George Tan - Hi Gang!I'm finally back on line.I'll be here on Tue. all day with a few of me mates to help celebrate our friend's 61st birthday. I'm bringing alot of treats along,so come and spend a bit of time with some like minded friends and get some real info on your hero,not the dribble you're being fed by those `closest' to him. The MAN you know as Bruce Lee is close to being totally extinct,to be replaced by an image that is being used to exploit and make money.I have no objection to that(after all,Lee was the first to exploit himself),but there must be a balance between the two.This has been my contention and fight for over 15 years now.The real Bruce Lee was NOT the character from Enter the Dragon,as people like John Little wanted to have you believe.You've now seen the `famous' Game of Death footage that was supposed to be the best of the best.Well,was it?Was this footage that was again `discovered' by John Little( quite the Indiana Jones our buddy is)This footage was offered to Fred Weintraub and Davis Miller in 1993! I was offered the stuff in 1996. So this `discovery' is somewhat puzzling to me. The Pierre Burton Interview? I had Linda Lee's attorney,Adrian Marshall HAND DELIVER her a copy in 1988.It was actually on the day that the first Bruce Lee dinner was being held( organized by Richard Bustillo),and attended by a few hundred people, who saw it. I don't recall Mr. Little there.So how was this a `lost' interview? By the way,I was given this interview in 1986 by Lee's student,Jim DeMile,and super Bruce Lee collector Richard Torres a short time afterwards.I had a deal with Pierre Burton's people,and John Little called them up and actually said that I told him to call and to deal with him.I have an audio recording of Burton's assistant Elsa telling me this.Bruce Lee's `notes'? I've had them since 1985!We can discuss what was not printed,and why Black Belt magazine turned down this package offered by Little,as well as many MAJOR PUBLISHERS,including Warner Books. People,you're being taken for a ride.The Magical Mystery Tour. If you're going to devote any time to Bruce Lee,get to know the real man,the human being who was like all of us,but took his strengths as well as his limitations and achieved his dreams.But don't forget ONE THING-It cost him his life.There's nothing noble about dying for fame, cuz at the end of the day all glory is fleeting. It means nothing.An illusion within an illusion. Who cares if a bunch of strangers are chanting your name, especially if you're not there to hear it?!So come over on Tue.,it's going to be an all day event,and I'm having a few friends drop by to answer some of your questions. I'll also give you an update on the Lee projects I'm working on right now.
DW Forum - It's a great pleasure having you here GT, I'm sure we'll have lots of fun and laughs as we chat with yourself and your friends.
DW Forum - Excuse me if I sound rude, but WHEN are we going to see any of your material released properly ??It seems for some reason ( probably legal ) that you can't seem to get things of the ground, I mean we are talking years here ! You have been promising for nearly 2 decades now that a book series will hit the stores, but it hasn't materialised, Why ??We all know you have a bunch of cool shots, but where does that lead ??I'm looking forward to you posting pics here, but come on, lets see some sort of committed move for the fans sake !!
George Tan - I own all my photos and they are registered with the Libray of Congress.I bought them and the rights to their use from the photographer,Mr. Chan Yuk.People like John Little,Bey Logan,James Bishop, Marcos Ocana and other assorted player haters started this rumour that you valiantly putting forth, obviously out of ignorance and not fact. I've given use of my photos in major publications the world over,and not a legal peep. Can you answer why not? I'm doing all I can to do things correctly.f you want a mish mash of the classical mess-up,might I suggest someting from the menu- perhaps a serving of Tao of J.K.D.,followed by a side order of Fighting Method( with over 4 flavors to choose from!!),and the main course, John Little's production of the Bruce Lee library.For desert there will be a showing of `Dragon' the true story of somebody,not exactly sure who though. why are you waiting?Go do your thing,and `it' will happen.But it'll done CORRECTLY,not half baked!
DW Forum - I'm slightly confused about Bruce Lee's anti-tradition stance. Wasn't he part of a traditional kung fu background?
George Tan - Lee himself was a traditionalist also.How so?He insisted that even his friends call him sifu during class,they started `formal' class with a salutation,and so on. He wasn't against tradition,but was against tradition interfering with the function of the style. Big difference.Wing Chun has X amount of techniques,and these weren't enough for hm.He put man above the system. Radical stuff!!The irony is that his `system' has gone the same route!Not only that,it's even trademarked!!!You know how he always talked about running water,be like water,etc.? Well, the good `ol Lee folks have bottled it.Is it still running water?
DW Forum - Yes but as far as I know Bruce Lee hardly ever presented his martial art as Wing Chun (you can hear him pronauncing it in Alex Benn Block phone interview). He rather presented it as "Chinese Gung Fu", which isn't much precize (how many Chinese Gung Fu styles are out there???). Mr. Tan - any idea of why Bruce didn't want to admit that he's teaching wing chun? In fact I'm in it also and I know there are a lot of instructors who claim Bruce Lee's art was nothing more than just wing chun (and there is nothing like "new style - jeet kune do")...And second question - did you mr. Tan ever talked to William Cheung who states that Bruce in fact wasn't that good in wing chun
George Tan - Bruce Lee only kew about 50% of the system. He incorparated some other elements into his stuff early on,like the back-fist. He actually called his `thing' Jun Fan Gung Fu.He NEVER spoke negative of WC,but WC folk speak ill of him.They don't really get what he did. But the basic premise that is the foundation of WC can be found in JKD.The execution of those principles is what differs.Lee's approach to WC itself is radically different from `traditional' WC. I spoke to William Cheung in the early `80's,and yes,he said that Lee was not very good.But he last saw him as a skinny teen in the mid-50's.At that time,Cheung was fighting for the WC clan,and Lee was in awe of him.That's what he remembers. He admitted to me that he didn't know or care what JKD was. Lee was his si-dai in WC,and has remained that way in his mind.
DW Forum - I have to agree with George Tan. The Lee estate/John Little have been re-writing history for too long. I'm glad that at least something from the archives got out(no matter how diluted)but it's how it's been presented that's the problem. I remember thinking last year at Bradford (Warrior's Journey Screening)how gushingly patronising John Little was as he Lectured us all on how to 'Live the Bruce Lee way'. I felt like I was back at school! I hated the way he'd selected (admittedly) crap 60's Karate footage to illustrate how JKD was superior(in WJ). As a 5th Dan Karateka I was not only pissed off(Karate has more to offer than that) but thought how narrow-minded the man was. Y'know everybody has their own 'way' of achieveing things but to Mr.Little/the Estate it has to be THE way how they present it. I'm sure Bruce Lee would NOT like the way that he's being portrayed. As for Linda I can't stand to see her in every documentary spouting the same old 'party (authourised) line' I have to fast forward the woman on sight! I also think the reason Dan Inosanto was not on the 'official' panel had something to do with this. It's about time the truth was known and I for one applaud the efforts of George and Davis for giving us all the real deal.
George Tan - It's a lot of work to walk through the Linda Lee-originated mire and mists to get to something resembling real about BL. It's very good to know that someone appreciates the effort.
DW Forum - I read Davis Millers book on Bruce Lee and you are quoted as saying that Bruce was a Confusiast instead of a Taoist. Can you further explain please?
George Tan - We as human beings need both philosophies to live our lives. Taoism(T) covers the natural course- for example,a job offer.You didn't go looking for it, it was just there and you took it. The Confusian(C) creates his opportunities,starts his own business,etc. Good and Bad don't figure into the equasion on either side.Lee created an oppotunity for himself in Hong Kong,since Hollywood wasn't responding.He found a way to get access to the world audience.Had he waited around for Hollywood to give him a break,we wouldn't be on this forum!!So he had his mates go to Shaw Bros. and try to push him there.Long story short,Lee took matters into his own hands(C),but didn't let go of that ambition once he was in the driver's seat.Had he shifted to Taoism at that point and let the offers come to him and accept them in a calmer way,he might still be with us.Instead he kept plowing forward agressively.By the way,Lee NEVER claimed to be a Taoist.Ever.He knew the differences between T and C. Most people mistake him for a T since he used the phrase alot. As I said earlier,we need both philosophies as people.Look at it like this- C is the steps that take you to the top of a slide.The Slide(T) then takes you on it's journey.Soone acn lead to another. And this leads to harmony,which is another discussion.If any of you out there would like to learn more about this,don't read John Little's `books'. Go andget some proper texts on Cha'n Buddhism and Dharma, etc.The one thing Lee's writings did for me as to get me on the road to knowledge.It's o.k. for Bruce Lee to become the finger and not the heavenly glory!!
DW Forum - Do you know where the outdoor locations were filmed and also the indoor pagoda scenes, the GH studio's maybe? Was each floor the same set but differently designed or was it filmed in the actual korean pagoda? Did Bruce ever visit the pagoda in Korea itself, or was he inspired from a photograph or something, didn't he see the indian pagoda like towers while looking for locations for the silent flute, was it them that got the idea in his head? Is there any reason at all why the shoes, nunchukas and catsuit were ALL yellow, any other reason other than to show he had no fixed style???
George Tan - Lee never went to Korea. The exteriors you see of Dan and Who ng In Sik were shot in a part of Hong Kong called Sai Kung(which is where my wife lived when I met her).The area is home to alot of H.K. stars, including Jackie Chan.Back then,it wasn't really developed,so it was the home for alot of exterior locations in kung fu movies.The interiors are just a set.Nobody I've spoken to(including Linda) has a clue why he chose his color scheme.I'm sure John Little will discover the reason in a few years!(FOUND-The lost Tracksuit!).Speaking of the tracksuit,it's actually lost,along with the nunchaku's.Linda didn't know where they were.I know Dan still has his nunchuks from the film.
DW Forum - Could you also tell us did Bruce film any scenes for "Game of Death" after "Enter the Dragon" was made? If so, which month? What was his last scene for the movie?
George Tan - Lee didn't film anything in `73 concerning G.O.D.. The last piece of footage he filmed was the opening scene with Samo for E.T.D..He told his cameraman Nishimoto-san on July 15th that he wanted him to go and film exteriors of the Korean pagoda in Aug.(of `73),and they would start filming later that year.
DW Forum - Some questions about Fist of Unicorn, Were Ji Han Jae & Hwang In-Shik in Hong Kong at the time for GAME i.e. did Lee allow the the Sing Hoi film company to use them for 'Fist of Unicorn'? Was the May 1st, 72 party footage as shown in various docs e.g. Real BL a joint film promotion for 'Way of the Dragon' & 'Fist of Unicorn' films i.e. Concord/Golden Harvest & Sing Hoi joint party promotion? Where was the location for the outside scenes by the river i.e. the behind the scenes footage of Lee getting thrown by Unicorn Chan?
George Tan - I'll find out the exact shooting time for this film when I see the producer.He's digging out all the materials for me now.My company has bought the world rights to the film,so I insisted on everything available.The company was independent,and there was no permission needed from Lee or anybody to use the actors.The locales are hard for anybody to remember.
DW Forum - Is it true that Lee signed Chuck Norris to a two picture deal with Concord? Did BL plan to film a trilogy of films featuring the character 'Tang Lung'? (like the Leone/Eastwood trilogy of 'Fistfull of Dollars, A Few Dollars More & Good, Bad & the Ugly - was he influenced by the success of these low budget films as i think he must have been?) Why does the Italian Boss and henchmen in 'Way of the Dragon' speak in English and not Italian? Is this one of the reasons why Lee didn't want to dub it and release it in the West?
George Tan - No, No and as for the 3rd question, I don't know why they didn't speak Italiano.It would have been more authentic,cuz not many Italians seem to speak English over there!!Lee was actualy thinking of releasing Way as a subtitled film around the world.
DW Forum - Have you ever heard an audio interview with Chuck Norris, he talks about his role in WOTD and mentions something about himself and Bruce staying at a hotel then suddenly they took their tops off and started working out right in the corridor, Ever heard of it?
George Tan - No I haven't but I will ask Norris in the future.
DW Forum - Bruce was really cocky in the films he made, the way he fought was always a "Come and get it" attitude, where did he get this idea of cockiness from, was it just for the screen or was this just the way he fought in his later years? Also when was the first time Bruce picked up the video camera, what made him think, I'd like to do that as well?
George Tan - Cockiness comes from confidence.Confidence comes from preparedness.Lee never fought anybody,but he trained to perfection in what he was doing.He felt like he could take on anybody,and seemed to really believe it.Whether he could or not is up to speculation now.The vid camera came from a friend/connection at Fox Studios.It was a big heavy thing,especially the tape deck.Real heavy.I don't know what motivated,but it does show how far ahead of the pack he was as an innovator.
DW Forum - are there any footages (besides those you put in "Death by Misadventure") filmed by Hong Kong TVB? Have you seen (does it still exist) LAST interview Bruce Lee gave in 73'? Have HK TVB had color transmissions back then?
George Tan - NO footage exists anymore.Nothing.
DW Forum - The childhood film footage in DBM was great, was thatBruce's own voice in cantonese and do any of the films exist in full, I really liked the one you showed where Bruce is dressed as a sailor and he insults the ticket vendor because he's too young to get into the cinema, Which of the childhood films is your fave???
George Tan - I like all the childhood movies.He did cameos on alot of those.Over half of them just have him in small or guest spots.That is his voice on all of them.
DW Forum - Could you please clear up any confusion as to whether Lee worked on Game on Death, whilst he had spare time on the ETD set? How many days in total did Lee spend on Game of Death and how many pages of script exist?
George Tan - ,I can't get clear answers as to how long he shot G.O.D..Everybody I've asked just guesses.There are no call sheets or anything to confirm.The pages I saw were about 10 or so.Little showed some in `epic'. But Dan had those and probably some stuff Little didn't.He talked about G.O.D. to the crew of E.T.D., but didn't do any work on it then.
DW Forum - It's very nice to be able to come here & remember Bruce's 61st Birthday. I have a quick question regarding the Game of Death footage. Apart from the GOD footage that exists (Artport/Warriors Journey/G.O.D 78/Game of Death 2 ) Is there any more footage that you know of that exists. If so ... what scenes would they be and where are they located?
George Tan - There might be some footage of Lee outside doing rehearsals,but that's very slim.There is nothing else. Raymond would have used it in one of the docu's he made.I wouldn't bet on any footage existing.
DW Forum - Do you have any exact info regarding Bruce's historical film project, probably entitled "Seven Sons of the Dragon of Jade"? When Bruce took that particular photo session? Was it only one or many...? Any footage???
George Tan - Who came up with this Jade Dragon crap?That wasn't the title.I own EVERY foto from that shoot,which was done at Golden Harvest.There are about 60 color and 200 black and white stills shot for this. No footage at all.The script was shot twice actually in the late `70's and `80's. The original title was `Nien Kan Yao',the name of Lee's character.
DW Forum - Any idea of why James Coburn arrived to Hong Kong in 1973? There are lots of pics from their meeting back then (also Chow and Andrew Morgan can be seen on them). Jim just wanted to say hello to Bruce or was it business matters? Second try of making Silent Flute or maybe that was no 1973 and they were going to make their trip to India?
George Tan - It wasn't for Silent Flute.Coburn wasn't that interested in making it really.I'm planning on interviewing Coburn,and will ask him(that and about 50,000 questions!).
DW Forum - I recenly read that Sammo and his guys actually startedfilming NEW material for GOD in 1975 with a double(Yuen Wah) for Bruce but was scrapped for some unknown reason. Any truth in this?
George Tan - I don't know about this,but this about the time Linda sold her share of Cocord to Raymond.He might have wanted to do tests.I'll ask Yuen Wah on my next trip to H.K.
DW Forum - I would like to know what you know about all this phantom Bruce footage that some people keep saying was filmed by Bruce for GOD. IE Airport footage/outdoor footage. How much was filmed apart from the 3 fights? Also whats your take on the GOD script. I look forward to your answer. I hope we can lay some of these stories to rest.
George Tan - The 3 fights is pretty much what he shot.There MIGHT be some pieces of him outdoors but it's extremely doubtful.Raymond would have put it in one of his docu's(he used some outdoor STILLS to promote Tower of Death.I think he would have used footage if he had it.Fans would go running in if they saw even one second advertised).The COMPLETE story will be in my G.O.D. book,which will have interviews with just about everybody involved in the movie.I can only say it wasn't going to be his `philosophical' masterpiece. What a joke.
DW Forum - It has been said that Bruce was only a martial artists and actor, not a real fighter because he never really fought anyone who was any good (In tournaments). What are your thoughts and comments on this? In an interview, someone mentioned that Bruce’s skills were not as good as they have been written. .. "Certain writers tend to embelish and sensationalize". Do you agree or disagree? And what is your opinion on Bruce’s skills as both a martial artist and a fighter? Do you think Bruce would have done well in competition fighting (if he had wanted to enter). Do you think he would have been able to hold his own and go a full 10 or 12 rounds and have been able to take a really hard punch or kick and get up at the end of it? Do ypu think he would have won or been a world champ? It has been said that JKD has not been updated since Bruce died and therefore old and no longer practical. In your opinion is the JKD that is being taught now days by certified JKD instructors relevant for today as a complete martial art or a fighting system? Would it be practical for tournament fighting? Someone mentioned in an interview that Howard Williams thought that Jeet Kune Do was a load of garbage? In your opinion is this a fair comment. What are your thoughts? Is the action fighting in Bruces movies different to what he taught in JKD? Could you look at Bruce in any of his movies and say his technique is bad in this scene or that, therefore he is a sloppy martial artist? The above comments have been made by people who have known Bruce first hand or have information that the fans don’t have access to. Therefore there must be some truth to what they are saying. As a Bruce Lee fan if the above are true, then I would have to accept it and I would see Bruce Lee in a totally different way. Is this the JKD and Bruce Lee that you knew ? If not what motive do you think these people have for saying the above things?
George Tan - Lee was not interested in competition fighting.I feel he would be tops if he FOCUSED on that.He had the physical skills and the mind to be a champ there.Now the ring is another story.He had a weak chin,so he could have been dropped easy.IF he decided to do this, he would have altered his way of fighting to suit the situation.Again,he was really uninterested in this type of thing.As for J.K.D.,you can forget about it. The stuff being taught is not`old',it's just being taught badly.The core principles are being disregarded. Howard Williams was down right disgusted when he saw what was out there.And he's right.
DW Forum - Do we have a true and accurate account of his death or is there more to tell? If so what? How does Robert Lee view the death of his Brother? Is there more to tell?
George Tan - See my docu `Death by Misadventure' concerning Lee's death.In short,he died from taking cannabis.He almost died from the same thing 2 months earlier.Had he stopped taking the stuff,he might still be alive today.Robert Lee's opinion on Lee's death is just that.He has no hard evidence pointing to anything else,except of course,the `curse' on his family's name and other mumbo jumbo.He was in the U.S. when Lee died,although he's told people that he was in H.K.. Total poopy cock.Peter Lee was there,and he worked with me on my docu.
DW Forum - Jim Kelly said in an interview that Bruce’s ability was under estimated. He said that he would have done very well in competition and that some people aren’t giving him the credit he really deserves because there reputations are on the line. I think he is talking about the World Karate champs at the time he was alive. What is your opinion on what Jim Kelly said and who do you think he was talking about? (Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis, Mike Stone, Bob Wall). Did Bruce Lee ever talk about Thai Kick Boxing? What were his opinions on this martial art? What would he have done if he had to fight a Thai kick boxer? Did he think about incorporating any Thai kick boxing into JKD?
George Tan - Lee was not interested in competition fighting. He had all the attributes to be tops though.But Lee wasn't going to spend his time training for such stuff. For what?There's no money,fame,nothing. Some dinky trophy?Big deal.Lee did see the Thai Boxers when shooting Big Boss(alot of the extras in that film were also Thai Fighters),and he was unimpressed. He might have taken some of the mechanics of the kick,but then he'd re-tool it and make it better.
DW Forum - Was there a script for Game of Death? If so, do you know how many pages it was & is it still in existence today? Did Bruce have any projects/films after Game of Death. If so what were they? Was Bruce going to do a T.V series after game? What is the best Bruce Lee documentaries & book(s) out there that truly represents Bruce?
George Tan - I've seen 10 or so pages from G.O.D.. He had a couple of films on the burner planned after ETD,but I don't think he would have pursued anything like that after ETD hit.The million dollar offers would be pouring in then. No t.v. series was in his future.
DW Forum - Have you met Wu Ngan and if so why has he remained so silent about his relationship with Bruce.i have to admit after reading "unsettled matters" there seems to be some loose ends concerning Wu Ngan after Bruce Lee's death.is there a valid comment here?
George Tan - I've not spoken to Wu yet.He lives in England now. There's no mystery about him or anything.
DW Forum - Was this later filmed as 'Rebellious Reign' re Nien Kan Yao. What is your opinion of this film please? Did Chang Chieh & Ki Yang write a script for this Lee project? Did Lee want Chu Yuan to direct this film but Run Run wanted Cheng Kang to direct. Could you please help me with this query?
George Tan - Reign is a great story.Lee would have made some script adjustments and made it better. Chang Cheh is a friend,so next time I see him,I'm getting the full scoop on the film. He wrote the story,and was planning on directing.Back then,he was a top director.
DW Forum - Any dates on the filming of the outside GAME footage of Ji Han Jae & Hwang In-Shik? The footage of Wong Shun Leung on ENTER set doing test footage for GAME maybe? April 73. This seems to me that Lee was continuing his filming for GAME after ENTER had wrapped? Did Wong Shun Leung tell you more about the filming/meaning of this footage? I read that Lee spent an extra week or so filming with the mirror room after the ENTER end scene had finished. Do you know if Lee was experimenting and filming some scenes possibly for GAME? Have you kindly got any dates on your GAME sister audition photos? (it looks like these were maybe taken on the 'Fist of Fury' set from a few i've seen so maybe Jan 72?) Lastly, Do you know who took the South Korea pagoda photos that Lee had display on his office wall in March 73?
George Tan - There are no concrete dates on the outdoor filming bits. Wong said he was visiting on the set.I'm trying to find out who the skinny kicker was.Perhaps he would have more info. Wong was originally approached to do the part that Taky was going to do.Wong said he wasn't interested in filming. I don't think he was focused on G.O.D. when he did Enter. Remember,he dropped the film when ETD came along. The auditions were actually done in `73,after ETD finished filming.No exact date. No idea where he found the foto.I will ask about this though.I'm sure Unicorn could have answered this.
DW Forum - What are the chances of ever seeing the original mandarin version of the big boss. Why was a pre publicity photo shoot undertaken for fist of fury.....i mean bruce was not exactly unknown,and just how many photos were taken during this shoot. What has happened to the teaser trailer for fist of fury. Is there a "untold" story from the making of fist of fury that you could tell us about.
George Tan - The original mandarin version isn't any different from what you've seen.The music is different,that's all. There was a sequence where Lee visits another prostitute before the nite time ice factory fight,but it was edited out before it's release. The publicity fotos for F.O.F. were on display at theatres showing Big Boss.There is no such thing as too little publicity!!. There are actually quite a few dozen were taken.I'll put some on tonite at 7pm. The teaser trailer for F.O.F. is lost. I'll put some fotos from that too. Untold Story-According to Nora Miao, Bruce Lee kept taking breath mints for their kissing scene.
DW Forum - Did bruce engage in a real life fight with the mongolian wrestler lau dai chun.if so what was the outcome. How many pre arranged fights known as "bei mo" did bruce actually take part in?
George Tan - Lee never fought a Mongol. Pre-arranged fites? Who knows? You'll never get an accurate answer on that.
DW Forum - Do you know of any of the cuts from the original Bruce vs Bob Wall fight in Enter the Dragon? Apparently he was very cokcy in the fight shouting "Hit me, c'mon hit me then!!!", but it was later cut to make Bruce seem more monk like and more vengefull over his sisters death, do you know anything about this? I'm sure I heard there was a scene about some poisoned tea and another where Bolo beats a guard up just as they arrive on the island, he grabs one and throws him in the sea. And even another involving some kind of bathtub scene? It's hard knowing wich are facts are which are jokes, have you seen the original script for Enter the Dragon, I think these scenes are in it in detail.
George Tan - The contact sheets for the Wall fight show multiple takes of what y ou've seen on screen.I didn't notice any taunting.I don't know anything about poisoned tea.That's a new one.You should ask Chaplin Chang.I have a complete foto sequence of Bolo throwing the guard. Don't know if the footage exists still.
DW Forum - You mentioned that a palmist read bruce lees hand,what did this lady reveal.
George Tan - She said that his lifeline was interupted.But it's easy to say that after the fact,isn't it?
DW Forum - Was there any alternative fight scenes filmed for way of the dragon. There's a set of photo's of Bruce in various martial art poses,he is bare chested and has a moustache I believe they were taken on top of ocean terminal were these pics for publicity purposes or something else.
George Tan - There are no extra scenes for WOD. The `beard' shots were taken after WOD. They were taken on a rooftop,not Ocean Term. These were shot for Lee,at his request.They were only published after he died. I have all of them,but most are dark.Maybe today's technology can fix them.
DW Forum - Is there any truth in that Bruce was being harassed by triads so his brother Robert sent him firearms in the mail so he had better protection? Also I read somewhere that when he visited the Xavier school to give awards he heard a door slam and thought a shot had been fired, he was shaken and later showed a bag to someone containing a gun. Finally have you read that letter to Wong Shun Leung that says something like "I have had my life insured, I'm not afraid of anybody and I will kill anyone who attacks me", it was along those words anyway, any ideas what Bruce was talking about? Can you please tell us if theres any truth in this, because I haven't seen any pics of Bruce holding a gun before
George Tan - Lee was NEVER harrassed by Triads.He did have a 2 shot derringer that he smuggled into H.K. by putting it in a jar of protein powder.Bob Baker was guarding Lee at that award show you mention.It's possible he had the derringer with him although Bob never said anything to me about it.Ask Jesse Glover about Lee's proficiency with guns.Lee was a quick draw artist and a pretty good shot.He used to peg squirell's from his window at Ruby Chow's.
DW Forum - Could you plz tell us when is your website http://www.trackingthedragon.com is gonna be open? I am looking forward to it. And also if you had a chance to meet Bruce Lee in person what would be your Top 3 questions to ask him?
George Tan - I'm still working on the web site.I will probably get DM to do it.He's done a wonderful job here. I don't know what I'll tell Bruce Lee when I do meet him.And I truly think that one day I will walk with him.But I know what I'll tell him-`I did my damndest and best for you brother'.There's alot of Lee's `friends' who won't be able to look him in the eye if they saw him today.I'm not one of them.
DW Forum - Little claims that 'Way of the Dragon' premiered on the 23rd Dec, 1972. I thought it was on 31st Dec, 1972 because of James Yimme Lee not being able to make the premiere because of his passing on the 30th?
George Tan - James Lee was ill for quite some time before the WOD premiere.He was in shape to travel for months.
DW Forum - How many interviews in Chinese have you heard, Mr. Tan? Are they gonna be released some day?
George Tan - I've not heard any in Chinese,except for that one that was in that Legend docu. I do have tons of printed interviews in Chinese.Now those are DEFINITELY interesting.
DW Forum - This is the first time I've had a chance to talk to you and I'm honored. I've had the honor to talk with Davis many times and find him very informative, insightful and a pleasure to talk to. My first question is: I've heard briefly, I think I read it, or seen it somewhere on TV that there was a possibility that Mauhammed Ali was going to be asked to play in Game of Death. If not, do you think that he and Bruce would have teamed up in a movie after the success of Enter the Dragon, had Bruce lived. I know Bruce Lee admired Ali a lot, and Ali is a natural talent in front of the camera and it's no secret that Bruce liked to work with real fighters, you can't get more real than Ali; I think that this could have been a great possibility had Bruce not passed away and I also think that it would have made film history as probably the greatest action film of all time; maybe this would also be a good question for Davis Miller. My second question: Bruce Lee was probably photographed more than anybody in the world,(I don't know that for a fact, but it seem's that way)how many people that were on the set of Enter the Dragon have rare pictures they have taken, or film of Bruce. And lastly: Is there any chance that there will ever be a video, or DVD put together of all of Bruce lee's appearances on Hong Kong TV. Why hasn't one surfaced yet? Does anyone know how much footage exists and how many appearences Bruce made, and what about Hong Kong news, was he ever filmed for that?
George Tan - Ali would have never played opposite Lee if he had to lose,and vice versa.I seriously doubt 2 strong egos like that would ever get together.Ali's name was thrown around AFTER Lee died and Raymond bought all the G.O.D. footage. I have 2-3000 unpublished fotos from E.T.D.,taken by the main photographer,Mr. Chan Yuk.I also have the fotos that John Saxon took. There were quite a few newspaper folks showing up,so there's probably a few hundred shots we haven't seen from that source.99% of the ETD fotos you've seen were shot by Chan Yuk.There's a few portrait shots that were shot by a Yank fotog. out of L.A.. Ali is actually the most photographed person,with over 1 million fotos taken. Elvis is #2 on the list,will a few hundred thousand. Lee is not even close. The reason there is no DVD of the t.v. footage is that it doesn't exist anymore.
DW Forum - You have mentioned more than once that Warner Bros. has stored in their vaults in Kansas tremendous amounts of footage from "Enter the Dragon", encompassing outtakes, alternate angles of many scenes, entire sequences that were never used in the final print, and so on; do you feel that it's likely and feasible that Warners will disclose some of that precious material in 2003, in order to celebrate the 30th. anniversary of the original release of that classic film -as they did for the 25th. anniversary?
George Tan - It's all up to Warner's.The footage is there.They recently unearthed footage from Elvis's film `That's the way it is' and re-did the whole movie. It all starts with having somebody who cares,and they have to start the ball rolling within Warner's.The reason the Elvis film was found was that fans did alot of the basic research and gave it to Warner's.Hopefully they'll wake up sooner than later.
DW Forum - What Do You Think Of The New Digital Movie about Bruce Lee called "Dragon Warrior"? Do You think that its a good idea or a bad idea and why? And also what do think of bruce's Real Fighting ability compared to the ones we have now??
George Tan - The prospects of this digital movie actually happening are very slim.There are tremendous onstacles- 1-Getting the finance.It's easy to get the option money to license Lee's name,etc.But the straight fact is that the technology to do this doesn't exist today. This was said by George Lucas's people.A human is too complicated. 2-A korean company is doing this. How are they gonna raise 50 mill.?That sounds like alot of hype. Have you seen Shannon Ma's work? Go to www.rightaction.co.hk and see some great work. I'll be working with Shannon on some animation next year. 3-You've got the body,but what about the `soul'?You need a team of people who would become `Bruce Lee'.One guy for movement,one for acting,etc. It has to `feel' like Lee from the inside out,and these Koreans wouldn't know where to begin there.Look at G.O.D. from `78. The actors didn't `feel' like Lee.They were like puppets. 4-I was working on a Lee animated movie in 1982.The project was licensed by the Estate,and we spent 2 years on it and didin't get past the pencil sketch phase.All that's left is some animation cels and production notes for our troubles.
DW Forum - George Tan, you know everything about Bruce Lee, what have you learnt from your research?
George Tan - The more you learn,the more you realize how litle you know'. I know more than most,but there's still a lifetime of info to absorb. One of the many things I've learned from Lee is to be what he called a `student-master'.This means you're on top of your game,but stay humble and keep learning.Lee used to call himself this.I also learned to keep my tools sharp. I can use my skills at any given time. That's why Lee was so impressive to folks.He could give a demo or talk anytime,anywhere.Always prepared. And I also learned that the ultimate help lies within myself at the end of the day.Not him,her or the guy next to me.Lee was a self made success.He had advantages like being handsome and physically gifted,but the world is filled with similar types.You've got to fight every day to get to where you want to go to.
DW Forum - What is the most rare item in your collection?
George Tan - It's hard to say.I've got quite a few things that you could argue about which is rarer.I think my info is the rarest.Definitely the most precious to me. It's the closest to having a `memory' about the guy,even if it is somebody else's.The fact that person shared it with me,makes it special.The fotos would be second.
DW Forum - I want to share a scenario with you which i believe could be true about unseen footage. Do you think this could apply to Bruce Lee as the Non-conformist film maker?
"Lee set up his own film company, Concord, in Dec 71' so he was in charge of his own destiny and could do anything he wanted re shooting experimental film scenes whenever he was inspired and had the spare time (of course he kept this secret from Chow as much as possible as he wouldn't approve). If Bruce had a good idea for a fight scene - he would get some people and film it on the spur of the moment whether he had a finished script or not. Therefore, Lee's experimental project didn't have any time restrictions or deadline. If Bruce had an inspired moment - he got some Concord crew/actors/friends and filmed it. Just like when Jabbar visited Lee in Sep 72' - he was inspired and filmed a fight scene with him - exact same process as he had been doing. Eventually these experimental film scenes by Bruce Lee add up and he can choose what he wants to use for GAME. He finds out What works and what doesn't. Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless. Hack away at the unessentials - just applying his JKD to his film making & life.
Film Timeline of 1972 :-
Lee spent two weeks in Rome for WAY (actually 10 days filming) in May 72'. Jon Benn has said that the Hong Kong filming for his scenes went very quickly. A couple of runs throughs and normally no more than a couple of takes to get the scene done. Anders Nelson revealed that he only spent 2 days filming his scenes in WAY. Back lane fight scenes when he's hit by the nunchaka and inside restaurant scene when the Italian mob take a gun to the Chinese waiters. Norris fight scene took 5 days - similar to how long the 3 released pagaoda fight scenes each took to film. So out of the whole of 1972, Bruce 'never sits still' Lee had plenty of time to shoot experimental film scenes that remain unseen. Most BL Hong Kong films took around 6 weeks to film. Bruce was on the ENTER set for 8 weeks. Add on some time for the studio dubbing/effects/editing etc. But Lee went over the dailies the same night for 'Way of the Dragon' which kept the process time down."
I would like to hear your comments please George on the above scenario. Hong Kong filming start and end dates for 'Way of the Dragon' would be very much appreciated? Do you think it is possible that Lee could of been doing experimenting filming in 1972 (with or without a script) whenever he had an inspired idea for a fight scene or whatever & therefore these have never been released or even publically known about because certain people are respecting Lee's last words of not wanting this footage to be released?
George Tan - I'll answer as a filmmaker.It's impossible to have a crew come around at all hours unless you're paying them.Otherwise they have other jobs,wouldn't they?What you're saying is not realistic.What are you going to do,build a whole set again whenever it's strikes your fancy?WOD was done very economically and shows that Lee knew his business.Short and tight.He applied the JKD principles into his work there- Simple and economic.So this `experimental' notion which guys like you seem to crow about makes no sense.You'd have to leave the set in the studio for weeks or months until divine inspiration hits you.So you're taking up studio time and space,which costs bucks.So he does one film really tight,and then turns around and gets wasteful?Doesn't make sense,does it?
DW Forum - What were the conditions like on the Big Boss set, I heard they basically spent the $100,000 on fake blood and virtually ate with the cockroaches. How advanced is Pak Chong today, is it still pretty much behind? What ever happened to Malalene the Big Boss prostitute?
George Tan - The budget for BB was under 100k.Pak Chong is exactly the same.The ice factory was using the same containers from the movie!We ate at the hotel where everybody stayed.It wasn't bad. I don't know what happened to the BB slag.
DW Forum - I wanted to ask you if you knew what the deal is with warrior's journey coming out here in the US? I mean were deprived of the Artport version of GOD, so WJ is the next best thing. Also do you believe Bruce used steroids. I mean I've heard people mention how easy it was to get that stuff back then, so I figured maybe Bruce shot up a couple of times.Oh, and lastly, do you know what's up in the JKD camp? Linda & Shannon are really delegating on who's part of their nucleus. I also heard they dismissed John Little. Would you know why?
George Tan - I can only tell you from a marketing standpoint that WJ is not top priority on Warner's list of releases.A specialized product like this would be good for off-season,not right now.I know it's getting clobbered in U.K. by H.K. Legend's DVD of G.O.D..It's vastly superior to Little's dribble. So Warner's will take it's time.I know they are showing WJ on Amer. Movie Classics here in U.S. next summer,so maybe then.As for John Little,Joe Lewis and I had predicted that Little would self destruct eventually. He's a terrible person,and eventually it catches up to you.The list of people he screwed is long and distinguished,starting with stealing fotos at Black Belt magazine to stealing info and materials from me,etc.I'm absolutely positive he stole things from the Lee family.100% sure.You can't change the spot on a leopard.The `JKD' camp is a sad joke.It can't work.If you don't have Jesse Glover,Joe Lewis,Dan Lee,Leo Fong, Howard Williams,Dan Inosanto and Jerry Poteet on board FULL TIME,you got NOTHING.The rest might mean well,but it's not enough.Newcomers will come,and leave disappointed.There ship is sinking fast.I think the Lee family is doing the right thing by clamping down. They should have done this 25 years ago!I told Linda about what was going on in 1989! She just said `Boys will be boys'.Didn't think anything was wrong.Now it's a bit too late,but hey,it's better late than never.
DW Forum - I was just wondering as I have a deep interest in photography......just how many photos were taken for each of the bruce lee films. How did you track down mr chan yuk and what was your initial thoughts when you viewed all the photos for the first time?
George Tan - Each film varies. Way has the least amount,less than 500.ETD has 2-3000,maybe even more. The others are between 600 and 1000,except G.O.D. which has over 2,000.I met Chan Yuk through Robert Clouse and Chaplin Chang.I would visit him with Chaplin,who would translate for me.We'd talk for hours each time.I recorded some of the talks,and later Chaplin and I would go somewhere and listen and he'd translate certain things for me again.I have one foto of Chan Yuk, which was taken by Bruce Lee himself!Do you know Bruce Lee gave him the nunchuks from E.T.D.,and signed them for him with silver marker or something. Chan asked me if I wanted to borrow them,and I told him that I didn't want to even touch them cuz he'd never see them again!!He looked at me with a sort of respect,and really opened up after that.There was no way I could part with something like that once I had it!If you'd like to see what he looked like,get a copy of a mag called `Best of Bruce Lee'(pt. 1).There is a section in the back called `Parting Shots'.There is a foto of Lee in the hall of mirrors,where he is laughing with a guy who has a couple of cameras around his neck.That's Chan Yuk!
DW Forum - Do you have anymore GOD log scene pictures in your archive (Apart from the 4 or 5 black and white pics which have been doing the rounds on the net for some time).
George Tan - I have a couple dozen shots from that segment in sequential order.If Mr. Little was a little peon, I would have given him access to use in his WJ `epic'. Lee is not in these shots though.
DW Forum - When did you first hear of Bruce Lee? How old were you? have you seen any photos of Bruce Lee with Roman Polansky?I know Bruce went up in the Alps to Roman (for training and skiing purposes, right?)
George Tan - I used to watch Bruce Lee as Kato on the Batman show reruns,but didn't really care.But I remember that in 1972,when I was in 3rd grade,the chinese kids in class started saying that `Kato' made a movie and they saw it.This is when it was only playing in Chinatowns in the original language.I din't go see a Lee film until Oct. 1974,and it was WOD.I only went cuz all the kids were going on and on about Bruce Lee.And that was it.I have seen his movies on almost every continent,and the reactiion has always been the same,no matter what the language or culture.My uncle Victor had bought the Lee movies for Greece,so that helped me later when I got into the film business,and I started meting people who knew Lee.
DW Forum - Is there anymore pics of the burning cart scene from Boss apart from the ones on the HKL Fist of Fury DVD? Also, how many pics (roughly) do you have concerning GOD in your collection?
George Tan - ,I have a complete sequence of that scene. It's Bruce Lee and James Tien together.That sequence will be in the Big Boss book. I have approx. 2,300 fotos from G.O.D..They are mostly similar shots of various takes though.I apprecitate you coming on tonite. Bruce Lee is a very special man to me and my life,and it's nice to spend time with like minded folks.
DW Forum - What are your views on the martial artist Whang Jang Lee. To me he looks incredibly fast and very powerful and according to Roy Horan whats on screen is nothing to what Whang is capable of in life. His kicks are so lethal he even killed two attackers with a single kick to the head. His triple jumping sidekick is outstanding, have you seen anyone else do that in real life? Could you describe a fight between Bruce Lee and Whang Jang Lee, I'd say I would be a pretty even match with both fighters having speed and power. Any thoughts on this great martial artist?
George Tan - Whang is a very lethal dude,no doubt.He hits like a mule,and is real strong.And he has killed people.BUT,I still put my loot on the Dragon. Lee would close so fast that most killers wouldn't have a chance to gear up and do their deadliest stuff. That's the `Jeet' part baby!!
DW Forum - Thanks very much for answering all of our questions George, it's been a great few days.