Friday, June 3, 2011

1983 version Legend of the Condor Heroes Cast Reunion (中国梦想秀--83版射鵰英雄傳重聚) -- FINAL THOUGHTS

Photos credit: 中国梦想秀’s weibo and Michael Miu's Weibo

Some final thoughts on the overall reunion show….

** As a fan of the original series, I definitely wish that more of the cast could have been in attendance (because then it would have been a true reunion) – I mean, a good majority of the cast (i.e. Louise Lee, Lau Dan, Lau Gong, Rebecca Chan, Ha Yu, etc.) are still active in the industry, so it probably wouldn’t be too difficult for them to attend. Oh and it was awesome to see Wong Wan Choi and Sharon Yeung again, since both of them left the industry already and we rarely get to see / hear anything about them anymore. However, I really would have loved to see more of the artists who are no longer active in the industry and who we really haven’t seen for a long time attend -- i.e. Marilyn Wong (Wah Tsang), So Hung Shuen (Kwok Jing’s mom), etc. But anyways, no complaints -- I'm grateful that ZJTV even made the effort and were able to put such a show together!

** Sort of related to the point above, only 1 of the “5 Greats” (Kenneth Tsang, Yeung Chak Lam, Lau Dan, Lau Siu Ming, Chun Wong) attended the reunion in person – the “5 Greats” were a core component of the series and those actors’ awesome performances were part of what made the series such a classic (plus most of them are no longer active in the industry), so it definitely would have been a ‘historic moment’ to see them together again. Well, at least Chun Wong (Chow Bak Tong) attended and Kenneth Tsang (Wong Yeuk See) sent his regards via a video clip – I’m happy with that!

** Of course, without Barbara Yung, there will always be a missing void that can never be filled when it comes to a LOTCH reunion, but kudos to the organizers for at least making the effort to make Wong Yung a part of the show.

** In terms of the hosting -- I will admit that since I don't follow Mainland China entertainment at all, I had no clue who the hosts were -- but I feel that they did a pretty good job (especially Wah Shao). Though I do wish that they had done a little more homework in terms of the guests (since they did ask some stuff that anyone paying attention to HK entertainment would know) -- but I can't really fault them, since they are probably going off of a script and plus, the organizers are not from HK, so they probably are not as familiar with the artists as HK audiences would be.

** The organizers added some stuff in there that I feel didn't need to be there (like helping that guy fulfill his wish to perform in a kungfu segment, having those people come up to demonstrate kung fu-related moves and having the artists comment, that random part where some guy does some modern dance thing, etc.). It would have been better if they had focused entirely on LOTCH and talked more about behind-the-scenes stuff from filming the series rather than the non-related stuff.

** The theme song performances weren't that great (except for Felix Wong's rendition of course) and I actually cringed when the singers went completely off-tune or messed up on the lyrics, but hey, I applaud the effort -- especially since most of the singers were Mainlanders who don't
know Cantonese. And yes, I felt honored to hear Felix sing (I don't care how he sounded either)...LOL!

** I will admit that I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t much interaction between Yeung Hong and Muk Nim Chi during the show – they were a great couple in the series and I was hoping for a mutual sharing of memories together. But off camera, it looks like Michael and Sharon (as well as Michael’s wife Jamie) were able to get together and share about old times based on the conversations I’ve been following on their Weibos.

** The show overall was well done -- I absolutely enjoyed watching it and it absolutely brought back A LOT of fond memories! How I wish I was I could have been there in the audience!!!


Lastly, for old times sake…’s a fun picture I found on Michael Miu’s weibo. Lau Dan (Hong Chut Gong) wasn’t able to attend the reunion, but it looks like some of the cast bumped into him on the plane on the way back! Aww, sweet picture!

And here are 2 random backstage photos of the guys...


  1. I finally finished watching the show. It took forever cause Tudou loads soooo slow for me.

    Since Mainland TV is truly "foreign" to me, I didn't know what to expect. But overall, I also thought the show was put together quite well. I'm grateful that they went through the effort to get that many cast members plus greetings from Kenneth and Wong Mun Wai. So why doesn't TVB doing anything like this?? They better do SOMETHING for the 30th anniversary.

    Thanks to your recap, I totally skipped ahead during the non-related kung fu segment!

    The themesongs didn't go quite so smoothly. If TVB does the 30th reunion, they HAVE to get Jenny back. And I would like to see them commemorate Roman's "role" in the series too since he was very much apart of the LOTCH phenomenon.

    The main cast - Sharon, Michael, and Felix are looking good! So happy to see them! Then the tribute to Barbara was extremely touching. It was amazing to see the audience's reaction throughout the show too. What other TVB drama illicits this kind of response?? I'm not just saying this because LOTCH is my personal favorite (or maybe I am) but I don't think any other series had this kind of critical acclaim and cross-cultural impact.

    Again – thank you, thank you, thank you for the recap!

  2. @retrotvb: I'm glad this was one of the rare instances where Tudou actually worked properly for me (I usually don't have much luck watching stuff on th Internet, that's why I prefer not to -- but just couldn't miss this one).

    I'm also wondering why TVB didn't do anything either, but to be honest, I'm glad they didn't because I know that TVB will just ruin it -- one of the good things with having the Mainland do it is that they won't have the 'bias' that TVB has -- for instance, if a particular artist is no longer part of TVB or had any 'issues' with them in the past or if they are a singer who is part of any of the record companies currently in dispute with them, they will 'boycott' them and not let them appear on their if TVB were to put together something similar, I'm sure their 'politics' would ruin the whole thing.

    Let's wait and see what happens with the 30th anniversary -- though I still doubt that TVB will do anything either.

    Yup, the themesong segments weren't that great -- but it was surely interesting to see Wong Wan Choi and Felix Wong perform. I agree that it would have been best to get at least one of the original artists (Jenny) if possible, but I will be honest with you -- even if TVB does do a 30 anniversary special, Jenny is definitely not going to perform the song -- because she had once said during her concert that she will never sing those 3 songs again without Roman (this was after Roman had passed away) -- and so far, she has kept that promise, so I highly doubt she will break it any time soon.

    I definitely hear ya regarding the impact of LOTCH cross-culturally and the fact that no other TVB series in history could ever garner that type of response. And even if it is because LOTCH is your favorite series, that's fine because it's surely one of my all time favorites as well -- that's why I was so excited about the reunion show and did whatever I could to spread the news as much as possible (amazingly, not too many people knew about the reunion show outside of those who really follow Mainland entertainment).

    No problem regarding the recap! I definitely had alot of fun putting it together!

  3. Ugh TVB's petty politics. That is upsetting to read. I'm still naive and didn't realize how badly they are screwed up now. I guess I can kiss my 30th anniversary goodbye.

    I did not know that about Jenny. That is honorable of her and I respect her wishes.

    Without your blog, I for sure would not have known about the reunion. I think it's fantastic that Mainland TV made this happen.
    I once read that the majority of fans in China still prefer the 83 version over their own remakes. This is proof!

  4. @retrotvb: Yup -- the sad thing is that even though TVB has always been dominated by politics (even back in the 80s and 90s), it's even more pronounced now because they have so few talented artists left in their company (leading artists that is). At least in the 80s, when the 'favoritism' was toward the 5 Tigers (casting one of them in almost every single series it seemed), it wasn't as obvious that they were 'playing favorites' because all 5 Tigers were so talented, it doesn't matter who they favored, the audiences wouldn't have noticed.

    Now if the fans of LOTCH in HK would arrange some type of reunion, that would be a completely different story -- because the 'bias' factor wouldn't be there. But with TVB being so dominant in HK, it's pretty much if a reunion show does happen in HK, TVB would be the only party that would have enough 'power' to arrange it.

    Regarding Jenny -- I can't remember which concert she had announced that in (I want to say 2003, but can't remember -- you know how bad I am with dates). But I remember that during that concert, she had stated that those songs were her special connection with Roman and she cannot bear to sing those songs with any other person except him. Very honorable indeed!

    I could definitely tell from the audience's reaction during the reunion show how much they love the 1983 version of LOTCH and how passionate they still are about the series -- seeing their genuine and enthusiastic reactions really moved me and in a sense, it got me even more pumped up and wanting to watch the show.

  5. I was waiting to comment here instead of AF (if you know what I mean). Anyway, I'm so happy to see Sharon Yeung again since it has been ages! (Since she left the industry so it's hard to get a hold of I didn't know that Wong Wan Choi left already though, after some appearances on ATV (for a while), I just lost track of him so thanks for the info.

    Always good to see a LOTCH reunion! It does bring back old memories. And it's a shame some that some people actually still in the industry can't make it. AND YES, it's never the same without Barbara but they do make the best of it.

    And despite many criticism with the Mainland industry, etc., but I seriously do appreciate the effort they gone through (unlike some certain company who apparently did do the series but didn't care for organizing reunions).

    But back to the LOTCH, my favorite pairing in LOTCH was actually Michael and Sharon. YES, I'm messed up like that, LOL! I sort of got bored with watching Kwok Jing and Wong Yung for a while, lol. Though it was fun and both pairings had their own special chemistry.

    1. tks for sharing the same thought with me since I love to see uncle Miu & aunt Yang during the entire series, than uncle Felix & ms Barbara. so touching for their bitter-sweetness love, cried alot when Yang Kang died. For me, they're the best onscreen couple and the only Yang Kang & Mu Nianci in my heart ever. After my longtime love for the only couple Yelut Haonan & Yang Baifong, now I found the 2nd. That's my big fault since I watched firstly the version 1994 with Yang Kang was played by uncle Gallen Lo around 19 years ago when I was still as grade 9 pupil. On this ver, Yang Kang was portrayed as an evil young man and he makes use of the love from Mu Nianci than fallen a real love for her. Then, I thought Yang Kang of uncle Miu was be the same in the 1983 ver. He's one of my fav TVB actors as well, I do not want to see him playing bad guy role so decided not to watch. Until recently, I coincidentally found the series "5 Grand Masters" – LOTCH Taiwanese ver on Youtube – curious about Huang Rong of aunt Idy Chan, I followed the series until the appearance of Yang Kang (played by Danny Poon Wang-ban) & his real love afterward toward Mu Nianci (played by Chiu Shu-yi). How could I express my feeling once I figured out this ver copied 90% from the ver 1983. I immediately found the ver 1983 and 1000% for Yang Kang – Michael Miu & Mu Nianci - Sharon Yeung at the scene of their first meet. It’s quite late but it’s better than never, isn’t it? How touch while watching the show (even I did not understand Chinese), although they are now all getting more ages, but believing that they did spent and had such amazing & unforgettable memories in their youth life together during the filming time which they could not find at anywhere again. Wish them all happiness & health.

    2. @Anonymous: Thanks for commenting! I actually didn’t realize that people still read my older posts so I’m definitely happy to see comments here so many years later (wow, can’t believe it has been 5 years since this post, lol). It also gave me the opportunity to re-read my posts again and relive those great memories all over again!

      I actually liked both pairings in LOTCH, but totally agree that the Yeung Hong and Muk Nim Chi relationship was the most touching. Michael and Sharon are also my favorite version of both characters and absolutely irreplaceable in my heart. Actually, I feel the same way about the entire cast of the 1983 version of LOTCH, since I grew up in the 80s so the 1983 version was the first LOTCH remake I watched and is still the best version EVER! I refused to watch the 1994 version until only recently and I’m glad I made the decision to hold off because the series was quite bad (I absolutely hated the 90s TVB remakes of Jin Yong’s wuxia works, with the exception of State of Divinity, which I enjoyed just as much as the 80s version). Not sure if you’ve seen the other 80s versions of Jin Yong’s works – if not, you definitely should, as the 90s versions PALE in comparisons, whether from casting, acting, or adapted story perspective (the 80s versions will always be THE BEST in my heart!).

      On a separate note….it’s interesting that you mentioned Yelut Ho Nam and Yeung Pai Fung from ATV’s “Heroine of the Yangs” (that is also one of my favorite wuxia series – one of the few ATV series that actually made it to my list, lol). I liked their pairing too in the series, but their relationship was not as intense or moving as Yeung Hong/Muk Nim Chi relationship – in my opinion at least. I think part of the issue is that the Yelut Ho Nam/Yeung Pai Fung story wasn’t given as much chance to develop as Yeung Hong/Muk Nim Chi, so the impact was lessened in comparisons…plus I kind of felt that Yelut Ho Nam was not as “genuine” in terms of his love for Yeung Pai Fung, plus how their story ended up kind of put a damper on the whole relationship for me – at least with Yeung Hong/Muk Nim Chi, there was absolutely no doubt from the beginning all the way to the end that they truly loved each other…the same can’t be said with Yelut Ho Nam and Yeung Pai Fung, as it kind of felt like at the end, they came off like strangers (now granted, I didn’t watch the sequel to “Heroine of the Yangs” and I heard their story gets reignited in there so, I could be totally wrong...I’m basing my opinion solely on the first series)….so from an emotional standpoint, wasn’t as impactful as LOTCH. With that said, both Gilbert Lam (Yelut Ho Nam) and Annie Man (Yeung Pai Fung) did excellent jobs in that series – in fact, I’ve always felt that both of them are fine actors/actresses and it’s a shame that both ATV and TVB failed to give them the opportunities they deserved given their acting talent. I would love to see the 2 of them pair up again, though I doubt that will happen given that Annie has pretty much retired (though Gilbert returned to TVB recently, but given how TVB operates, highly doubt they will cherish him and give him any good opportunities).

  6. Well I've just finally finished watching the show and yes, I skipped through all those unrelated dance acts and some of those marginally related martial arts performances. So thanks very much for your recap.

    As for the Mainland-ness of it all, I do commend them for their effort, though I felt that they were too formal with it (well, I guess I feel like that a lot with Mainland shows in general. If I wanted to be less PC, I would say a boring style). But I agree that the fans of the show were very into the whole LOTCH of 1983 and that was quite a nice thing to see. And I know Sharon's been missing for quite a long time, but I definitely saw her perform on some charity show recently. Oh I found the link here:

    The theme songs. I know they were trying really, really hard but some of the singers had such poor pronunciation - mainly that guy that sung "Yat Sung Yau Yi Yi"/A Life Of Meaning(一生有意義). I understand that they don't speak Cantonese but good singers have always had the ability to mimic sounds without being able to speak the language, like Jane Zhang, who sure didn't do badly singing Teresa Teng's "Man Bou Yan Sung Lou"/Walking The Path of Life(漫步人生路). As for Felix, well let's just say he's not much of a singer, but good on him for trying. But their attempts do really tell us just how central the music was to the series (the only part of the show that you can't dub).

    And this TVB politics thing is really getting out of hand now. It has become so blatant and the thing is that company is not going to keel over and die even though so many talented artists have been leaving recently. Sure, they had a lot to do with building the success of many artists but the artists also helped build TVB up too.

    TVB isn't just dominant, it's completely monopolistic. At least in the past there was the odd ATV drama that would make them rethink their strategy. But yes, only TVB would have the control to do anything about any reunion. We would see a lot of artists being snubbed, though. It's undeniable that TVB would have all the goods for making the reunion show - the footage, the old costumes, pretty much everything but they're really holding back. It's very disappointing.

    Although the story would have been the same, the dubbing of the series (of any series) from Cantonese to Mandarin really takes away the acting from the actors. Their voices are all lost in the process. So what we're really seeing is just a funneled version - this is why it would be much better if TVB were willing to organize such an event. I'm thinking even people who haven't seen the series would be interested in this little piece of TVB history that contributed so much to their success.

  7. @retrotvb: Even though the series has been re-made several times they just have to pick this one, huh? A Well that really just tells us how the cultural barriers between China and HK were ripped down by the love for Jin Yong's marvelous story. And they say to this day, no one's ever been able to play the part of Wong Yung like Barbara did. She did it so well that everyone pretty much compares every actress who plays the part to Barbara's performance. Just like other bright stars leaving too soon, there's always going to be an empty space in the heart of the fans, which no one can ever fill. If she had lived longer, there is no doubt that she would have gone on to have a very prominent career in the HK entertainment industry.

    As for Jenny, didn't she just hold a concert recently in Macau? This goes back to the whole politics thing but I watched an interview with Jenny last year and she said that some high players (Eric Tsang, Stephen Chow) in TVB and the HK entertainment industry weren't exactly trying to help her career or her marriage with Alex. Anthony Lun did the same thing for Anita, saying that he could not sing "The Heart Is Cold" with anyone else but Anita. But of course he did perform the song again at the JSG 2010 Awards singing to the video of the original 1991 performance. I guess if TVB were really sincere about this, they could do something like that for Jenny.

  8. @llwy12:
    I just thought of something else. What if the host is trying to let the cast themselves talk about their current affairs instead of trying to be a smart aleck about it? Different approach? Or was it just plain ignorant/unpreparedness? Oh well. I just thought of it as that way, like letting the cast speak for themselves instead of doing the narrative aka having the up and personal instead of letting host ramble forever. Like providing more time for them to talk and interact with the audience. Okay, I'm rambling now so I'll stop.

  9. @DTLCT: Yup -- of course! Alot of times I prefer to comment here instead too because I'm just tired of getting bashed for saying something negative -- but oh well....

    I was glad to see Sharon as well -- I know that she still participates in charity events occasionally, but not as much as she used to, so it truly is harder to find stuff about her. Lucky for us though, she's on Weibo too, so there's another way to 'stay in touch' with news about her!

    As for Wong Wan Choi -- now it's truly difficult to find stuff on him nowadays because of his focus on the Mainland now. Though I know that he still does perform in HK as well, but mostly in stageplays, which means we wouldn't get to see him either unless we live in HK.

    I truly have a different appreciation for the Mainland now after watching this show -- the effort that they went through with putting this show together as well as the impact it had on the audiences -- I really was moved (as I stated in my post) seeing the sincerity and enthusiasm from the audiences...

    I know what you mean...that 'certain' company doesn't even bother with an anniversary -- like I've said before, that company only 'cares' when it's beneficial to them (i.e.: when Chow Yun Fat praised a few of their artists, they used that to their advantage -- I kept hearing 'mention' of it everywhere, including in their entertainment news shows and such). That's sort of why part of me doesn't want TVB to do the anniversary show -- because knowing the way they are now, they are probably going to try to incorporate their current 'biological' sons and daughters in it somehow (believe me, they will try to make it 'relevant' somehow if it will give them a chance to promote their curent artists -- they are THAT desperate right now).

    LOL! Nah, I don't think that you're messed up -- cuz I liked Michael and Sharon's pairing as well (though I also liked Felix and Barbara just as much). True, Michael's character was a 'bad boy', but his unwavering dedication to Sharon was definitely admirable. And I've always appreciated the sweetness (or shall we say 'bittersweetness') of their relationship -- I loved seeing the two of them together in the series -- those were some of my favorite scenes from the series! And the scene when Yeung Hong dies in Muk Nim Chi's arms -- I think my heart broke along with hers the very first time I watched that scene!

  10. @TAQ: Definitely agree regarding the music part -- I've heard so many people sing those 3 songs in the past 20+ years, but none of them have ever come close to Jenny and Roman's versions. To be honest, those 3 songs are actually very hard to sing because of the way the lyrics overlap and such -- if you're not careful, you can go off tune and mess up really easily. It definitely takes someone with Jenny and Roman's awesome singing skills to be able to pull off songs like those with such ease. But it also goes to show how 'classic' those songs truly are - 28 years later, people still remember the songs and they are still popular....I can't say the same for ANY of the themesongs from today's series!

    Exactly -- that's what pisses me off so much about TVB nowadays! And I hate it whenever people say that artists such as Tony Leung, Sean Lau, Felix Wong, etc. should be 'grateful' or 'forever indebted' to TVB for their success -- that is such BS!!! It's a 2 way street -- TVB simply gave them the platform and the opportunities, but most of them became successful due to their own talents and efforts, not necessarily because of TVB! And even those who graduated from acting class -- TVB does not deserve credit for their success -- the teachers of the classes (Lau Fong Gong, King Sir, etc.) are the ones who deserve the credit for teaching those artists the skills. I hate it when TVB tries to act all 'high and mighty' and trying to 'claim credit' for 'creating' some of the biggest stars in HK -- if the artist is talentless (like most of them are now) and TVB uses their in-your-face / 24-7 promotion tactics to make him/her famous, then yes, TVB would get credit for that...but in the case of the 80s artists (such as the 5 Tigers) who had talent in their own right, TVB does not deserve credit for them!

    Sorry I'm ranting's a sore subject for me...

  11. @DTLCT: Hmmm....that's a good way to look at it. Though I would have to say that at some parts, it was obvious that they didn't know any better -- for example, the part where the female host asked the cast members how it felt to see each other again after so long and some of them had to clarify that they actually see each other alot because they are still filming series together (i.e. Chan On Ying, Chun Wong, and Andy Dai).

    But again, I also partly 'blame' the organizers for the lack of research because when I was reading the promotional ads for the program leading up to the reunion show, I remember seeing one of the ads say that it would be the first time Michael Miu and Felix Wong would be 'reunited' in 20+ years, which is obviously not true on many fronts, as most of us know (well, first of all, they were never 'separated' to begin with since they've maintained their friendship over the years and second, they collaborated again on GMG last year)....I don't know if maybe they just used the wrong wording and meant to say that it's their first reunion in the Mainland or something...?

  12. Wow, when you recapped the tribute to Barbara Yung Mei-Ling, instead of a Mandarin voice I imagined the Cantonese version instead and unwittingly realized I was actually crying. 35 years old now, and I guess her character is still my all time fave. So I can totally imagine what the fans in the audience were feeling. If I had been there and grew up with the Mandarin voice, I would have been bawling my eyes out.

    1. @Keroberus Reed: Thanks. I guess for me though, the impact wasn't as huge because I grew up watching the Cantonese version and since I already knew that the reunion show was about the Mandarin version, I knew I wouldn't hear the 'voice' that I'm used to (which is Barbara's original voice in Cantonese). But totally agree with you that if I were amongst the audience members who grew up with the Mandarin voice, I would have been crying like crazy as well.