August 1973 – Before the inquest in September (when Raymond Chow had outlined which lies to spew and spit from his mouth), William Cheung (who inducted Bruce Lee in Wing Chun classes) undertook an investigation. He found that there was a murder conspiracy but hasn’t offered a penny for his thoughts to the H.K. public. 40 years later, Betty Ting Pei claimed that she didn’t like Bruce that much (disregarding the time that she threatened to commit suicide if he ended the liaison). 40 years earlier, police were called to investigate a brown paper parcel which has a controversial message concerning her:
“Betty knows the cause of Bruce’s death.”
September – It’s a sign of the perjury and corruption inherent in the case that George Lazenby and Wu Ngan were not interviewed at the inquest. They weren’t even interviewed by the police back in July unlike Linda Lee, Ray and other people like the doctors. Bruce’s son, Brandon, claimed decades later that there wasn’t really that much left to film for The Game of Death. This doesn’t leave much room for Lazenby’s involvement in the posthumous version, let alone Betty. Ray took advantage because Lee kept most of the filming under wraps in the same way that Jackie Chan later did when Pirate Patrol became known as Project A.
October – Speak of the devil, there was an interview that Jackie did for Yahoo (October 2017) where he mentioned that Bruce had favoured him so much during the making of Enter the Dragon that stunt coordinators wouldn’t hire him because they were jealous. This explains why he moved away from being a stuntman for the remainder of 1973. Upon joining Shaw Brothers, he became a fight choreographer for Supermen Against the Orient, and a non-action actor for The Golden Lotus (see below). By October, the first film was complete. In his first book, I Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action, he claimed that S.B. were so stingy with salaries that some actors and stuntmen had ended up working as small-time muscle for mob operations. S.B. also had armed security. Ironically, Betty Ting Pei had already left S.B. by the time that 1973 began.
November – Lazenby is in his second month of martial arts training since he signed to Golden Harvest in late July.
December – Raymond Chow produces a movie called Stoner to prove that Lee was going to act in a movie with Lazenby and Betty. Wu Ngan’s creepiness shows him up for being in his third and last H.K. movie as a gangster who injects Lazenby with an aphrodisiac so as to render him unconscious. Why would Lee’s butler return to H.K. after supposedly hightailing it to England?! Stoner contains two consecutive scenes alluding to Lee’s final hours – a seductive woman leads Stoner into a gang ambush where he is beaten before being dumped on Betty’s bed. Ray’s gallows humour makes it clear that the casting of an ex-Bond to play a man from Seattle was to retaliate against Lee’s interest in being 007’s next sidekick. Stoner was directed by Huang Feng, who was Angela Mao’s godfather. She was the co-star. Despite Jackie regarding her as a big sister, he didn’t appear in the movie.
1974 – Jackie’s workload was severely cut down in 1974. In his first book, he claims that the death of Bruce Lee caused such a dry spell in Kung Fu filmdom that he was forced to live with his parents in Australia for six months. This ignorantly disregards the many movies which were made between the death and Jackie’s lead role era. There are two kinds of liars – villains and victims. Jackie was more likely seeking refuge seeing as how he left Golden Harvest in May 1973 during the making of When Taekwondo Strikes. Sammo Hung stopped him from attempting to kill Huang Feng with a wooden prop knife after Huang insulted Jackie’s family, all because of Jackie subconsciously flicking his hair during a shot. That anecdote was only revealed in his second book, Never Grow Up.
Betty Ting Pei was not out of the woods yet. When Star Sea’s The Chivalrous Knight was released on July 12 in 1974, it began with a short featurette called The Last Days of Bruce Lee. Narrated by Betty in her character’s costume, it contained shots of her apartment including a shot of the Star Sea staff featuring Michael Chan Wai-Man and Chieh Yuan, co-star of The Game of Death. One particular shot is disturbing in how it takes a Fist of Unicorn promo shot of Unicorn Chan and Bruce but with Michael’s face superimposed over Unicorn’s face so that it looks like Michael is punching Bruce’s face. Adding insult to injury, stills of bare-chested Bruce from The Way of the Dragon and Enter the Dragon were cut into a fight scene where bare-chested Charlie Chan Yiu-Lam fights a gang of crooks who hold Betty’s character in captivity.
Jackie left H.K. when he was 19. His father expressed a concern that even being 19 would be too old of an age to live as a legal resident in Australia through his family’s connections alone. He turned 20 on April 7, 1974. In other words, Jackie was already in Australia by the time that The Chivalrous Knight was released. After Bruce’s death, Wu Ngan (who appeared in both of Bruce’s Dragon movies) alongside Robert Baker (who was the Russian mobster in Fist of Fury) received suspicious payments from Golden Harvest. Raymond Chow knew how suspicious that it would look for them to be paid, so they were only paid after they were signed later on to act in further movies so as to make the potentially conspicuous transactions look like business instead of bribery. For Wu Ngan, the perfect cover was Stoner. For Bob Baker, the perfect cover was filming in Taiwan for a H.K. film company. Valley of the Double Dragon (a.k.a. Kung Fu of Taekwondo) was the only Taiwanese movie that was produced by Hong Kong Kai Fa Film (one of Ray’s shell companies). For criminals, Taiwan is to H.K. what Mexico is to the U.S.
When Bob was paid by G.H. for his services, it was on January 7, 1974. The movie was released on January 23. Bob’s contract gives the false impression that he was being paid on behalf of Linda Lee being the representative of Bruce’s Concord company, whose majority of the shares were being held by Ngan. Andre Morgan was the person who Ray chose to represent G.H. making the payment. Bruce’s house at 41 Cumberland Road belonged to a company called Lo Yuen Enterprises Ltd. One of the two directors of that company was Ngan. The house was leased to Bruce by G.H. because he didn’t see the point in purchasing a house, since H.K. was to be a pit stop prior to Hollywood. During Bruce’s final H.K. years, G.H. gave a monthly allotment of 4,000 U.S. dollars for his family to live on.
Concord being an extension of G.H. meant that it was easy for Raymond Chow to give the illusion that Ngan was being paid more money than Bob on the basis that Ray wanted the house for a documentary and a film….which he did. In 1974, Ray proved that he was being legit by greenlighting an Angela Mao movie titled The Tournament. This was filmed from May to July, and released in late September whereas Stoner (seen above) came out in early August – the same month when Bruce’s house was sold. The entire proceeds, 40 grand U.S. to be precise, went unchallenged to Linda. After Stoner, The Tournament was the second time that Mao was a pawn in Ray’s chess game. As for Australian actor George Lazenby, he would be duped further (two years down the line) by acting in A Queen’s Ransom. As you will later find out, the movie is a different kind of Bruceploitation.
Bob Baker was paid 10,000 H.K. dollars; whereas Wu Ngan was paid 55,000 U.S. dollars. Sure, Ngan had mouths to feed but not that many. He was managing just fine living in England before Bruce came along and invited him to have both families live with each other in 1971. If Bob and Ngan were just paid for their pre-mortem services then it would’ve been nothing more than severance payment. However, what makes them look guilty is that they didn’t even escort Linda back to Seattle (this implies an avoidance of DNA analysis and questioning). Ngan would have motive to kill Bruce since he was probably tired of being his guinea pig to try choreography. The most humiliating example is Bruce using him as a stand to see how high that he could raise his leg during his bedroom scene with Bob Wall in Enter the Dragon. Bruce should’ve just stuck to using the chair as can be seen in one of the stills.
Seeing as how Bruce died on July 20, 1973, it’s suspect that Linda sent a letter to Wu Ngan two years later on July 21 where she legally stipulated that he pay back the money at a rate of 8% per year. Bruce had philosophized that you should either learn to endure or hire a bodyguard. According to Linda, Bob Baker was not only Bruce’s bodyguard but his drug courier. He also smuggled guns for Bruce’s safety (even Jim Kelly knew that Bruce was packing heat). It’s rather strange for a bodyguard to be paid less than a butler whose figure isn’t a tidy sum like 50 or 60 grand. After these shifty out-of-bank transactions, Linda begged Ray to give her some money. This along with the house sale suggests that they were allies instead of archenemies. Making herself out to be a courtroom antagonist was the perfect cover. There is a Chinese proverb that philosophizes:
“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
1975 – The first day of the year is when Lo Wei’s last movie for Golden Harvest is released (a horror movie titled The Bedevilled). He started his own production company after he learned that Raymond Chow was having an affair with his wife (who became Ray’s confidante and senior colleague like Mona Fong for Run Run Shaw). The fact that Ray didn’t get killed off can be explained by one of three things: Ray’s background as an evasive spy paid off, his backers are more intimidating than Lo’s army of Triads, or there was a face-saving partner swap arrangement. After Lo left the company in late 1974, Jackie returned to G.H. to act in All in the Family. It was released in February. Maybe Lo was more intimidating than Ray after all. Considering that Lo (a crime figure) has long been held responsible for the death of Bruce, the timing of Jackie’s return is more than a tad suspicious.
Sammo acted in All in the Family but was serving as moral support if not an outright protector. Jackie worked on this back-to-back with John Woo’s Countdown to Kung Fu. John claimed that this was made in 1974 for two to three months. Sammo worked on it as a choreographer and actor. From 1964 to 1971, Sammo had small roles in ten of Lo Wei’s films. After Fist of Fury, he only worked for him again in 1993 when he was asked to direct Blade of Fury. When it came to the old guard of G.H. directors, Sammo had more respect for Huang Feng than Lo. In fact, Sammo became a director in 1977 because of Huang. In the January 1996 issue of Impact Magazine, Jackie claimed that he didn’t work with Jimmy Wang Yu on Brian Trenchard-Smith’s The Man from Hong Kong because he was doing a film in Korea at the time.
Realistically speaking, this film had to have been Countdown to Kung Fu since John Woo claimed to have filmed it there. Since Sammo worked on both movies, there was really no reason why Jackie couldn’t have done the same…especially since Jimmy’s collaboration with Lazenby was partially filmed in Australia. Jimmy’s English language film for G.H. began production in September 1974. After Countdown to Kung Fu, Jackie’s next film for G.H. was No End of Surprises (released in December 1975). This was made before he worked on an Angela Mao movie: Huang Feng’s The Himalayan, which was made under Sammo’s watchful eye. It seems that Sammo fulfilled a similar buffer role to Jimmy, who helped sort out Jackie’s Triad problem while he was a refugee in early eighties Hollywood.
October – Despite gaining momentum with substantial roles, Jackie returns to Australia with the excuse being lack of opportunities. This makes no sense because Lazenby’s A Queen’s Ransom was in the works. This featured Jackie’s idol, Angela, and Jimmy. Then again, Sammo didn’t work on this movie. It should be noted that the October 1975 issue of Golden Movie News advertised two films that hadn’t been released yet – No End of Surprises and The Himalayan. Jackie’s last high-profile gig was being a security guard alongside other stuntmen at the wedding of Charlie Chin and Josephine Siao. In Jackie’s first memoir, he mentioned that Charlie asked him for martial arts lessons during the making of The Heroine (released in April 1973). Jackie must have fought somebody of ill repute at Charlie’s wedding because not only did Willie Chan compliment him for a job well done but he gave him his business card. G.H. wasn’t a safe haven.
1976 – Jackie is signed to Lo Wei’s company. If you can’t beat them, join them. He acts in New Fist of Fury (which began filming in March), The Killer Meteors and Shaolin Wooden Men (which was made before The Killer Meteors but released afterwards because Jackie didn’t have enough star power). Before the making of New Fist of Fury, Lo boasts to Jackie that he thinks that it will be a contender for the Cannes film festival. Little did Jackie know that he would end up going to France in 1981. New Fist of Fury was released on July 8, 1976 – a week before Countdown to Kung Fu being released on July 15. Two consecutive Thursdays. The actor who played the villain in New Fist of Fury, Chen Sing, had a short fight scene with Jackie in The Himalayan.
Even with all of this happening in 1976, the most interesting fact about this year was the release of a biopic that Betty Ting Pei agreed to co-star in. It’s titled Bruce Lee and I (released in America as Bruce Lee: His Last Days, His Last Nights). It was released in the same month, January, when Raymond Chow and Linda Lee finally settle their legal dispute despite the fact that the biopic was produced by the S.B. studio. What makes it so deeply enthralling is that it was also released in the same year that Betty got married to Charles Heung. The battle lines are really established here. She marries the son of the Sun Yee On leader in spite of the fact that, in theory, she should have married Michael Chan Wai-Man (who wasn’t a member of the Sun Yee On but was supposed to be on good terms with Bruce).
Jackie has made movies with Chan Wai-Man, but he never made a movie with Charles or Betty. Making the grim situation more surreal is that September marked the release of A Queen’s Ransom, which doesn’t feature Betty but Charles acts in her dead lover’s house. When Linda’s Concord stock was sold to Raymond for U.S.$ 2.7 million, the balance sheet of the house’s estate (Lo Yuen) on 3/31/75 had shown H.K.$ 652,131 owed to Concord. Curiously, Ray forgave this indebtedness. Moreover, around that same time, it was determined that Lo Yuen owed an additional H.K.$ 20,000 to Ray, which he also mysteriously forgave. Back to A Queen’s Ransom, another Bruce Lee connection exists in the form of Bolo Yeung making an appearance.
Triad actor Ko Chun-Hsiung appears in the movie. Like Jimmy Wang Yu, he was a member of the Taiwanese mob. Speaking of mobsters, one such guy who appeared in the movie was Hon Yee-Sang. He had worked on six films with Chan Wai-Man before he died in a car crash circa 1995. Hon had acted in The Chivalrous Knight, and can even be seen in The Last Days of Bruce Lee when they show the Star Sea staff. He was a martial artist who later appeared in a few of Jackie’s movies – Project A (1983), Project A II (a 1987 movie which Chan Wai-Man was also in), Police Story III: Super Cop (1992) and Drunken Master II (a 1994 hit which Hon had also worked on as an executive producer). In fact, Jackie and Hon can be seen together in Fist of Unicorn.
1977 – Jackie starred in To Kill with Intrigue. Like The Killer Meteors before it, this was made in South Korea because it was safer there. Since Jackie was on the run, you have to wonder how much help that Jimmy was during the making of The Killer Meteors, where Jackie played the villain to Jimmy’s hero. For those of you who are having a hard time swallowing the bitter pill of Jackie fleeing to South Korea, you should remember that his 1998 autobiography contained a 1979 anecdote of himself escaping from Lo being the would-be director of Fearless Hyena.
1977 was the year when Golden Harvest finally completed The Game of Death. One of the characters has a forename which was Bruce’s nickname for James Coburn. Adding to the seediness is that one of the actors from the original shoot, Chieh Yuan, died of the same cause (cerebral edema) as Bruce. Even the age is exactly the same – 32 years and 8 months. I suspect that Raymond Chow had him killed off so that he was justified in not properly completing the movie. Had the press not found out that Bruce’s corpse was located at Betty’s apartment, the official story would have been that he relied too much on electric muscle stimulation (therefore foreshadowing the publicized fate of his co-star).
Chieh Yuen died on November 16. You would think that he would have been bumped off on November 27 – which would have been Bruce’s 37th birthday. On November 2, the aforementioned Andre Morgan wrote a letter to the manager of the Red Pepper Restaurant so as to express gratitude for allowing G.H. to use the location for filming. In 1977 newspapers from August to November, there were implications that G.H. were going to use extensive footage of Bruce fighting alongside Chieh and James Tien. There’s even a line of dialogue in the film which indirectly refers to these allies. The film was originally going to be released before Christmas, but Sammo did some reshoots in December.
1977 was an especially suspicious year for G.H. because Yuen Wah stopped working for them and joined Shaw Brothers. He was Bruce Lee’s stunt double, and was expected to be his double again to complete The Game of Death. Yuen previously worked with director Robert Clouse and Sammo on The Amsterdam Kill, which was made in 1977. According to the American Film Institute site, this Robert Mitchum film finished filming on March 16 in 1977. The other momentarily final collaborations between Sammo and Yuen Wah were The Shaolin Plot (released in April) and Broken Oath (released in December).
Michael Chan Wai-Man’s involvement with the latter is interesting because Yuen Wah went on to work with Michael many times for Shaw Brothers. In fact, Yuen worked on dozens of movies for S.B. before reuniting with Sammo. Back to why Yuen didn’t work on Clouse’s version of The Game of Death, perhaps this was because Sammo saw an opportunity for Yuen Biao to make a name for himself. Filling in for Bruce Lee must have paid off when Sammo cast Biao in Knockabout circa 1978.
In 1977, Sammo wanted Jackie to play the role of Chan Wing in The Victim, which began filming in 1977 but took 3 years to get completed because it was a side project due to obligations that Sammo had with the G.H. and Gar Bo companies. Jackie didn’t star in it because Lo refused to lend him out to Sammo, regardless of the fact that G.H. was not the film company (Graffon’s only production was The Victim). Graffon felt more comfortable with Sammo as the star because he had no record for starring in movies which tanked at the box office. Lo clearly had a grudge against Sammo since Jackie was also forbidden to star in Knockabout.
According to a Japanese website called Kung Fu Tube (which has Asian newspaper articles from the seventies), Jackie began filming Seasonal’s Snake in the Eagle Shadow in November. The significance being that Chieh Yuen (who died in November) was in Seasonal’s The Invincible Armour, released in June. The owner of Seasonal was Ng See-Yuen, who directed this film. He also directed Chieh in a 1972 film called The Good and the Bad. Back to the subject of The Game of Death, it’s never been explained who was Chieh’s stunt double for the final leap that he does down the staircase in Bruce’s original version of the film. Could it have been Jackie? He was the most daring stuntman on the Fist of Fury set when Bruce needed someone to double for when Riki Hashimoto’s Suzuki is propelled through the air before landing on the ground. Anyway, Lo Wei loaned Jackie to Seasonal for Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow in the first week of November because Ng saw Snake & Crane Arts of Shaolin before its release.
1978 – Half a Loaf of Kung Fu and Spiritual Kung Fu are released. They are Korean co-productions as was Dragon Fist, which was filmed in 1978 but released in 1979. Half a Loaf of Kung Fu was released in Korea first before it was released in H.K. circa July 1980. For two days in 1978, Jackie had reunited with Angela Mao for Dance of Death. He is only allowed to work as a choreographer. Unlike what later happened with The 36 Crazy Fists, his presence on the set was only photographed instead of privately filmed.
1979 – Jackie works on the intro for The 36 Crazy Fists (not a Lo Wei movie nor a movie which he stars in). His assistant choreographer is Fung Hark-On, who was a student of Chan Wai-Man. Jackie was smart enough not to sue the film company who produced The 36 Crazy Fists for doing the same thing to him that Star Sea did to Bruce. Suspiciously, there was a banner at Bruce’s H.K. funeral service which spookily translated to: A star sinks in the sea of art. Jackie was also smart enough to not behave like a powder keg.
Monday, April 2 – Willie Chan shut down his film company, Summit Film Productions, on the second day of that month. As someone who worked for Lo Wei Motion Picture Co. Ltd. along with being Jackie’s manager, he didn’t want Lo to think that there would be a conflict of interest. After all, Raymond Chow left Shaw Brothers and poached from them to form Golden Harvest. Willie had ran Summit since May 1973, so he couldn’t afford to celebrate an anniversary. It was important to close shop on April 2 because it was five days before Jackie’s 25th birthday. Lo didn’t have to worry about any birthday surprises of the saboteur kind. Regardless, even he wasn’t above being threatened by Taiwanese and H.K. Triads who wanted to poach Jackie. This is why Ng See-Yuen thought twice about poaching Jackie from Lo.
Tuesday, April 3 – Jackie signed his second contract for Lo Wei. The two numerical facts weren’t recounted in either of Jackie’s books, which claim that he was tricked into signing a blank contract. Jimmy Wang Yu witnessed Jackie signing this contract – something else not mentioned in either book. According to a March 1981 issue of a Malaysian magazine called Saturday Weekly, the contract stipulated that Jackie had to complete seven films for Lo’s company. During the period, Jackie was not to film for any other company without Lo’s consent.
In late April, Jackie started work on two films for two different companies: Fearless Hyena II for gangster Lo’s self-named company, and The Young Master for Golden Harvest. Things got so scary with Lo’s vengeful feelings of betrayal during the early days of filming The Young Master that Jackie had to flee to his parents in Australia for almost three weeks until Triad actor Jimmy Wang Yu talked him into coming back. Bruce did something similar with Enter the Dragon – it was going to be his first U.S. movie but his final movie for Raymond Chow. Bruce didn’t show up for almost three weeks following the start of principal photography.
Like how the 1978 version of The Game of Death is a mirror to what was going on with Bruce during the filming of Enter the Dragon, Jackie recounted how the filming of The Young Master was hampered with similar things like an arson attempt at the front of the G.H. studio, along with a G.H. executive finding the severed head of a dog in his car. Another comparison that can be drawn is the change in moods. Charles Lowe observed that Bruce had a bad temper during the filming of the mirror scene in Enter the Dragon. Before that scene, he was usually a happy guy. Jackie admitted in his 1998 autobiography that the pressure from the Triads resulted in his angry attitude during the making of The Young Master.
Even when being put in the hot seat by having a forced meeting with Lo, Jackie did not behave like a loose cannon. If Jackie died, Yuen Biao’s character would’ve more likely become the new hero of The Young Master. Michael Chan would later act in Dragon Lord (the first H.K. film that Jackie did after working on two Hollywood films) and Project A Part II, so Jackie should have sought the help of Michael’s 14K Triad. It’s confusing because Michael was a friend and regular collaborator of Lily Li, an actress who worked with Jackie on Fearless Hyena II and The Young Master. Unlike with Bruce, Raymond Chow had an interest in allowing Jackie to escape to Hollywood. The U.S. press believed that Jackie’s journey was to do with wanting the next cross-pollination hit à la Enter the Dragon.
If Bruce wasn’t so threatening towards Ray, the latter could’ve helped him flee to the U.S. so that things would cool down. The question is whether Jimmy Wang Yu would’ve been willing to use his Triad connections, Taiwan’s United Bamboo Gang, to help someone who was a rival star. The last year of the seventies was notable for the release of a Taiwanese movie titled The True Game of Death. It’s about a Bruce Lee imitator whose white girlfriend has been forced by Triads to poison him. He succumbs to its effects during sex. While the movie is a rip-off, it foreshadows a novel that was written by a Bruce Lee historian. The movie also contains some insider perspective in that it wasn’t publicly revealed that a pagoda guardian explains to Bruce’s character about the red light.
December – The latest issue of Golden Movie News has an article about Jackie with a disturbing final sentence: “Coming is the completion of Jacky’s blockbuster The Young Master. And coming will be the criticism and appreciation of the moviegoers the world over. They will nevertheless be stunned by this successor of Bruce Lee, the Kung Fu king of the movie world, if Wang Yu would stop shouting threats to him now and then.”
1980 – Lo Wei produces a movie called The Crazy Chase, which gets released in 1981. Written by Wong Jing, it contains a scene that alludes to Lee’s death. 68 minutes into the movie, Lau Kar-Wing’s character is invited to an evil woman’s home. When they are about to have sex in her bedroom, he is ambushed by a man who Lau defeats while acting like Bruce. As Lau fights all of the hired killers, the scene is played for laughs by having a funky rendition of the theme tune from The Way of the Dragon playing in the background (the same rendition that can be heard in Sammo’s Enter the Fat Dragon and Jackie’s Half a Loaf of Kung Fu). The scene even ends with a parody of the below freeze frame ending in Fist of Fury.
Like in The Chinese Stuntman (which featured Dan Inosanto), The Crazy Chase features a conspiracy involving insurance fraud in the movie industry. On a lighter note, there is a heist fight scene in The Crazy Chase which pays homage to the chest hair moment of the Chuck Norris fight in The Way of the Dragon…except Lau Kar-Wing grabs pubic hair instead! Lau’s character is a detective whose office contains posters of Bruce and Jackie. The Fist of Fury poster has the wrong English title displayed at the bottom – The Way of the Dragon.
Sun Yee On’s Jimmy Heung went uncredited for his silent appearances in the house party scene. Because Lo Wei’s production company was behind the movie, we get to see Lo’s office. Displayed in the background are posters of his Jackie Chan movies and The Challenger. The latter was directed by the director of The Crazy Chase – Eric Tsang (who was involved with Fearless Hyena II). What’s really weird is that Lo’s company is among those credited for the making of Jackie’s Dragon Lord, when Jackie was supposedly free from Lo’s clutches.
1984 – This is when the worldwide media first took notice of the United Bamboo Gang because it was exposed as having helped Taiwan’s National Security Bureau assassinate a dissident Sino-American journalist named Henry Liu in his garage within suburban San Francisco. The incident strained Taiwan’s ties with the U.S. Don’t forget that Raymond Chow used to work for the Taiwanese equivalent to the C.I.A. as mentioned in Chang Cheh’s memoir. Ray likely helped Jimmy get away with murder in 1981 – the same year when Jackie began working in Taiwan for Dragon Lord (after trying to film it in Korea).
Despite falling out with Sammo in 1977, Yuen Wah returns to Golden Harvest where he works on Sammo’s My Lucky Stars. Before that, he had worked with Sammo on a 1984 film called The Owl and Dumbo (which was legally retitled as The Owl and Bumbo and even The Owl and Bombo). This film was made for Sammo’s film company, D&B – the name refers to owners Dickson Poon and Sammo a.k.a. Hung Kam-Bo (this explains the names of his companies such as Gar Bo, Bo Ho and Bojon). It’s never been officially explained why Yuen Wah left and came back. I had to do the digging myself by using the Hong Kong Movie Database.
As for why he came back, maybe he was impressed with the fact that Golden Harvest took time out to produce a documentary on Bruce Lee i.e. Bruce Lee: The Legend. I can’t imagine him liking the finished product. Bruce’s stuntmen weren’t interviewed, and there are times when the doc feels like an excuse to advertise other G.H. movies. Despite wanting to promote Jackie as the next big star by including a fight scene from Sammo’s Winners and Sinners, the doc doesn’t reference the fact that he was one of Bruce’s stuntmen. Even if Jackie didn’t want to be interviewed, narration could have compensated.
1986 – Michael Chan protected and acted alongside Brandon Lee (李國豪) in the latter’s only H.K. movie – Legacy of Rage (the first of a two film deal). It’s too telling that Brandon accepts D&B (who Andre Morgan worked for) but not Raymond Chow. This is really saying a lot since Brandon was a fan of Jackie’s Police Story. He wanted resolution regarding his father’s death, hence spending some time abroad. He may have wanted to request a copy of the inquest along with copies of the corpse photos. The fact that Mike was okay with doing business with Brandon is an indication that he wouldn’t want him dead.
One of the actors in Brandon’s movie was from Fist of Unicorn. His name is Meng Hoi. Reading between the lines, it would appear that Star Sea was a front for the 14K. They could have helped Bruce against Lo Wei’s Sun Yee On connections if it wasn’t for him wanting to sue the studio for filming behind his back and implying that he had an acting role. Although Bruce didn’t want to steal Unicorn Chan’s spotlight, he should have done a cameo because Unicorn’s involvement was always going to be second fiddle in terms of the movie’s publicity anyway. Mike probably wanted to help Bruce, but it was out of his hands.
March, 1993 – Brandon announced that he was going to have the case reopened and his dad’s body exhumed after filming The Crow. Certain people had warned him not to do so. Around this time, Davis Miller (the author of The Tao of Bruce Lee) was working as a writer on The Curse of the Dragon. His research assistant was on the phone with someone from Carolco Studios (who were producing The Crow) so that time could be set for Miller to drive down to Wilmington, North Carolina for the purpose of interviewing Brandon.
During the conversation on the last day of the month, the Carolco woman came on and said there had just been an accident on the set. She would call back as soon as she could. Brandon was shot during the shooting of a death scene. Bruce’s fans are reminded of a scene in Game of Death (the protagonist dies while filming a scene cribbed from the ending of Fist of Fury). Bruce’s death has drawn comparisons to the death of a teacher in Fist of Fury. Brandon died on March 31 like how Unicorn Chan died on March 31 in 1987. Unicorn’s death meant that Robert Clouse could not interview him for Bruce Lee: The Biography (1988).
April 14 – Bob Baker dies after liver failure caused by excessive alcohol consumption. Astute observers have taken this as a sign that guilt leads to a glut in the gut.
July – In an interview for an Inside Kung Fu issue commemorating the twentieth anniversary of Bruce’s death, Robert Lee admitted that the Chinese side of Bruce’s family believe that he was bumped off.
July, 2011 – Tea Money (which means hush money) is released. It is a novel inspired by Lee’s death, except it’s about a singer whose name is inspired by Andy Lau (劉德華). The novelist is Tom Bleecker, who married Lee’s widow. The novel had been his project for over a decade. In 2001, it went through three edits before being sent to an editor for a fourth time. He even streamlined it for a screenplay. Linda Lee told Tom in confidence that she never believed the autopsy and inquest. For good reason. The autopsy was done 3 days after his death instead of within the usual 24 hour period.
Friday, May 13, 2016 – Wu Ngan dies (7 days before my first article about Bruce’s murder was posted). Bleecker described the circumstances of Bruce’s demise as a Gothic horror story. As such, Friday the 13th is a timely ending of the timeline.
The moral of this morbid murder mystery is that Tai Chi should’ve informed Lee about the importance of passive-aggression. You can understand Jackie’s repetitive mantra (ad nauseum) about being the exact opposite to Lee. For those who would like to have as much knowledge as possible about the Triads, you can purchase a Chu Yiu-Kong book titled The Triads as Business. He received his PhD in Police Studies from the University of Exeter in 1997. He is a Sociology professor at the H.K. University. He is also one of the founding members of the Hong Kong Juvenile Delinquency Research Society.