Archive for the 'Entertainment' Category

Bye Bye To Hollywood Theatre And Lion City Hotel Part 1

What’s the link between Hollywood Theatre and Lion City Hotel? Well they are both owned by the late property magnate Mr.Wee Thiam Siew. Mr.Wee Thiam Siew also owned the not too long demolished Seven Storey Hotel. The Seven Storey Hotel was built in 1953, followed by Hollywood Theatre in 1957. The Hollywood Theatre was opened by the cinema magnate late Mr.Loke Wan Tho in 1958.

I’ll blog on Hollywood Theatre in Part 1 and Lion City Hotel in Part 2.

I remember whenever I drove past the Thiam Siew Ave, my mother would point to me the corner house nearer to Haig Road and said “See, that was the Hollywood Theatre boss’ house”. At that time, I thought that it must be some rumours from the wet market aunties spread to her; but when I’m researching for this topic, I think it might be true. Just a few streets away from the Hollywood Theatre and Lion City Hotel, along the Haig Road, you can find Thiam Siew Avenue. It was named after Mr.Wee Thiam Siew in 1939. It was originally known as Thiam Siew Road. In 1940, he proposed to the Municipal Commissoner to have it renamed as an Avenue so that the properties value will increased. Probably I’ll blog on Mr.Wee Thiam Siew in the near future.

The opening of Hollywood Theatre in 1958;

Hollywood Theatre in 1958;

Above 2 credits : PICAS, National Archives of Singapore

And how it looks like now in 2011;

Of course you cannot find the name Hollywood Theatre on the building itself anymore as it is now Sheng Siong Supermarket. Surprisingly the only place where you can find the full name “Hollywood Theatre” is at the fence of the power generator besides the theatre, in the Lion City Hotel carpark just in front of the KFC;

When I was still in the army, I would like to watch a movie (mainly Mandarin shows) in this Hollywood Theatre as it was cheaper with my 11B (soldier’s identity card).  Of course at times there were rats running across the feet while watching the show. And if it’s a night show, there were some food and drink stalls in front of the theatre in its early years. With the introduction of multiplex and the increased in movie ticket price, this theatre screened its last show in end of June 1995. You will be surprised to know that this typical Chinese theatre last movie was a French show “Le Parfum d’Yvonne”.

Hollywood Theatre in 1994, just a year before its last show;

Credit : PICAS, National Archives of Singapore

Same view in 2011;

A rather deserted theatre, as view from the overhead bridge in 1994;

Credit : PICAS, National Archives of Singapore

After 17 years (2011), the 2 trees in front of the theatre have grown much bigger;

I’ve not seen the escalator moving so far. The overhead bridge linking City Plaza to the front of Hollywood Theatre;

The carpark entrance, turning right after entry to the theatre; turning left to the Lion City Hotel;

There are more parking spaces at the side of the theatre. On the left is the previous Yock Eng High School, now become CDAC;

The Hollywood Theatre almost turned into a multiplex if not for a fail negotiation between the owner and Eng Wah Organisation for a longer lease. At that time, the owner was only willing to lease it out on a 2 to 3 years basis, thus in 1995, the City Harvest Churh settled down at this venue;

Credit : City-News

The old theatre stage still remained. Many of the new multiplex cinemas are without such stage;

Credit : Quiet Confidence, Em

It was said that Siew Fung Fung and Fong Bo Bo once performed here on this stage during its heyday. Even when it was being used as a supermarket, they still retained the stage. Somehow, the City Harvest Church ended her lease in 2001 and Sheng Siong Supermarket took over from then till now 31 Aug 2011;

Besides the Hin Hollywood Canteen, construction already going on, think it’s for a substation by SP Powerassets;

The back of the theatre facing the Hin Hollywood Canteen;

The carpark exit booth (behind the white car). Very troublesome, have to wait for your change. In the past, this was 2-way (out/in);

Behind the theatre is the Hin Hollywood canteen that I called Hollywood coffee shop;

There are already many bloggers blogging on this coffee shop, so I will not elaborate on this eatery. Frankly having stay here for so many years, I don’t find the food here fantastic. Somehow after the Mediacorps showed the documentary on this coffee shop, many people flocked to it before it was demolished;

Before I end the Part 1, below is the excerpt from the Mediacorps documentary on the Hin Hollywood Canteen;

Credits : Mediacorps, PICAS, National Archives of Singapore

I’ll blog on the Lion City Hotel in Part 2.

What my father wrote;
 
“Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”

I Remember John Denver

Remember the RSAF Apache Attack Helicopter (AH-64D) that crashed landed between Woodlands Avenue 12 and Woodlands Driver 75 open field on 30 Sep 2010 in the afternoon;

Credit : STOMP

I was sorting some old newspapers yesterday when I came across this article again and somehow reminded me of John Denver’s odd shaped Long-EZ plane that crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Pacific Grove, California killing him on 12 October 1997.

Credit : AirSafe.com

Today, 13 years after his death, many youngsters including my son (16) and daughter (11) may not even have heard of his songs.

John Denver, a pilot with over 2,700 hours of flying, was flying his newly purchased kit aircraft designed by Burt Rutan (one of the world’s greatest aerospace designer). The flaw that led to John Denver’s death were the work of the builder and had nothing to do with the designer. The flaws (placement of the fuel selection valve) were meant to improve on the designer’s work however kill Denver. Other factors that led to his death include his unfamilarity with the aircraft and failure to refuel it. The wreck had badly disfigured Denver’s head and body.

I remember John Denver cowboy figure with long blond hair, with his signature round granny glasses and a cowboy hat;

I love listening to his songs in the 70s when I was a primary 4 or maybe 5 boy and of course the first song I listened to, that probably made him popular, was “Take me home, country road“.

As I was only in primary school with little pocket money, so I had to tape down his songs with a blank cassette tape direct from the radio. This seem common to most school boys of my time but of course not now any more with technology advancement. I love John Denver’s songs as he shared his personal history via his songs. This song “Take me home, country road” was written by his friends Taffy Nivert, Bill Danoff and together with him. Inspiration came to Danoff and Nivert while driving to a family reunion and to pass time en route, Danoff made up the ballad about the little winding roads in the journey. Later the story changed to fit an artist friend who told him about the splendors of West Virginia countryside. The three stayed up till the early morning, changing lyrics and moving lines and Denver decided to use this song for his album, Poems, Prayers and Promises;

The original album advertising art;

Credit : Janet Reva Maslin, Rolling Stone, 9/16/71

This album Poems, Prayers and Promises did not contain all John Denver’s songs and include songs from Paul McCartney and John Lennon, etc. The other song that I liked in this album is “Sunshine On My Shoulders” sung by John Denver;

John Denver’s first album was “Rhymes and Reasons” released in 1969 by RCA Records. Of course during that time, vinyl records were the in-thing as there wasn’t such a thing as CDs yet. This definitely make up my favourite song list from him;

You may see how this song Rhymes and Reasons was interpreted here, interesting. This was his debut album after going solo as before he was usually sang and performed with groups.

The other song “Leaving on a jet plane” in his debut album, was originally named “Babe I hate to go”, which was a demo song Denver gave out as Christmas presents. The folk group Peter, Paul and Mary sang this song and their version became the Billboard Hot 100 number one hit.

Synchronicity are things seem like more then mere coincidence and one good example is John Denver’s songs. One may relate his song “Leaving on a jet plane” to John Denver died in his plane…. The other song “Rocky Mountain High” that he wrote relate how much he loved Colorado till his death. The capitol of Colorado is Denver – he adopted this surname “Denver” instead of his name “Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr”.

Some of my favourites are;

Annie’s Song : This song was written as an ode to his then wife Annie. It took him only ten and a half minutes in a ski lift on top of the Bell Mountain in Aspen, Colorado. Thinking about his wife at that moment inspired him to write this song.

Perhaps Love : This song became a commercial success because the record player couldn’t work at that time. Denver wrote this song and recorded with Pacido Domingo as a duet. The owner of the radio station wanted to hear it but the record player was down so he played it live over the air. In seconds, calls came in asking where they could get the record and it became a smash hit! Interesting?

Last but not least Sweet Surrender : This song was chosen as the lead single from the concert album “An Evening with John Denver” recorded in 1974.

If you want to read a bit more on him, here it is. Though we may have CDs now, but nothing beats listening to his song on tapes and records.

 

What my father wrote;

“Death quits all scores.”

Giant Robot

One of my favourite TV programmes during the late 60s (around 6yrs old) was Giant Robot.

I even drew a picture of the Giant Robot in my stamp album when I was 8yrs old (1970);

Well for those that didn’t know about this popular figure, here is how it looked in 1967;

Photo Credit : Wikipedia

Can’t really remember if the show was called “Johnny-Sokko and his flying Robot“. Anyway, I find it more interesting than Ultraman, Batman and Robin or Superman!

TV in the past

Owning a television set in the 60s and 70s was probably like a luxury but now it’s like a necessity. Just like nowadays, buying a 21″ CRT tube tv is so difficult as most are selling those LCDs or Plasma type!

Our second TV in the past (70s) are something like this one; 

It was considered very grand to have a box liked fixture to contain the TV. The box can be closed by sliding a door. Most TVs channels are selected by turning a knob.

Here are some samples of the advertisements in the newspapers on TVs in the 60s;

Some of the popular brands are Siera, Setron, Sharp, National and Telefunken.

Not many people owned a TV set at home in the 60s and the early 70s. So some of them gathered at the community centres to watch their favourite TV programmes ;

 Photo Credit : National Archives of Singapore.

Needless to say, our first TV set was Black and White, then slowly changed to a coloured TV set. The first generation of coloured TV was horrible – I mean the colour quality compared to now.


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