courtesy of Warner Brothers
Greetings and salutations* from a Shaolin Dojo in the smokin’ City of Oakland* where the biggest icon in martial arts history, San Francisco-native Bruce Lee, the “Little Dragon,” once left his Bay Area mentors speechless by expertly teaching, at the tender age of one, the art of Wing Chun Kung Fu to a rambunctious troop of clumsy Canadian Boy Scouts.
That’s right, even Baby Bruce kicked ass so today Sho’nuff Hooker: The Shogun of Harlem, has dusted off his little black belt to bow at the Oakland altar of the real Bruce Almighty. This dojo is known for hosting a 1941 competition where Baby Bruce (still sucking on a rubber nipple, mind you) split a Volkswagen Bug like a loaf of bread with the knife-edge of his bare babyback hands, again … at the tender age of one. As Ed Sullivan would say, “what a show.”
If you don’t believe that, believe this, even though I wasn’t born yet, Bruce Lee’s death at the still tender age of 32 shocked me in utero, as well as the world outside my embryonic swing pad, like no other celebrity death in the 1970s. Will anyone ever come close to his legend? Hell no. What about that geek Jackie Chan? Chan claims his most painful stunt “was getting punched in the face by Bruce Lee” on the set of Enter the Dragon (1973). The Second Coming he ain’t.
courtesy of Warner Brothers
All The Best People Are Dead …
Bruce Lee is a part of an iconic fraternity of actors who were summoned to play the bass fiddle in the Heavenly All Stars way before their time. Sure, some of the actors we’re celebrating today died at their own hand, with a needle in their arm or a straw up their nose, behind the wheel of a large automobile or drowning in a pool of their own vomit, but don’t forget the reason why we remember them … because they did great work in their short lives.
So check out the following films from a few of my cinema heroes who are no longer here to hear your posthumous applause … unless you clap into a Ouija board.
But back to me … after failing for the seventh time to break an Oaktown cinder block with my bare head … I’m done bowing, let’s go bowling.* And so it is on this fair Tuesday. This is MRF signing off. Until we meet again, be bad and, get into trouble baby*.
Uncommon Gems From the Forever Young All Stars
• Game of Death (1978) Dir. Clouse; Dead Actor: Bruce Lee
• East of Eden (1955) Dir. Kazan; Dead Actor: James Dean
• My Man Godfrey (1936) Dir. La Cava; Dead Actor: Carole Lombard
• The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921) Dir. Ingram; Dead Actor: Rudolph Valentino
• A Place in the Sun (1951) Dir. Stevens; Dead Actor: Montgomery Clift
• Humoresque (1946) Dir. Negulesco; Dead Actor: John Garfield
• Reckless (1935) Dir. Fleming; Dead Actor: Jean Harlow
• Eye of the Devil (1966) Dir. Thompson; Dead Actor: Sharon Tate
• Goin’ South (1978) Dir. Nicholson; Dead Actor: John Belushi
Happenings Round Town:
• The Boss of It All (2007) Dir: von Trier – Lumiere (6/29, one week only!)
• Macbeth (2007) Dir. Wright
• The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) Dir. Sharman – Clay (Midnight Show)
• Desperate Living (1977) Dir: Waters – Bridge (starts Friday)
Volume 21 Footnotes*
• “Greetings and salutations.” – Heathers (1991): Christian Slater to Winona Ryder.
• “Smokin’ City of Oakland,” – The Chronic (1991): A baby-faced Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre’ puttin’ it down for Califor-ni-a.
• “Let’s go bowling.” – The Big Lebowski (1998): Jeff Bridges as The Dude to ticking time bomb John Goodman.
• “Let’s get into trouble baby.” – Tapeheads (1988): Soul Train host Don Cornelius (as Hollywood Producer Mo Fuzz) to upstart filmmakers Tim Robbins and John Cusack.
Hollywood’s Got A Good Looking Corpse