Keeping cool in summer in black and white
Keeping cool in summer in black and white Walking along on the path in the heat of summer it’s easy to mistakenly think you are melting. How to cool down: drink soda pop, eat shaved ice or go to the beach? The Chinese Taipei Film Archive shows us all about summer in Taiwan in the second half of the 20th century. Shaved ice, cooling you down and also satisfying hunger pangs, naturally became the favorite choice in summertime. In 1973 a hygiene problem with drinks sold on the streets caused a stir and the government, at a time when it monopolized the means of mass communication, produced the film “Food and drink Hygiene” hoping to create a “model” food and drink company. Which company had the honor of being chosen. The answer was Fule, established in 1957. In the film we see the company’s automated production process and the film also stresses that inspection by US military personnel ensured that the company’s products were of good quality and that other local companies should follow its example. Although the “shaved ice” sold on the streets shown at the start of the film pales in comparison to these “modern and hygienic ices,” they do present us with a glimpse of summer street scenes typical in Taiwan in the 1970s


Film maker unknown(1973). “Food and drink hygiene”. (TELDAP Union Catalogs.) on August 11,2010)。
For traditional Han Chinese, the sea is both kind and violent. At the start of the 20th century, when Taiwan was under Japanese control, following the “civilizing” banner waved by the Japanese rulers the people of Taiwan began to go to the coast for fun. In the 1950s when Taiwan’s economy at last began to emerge from the cloud of WW2, the seashore became even more popular as a place for leisure.  In this news film from 1957 we can see Fulong Beach packed with visitors,an everyday scene every summer. It was already a popular place to paddle and escape the summer heat half a century ago. The people enthusiastically rushed to embrace the sea, children playing in the surf, men and women hiding in the shade of sun umbrellas. The only differences between Fulong Beach then and now are perhaps the style of the swimwear and the color of the swimming rings.

Film maker unknown(June 22,1957). “Opening of Fulong Bathing Beach” (TELDAP Union Catalogs.) on August 112010
When engaging in activities in the hot sun how can we not pay attention to keeping hydrated? We return again to the subject of drinks. In this news film that quite clearly makes use of  the “placement advertising” method and would surely be brought to book by the NCC these days, we see Fulong Beach in 1966 and Hey Song’s products of the time. The advertisements for soda pop of the last few years had shown the main characters quaffing the heartily from a can or bottle in a way that would make people envious. However, in the 1960s these carbonated drinks had to face the challenge of traditional summer drinks (herbal tea) and, also, living standards had only just risen to a level where many people were relatively well off so people would still think twice before buying non-essential products like these. We can see in the film that the people don’t each have a bottle in their hand, the soda is actually poured into cups and a bottle shared by the whole family. This seems to show that at the time soda pop really was a precious and exotic thing. In Hey Song commercials of 1973 the soda is still poured out into cups but, in the 1979 film, the male and female characters each drink a full bottle of Hey Song Sarsaparilla. The attitude of people to soda pop and how it was visually presented are perhaps alternative kinds of evidence of Taiwan’s economic take-off. 

Film maker unknown(1966)”A summer gift, the manufacture and transportation of Hey Song soda pop”(TELDAP Union Catalogs.) on August 11,2010。(this film is silent)

A Hey Song commercial film from 1973 in which the product is portrayed as an exotic treat. The soda pop could be gulped down like drinking from a fountain but in the end had to return to the glass.


In a Hey Song commercial film from 1979 everyone at last has a bottle of sarsaparilla in their hand
 At the height of summer, maybe staying at home and going online to find how people lived in the second half of the last century is an alternative way of keeping cool!



Text and films are provided by TELDAP e-Newsletter (December, 2010)