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Ho Ho Restaurant

The tall and starling after-dark Ho Ho Chop Suey Restaurant corner becomes the 1950s Chinatown feature destination. Most famous for its towering neon sign. It captures you with its purely visual domain, a tribute to its magnificent and imaginative form by designer and longtime art director dream-ideaman Reeve Lehman of Wallace Neon Company. Once alternately blinking Ho Ho in red neon 'letters of fire' transforming to scripted Chinese characters in green neon, rising from a comic steaming neon swirl above a neon rice bowl, holding a pair of neon chopsticks. Neon as conversation. Neon with an emotion of colour. Neon calligraphy with musical connotations. The mantle below the rice bowl hats and showboats the face of the restaurant, stirring the sidewalk senses with refined, double zigzag runners, holding in symmetry a sedate neon pagoda. Near the end the neon rice bowl disappears mysteriously. Paul Hangasmaa, a young layout artist involved in the making of the Ho Ho sign in 1954 told me that the cannister of the bowl may have been made of gold painted paper-mache over chickenwire construction, simply disintegrating after nearly half a century in the weather and that a falling brick or thrown bottle from a window may have smashed the six-inch apart neon tubings that chase around the bowl. A bright blazing bowl one day'the next an empty hole. Perhaps debolted and spirited away on a clandestine destiny into the underworld?