|Hollywoodland||Jul 9 2013|
We didn’t get a chance to acknowledge it last week due to our travels, but we could never fail to pay tribute to American actor and martial arts star Jim Kelly. Before the movies Kelly ran a karate dojo in Los Angeles, and he came to the widespread public attention in 1973’s smash actioner Enter the Dragon, in which he appeared with Bruce Lee. He didn’t last long in the film, but he made a strong impression with his 6’2” frame, physical prowess, and larger-than-life cool. He had some good lines, including the one we quoted above—“Mr. Han, I suddenly wish to leave your island.” A lot of blaxploitation stars used bits of martial arts in their fight scenes, but Kelly was legit. Before getting into acting he had won many competitive martial arts championships—including four in the year 1971. His movie career includes blaxploitation classics such as Three the Hard Way, Black Samurai, and Black Belt Jones. After a battle with cancer he left the island for good last week at age 67.
|Intl. Notebook||Jul 28 2011|
We found something quite cool yesterday—six Enter the Dragon lobby cards produced in Hong Kong and featuring the one and only Bruce Lee. Looking at them, we aren't sure they're all actually from Enter the Dragon, but that's the way they were packaged. Five of the cards are printed film frames and feature him in full ass-kicking action, but the last one, at bottom, is the true winner, showing a smiling Lee during a break in filming. Assuming these are indeed all from the set of Dragon, it would have been the spring of 1973, when Lee was on top of the world. And in that last shot he looks like it. Just a few months later, in July, he would be gone.