Thursday, October 10, 2013

I Spy (TV Series) - Robert Culp (1965) - Neon Montage, Kowloon

Okay, not my typical post here and I was struggling with what to do with it because it involves a sequence in the Carry Me Back To Old Tsing Tao episode where we have a montage of nighttime neon filling the screens, made up of multiple locations and identifiable, pretty much, only by the signs themselves. So anyway, I figured it would be fun for some if I put them all up here in one post and say where I think they are and then anyone can chip in and give me any more places they recognise.

Here's the first, which I know - courtesy of the Fourseas, Singer and Rodania signs on the right - features the junction of Nathan and Austin Roads at the northern end of Tsim Sha Tsui. But what about those other signs? Tokyo Night Bar, Tokyo Night Inn? As we locate these places I'll add them to the list of labels at the bottom.


Here is a shot of that part of Nathan Road from the 1960's showing the same signs, but in daylight (Courtesy of the excellent book 香港走過的街道). Incidentally, the building that now occupies the site on the right is still called the Fourseas building and it sits between Austin Road and Tak Shing Street.



Then we appear to move down the road (past the Singer sign) and can see the Pink Lady Bar. I believe the Pink Lady Bar was located on Hankow Road further to the south.


Pink Lady Bar also reveals Dawson & Co behind it and well as Y.K Ma Furniture and Antiques. Can you spot anymore? Where was (and what was) Dawson & Co? Perhaps it was the same tailors that can still be found in HK, if so, where were they located in 1965? Y.K Ma on the other hand seems to be a famous name in the antique business and I found a reference that calls him legendary here. Sadly, my knowledge of this are is non-existent, so if there are any informed antique people out there who know where Y.K Ma's business was based in 1965, please leave a comment.


So what else do we have? Another junction - but this time I'm not sure it's the Nathan/Austin one, perhaps Nathan/Jordan Rd? Anyway, it has the HK Silk Centre along there as well as some signs I can't read.


And then that scene merges with one a bit easier to identify...the Tai Pak Seafood floating restaurant. If you want to read some interesting details of the Tai Pak then go to the comments section of this post I did a few years ago. The question remains, was this the Aberdeen or Castle Peak (i.e. Tuen Mun) Tai Pak restaurants? My money is on Aberdeen.


Next up, we have the Kobe Bar, Cherry Bar. After covering Gambit on this blog, I now know that they were actually right next to each other. For proof you can checkout this Gambit post. There also looks to be the (rather dim by comparison) sign for Mandarin Garments at the top right. I've found references to a Mandarin Garments Factory, but this wasn't registered until 1969, several years after this episode was filmed. So where was this one, perhaps Cameron Road as well?


Last but not least we have the final two images showing the New Savoy Bar and the Oriental Pearl Night Club and Bar. Now I have found a reference to both the Savoy Bar (on Granville Road) and the New Savoy Plaza (on Prat Avenue), but no reference to the New Savoy Bar. So information welcome. As for the Oriental Pearl Night Club and Bar - well, the companies register has notes to this place opening in 1964 and closing in 1969, but not mention of the location. However, I was lucky enough to stumble across this photo which shows it next to Rikki's Bar, the latter I believe was located on Carnarvon Road (corrections welcome). However, that photo I have linked to also appear to show it on the opposite side of the road to the one above - I am assuming the sign was double-sided but of course, this being Hong Kong, these places could have moved around.


Anyway, please feel free to leave comments with regards to the locations, or perhaps even some vague reminiscences of drunken nights spent at these places :-)

19 comments:

  1. For the 5th photo, my guess is Nathan Rd x Haipong Rd. I remembered there is a Yue Wah in that area (i.e. the large neon sign with 2 Chinese characters) back in the late 70s or perhaps 80s, while the middle top sign is probably of the Golden Crown Chinese Restaurant, which used to be at Golden Crown Court building.

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    1. Hi Arthur - if I remember correctly the Golden Crown Court building is on the eastern side of Nathan Road and is now occupied by a sprawling Standard Chartered bank branch - so if you are correct this would mean we are looking south down Nathan Road? Thanks for the tip, I shall see if I can find any old photos to match.
      Cheers, Phil

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    2. Actually I wonder where Yue Hwa was before the flagship store opened on the corner of Jordan and Nathan (the present site) in 1976?

      This series was filmed in 1965, but still looks to me as though that shot may be further up Nathan Road - closer to the Jordan Road intersection? I shall try and find out.

      There is a fairly good daytime comparison on FLICKR here:

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/16044570@N02/1746889253/

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    3. The Yue Hwa near Golden Crown Court can be seen on this Bloodsport post I did a couple of months ago: Could be a match but I'm not sure yet.

      http://hongkongandmacaufilmstuff.blogspot.hk/2013/07/bloodsport-jean-claude-van-damme-1987_9275.html

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    4. The round sign on the left looks to be the same as this one:

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/16044570@N02/1747737042/

      The Hong Nin Bank. Still not recognising the exact locale yet though.

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    5. I think the old Yue Hwa before the current flagship store opened in 1976 was actually opposite to the current flagship where the Wing Hang Bank and a branch of Commercial Press bookstore now is, also at the same crossroad of Jordan and Nathan roads. I think some of the building on the left side of your photo still matches the current Google Map image.

      For this picture , the neon sign below the Hong Nin Bank is the On Hong Ning Pharmacy, which still operates from the same location at 313 Nathan Road.

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    6. thanks Arthur, I was wondering if that was the case with Yue Hwa. I was a bit confused because Yue Hwa make a big deal about the current location of their shop without really saying anything about the fact that it isn't that far from its previous premises.

      Thanks for the tip about 313, everything is beginning to look a bit more logical :-)

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    7. My mom used to lived in Yau Ma Tei from the 50s till early 70s and she confirmed that Yue Hwa was indeed at the site where Wing Hang Bank now is for quite a number of years before the current flagship store opened. She said that she also remembered visiting a friend who used to live in the grand old mansion on the where the current Yue Hwa now is. It had 3 levels and had a garden, which was uncommon in that area even back then.

      However, my dad also mentioned that Yue Hwa had also been operated out of Lap Shun Building on other other corner of Nathan Road x Jordan Road for a while. I have no idea about that though. Quite confusing.

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    8. Hi Arthur - many thanks for confirmation. I have seen some old pics of the old 3 storey mansion - quite a nice building and it's a real shame none of the former residential houses in this part of Kowloon were kept (I'm now thinking of all the pictures I have seen of TST at the turn of the century when it was a nice garden suburb like Kowloon Tong).
      cheers, Phil

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  2. It may help you have any pictures of the building which occupy the site of the current Chinese style HSBC branch building.

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    1. Funnily enough, I am currently looking at one of the locations that I believe 'may' be looking east down Cameron Road - but the lack of a comparison photo containing the very building you are talking about means I am currently erring on caution :-)

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  3. In relation to the 2nd photo, the Four Seas Silk is still visible on Google Street View at Mercantile House, 186 Nathan Rd. However, I'm not sure if it is at the same location as in the photo, especially it seems to be directly opposite to the Shamlock Restaurant / Hotel (the green sign), which should be at the same location till now.
    On the other hand, the building where the Singer sign is should probably where Hang Fung Centre now is, which is the former home of Bruce Lee.

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    1. Hi Arthur, one thing I have found when looking at film and TV shows, particularly film though, is that then angles provided by film cameras almost invariably skew the view, making some things seem much closer or further away than they really are. I suspect this is the same here.

      Yes! actually, you should just be able to make out Bruce's old block in the daytime street picture I posted above. He lived at 218 - pretty much directly opposite the Shamrock Hotel.

      Cheers
      Phil

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  4. A confirmation for you: Rikki's Bar was definitely on Carnarvon Road, specifically at #43 Carnarvon.

    The address can be seen on a matchbook in this image:

    http://www.rhiw.com/y_mor/seamen_bars/hong_kong/hong_kong_bars_02.jpg

    Courtesy of:

    http://www.rhiw.com/y_mor/blue_funnel_02/hong_kong_bars.htm

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    1. if you like those you will find these ones interesting as well:

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/92981766@N07/sets/72157635073640849/

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  5. From the Sept. 1965 "Tourists' News":
    Oriental Pearl Nightclub,45A Carnarvon Road
    Cherry Bar,24 Cameron Road
    Kobe Bar 26 Cameron Road (these two bars are both advertised in the same full-page ad)
    New Savoy Plaza, 7-7A Prat Ave.

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    1. Great stuff - many thanks Doug! It's nice to find out where these places were. It looks like the film makers took the easy/cheap route and just wandered up and down TST filming the signs :-)

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    2. Well found! No mention of the Tokyo Night Inn / Tokyo Night Bar, I take it? I'd still love to see that one solved. (Partly because it bugs me that the curved facade might still have been around when I was a kid; it feels familiar.)

      Approximately, those would now be the following:
      Oriental Pearl Nightclub -- Houng Sun Building (45-47 Carnarvon Road).
      Cherry Bar -- Part of either Eastern Flower Centre (22 Cameron Road) or Cambridge House (26-28 Cameron Road); I'm guessing the former.
      Kobe Bar -- Part of Cambridge House (26-28 Cameron Road).
      New Savoy Plaza -- Part of Multifield Plaza (5-7A Prat Avenue).

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    3. It's quite possible that this photo on FLICKR (https://flic.kr/p/S9xtRU) shows the Tokyo Night bar/inn. It certainly has the same title if not decor. This apparently was in Champagne Court of Kimberly Road.

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