Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I Spy (TV Series) - Robert Culp (1965) - The Peninsula Hotel, Tsim Sha Tsui

Back to our I Spy series and a new episode called So Long, Patrick Henry. Easypeasy one this because The Peninsula is such a recognisable landmark on the Kowloon waterfront. But keep an eye open for a rather unorthodox view of it in a while.

Look closely and you'll see the Shell sign from the petrol station that used to be opposite. The building has changed of course and anyone who reads this stuff will know that there is now an office tower sticking up from the middle section, an underground carpark now exists and to accommodate it the front driveway was raised several feet.

These steps have been absorbed into the raised driveway, but judging from the picture below the interior doesn't look to have change much since Cosby and Culp passed the threshold.

Here are some interesting shots of a stuntman walking across the front facade. At least I'm pretty sure it wasn't Robert Culp...

Actually, the following shot - that IS Culp - actually looks to have been filmed on the floor below (note the absence of circular columns but easy to step on sills in front of the windows). Still, I'm quite impressed the hotel were prepared to let anyone do that at all.

Finally we have some closeups of that famous driveway and what looks to be a Routemaster bus going by in the background along Salisbury Road. Feel free to illuminate me as to the make/model of the car and the taxi company.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Taxi Driver - David Chiang (1975) - Blue Taxi Cabs Ltd, Ho Man Tin

Here is a location that I was absolutely scratching my head about because I could find nothing to suggest where it could have been. So, to the rescue came Arthur Yau, who posted a comment on my help page telling me this place was on the corner of Waterloo Road and Ho Man Tin Street.

For posterity, I've moved Arthur's comments here, so they don't get lost in the constant reshuffles of my help page.
For the taxicab company, it was at the corner of Waterloo Road and Ho Man Tin Street, where there is now a PNS [Park 'n' Shop] Supermarket in its place. The brickwork above the canopy remains exactly the same.
Just a side note: the infamous Mr. Cheung Tze Keung used to live two doors down the PNS. I remembered seeing a bright yellow Lambo in that parking lot before he was captured and shot in the Mainland, despite the apartment building being relatively modest.
[Blue Taxicabs] was a famous taxicab company back then. The building was named after the founder of the company, a Mr. TSAN Yung.
Many thanks to Arthur for these historical snippets.Here is a reminder of what it looks like on film.

I was convinced that this was located somewhere in Mongkok (to be fair, I guess Mongkok is only around the corner :-) ). However, it turns out to be somewhere I wasn't expecting at all. I'm kicking myself really because the corner building you can see was always one of those places I noted when I was passing it on the bus home.

Anyway, mystery solved, so many thanks to Arthur for his many helpful comments. Here is a similar view using Streetview.

Look carefully and you can see that the patterned plaster cornice above the Park 'N' Shop sign is the same one that can be seen on film. I will have to sneak into the carpark at some point and see if it was the same place used on film as well.

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. But this version is unquestionably the one at 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 :-)

Monday, October 7, 2013

I Spy (TV Series) - Robert Culp (1965) - Carlton Hotel, Tai Po Road

This is only the second time I have seen this location being used - although I suspect it was featured in many more films I haven't seen yet. The last time I featured it on this blog was for Game of Death. However, this series. I Spy, was of course filmed about 13 years before Game of Death was released. This is another scene from Carry Me back to Old Tsing Tao.

In this last picture we can see what was the So Uk Estate - now largely demolished to make way for new apartments - famous for giving us the Hui brothers (Michael, Ricky and Sam) amongst others. Note the amount of hills in the background. Most of these had already been removed by the time Game of Death was filmed so that roads such as Lung Cheung Road and Cornwall Street could be put down.

You can just make out the hazy outline of Hong Kong Island in the background, to the right of Cosby's head is an island which I can only assume is probably Stonecutter Island - once part of the British Garrison but now occupied by the PLA. And AP has kindly stitched together some of the top screen grabs to give us a nice wide view of the hotel grounds.

The hotel was demolished some time in the 1990's to make way for Villa Carlton and Monte Carlton. You can still head up Tai Po Road to this spot but the view would be drastically different now courtesy of the proliferation of high rises in Kowloon below.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I Spy (TV Series) - Robert Culp (1965) - Dragon Garden, Castle Peak Road

After a couple of weeks break we return to I Spy, but a new episode called Carry Me Back to Old Tsing Tao. Viewers of either of my two blogs should immediately recognise the first location we see because it was subsequently featured in The Man with the Golden Gun and Noble House (amongst others). But, it seems, that Bill Cosby and Robert Culp were there first. We are of course talking about Dragon Garden. Here are the grabs.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Bloodsport - Jean Claude Van Damme (1987) - East Lake Seafood Restaurant, Causeway Bay

I take my hat off to Thomas for correctly nailing this one. I was convinced that the so-called "East Lake Hotel" was fictitious, and I was only partly correct. Indeed, the building used in the film was not a hotel but in fact a restaurant called the East Lake Seafood Restaurant, and it occupied the first floor of the Maysun Garden Building located on Hing Fat Street. This fact was later confirmed by Neil Macdonald who worked as the location manager for Salon Films when they were making Bloodsport.

Here are some of the comments from that particular bit of sleuthing.
Thomas: There are Chinese characters behind the No Entry traffic sign and it appeared to read 東湖, which looked like a Local Restaurant. 東湖 = East lake. Maybe they just faked part of the business sign...There is another Restaurant there today and its entrance is not the same as East Lake. Street View does not show the current restaurant though.
Neil: The East Lake Hotel was actually the East Lake Seafood Restaurant at the junction of Wing Hing street and Electric Road. Salon Films production office was just round the corner, on Wing Hing street. We only used it as an exterior.
Me: Thanks Neil - that sounds like the same place that Thomas had identified in the comments above. Or perhaps the other side of the same block?
Thomas: It's the same block! I'll try to take a few pictures the next time I walk buy for you. The current restaurant is the Majesty Chinese Restaurant ( The current Street View did not show this though.
Now, the actual angle used on the film was indeed the corner where Hing Fat Street joins with Wing Hing Street and here is the best comparison I can do with the film without going down there and taking it myself.

The building facade has changed completely but the lights and crossing are still there, and on the screen grab from Bloodsport you can see the trees on the right that are located within the boundary of Victoria Park (this is essentially the NE corner of the park for those needing a bit of context.

Anyway, once again, many thanks to Thomas and Neil.