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DragonClaws

Bruce Lee: The Hollywood Years (1965) - (1971)

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I'm under the impression that BL, moved to Carlifornia to pursue a career in film, in 1965?. Currenlty don't have my collection of Lee related books to consult, so excuse any errors. It would also during this time, that he made his last attmept at fame, before following Fred Weintraub's advice, of making a movie in Hong Kong. Following the career pattern of Clint Eastwood, when he went to Italy to make movies, that would later make him a big name in the U.S. Despite a strong supporting role in the succesful Greent Hornet T.V adaptation, racism in Hollywood would put stop to a second season. The only explanation I can think of?, for a popular show to be axed so early. It did however lead to further T.V work, along with an appearance in the big screen movie Marlowe(1969). Along with choreogrpahy work on The Wrecking Crew(1968) and A Walk In The Spring(1970) Rain. He wuld also assemble a cult following of celebrity students, from James Garner, Sharon Tate, to Steven McQueen and James Coburn to name only a few. It was interesting and transitional period for Bruce Lee, from Martial Arts teacher to the general public, to a highly sought after and expensive private teacher, to the stars of 1960's Hollywood.

It's not my intention to do a in depth write-up on this part of late stars life, but rather to start discussion, on the various subject/topics/myth/new associated with it.

 

Here's a question for fellow fan's. Is this a Lee with his son, and a celebrity students/friends daughter?. I'm not sure of the location of the house, but I figured this photo was taken around the time of the Green Hornet?.

BL1577.jpg

Edited by DragonClaws

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27 minutes ago, shukocarl said:

It wasn't racism that killed Green Hornet...it was ratings (or lack of).

Hi @shukocarl

Always been under the impression it wasnt down to poor ratings, maybe thats what they wanted to tell Bruce Lee?. The Kato character had been a big hit with kids, with Lee recieving more fan mail than Van Williams, from youngsters who watched the show.

 

 

29 minutes ago, shukocarl said:

The pic is from 1968 but don't know who the kids are. 

It might be James Coburns place?, thanks for the help dude.

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Yeah, Kato was a big hit with the kids but the producers wanted the show to appeal to adults and they just weren't buying it...unlike Batman which was a parody of it's source material.

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At the time it wasn't considered a good show. Only Bruce's martial arts skill were remarkable. At the time I was a big comic book fan and I'd see the commercials and say who is this Bruce Lee guy? Batman was hilarious but trying to do Green Hornet with a straight face didn't fit the cynical times. It was the 60s with Vietnam, Rock.and Roll and another Kennedy killed to make way for Nixon

 

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17 hours ago, shukocarl said:

Yeah, Kato was a big hit with the kids but the producers wanted the show to appeal to adults and they just weren't buying it...unlike Batman which was a parody of it's source material.

 

12 hours ago, NoKUNGFUforYU said:

At the time it wasn't considered a good show. Only Bruce's martial arts skill were remarkable. At the time I was a big comic book fan and I'd see the commercials and say who is this Bruce Lee guy? Batman was hilarious but trying to do Green Hornet with a straight face didn't fit the cynical times. It was the 60s with Vietnam, Rock.and Roll and another Kennedy killed to make way for Nixon

 

You guys are right, and I guess children woud have been more forgiving of Lee Chinese heritage. Was America ready for an Asian hero at that time?, with Vietnam and its propaganda machine raging.

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He just wasn't funny, which is kind of what most shows were at the time that were based in fantasy- Lost in Space, Batman, etc. And it was a pretty stupid premise. Green Hornet was supposedly this superhero criminal undercover guy, but after a few busts, the underworld would have tried to kill him or steer clear of him. It just didn't click. Also, I was 8 years old or so, so I probably went to bed after Batman....LOL!

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23 hours ago, NoKUNGFUforYU said:

He just wasn't funny, which is kind of what most shows were at the time that were based in fantasy- Lost in Space, Batman, etc. And it was a pretty stupid premise. Green Hornet was supposedly this superhero criminal undercover guy, but after a few busts, the underworld would have tried to kill him or steer clear of him. It just didn't click. Also, I was 8 years old or so, so I probably went to bed after Batman....LOL!

 

Intereting to read your thoughts on this, especially from your point of view, seeing it first time round.

It appears Van Williams didnt have much luck with T.V shows, if this interview is anything to go by.

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, NoKUNGFUforYU said:

He was just a bad actor and he got exposed. 

 

He wasnt alone in Hollywood, like many places of employment, its not what you know, but who you know.

 

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James Coburn interview excerpt: For the full interview, click the link below.

Link- http://thehollywoodinterview.blogspot.com/2008/02/james-coburn-hollywood-interview.html

Quote

I know you were also very close to Bruce Lee. Tell us about Bruce.

Bruce was a true martial artist, created himself, from a little roustabout guy running around the streets of Hong Kong, into this magnificent fighting machine. He truly was an artist. His art had no defensive movements. It was all attack. He was so fast, you couldn't touch him. He was so fast, he had to slow down for the camera, because it couldn't catch him! It would look like he hadn't done anything. (laughs) We wrote a script together called The Silent Flute, with Sterling Silliphant. We all went to India. Everytime we went someplace, Bruce had this pad that he'd hold in one hand and punch with the other! It drove me nuts! (laughs) I said "Bruce, will you cut it out, man?! You're shaking the whole airplane!" He said "But it make my knuckles hard!" "I know, but it's pissing me off!" (laughs) Everything he did was related to his art. But he had a great sense of humor, or he did until he went to Hong Kong. He came back from Hong Kong one time, and he was always very outspoken about martial arts. "This martial arts in Hong Kong is bullshit," he said, because there was no bodily contact. "Judo good. Ju-jitsu good. Aikido, best. But this other stuff, no good." So we'd go to these tournaments and he'd spout off...he was back in Hong Kong, and was invited to this tournament that was televised, as an observer. He was famous, and controversial, as being an outspoken martial artists. So they were breaking boards and ice with their heads...Bruce said "That's not martial arts." So they said "Why don't you show us your idea of martial arts..." So they taped up three thick pine boards. So he held it out and side kicked it, and everything went flying into the air, knocked one of the lightbulbs out way up. Sparks came flying down...it was one of those great, dynamic moments! And the next day, the papers were filled with this! From that, both Run Run Shaw and Raymond Chow, who were big film producers there, made him offers to do films there. So he came back and we were having dim sum at the Golden Door down in Chinatown, and he's telling me all this. He said "They want me to do this TV series at Warner Brothers called Kung-Fu. But I'm also getting these offers in Hong Kong. What should I do?" So I thought about it for a minute, because he really wasn't a good actor. But he had great dynamic presence and had this macho attitude that he could play really well...but that would be very tiresome watching for an hour on television. Plus he spoke with a very heavy Chinese accent. So I said "Go back to Hong Kong and make southeast Asian movies. You'll be huge star." "But I want to work here." I said "You want to be a movie star, right? It's what you've always wanted." He thought for a minute and said "I want to make more money than Steve McQueen." (laughs) So he went to southeast Asia, David Carradine did Kung-Fu in slow motion, Bruce became a huge movie star and made more money than Steve McQueen. Strange story...Anyway, then I get a call one morning from Sterling Silliphant saying "Bruce is dead." I didn't believe him, but I learned that a couple months before he'd come home and passed out in between really these really intense workouts that he was doing. And this girl that he was with couldn't wake him up. He went to all of these doctors who told him "Your body's perfect, you're just over-worked." He went back and within six weeks he was dead of an edema of the brain. And that was that...

 

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How his Chinese race counted against him in Hollywood, with its history of negative Asian stereotypes

Link- https://www.scmp.com/culture/film-tv/article/2157471/bruce-lee-how-his-chinese-race-counted-against-him-hollywood-its

Quote

“What’s holding things up now is that a lot of people are sitting around in Hollywood trying to decide if the American television audience is ready for an oriental hero. We could get some really peculiar reactions from the Deep South.”

 

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Who was Bruce Lee's best Hollywood student?

Link- https://www.scmp.com/culture/film-tv/article/2153112/who-was-bruce-lees-best-hollywood-kung-fu-student

Quote

According to M Uyehara’s book Bruce Lee: The Incomparable Fighter, Coburn met Lee at a party for McQueen’s 12th wedding anniversary. Coburn had starred in the James Bond parody Our Man Flint, in which his character was meant to be a martial arts expert. Coburn asked Lee his opinion of the teacher he’d used for that film, and Bruce said he was “pretty far down the bottom” of all the martial arts teachers in the US.

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Coburn in an episode of McMqueens Wanted Dead or Alive series?

Edited by DragonClaws

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Thordis Brandt.

 

 

Thanks to Nick Clarke a.k.a @greenbamboo, fo the head's up on this article

They don't make nurses like Thordis Brandt anymore

Link- https://sixtiescinema.com/2013/10/20/nurse/

Quote

I walked into the interview [for the Green Hornet] and the casting director asked me if I could breathe.  I replied, ‘Of course, I can.”  He said, ‘Okay, you’ve got the part.’  I played an older woman who was supposed to be a European actress about 35 years old and the girlfriend of Victor Jory.  I had long blonde hair but they tucked it in and put this God-awful wig on me so I would look older. My agent warned me that I was Van Williams’ type. 

 

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Thordis with Bruce Lee, during some location filming, for the Green Hornet series.

 

 

Edited by DragonClaws

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The above FOOTAGE I posted of the Van Williams, Bruce Lee Press Conference featuring Adam West, was new to me. The fan's who have posted stuff online, have released more rare footage, than the BL Estate has done in the last two decades.

Anyone have stills from this promotional event?.

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Quote

What impressed me most with the Wing’s exhibit was the video clip archive. One of many notable clips included two Green Hornet screen tests Bruce Lee filmed – one with actor Michael Lipton as Green Hornet, and a second with Jay Murray as the masked vigilante hero.

 

Image/Quote, from the following article, A Journey West with Bruce Lee

Link- https://hit.pics/2015/10/16/a-journey-west-with-bruce-lee-kareem-abdul-jabbar-carl-scott-kung-fu-jazz/

 

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(Above)James Yimm Lee's old house in Carlifornia, and the often talked about garage, when he and Lee trained together. This was also the site, where JYL, made a lot of his talked about, home-made training aids/equipment.

 

 

 

 

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Bruce Lee in his Kato outfit, posing for a picture with Green Hornet co-star Wende Wagner.

Was this shot taken for a magazine photo-shoot?.

 

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Edited by DragonClaws

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