Thursday, 27 March 2014

Bruce Lee's Hong Kong

It seems only right that one of the main posts driving this blog from its inception should be reinstated here on the new one. When I first started doing Bruce Lee locations it was just a little list of Enter the Dragon locations that I had mashed together from various online sources (it turned out that most of that information had originally come from Paul Li - HK's foremost Lee historian).

More film locations were added as time went on as well as places related to his life. What we have now is a significant list of places encompassing many aspects of Lee's life, from his early years, film work and later life in HK up to his death. I have also managed to knock together a few walking tours, which I will reinstate over the coming weeks. But until then, here is the original post, with a few more recent updates added.

A quick mention of various people who have helped, in their own ways, directly or indirectly, to the compilation of this list: Paul Li, Steve Kerridge, John Little, Simon Leung, Jon T. Benn (R.I.P), Chaplin Chang, Tim Redel,  Eddy Lo, Greg Rhodes, Wolfgang Miesen, Marcos Ocaña and Vanessa Seed. Many thanks to all.

Enter The Dragon

Aberdeen Harbour
: Where the fighters board the junk to travel to Han’s Island.

Tai Tam Bay: Served as the disembarkation point for the fighters arriving at Han’s Island. The stone jetty is still there.

Palm Villa: was located on the shores of Tai Tam Bay and its terraced tennis courts served as the tournament grounds.

Muslim Cemetery: Bruce visits his mum’s grave. Several tombstones and trees seen in the film are still recognisable.

King Yin Lei, Stubbs Road: Used as the long shot of Han’s fortress and as part of the composite photo shown to Lee by Braithewaite.

Kau Yi Chau: the real island that was used in a B&W composite photo showing Han's fortress.

Golden Harvest Studios: Used for some of the Angela Mao chase scenes.

Yau Ma Tei Wholesale Fruit Market: Where Williams is walking through a market place.

Hankow/Peking Roads: The roads used for filming Roper being pulled around in a rickshaw.

Kai Tak Airport: Featured in film but closed in 1998.

Tsing Shan Monastery: Used for the "Lao’s time" scene and Bruce’s philosophical dialog with Roy Chiao as head monk.

Ching Chun Koon: Used for the initial shot of the temple. Brief glimpse but it’s there.

Chek Lap Kok Island: Used as the basis for the map version of Han’s Island shown to Lee by Braithewaite during his briefing.

Ho Sheung Heung, Sheung Shui: where Bruce fought Sammo at the beginning. Only recently re-discovered by yours truly. I've been able to confirm with Andi (his great blog here) that this location was quite popular with films during the 70s.

Shanghai Street, Yau Ma Tei: Where Jim Kelly crosses the road.

Kansu Street, Yau Ma Tei: in the opening scene when the yellow motorcyclist is riding around.

For a more detailed look at these locations and more (including some modern views) you can go to my film blog here.

Way Of The Dragon

Wah Shan/Woodland Crest: The only outdoor Hong Kong location used in this film where Bruce takes on Bob Wall, Whang in Sik and Jon Benn.

Queen’s Cafe, 8 Hysan Avenue: No longer there but this was the place they used when Lee meets Paul Wei to talk.

Fist Of Fury

Jardim Luis De Camoes, Macau: Fist of Fury park scene.

R. Dom Belchior Caneiro, Macau: one of the streets seen during the rickshaw scenes.

Unicorn Fist

Pak Tam Chung, Sai Kung: This is one of my humble contributions to the Lee knowledge base.

You can read more about the little adventures I went on in this article that appeared in the SCMP at the time by clicking on the following pictures.

The Orphan’s Tragedy

Tai Po Kau (formerly Tai Po) Station: Used for a scene when young Bruce boards a train to go off to school. The station was demolished in circa 1983.

My Son A-Chang (aka The Kid)

Shatin KCR Line: - The end scene sees Bruce (as a very young child) walking along the KCR railway in Shatin/Tai Wai area. Now known as the East Rail line since the MTR company took over the operation of the trains.

~~~ various other locations (some tenuous, some direct links), some still to be investigated ~~~~

Mui Wo, Lantau: Jon Benn told me Bruce used to take his family over to Jon’s house on Lantau Island for the odd day out at the beach.

Junction Road, Kowloon: Bruce Thomas’ otherwise excellent biography details Bruce forming a street gang called the “Tigers of Junction Street”. Actually, the road is called Junction Road.

St Francis Xavier’s College: Bruce’s second school after he was expelled from La Salle College (for poor results). He made a return trip there in the 70′s to present awards at a school sports day.

King’s Park Reservoir: shots of him training with his dad.

Kowloon Funeral Parlour, Maple Street: where his HK funeral took place.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital: where Bruce was taken on the night he died.

Avenue of Stars: Bruce Lee statue and plaque. For the new version go here.

Madame Tussauds: A truly crap wax effigy of Bruce outside the entrance. So crap in fact that it could be anyone in that yellow suit.

St Andrew’s Church, Tsim Sha Tsui: The location of Bruce’s additional kung fu lessons before he headed off to the US. He felt some “showy” moves would help him sell kung fu to potential students in the US and undertook study in a couple of styles including one called Jeet Kune (not to be confused with JKD).

Lung Wah Hotel, Shatin: Bruce has two connections with this place, first is he used to eat at the restaurant there in his younger days and secondly it was supposedly where he stayed whilst filming pick-up shots for The Big Boss.

Beas River Country Club: Paul Li has informed me that the just-mentioned pick-up shots for The Big Boss were actually filmed at the Beas River Country Club near Sheung Shui. I’ll investigate further but it’s possible Bruce stayed at Lung Wah and made the trip to Sheung Shui from there on the shoot day(s).

Ocean Terminal Rooftop, Kowloon: used by Golden Harvest for publicity shots with Wu Ngan and others.

Baptist Hospital, Kowloon: taken here after suffering a collapse during a dubbing session at Golden Harvest Studios on 10th May 1973.

St Theresa’s Hospital, Kowloon: transferred here from Baptist Hospital to undergo medical to investigate cause of previous collapse.

Canossa Hospital, Hong Kong: rumoured surgery to remove sweat glands. This is noted in Tom Bleecker’s “Unsettled Matters”.

Grand Ocean Cinema: The premiere of The Big Boss. Next door is Lane Crawford which used to be part of the cinema before being turned into Planet Hollywood. Incidentally, when it was open, Planet Hollywood had displays of various memorabilia from Lee’s film work including the black cat suit he wore in ETD.

Pui Ching Education Centre Car Park, Gascoigne Road: The  scene of some snaps from a 1963 trip back with Bruce and Doug Palmer. At this time this place was called the Grantham College of Education and it was built in 1952. The building behind (with the pointy zigzag roof) is actually Kowloon Methodist College.

Mirador Mansion, Kowloon: The rooftop was the scene of his last street fight (maybe should be ‘roof-fight’) before leaving HK for the US.

Champagne Court, Kimberley Road: Used to house a nightclub in the basement where Bruce did his Cha Cha dancing. These days it’s a great place to pick up antique cameras but looks set to be redeveloped soon.

HK Observatory: where Bruce’s older brother, Peter, used to work.

Osaka Japanese Restaurant, 14 Ashley Rd: Previously known as Restaurant Yamato – he made copious notes on paper supplied from here, including ones formulating the initial fight with Sammo for ETD – it’s also the oldest Japanese Restaurant in town. Some of this stationery is on display at the Heritage Museum exhibition (which closes in July 2020).

Gaddi’s, Peninsula Hotel: One of his haunts and the scene of several meetings between Bruce and Robert Clouse during the production of Enter the Dragon. Unfortunately, the current location of the restaurant is not the one Bruce would have been familiar with. During Bruce’s visits in the early 70′s Gaddi’s was situated on the ground floor. In 1977 it was moved upstairs to a site previously occupied by the Peninsula Ballroom. The old location now being used as part of the ground floor shopping arcade.

Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel (formerly the Hongkong Hotel): Where he celebrated his 31st birthday. He also used to frequent the lounge with friends including Lam Ching Ying.

Cox’s Road Playground Park: At the rear of 218 Nathan Road. It’s where Bruce’s dad used to practice his Tai Chi.

Shamrock Hotel, 223 Nathan Rd: He took Doug Palmer there on his first trip back to HK in 1963. The original building still stands and is directly opposite where the Lee house used to stand at 218. I’ve also been told the hotel (or at least its entrance) can be seen in The Orphan. I haven't seen the film so can't confirm. Warning: I've been told this building is about to be sold which almost certainly means redevelopment. See it while you still can.

Tak Sun Primary School, 103 Austin Rd: Bruce’s primary school, though a more modern version now stands at the location. There is a rather nice mosaic mural on the side of the building showing Bruce in one of his childhood roles.

St Mary’s Canossian College, 162 Austin Rd: Another one of Bruce’s early schools, when it admitted boys. It's now a girls-only school.

Kowloon Bowling Green Club, 123 Austin Road: Bruce used to swim there with his brother Robert.

Flat A3, 1/F, 67 Beacon Hill Road, Bik Wah Court (aka Beverly Heights): Betty’s home in 1973 where Bruce died/went comatose. [edit: Wolfgang has informed me that Betty's old flat in this building was actually on the 2/F, not the 1/F. I'm unsure if this means the flat number is also different...?]

Shaw Bros Studios, Clearwater Bay Road: Bruce went here a lot and there are photos of him outside the iconic ‘Shaw’ house with his friend, Unicorn Chan as well as when he visited Movietown with John Saxon on a break from filming Enter The Dragon. Plus copious other times when he met the studios star players for photo ops.

Lung Mei, Sai KungGame Of Death outdoor photos/test footage as well as (according to published interview with Bee Chan) choreography rehearsals for Enter the Dragon (with Wu Ngan, Bee Chan, Yuen Wah et al). However, Bee Chan's reference to Enter the Dragon may be his memory playing up. I'm unsure to say either way at the moment.

Yip Man’s grave, Fanling: Bruce's former Wing Chun teacher's grave. Directions on how to get there can be found here.

Lai Chi Kok Cemetery, Kowloon: Bruce’s dad’s grave. There are photos of Bruce visiting the grave with Linda and the kids. A post with pictures and directions can be found here.

Mariners Club, Middle Road: Bruce used to use the telephones here to call Linda and Will Dozier during 1971. Due to be demolished soon :-(

Chungking Mansions, Nathan Road: In a former incarnation, there used to be a nightclub here called the Bayside Nite Club. I heard Bruce was friendly with the Filipino band here but seeing as the place wasn’t built until 1961, if it’s true, it must have been during one of his return trips in the 60′s or when he returned in the 70′s (many thanks to Vanessa Seed for nailing the location and providing the following picture of match books from her collection).

Fung Ying Sin Koon, Fanling: Snaps from a family outing here have been included in the “Memories of the Dragon” book (by Lee’s siblings). Various snaps of Bruce in the temple grounds and inside the original temple (destroyed by fire sometime in the 1980′s).

Fanling KCR Station: Just a small rural platform at the time but featured on many family photos – possibly snapped at the same time as the Fung Yin Sin Koon pictures (the temple is next door to the station).

10000 Buddha Temple, Shatin: An unconfirmed rumour concerning Bruce using the steps up to the monastery for fitness training. It’s not totally beyond belief given that he use to spent time at Lung Wah Hotel just a few hundred metres away. The monastery was founded in 1951, so the timeline makes this plausible.

Tao Fung Shan Christian Seminary, Shatin: Bruce's old friend and co-star in WOTD confirmed in an interview that Lee often went up to Tao Fung Shan to collect various types of 'fighting' spiders.

West Forest Monastery, Shatin: A former popular beauty spot in Shatin and now reinvented as a (illegal?) columbarium containing the ashes of dead people. Apparently it has a similar connection to Bruce as its 10000 Buddha neighbour, i.e. Bruce used to come here and train. Unconfirmed rumour mind you - could be false.

Lions Club International Pavilion, Shatin: In her recently published (2015) autobiography, Betty Ting Pei mentions that she used to drive to the pavilion with Bruce. She also mentions that her current home, Shatin 33 (碧霞花園), is close to the pavilion.

Perth Street, Kowloon: Post-war, the LaSalle College building was still being used as a hospital, so the school was located in temporary huts along Perth Street. KGV school is also nearby and was a favourite place for Bruce to scrap with the expat kids there.

Ma Tau Chung Road Ambulance depot, Kowloon: Thanks to info from Paul Li, this was the ambulance station from where ambulance A43 was dispatched at 22:30 to go and pick up Bruce from Ting Pei’s Beacon Hill flat on the night of his death.

Mau Lam Street, Yau Ma Tei: The former home of Bruce’s parents before they moved to Nathan Road. Bruce’s siblings were staying at #5 when he was born in the US. The street is still there but, as expected, #5 is long gone.

Tsim Sha Tsui Mansion, 83-97 Nathan Road, Kowloon: This is where Lam Ching-ying lived in the early 70's and Bruce would spend time there with him before going out to eat or party.

YMCA Cityview, Waterloo Road: Bruce attended English lessons at the YMCA prior to leaving for the US. It occupies the same site but, unfortunately, the current one is a modern building and not the one Bruce attended.

Kom Tong Hall, Hong Kong: The mansion in the mid-levels now serving as the Dr Sun Yat Sen museum. The building was built by Bruce's grandfather Ho Kom Tong.

Chiu Yuen Cemetery, Mount Davis: The Eurasian cemetery on HK Island which contains the bodies of many of the extended Ho Tung clan. This is the large influential family from where Bruce's mother, Grace, came from.

Ming Tak Yuen (aka Sunlight Garden), 2 Man Wan Road: The location of the initial apartment Lee and family were living in on their full-time move to HK. They lived on the 13th Floor.

Soares Avenue, Kowloon: Just around the corner from Sunlight Garden on the opposite side of Waterloo Road is this small road where Linda used to do her grocery shopping.

Hong Kong Adventist Hospital, Tai Hang: This is the hospital Bruce was taken to for stitches after his hand was cut by Bob Wall during filming of Enter the Dragon. Apparently, the crew initially took him to a medical centre in nearby Stanley, but no one on duty could stitch his hand, so he was then driven to the north of HK Island to this hospital where he was successfully treated.

149 Tung Choi Street, Mongkok: This was Yip Man's home for the later part of his life.

~~~~~~ Additional Macau ~~~~~~

Lou Lim Leoc Garden: A tenuous link because it was used in scenes from Game of Death featuring Bruce's lookalike.

Bela Vista Hotel: This place has cropped up on the recently leaked Ahna Capri Enter The Dragon outtakes/behind the scenes film. Just for the record it’s not in HK. Any Lee connection? Nothing direct but obviously Capri must have stayed here when she visited Macau during the filming of ETD and I’ve included it to clear up confusion regarding its location.

~~~~~~ Gone but not forgotten ~~~~~~

9 Cox’s Road, Kowloon: – Former site of the HK scout association at which Bruce was once photographed with his brother. Now demolished and replaced by apartments. If you want to know what it looked like, Ho Chung Tao (aka Bruce Li) filmed a scene in The Chinese Stuntman outside.

Miramar Hotel, Kimberley Rd: Yes, I know it’s now The Mira but the building that was familiar to Bruce was the original wing on the north side of Kimberley Road, not the current Mira building. The north block was replaced by the Miramar Shopping Centre circa 1994. It was in this demolished block that Bruce had the Unicorn Fist press conference and where he was supposed to meet George Lazenby on his fateful last night.

Lei Tat Street, Yau Ma Tei: Yip Man’s Wing Chun school address. The street is a victim of redevelopment a while back. But lies close to where today’s arthouse Broadway Cinematheque now stands.

Queen’s Theatre, Central: Demolished in 2007. It was the location for the world premieres of Fist of Fury and Way of the Dragon.

41 Cumberland Road: his home between July ’72 and his death in July ’73.

Golden Harvest Studios, Kowloon: All internal buildings were demolished circa 1998. The plot remained untouched and with just a surrounding wall and gateway until site formation started (circa 2003) for a housing development called Kingsford Terrace. Someone was nice enough to pinch my original marked up image (left) and enhance it, so I have returned the favour.

GH Studios in 1973 (courtesy HK Mapping Office)

Golden Crown Court, 68 Nathan Road: One of Bruce’s favourite Chinese restaurants and where he had a high profile dinner with Chuck Norris and Bob Wall during a break in filming for Way Of The Dragon. The restaurant was eventually turned into the Banana Leaf Curry House, but is now just another branch of the Standard Chartered Bank.

Tung Ying Building, 100 Nathan Rd: Recently demolished (2006) but was the site of the Golden Harvest offices. It also contained Bruce's local bank (Bank of America) and an Oliver’s where Bruce used to snack sometimes (unconfirmed rumour). It's now a new mall/office complex called The One.

Tung Ying Bldg pre-2006

Lee Theatre, Causeway Bay: Bruce attended a Sergio Mendes concert there in April 1973.

Hyatt Regency, 67 Nathan Rd: The famous Hugo’s restaurant was inside where Bruce first met Raymond to discuss films. The Hyatt is also rumoured to be the first place Bruce met his mistress (one of many it seems), Betty Ting Pei, on the vehicular slope that used to be on Lock Road. The site has been redeveloped into the iSquare Mall.

Hak Keung Gymnasium, 749 Nathan Road: The good chaps on have helped me find the former address of this place that issued Bruce with those famous exercise sheets (see below).

218 Nathan Road, Kowloon: The family home in 40′s/50′s and 60′s. There's not many pictures around of Bruce's old house, but quite a few that show the building such as the one below. Photo credit is eternal1966b on FLICKR. I’ve ringed the house – until I’m informed to the contrary, the modern day numbering of the block starts at 216 which puts #218 one house up from the side road (Tak Shing Street).

Yucca De Lac, Ma Liu Shui: A famous restaurant on Tai Po Road behind what is now University Station on the East Rail line. Frequented by Bruce and his family (as well as many famous stars). Sadly demolished in 2006 and now redeveloped into luxury low-rise housing. Below is an old postcard picture of how it looked.

Bruce on the railings at Yucca De Lac

Tai Hom Village studios
: Diamond Hill area used to contain many small film studios – with whom Bruce made some of his childhood films.

The Bruce Lee Cafe: Originally called The Rickshaw and run by Jon T. Benn, Bruce’s co-star from Way of the Dragon. Eventually closed due to rising rents (a familiar story in HK even now).

63 Broadcast Drive, Kowloon Tong: Bruce took part in several TVB shows in the early 70′s – in particular the famous Enjoy Yourself Tonight variety show and the Po Shan Landslide fundraiser. Both were filmed at the TVB studios – located here until 1984 after which they were moved to Shaw’s Movietown in Clearwater Bay. The site was demolished and turned into a development called “Peninsula Heights”.

TVB on Broadcast Drive pre-1984

81 Broadcast Drive, Kowloon Tong: The former site of ATV (formerly known as Rediffusion and RTV) studios. The building was recently demolished and has been turned into a very expensive apartment block called "Meridian Hill".

4/F, 211 Prince Edward Road: Betty’s home after she moved from Beacon Hill and whilst she was giving evidence at Bruce’s inquest. Demolished quite recently.

Fourseas Bowling Alley, Waterloo Road: There is an anecdote from Jackie Chan about when he once met Bruce in Kowloon and took him bowling. It turns out the bowling alley in question was the famous Fourseas Bowling Alley which stood at the site of the former Fourseas Hotel. The site is now occupied by the Kowloon Metropark. Here's what it used to look like.

The Repulse Bay Hotel, Hong Kong: Chaplin Chang has told me that often Bruce and a few others would head over to the hotel (it was located behind Repulse Bay beach) and take advantage of the lunch buffet while they had a break from filming. The hotel was demolished in the early 1980's and replaced with an apartment complex (that's right, the one with the large hole in it). According to various sources, the current Repulse Bay Mall was reconstructed using the same bricks from the old hotel building. I have yet to visit so I can't confirm.

Siu Lam Kung Restaurant, Hanoi Road: this was a popular Chinese restaurant on Hanoi Road in TST. Chaplin Chang told me this is where he met Bruce for the first time before heading to Rome to shoot Way of the Dragon.

Ho Tung Gardens, Hong Kong: The large mansion formerly known as The Falls on the peak that was owned by Sir Robert Ho Tung. Grace Lee spent most of her formative years at this property. Sadly Sir Ho Tung's grandaughter, Ho Min Kwan, was feeling grumpy about the place and demolished it at the end of 2013 in the hope of a 7 Billion dollar redevelopment windfall.

Shanghai Bathhouse, Prat Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui: A sauna that Bruce frequented on his return trip to HK in 1963 (with Doug Palmer). Not sure of the exact address.

Carlton Hotel, Tai Po Road: Now the location of a residential development called Villa Carlton, it was once the location of a nice hotel (which was actually used as a location in the 1979 Game of Death) along the Kowloon-side section of Tai Po Road. Bruce used to catch a taxi here with his childhood girlfriend, Amy Chan. I'm also informed the Carlton was also popular for hourly-rental rooms. I'll let you read into that whatever you wish to...

Wader Studios:It appears that some of the HK pick-up shots done for The Big Boss, were filmed at Wader Studios in Tsuen Wan. Remember that in 1971 GH didn't have a physical studio space and so rented out others for the use of sets etc, WADER studios was one of the bigger independent ones (let's face it, Raymond Chow wouldn't have been able to use Shaw's) and there are pictures of Bruce sitting in the backlot as well as practicing kicks behind the main admin building. These two shots below are taken from this website: le flute de silence and show Bruce at Wader Studios.

Additional links:

One of my favourite people on FLICKR is RichardWongHK. He has done a nice job setting up a Bruce Lee group and made some great image collages with snippets of Lee info. It's called The Bruce Lee Historical Trail.

The Bruce Lee Guide to Tsim Sha Tsui - one of my original Bruce Lee walking tours. It will be posted soon.

The Bruce Lee Guide to Yau Ma Tei - the second installment of my self-guided Lee walking tours.

The Bruce Lee Guide to (the rest of) Kowloon - Third and final walking tour related to Lee sites.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic information about the little dragon!
    Thanks for your hard work!