Thursday, July 9, 2009


In three seconds please count Hong Kong's most agile action film stars, 1, 2, 3, time is up. Perhaps Bruce Lee is definitely there; as for other choices, they have to be either Sammo Hung Kam Bo, Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah, all members of the Seven Little Fortunes.

Under Master Yu Jim Yuen's strict training, China Drama Academy students were all agile with surprising endurance. Yet, even Olympic gold medalists have their times of failure, not to mention this group of kids. When Seven Little Fortunes performed, any mistake that they made accidentally became the audience's favorite entertainment. Like later when Jackie Chan films put the out takes at the end credits, this was something that would make people smile from the heart.

Hanging Pants, Bloopers Galore
Seven Little Fortunes performed at the Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park Sixth Theater for at least seven years. Asking them to be perfect might have been too picky. Even though Master Yu did not permit any flaw from Seven Little Fortunes, the Lai Chi Kok performance stage was small and crowded. Even with agility like Jackie Chan's, no one could guarantee flawless.

Looking back, Jackie Chan still remembers today. "Once I played Justice Bao hanging his beard. When I was preparing backstage, I put the fake beard in my belt. When I appeared I took another one to put on my face. As soon as I walked out on stage I delivered the first line 'Old Father' while my hand brushed the beard. That time my hand even went to the floor. Because my Justice Bao costume was all black, no one could see I had two beards. They thought that my beard really was down to the ground."

What made the audience busted out laughing though was this "banner and pants" scene. Jackie Chan says, "At the time everyone would hang their clothes on the backstage wall. Once my costume had four banners. As soon as I got on stage the audience just kept laughing. Actually when I walked out the banner staff hooked a pair of jeans. Finally I carried a pair of jeans to stage, how embarrassing was that!"

Actually no matter how agile Seven Little Fortunes were, asking their not yet developed brains to remember all the shows' lines was too much. Thus stage fright was not a rare sight as they could only rely on improvisation.

Mixed Up Characters, Mind Drew A Blank
Yuen Qiu says, "We every night had to play different characters. Every costumes and lines were different. Sometimes we would be completely messed up. When we got on stage our minds drew blank. Once I shared the stage with Sammo. He had a monologue, but he didn't remember the lines and could follow my line. He improvised with 'You guess'. At the time I did not know how to respond, so I returned with 'Your mother'."

Sammo, Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao and Seven Little Fortunes' achievements today absolutely was not easy. Being able to have the audience say their names in three seconds, how could it just be overnight success? (24)

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