Monday, June 23, 2014

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Here's a bit of a stumper from episode 2 - The Lost Man. It features Pak (played by Tzi Ma) following a fellow Vietnamese Boat refugee because he thinks she has something to do with the disappearance of a bar girl. His mark works in a place called The Players Club and Topless Bar. Now, try as I might to get a hit off both the Chinese (花花世界夜總會) and English name of this place, all I get is a bit of a red herring over in Soy Street. Here are the grabs...








All well and good, but I'm going to take a giant leap of faith here because of something I noticed in the last screencap. It's a leap of faith because it is making a rather big assumption and that is that all these shots were done in the same location. If you look to the left by Pak's head there is a rather distinctive red sign by his hair. This is the rather famous sign of the Red Lips Bar - a well known bar in TST that was in an alleyway off Peking Road (it was situated halfway between Hankow and Lock Roads).

This scene follows the Bottoms Up club scene I covered a few posts ago, so it is quite feasible that the production crew got all these bar shots out of the way in one fell swoop rather than hopping from one side of the harbour to the other. So I am going to assume that The Players Nightclub was along Peking Road (or thereabouts), but I am sure there is someone who can give me a more accurate position.

I await your feedback...:-)

31 comments:

  1. Hi Phil,

    #69 Peking Road was (and still is) the Universal Commercial Building. In this respect the Player's Night Club would be the present day location of the Delaney's.

    Thanks & Best Regards,
    T

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    1. Hi Thomas, i'll be honest, i did consider Delaney's but i couldn't find any clue to indicate the location. I'm still trying to figure where you got 5he address from...is it on one of the pics?
      Cheers
      Phil

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    2. Ha! No sooner do i write the comment i spot the street number. My eyes are definitely not what they used to be - and they weren't that great to begin with ;-)

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    3. Actually Thomas, I wonder if this club was actually in the location where the International Park N Shop is now? Delaney's appears to be in the next building over, but the screen shots seem to indicate that this club was in the Universal Building.
      Cheers
      Phil

      P.S This is a good excuse for a trip to TST for a beer in Delaney's ;-)

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  2. Hi Phil,

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-TNqaRzDikz4/U6gtxdUUsuI/AAAAAAAAFX0/cEWB8_jrin0/s1600/VTS_02_1.VOB_000996200.jpg <----- This screen showed #69 in the upper right. A bit dark though. But if you blow it up, you should be able to see it.

    The present day street view did not have the #69 visible though. ParkNShop is in the basement of 69. I am no longer certain if the Club was #69, or was in the present day location of the Delaney's.

    I have never watched this show. Was there any panning shots before or after the guy went into the club?

    Thanks & Best Regards,
    T

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    1. Hi Thomas - no panning shots other than the ones above - panning down. The doorway in the shots above make it look as though it was in Universal rather than next door in Delaney's. Cheers, Phil

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  3. Gah, just wrote a whole comment and lost it when I tried to preview.

    I worked right next door in the Mary Building (71-77 Peking Rd) for a few months in mid-1992. I have absolutely no recollection of a club next door called The Players, nor of all that extravagant neon leading into the entrance of a club there, and I would've walked down that road hundreds of times, if not more.

    Centamap doesn't have occupation dates for either Mary Building or Universal Commercial Building, but the others on the block date to the mid-60s, and my recollection is that Mary Building was a bit run-down even then. I'd guess they likely are no newer than the 1970s.

    But if you look up in street view, and look at the first screenshot, the windows don't match. Mary Building was renovated in 2009, but in 1992 looked much as it did behind the scaffolding in the Street View image -- wide smoked-glass windows and beige tiles with white beams above the windows. Universal Commercial Building has a ribbed front that doesn't match the screenshot either, though -- note that the building is smooth beneath the window at top right in the first screenshot, and slightly recessed as well. By contrast, there are ribbed "boxes" beneath the windows on the Street View image, even at the lowest floor of windows.

    I think this was shot somewhere else, rather than all the shots being in one location...

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    1. Hi gweilo8888 - yes, it's entirely possible that this has been shot elsewhere. Did you also notice there is an 'L' on the right hand side of the picture. Although i will say it is hard to see what the left hand side building looks like because it looks to be behind scaffolding. Hmmm, the plot thickens...

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    2. Yes, noticed the L, but guessing the rest of the word from a single letter is a game beyond my level. :-D

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    3. Argh! No! Now i feel the same way i did when i first found out Bruce Lee used a stunt double for his acrobatics ...

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  4. Could this in any way be related?

    There seems to have been a company using the name 花花世界夜總會 in 2002, just a decade later, per a liquor licensing board request to transfer or renew their license shown at http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/200210/03/1003149.htm.

    It seems to be listed as an alternate name for 位於旺角的國際城酒吧夜總會. (Guessing at the translation, but perhaps "Mong Kok International City Bar & Nightclub"?)

    Googling the latter finds nothing except another mention of a 2002 licensing board application, sadly. Can't find any record of it being approved *or* denied, nor of a bar operating by that name. (And they don't list a location for the application, nor an English name.)

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    1. I wonder if that is related to the Soy St location i keep finding marked out. I'm not sure this is Soy St either...

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  5. Hi Phil,

    I still interested to find out what the heck is that #69 on the screen. I have already tried to match up streets in Tsim Sha Tsui *Hankow, Ashley, Mody, Kimberley, etc) and seemed no match. And Soy Street did not match as well. Really have no idea now.

    Thanks & Best Regards,
    T

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    1. me too, but I haven't completely ruled out Peking Road yet either. At least we know the bottom one is definitely on Peking Rd...:-)

      The others could be anywhere from TST to SHam Shui Po and over to Wanchai. I'm actually convinced it was a real club because I don't think the production crew would have gone to all the trouble to create the neon entrance for the sake of less than a few seconds on screen. Which is why I am also erring on the TST hunch because it makes sense to film scenes close together in terms of location - logistics and cost efficiency makes it more likely. But I also have an open mind...

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    2. Yes, I'd agree. I'm guessing TST too, for much the same reasons.

      The really frustrating thing is that, while I'm convinced it wasn't in the building next door to my office, that neon -- specifically, the long lines leading into the entrance (but not the text above) actually does feel familiar.

      I was wondering if perhaps it was somewhere around Kimberley (but sounds like T's ruled that out), or perhaps the cluster of bars around Prat / Hart Ave. I don't think Mody as I lived on that one for six months, and would almost certainly remember it.

      Or maybe Minden Ave, I know there were / are a cluster of bars back there, but I seldom went back there except to take my clothes to be laundered.

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    3. Actually, if you look at Centamap, there aren't even that many roads in TST that *have* a number 69. I spot the following, and none match.

      * Peking Rd, which I maintain can't be right. Or if it is, I'm changing my name to Mr. Magoo. :-p

      * Canton Rd possibly, although it looks to me like the even numbers go much higher than the odd ones

      * Mody Rd, but it's in TST East, where the buildings look more modern than those in the screenshot.

      * Chatham Rd South, but we're getting a bit far north for the tourists, and I'm thinking a bar like that needed tourists.

      * Granville Rd: Same problem.

      * Kimberley Rd: Same problem, although there are at least a cluster of bars up there. Don't remember much in the way of topless bars, though.

      * Austin Rd: But we're way too far north now.

      I'm changing my earlier vote. I don't think it's TST, I think it's on the island somewhere. Wan Chai gets my new vote, as it was a seedy dive all over back then, still riding Lily Wong's coat tails as it were.

      Perhaps Cornwall Avenue, which vanished in the construction of The *shudder* Masterpiece? But it's almost certainly too short for a #69, as well. What other roads in TST have disappeared?

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    4. I must admit, the front does look familiar to me as well - although of course only from me passing by *cough cough*. But you may well be right, otherwise I shall insist on you changing your login name :-)

      I shall commence on a search of all buildings beginning with L and see if any are at #69 (unfortunate, perhaps the number itself was a bit of an in-joke for the crew?)

      :-P

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    5. And to top it all off, I just realized I typed Lily Wong instead of Suzie Wong. Gah, my brain's gone to mush. Where'd I put my trifocals?

      /not sure if she's still well-known, Lily Wong was an SCMP cartoon series back when I lived in HK, drawn by Larry Feign. He was pretty good, so hopefully they're still popular... :-)

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    6. get in line because even though I read "Lily" I somehow perceived it as "Suzie". Argh! Time to move into the O.A.P with my bib and adult size Pampers!!

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  6. Woah, wait... I just found the following in a forum post from 2005:

    ""I never went to Bottoms Up because I got ripped off in another Chinese topless bar nearby - The Players Club which I'm glad to report has also closed."

    Warning: Rather dodgy site ahead -- http://forum.myredbook.com/dcforum2/intl/2456.html

    That puts us back in Tsim Sha Tsui, and it also says that it was definitely a real bar. But it suggests I have to be wrong about Peking Road, because there's nowhere else it could have been. :-/

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  7. Blast, I'm realizing I've led us down a rabbit hole. I went back and looked harder at Peking Road, and I'm confident you were right all along, Phil.

    Universal Commercial Building is a perfect match for the building on the right of the first screenshot, *if* there was a concrete overhang / façade projecting out over the sidewalk (similar to that on Mary Building) which has subsequently been removed.

    The "L" you mentioned would be not on the front of the building as I assumed, but on the front of the overhang. The blue sign with Chinese characters above the L would be on the front of the overhang, too. The windows would be set further back, and the bottom row of empty "boxes" beneath the windows would be hidden behind the overhang.

    And that puts Players Bar back in the bottom of Universal Commercial Building, right where Park'n'Shop is now.

    So I guess the club was probably gone by mid-1992, perhaps with a trace of the neon left for me to remember... And I feel like a wally now. Mr. Magoo it is! ;-)

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    1. LOL! Well, I must admit I'm only 90% convinced myself at the moment. However, my first ever visit to HK was in 1995 and, yet, still this place seems familiar...it could be I've seen a photo elsewhere of course.

      I guess I need to track down some Peking Road pictures from the 80's, so I won't say the mystery has been solved just yet...

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    2. It's solved:

      https://www.flickr.com/photos/7437991@N08/5541881087/

      See street sign at bottom right. Actually posted this earlier but not sure if it made it, as later posts showed up but this didn't.

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    3. I've just found all your other comments and released them from topless bar limbo :-) (hmm, topless limbo, sounds intriguing...).

      Well done! The mystery is solved.

      Now we know what Park n Shop used to be, do you think it will have a positive or negative effect on their customer numbers :-)

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    4. Hah -- topless limbo is definitely worth investigating further. :-)

      Now that the correct method for proofing this has occurred to me, it's quite easy to turn up other photos of the location. Simply Google a street name and year, switch to Image Search, and browse.

      Here's one of The Players Club from the opposite angle:

      http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTEwMlgxNjAw/z/JbsAAOxyF19SGy~W/$(KGrHqFHJDcFISkiJ150BSGy+WTc0g~~60_57.JPG

      I am simply stunned as to how I could have missed this, if it was still there in 1992. Apparently my memory is a very selective thing, and it doesn't include girlie bars I haven't been in. *ahem*, I mean it doesn't include girlie bars at all. ;-)

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    5. And one more, a daytime shot from 1989:

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/35033278@N00/3739058612

      That mysterious L, by the way, was the world-famous Lee Kee Boots and Shoes, purveyors of fine foot sieves to amused tourists since the year dot.

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    6. Thanks Mr M :) great shop name. It reminds me of that Wong Fook Hing bookstore...

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    7. Or the legendary Hung Fat Brassiere Company. ;-)

      I think another post got lost, btw. I found a view from the other direction, but it hasn't showed up...

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    8. ah, it's much easier to release comments from my desktop rather than the smartphone (which is why I kept missing them) , many apologies. That angle from the other direction - wow! what a great picture. It almost makes the place look attractive hehe ;-)

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    9. No problems. :-) That's the Hong Kong I grew up with, and love -- even if it was a bit dodgy here and there. (OK, a lot dodgy.) It was so much more colorful and exciting... Wish more of that neon was still around!

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  8. And I've got it. The final proof.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/7437991@N08/5541881087/

    We're done here. Peking Road sign in the lower right corner.

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