Bruce Lee

I don’t think there is anyone on the planet who hasn’t heard of Bruce Lee. There probably isn’t that much I can say about the man that is not know yet. But on the 48th anniversary of his death it might be a good starting point to look at the lesser known facts of Bruce Lee.

Lee was born Lee Jun Fan on November 27, 1940, in San Francisco, California, in both the hour and year of the Dragon. His father, Lee Hoi Chuen, a Hong Kong opera singer, moved with his wife, Grace Ho, and three children to the United States in 1939; Hoi Chuen’s fourth child, a son, was born while he was on tour in San Francisco.

Lee received the name “Bruce” from a nurse at his birthing hospital, and his family never used the name during his preschool years. He only started to use the name Bruce when he entered secondary school and began his study of the English language The future star appeared in his first film at the age of 3 months, when he served as the stand-in for an American baby in Golden Gate Girl (1941).

At the age of three months, Lee Hoi Chuen, his wife Grace and baby Bruce returned to Hong Kong where Bruce would be raised until the age of 18. Bruce’s most prominent memory of his early years was the occupation of Hong Kong by the Japanese during World War II (1941-1945). At the age of 13, Bruce was introduced to Master Yip Man, a teacher of the Wing Chun style of gung fu. For five years Bruce studied diligently and became very proficient. He greatly revered Yip Man as a master teacher and wise man and frequently visited with him in later years.

As a nine-year-old, he would co-star with his father in The Kid, also known as Kid Cheung and My Son A-Chang, is a 1950 Hong Kong drama film starring the then 9-year-old Bruce Lee in his first leading role in the title role of “Kid Cheung”, based on a comic book character written by Yuen Bou-wan, who also has a role in the film. Co-starring Lee’s father, Lee Hoi-chuen.

In high school, one of Bruce’s accomplishments was winning an interschool Boxing Championship against an English student in which the Marquis of Queensbury rules were followed and no kicking was allowed.

-As a side note- John Sholto Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry , was a Scottish nobleman, remembered for his atheism, his outspoken views, his brutish manner, for lending his name to the “Queensberry Rules” that form the basis of modern boxing, and for his role in the downfall of the Irish author and playwright Oscar Wilde. Lord Queensberry’s son Alfred had a relationship with Oscar Wilde-

Bruce was also a terrific dancer, and in 1958 he won the Hong Kong Cha Cha Championship. He studied dancing as assiduously as he did gung fu, keeping a notebook in which he had noted 108 different cha cha steps. In addition to his studies, gung fu and dancing, Bruce was also a child actor under the tutelage of his father who must have known from an early age that Bruce had a streak of showmanship. By the time he was 18, he had appeared in 20 films.

Lee finished high school in Edison, Washington, and subsequently enrolled as a philosophy major at the University of Washington. He also got a job teaching the Wing Chun style of martial arts that he had learned in Hong Kong to his fellow students and others. Through his teaching, Lee met Linda Emery, whom he married in 1964. By that time, Lee had opened his own martial arts school in Seattle.

Just as Bruce was cementing his plans to expand his martial arts schools, fate stepped in to move his life in another direction. In August of 1964, Ed Parker, widely regarded as the father of American Kenpo, invited Bruce to Long Beach, CA to give a demonstration at his First International Karate Tournament. A member of the audience was Jay Sebring, a well-known hair stylist to the stars. Jay told his producer client, William Dozier, about having seen this spectacular young Chinese man giving a gung fu demonstration just a few nights before. Mr. Dozier obtained a copy of the film that was taken at Ed Parker’s tournament. The next week he called Bruce at home in Oakland and invited him to come to Los Angeles for a screen test.

The rest of course is Hollywood history.

On July 20, 1973, Lee was in Hong Kong to have dinner with actor George Lazenby, known for his roles as James Bond in “Her Majesty’s Secret Service” with whom he intended to make a film. According to Lee’s wife Linda, Lee met producer Raymond Chow at 2 p.m. at home to discuss the making of the film Game of Death. They worked until 4 p.m. and then drove together to the home of Lee’s colleague Betty Ting Pei, a Taiwanese actress. The three went over the script at Ting’s home, and then Chow left to attend a dinner meeting.

Later, Lee complained of a headache, and Ting gave him the painkiller Equagesic, which contained both aspirin and the tranquilizer meprobamate. Around 7:30 p.m., he went to lie down for a nap. When Lee did not come for dinner, Chow came to the apartment, but he was unable to wake Lee up. A doctor was summoned, and spent ten minutes attempting to revive Lee before sending him by ambulance to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Lee was declared dead on arrival at the age of 32.

The untimely death of Bruce was not the only tragedy to fall on the Lee family.

On March 31, 1993, Bruce Lee’s son Brandon Lee was filming a scene in The Crow where his character is shot and killed by thugs. In the scene, Lee’s character walks into his apartment and discovers his fiancée being beaten and raped. Actor Michael Massee’s character fires a Smith & Wesson Model 629 .44 Magnum revolver at Lee as he walks into the room.

In the scene preceding the fatal scene, a gun was loaded with cartridges from which the crew had removed the powder charge, so in close-ups the revolver would show normal-looking bullets. The crew had neglected, however, to remove the primer from the cartridges. This caused one of the rounds to fire and lodge a bullet inside the barrel. For the fatal scene, which called for the revolver to be fired at Lee from a distance of 3.6–4.5 meters (12–15 ft), the emptied cartridges were replaced with blank rounds, which feature a live powder charge and primer, but no bullet, thus allowing the gun to be fired without the risk of an actual projectile. When the blank round was fired, the bullet lodged in the barrel was propelled forward with almost the same force as if the round were live, and it struck Lee in the abdomen.

Brandon Lee was rushed to the New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina. Attempts to save him were unsuccessful and after six hours of surgery, Lee was pronounced dead on March 31, 1993 at 1:03 pm, aged 28

sources

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033669/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

https://brucelee.com/bruce-lee

https://www.biography.com/actor/bruce-lee

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Happy Birthday James Bond

It would have been James Bond’s 121st birthday today.

When I say James Bond though I am not talking about the elusive spy codenamed 007 but about the American ornithologist and expert on the birds of the Caribbean.

The real Bond was born in Philadelphia and worked as an ornithologist at the Academy of Natural Sciences in that city, rising to become curator of birds there. He was an expert in Caribbean birds and wrote the definitive book on the subject: Birds of the West Indies, first published in and, in its fifth edition, still in print.

However his name was the inspiration for the famous fictional spy.

Fleming said he chose the name because he “wanted Bond to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened; I wanted him to be a blunt instrument…” Bond’s first appearance was in Casino Royale, published in 1953.Ian Fleming, was a keen bird watcher living in Jamaica, was familiar with Bond’s book.

Bond was born on January 4, 1900 in Philadelphia, where he also died on February 14, 1989.

In the 2002 Bond film Die Another Day, the fictional Bond, played by Pierce Brosnan, can be seen examining Birds of the West Indies in an early scene that takes place in Havana, Cuba.

The Longest Day and how Goldfinger temporarily was banned in Israel.

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The Longest Day is still one of my favourite movies. The epic cinematic event about D-Day and the direct aftermath. It was one of the first ensemble cast movies, basically anyone who was anyone in Hollywood was part of the movie.

cast

Because it was shot less then 2 decades after D-Day and the end of WWII it meant that some of the actors in the film had actually seen action on the battlefield during the war.

As you can see from the title there is a mention of another movie, the James Bond movie Goldfinger. Gert Fröbe who played Auric Goldfinger also played in The Longest Day, he portrayed the role of the Wehrmacht soldier Sgt. Kaffekanne.

Sgt. Kaffekanne

Fröbe was born on 25 February 1913 and had joined the Nazi party at the young age of 16 in 1929. Disillusioned by the party and what it stood for he left in 1937. By September 1944 however he was drafted into the Wehrmacht.

During an interview in 1968 with a reporter of the Daily Mail, Fröbe had said “I was a member of the Nazi Party. During the Third Reich, I had the luck to be able to help two Jewish people, although I was a member of the Nazi party.”

The reporter however had shortened it to ” I was a member of the Nazi Party” As a result Israel banned the movie Goldfinger for several months.

GOLDFINGER

Many people just didn’t believe Fröbe’s version of the interview. Until one of the Jews he helped, Mario Blumenau, showed up at the Israeli Embassy in Vienna.  Blumenau informed them that his and his Mother’s life  were saved by Fröbe by hiding them.  They’d heard of how Fröbe was being vilified and wanted to set the record straight.  Shortly after this, the Israeli ban on Goldfinger was officially lifted and Föbe’s reputation restored.

Gert_Fröbe_(1965)

 

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Sources

IMDB

 

Goldeneye-James Bond in WWII

naval-commander-ian-fleming

I have to confess that the title is actually deceiving, because this blog is not about James Bond as such but more about 007’s creator, Ian Fleming, and some of his WWII efforts. Looking at some of the operations it appears that his inspiration for James Bond may have partially come from himself.

In May 1939 Fleming was recruited by Rear Admiral John Godfrey, Director of  the Naval Intelligence  Division of the Royal Navy, to become his personal assistant. He joined the organisation full-time in August 1939,with the codename “17F”, and worked out of Room 39 at The Admiralty.

800px-Old_Admiralty_Building_2

Ian Fleming was soon involved in several WWII operations.

Operation Ruthless

Operation Ruthless was the name of a deception operation devised by Ian Fleming in the British Admiralty during World War II, in an attempt to gain access to German Naval Enigma code books.

In conjunction The code breakers at Bletchley Park, working on the highly secret German Enigma traffic, were having difficulty breaking into the German Naval signals. It was suggested that directly obtaining German Naval code tables would be the the fastest method of making progress.

code breakers

In effect this meant capturing a German Naval unit with the code material intact. Fleming proposed a scheme to do just this:

“TOP SECRET.
For Your Eyes Only.
12 September 1940.
To: Director Naval Intelligence
From: Ian Fleming

Operation Ruthless

I suggest we obtain the loot by the following means:

1. Obtain from Air Ministry an air-worthy German bomber.
2. Pick a tough crew of five, including a pilot, W/T operator and word-perfect German speaker. Dress them in German Air Force Uniform, add blood and bandages to suit.
3. Crash Plane in the Channel after making SOS to rescue service.
4. Once aboard rescue boat, shoot German crew, dump overboard, bring rescue boat back to English port.

In order to increase the chances of capturing an R or M [Räumboot – a small minesweeper; Minensuchboot – a large minesweeper] with its richer booty, the crash might be staged in mid-Channel.

Bundesarchiv_Bild_101II-M2KBK-249-32_Frankreich_M-Boot_auf_See-595x383

The Germans would presumably employ one of this type for the longer and more hazardous journey.

NB. Since attackers will be wearing enemy uniform, they will be liable to be shot as franc-tireurs if captured, and incident might be fruitful field for propaganda. Attackers’ story will therefore be that it was done for a lark by a group of young hot-heads who thought the war was too tame and wanted to have a go at the Germans. They had stolen the plane and equipment and had expected to get into trouble when they got back. This will prevent suspicions that party was after more valuable booty than a rescue boat.”

Operation Goldeneye

Operation Goldeneye was an Allied plan during the Second World War, which was to monitor Spain after a possible alliance between Francisco Franco and the Axis powers, and to undertake sabotage operations. The plan was formed by Commander Ian Fleming

With no German takeover of Spain or invasion of Gibraltar, the plan was closed in 1943.

Map_of_Gibraltar_in_World_War_II

The object of the operation, was to ensure that the UK would still be able to communicate with Gibraltar in the event Spain joined the Axis powers. The plan also incorporated elements for the defense of Gibraltar had the Germans invaded through Spain.

Ultimately General  Franco , Spain’s dictator, declined to join the Axis powers, Adolf Hitler having refused to give Gibraltar and French North Africa to Spain after these had been seized.

Fleming later dubbed his Jamaican estate “Goldeneye”, and began writing his series of James Bond novels there.The name was also used for the title of the seventeenth James Bond film, GoldenEye starring Pierce Brosnan as Bond.

GoldenEye-02

30 Assault Unit

In Sep 1942, the Director of Naval Intelligence authorised the formation of the Special Intelligence Unit, composed of 33 (Royal Marines) Troop, 34 (Army) Troop, 35 (RAF) Troop and 36 (Royal Navy) Troop. The Special Intelligence Unit was later renamed 30 RN Commando (Special Engineering Unit), and was redesignated 30 Assault Unit in December 1943.

B Troop_33RM Section 30AU Jan 45

The unit was formed by Ian Fleming.

Fleming did not fight in the field with the unit, but selected targets and directed operations from the rear.[41] On its formation the unit was thirty strong, but it grew to five times that size.[42] The unit was filled with men from other commando units, and trained in unarmed combat, safe-cracking and lock-picking at the SOE facilities.

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Operation Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

bang_bang

I am just having a bit of fun here, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was never a WWII operation, however what many people don’t know this was the last book Ian Fleming ever wrote. But how cool would it have bnne if there actually had been an “Opertaion Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” The screen play for the movie was written by another WWII hero and legendary author, Roald Dahl.

DAHL

Fleming had first mentioned to friends during the war that he wanted to write a spy novel, an ambition he achieved within two months with Casino Royale. He started writing the book at Goldeneye on 17 February 1952, gaining inspiration from his own experiences and imagination.

007

 

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Sources

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ww2today

The forgotten James Bond

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Everyone knows there have been 7 actors who played the illusive 007. Sean Connery,Roger Moore,George Lazenby,Timothy Dalton,Pierce Brosnan,Daniel Craig and David Niven(who played Bond in the parody Casino Royale)

And when you exclude the parody Casino Royale there have been 24 movies and number 25 due out in the cinemas in April 2020.

Well on both counts you’d be wrong. Starting with the number of  feature movies there already have been 25 movies made. Never_Say_Never_Again_–_UK_cinema_posterAlthough “Never Say Never Again” does star Sean Connery as James Bond, It is technically not considered to be a James Bond movie.

A  High Court in London in 1963 allowed Kevin McClory to produce a remake of Thunderball titled Never Say Never Again in 1983.The film, produced by Jack Schwartzman’s Taliafilm production company and starring Sean Connery as Bond, was not part of the Eon series of Bond films.

McClory then took Fleming to the High Court in London for breach of copyright and the matter was settled in 1963. After Eon Productions started producing the Bond films, it subsequently made a deal with McClory, who would produce Thunderball, and then not make any further version of the novel for a period of ten years following the release of the Eon-produced version in 1965.

When it comes to playing the character James Bond there is an eighth actor who played him.In fact he was the first actor to play 007.

BarryNelsonBondCR1954

In 1954 CBS paid Ian Fleming $1,000  to adapt his first novel, Casino Royale, into a one-hour television adventure as part of their dramatic anthology series Climax!, which ran between October 1954 and June 1958.GW200H303It was adapted for the screen by Anthony Ellis and Charles Bennett; Bennett was best known for his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock, including The 39 Steps and Sabotage.Due to the restriction of a one-hour play, the adapted version lost many of the details found in the book, although it retained its violence, particularly in Act III.

The hour-long Casino Royale episode aired on 21 October 1954 as a live production and starred Barry Nelson as secret agent James Bond, with Peter Lorre in the role of Le Chiffre and was hosted by William Lundigan.The Bond character from Casino Royale was re-cast as an American agent, described as working for “Combined Intelligence”, supported by the British agent, Clarence Leiter; “thus was the Anglo-American relationship depicted in the book reversed for American consumption”.

Clarence Leiter was an agent for Station S, while being a combination of Felix Leiter and René Mathis. The name “Mathis”, and his association with the Deuxième Bureau, was given to the leading lady, who is named Valérie Mathis, instead of Vesper Lynd.

So you see there were 8 Bond movies and in total 26 movies, 3 of which were titled “Casino Royale”.

 

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