Sweet! my mom’s first car was a a baby blue 1955 Chevy convertible. If I can find photos, I’ll send you one sometime! Speaking of Bruins, Bears, etc…. It’d be interesting to find out someday who was the first PInay to graduate from UC Berkeley – Mom graduated from there in 1952, so surely she was among the early ones!

    Comment by Karen (Juanbato!) — March 18, 2011 @ 8:48 pm | Reply


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