Saturday, November 10, 2018

Raymond Chow Passes On

Raymond Chow, the founder of Golden Harvest who was pivotal in the careers of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, died on November 2 2018 at the age of 92.

Raymond Chow was born on October 8 1927 in British Hong Kong. He attended Saint John's University in Shanghai and graduated with a degree in journalism. In 1951 he went to work for the Voice of America's office in Hong Kong. He also worked for The Hong Kong Standard. In 1958 he went to work as a publicist for the Shaw Brothers Studio. It was after he complained about the quality of the Shaw Brothers' movies that studio chief Run Run Shaw invited him to contribute his own ideas on scripts. Eventually Mr. Chow would become the production chief of the Shaw Brothers Studio. It was in 1970 that he left the studio along with fellow Shaw Brothers executive Leonard Ho to found their own studio, Golden Harvest.

In the beginning Golden Harvest had problems competing with the Shaw Brothers. All of this changed after Mr. Chow saw Bruce Lee giving a martial arts demonstration on Hong Kong television. Bruce Lee was known for having played Kato on the American TV series The Green Hornet and having made several guest appearances on American television, as well as appearing in the Hollywood film Marlowe (1969). The Shaw Brothers had offered Bruce Lee a contract, but he would sign a two film deal with Golden Harvest after the studio offered him $15,000 per film, a share in the profits, and a say in the production of the films. Bruce Lee's first film for Golden Harvest, The Big Boss (1971), proved to be an enormous success. Golden Harvest would later make history by co-producing Bruce Lee's film Enter the Dragon (1973) with Hollywood studio Warner Bros., as well as Bruce Lee's own Concord Productions.

Even after Bruce Lee's death, Golden Harvest would continue to be a success with the Hui Brothers' comedies and the films of Jackie Chan. Golden Harvest would also produce the movies The Cannonball Run (1981) and Cannonball Run II (1984), as well as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies of the Nineties. It was in 1997 during a financial crisis in Asia that Golden Harvest started to fail. Raymond Chow retired in 2007 Wu Kebo, who owns the Orange Sky Entertainment Group. Orange Sky and Golden Harvest would be merged in 2009.

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