A must read, if you don't already know ...

Written by Funn Lim

This review was posted many years ago, exactly when I am not sure but it should be within months from the original broadcast of this series. I am posting it as I have posted it originally.


Gallen Lo,Cheung Hor Yee,Jessicca Hester Hsuen,Ng Chan Yue, Lam Hiu Fung,Wong Gei Ying,etc

What & Where
Set in the roaring 60’s,it’s basically a story about the struggles of two buddies in the film industry ,in love and their friendship,that can be both fulfilling and bittersweet at the same time.Set entirely in HK.

The storyline
There are four main characters in this serial,each a hero/heroine in their own right.Below is a summary of the characters.

The Characters
Gallen Lo as Lei Kei
He is your supposed man of his time,he wears what’s ‘in’ during the time period he lives in.It doesn’t matter he talks like his nose got pinched the whole time with his high falsetto voice coz he has got style to compensate for whatever he lacks in,which is isn’t much.His coat always seemed like 2 sizes smaller,which is actually the fashion of that time,his hair always with styling gel and always parted with a single strand resting on his forehead.He is almost a conman,coz he sweet talks out of trouble.But he is also streetsmart.Anyway,he aspires to be an actor coz,really he can act.Unfortunately,things didn’t go that well for him.He didn’t get the recognition he deserved,instead his old classmate,Tse Yuen became a superstar but his acting skill …In fact,he lost the woman he loved,Siew Fong Fong to his best friend and that also meant their friendship,he had to sing for Tse Yuen and got no recognition for that and later in his career when he finally became famous,he was tricked into acting in a 3rd category movie,thus his fame and reputation was destroyed in one day.He lost his confidence and ran away from his true love,Chan Po Chu for years.Quite sad really.

Ng Chan Yue as Tse Yuen
Well,he is actually an innocent boy,not that smart,doesn’t have any style and was hopelessly in love with a girl name Ah Chan.But he had no money and the girl’s father forbade them to be together.He even sold his daughter to South East Asia to work as a prostitute,but he didn’t know that small fact.He thought she was working as a maid,so he made a promise to himself to find her and marry her when he has enough success to make her proud.Anyway,he did become a star,but not how everybody expected.He was such a bad actor,he had to act by the directions of the Director.The movie that became a hit was supposed to be a sad movie but instead,it became a comedy and a star was born.That was then he learned how to dress well,looked well,basically like the real Tse Yin we all know.Anyway,he then went to SEA to find his Ah Chan,but alas,Ah Chan married someone else.So he came home heart broken to rumours of the ship he was in sunk and he was dead,fell in love with Ko Sau Ping,who is actually Siew Fong Fong in disguise and he later married her.But that resulted in the breakup of his friendship with Lei Kei.And he was forced to act in musicals though he can’t sing,and he got roles that were once his friend’s.But he is actually a nice guy,misunderstood.

Jessicca Hester Hsuen as Siew Fong Fong
She’s the smart one.not that pretty but a famous star.During her free time,she dressed up as Ko Sau Ping(Tall,Thing,Flat) with her real short hair and her glasses and helped with her uncle’s mee store.There she met Lei Kei and Tse Yuen.At first,there was rivalry but she feel in love with Tse Yuen,and Tse Yuen genuinely liked her.But she thought that he was in love with her glamorous persona,Siew Fong Fong but actually,he was in love with the plain one.Anyway,at the same time,Lei Kei fell in love with her Siew Fong Fong persona.Quite a mess really.

Cheung Hor Yee as Chan Po Chu
The thin one actually,a good nice girl,basically a mommy’s girl.The mother was very strict with her lifestyle,her boyfriends AND her diet.So basically,she could never eat anything.And thus her friendship and eventually love blossomed with Lei Kei through food.She could really eat!Anyway,she’s actually very nice but not that smart and quite naive.Lei Kei detested her but eventually,well…they fell in love.But they never got married coz Lei Kei ran away,ashamed to see her.Quite tragic.

Miscellaneous characters
Lam Hiu Fung plays a rich boy who loves to act but has neither the looks nor the talent to help him in his quest.He became great friends with Lei Kei and Tse Yuen and always wanted to treat them to expensive dinners but nobody believed that he was a rich man’s son,knows the gabenor and has a lot of pocket money.He later became penniless because his father’s business failed.He fell in love with Tse Yuen’s sister,Wong Kei Ying who had eyes only for Lei Kei.Then there’s Kwok Siu Wan and Yuen Keng Tan who plays two sisters(in their profession) who actually is the sifu to Chan Po Chu,in the singing department.Then there's the obligatory characters like parents,uncles and bad guys.No villians in here actually.

The Love Triangles
To be more clear,below is a simple chart of the not so complex love relationship in this serial.

Ah Chan-Tse Yuen-Siew Fong Fong Chan Po Chu-Lei Kei-Siew Fong Fong

The Funniest Scenes
Plenty!But my personal favourites are the ones when they’re acting.Lei Kei,Tse Yuen and Lam Hiu Fung were colourfares(ke-le-fe) before the two of them made it big.That was the funniest scenes.In fact,do notice when they were at the background acting as colourfares,and the main actors in front with their scripts.You would notice that they were actually chatting and they laughed so loud that they disturbed the filming!Quite campy really.And remember to stick to the ending where there are NG(No Good) scenes where the real actors made mistakes like forgot their scripts!And also when Tse Yuen,after he became famous.his acting,my God!Only Ng Chan Yue can pull it off.

The Most Often Quoted Line
Not lines really but more on actions.This would come from Jessicca’s Siew Fong Fong.She never eats that’s why she’s so thin.Unlike Chan Po Chu who never got to eat and looked starved most of the time,Siew Fong Fong has a less strict of a mother and thus has available food.But she never eat pass 3 scoops.Three spoonfuls later,be it soup,rice or anything at all,you’ll see her pushing the food away and say,”I’m full” whilst Chan Po Chu sat there wishing she could have the remaining food.Poor girl.

The Most Often Ignored One
Definitely Lam Hiu Fung’s character.He claimed himself to be the rich man’s son so when they first met,he decided to take the two guys to a nice expensive dinner.But he claimed that he forgot to take his wallet and so they all ended up washing dishes as a mode of payment for the food.From then on,whatever he said they never believed him.That he claimed to know the gabenor,went to such and such parties,nobody ever believed him!They could never believe that a rich man’s son,.having money and all luxury would want to struggle like they all did and he didn’t look exactly like someone rich.But we the viewers could see his claims to be true coz we see him in a limousine.

Wow!What Great Acting
Who would have thought that Gallen Lo can play comedy and play it so well that he became TVB’s Yat Kor(No 1 actor) after this serials.He was so funny,a classic and how he walked and talked.But frankly,I personally feel that Ng Chan Yue was the one that I would say,”WoW!What great acting!”.I mean we all know he’s a terrific actor,be it a good guy,bad guy,maniac,killer,gangster,obsessed kung fu fighter,he could play them all.But in this serial,he had a number of difficulties.First of all,he had to play Tse Yin.We all know the real Tse Yin,the stylish father of Tse Ting Fung.That man could just stand there and he oozes style.So that was a very difficult thing to emulate.Instead,the actor concentrated on the man’s mannerisms.The impossibly straight posture,the way he walked like his pants seemed ten sizes too tight,always sideways,his hands almost robotic in their movements and his laugh,reminded me of a hyena.He was too good!Anyway,then he had to act like he couldn’t act,which was the funniest part.An excellent actor! Cheung Hor Yee wasn’t funny,but the way she talked reminds me of those actors in old old movies.Quite real.And she does looked like the real Chan Po Chu.As for Jessicca,she was nothing like the real Siu Fong Fong.Quite boring really.

Lessons of Life
When we watch a movie or serials,we watch it for fun,for entertainment.But often than not,we do learn some facts of life in serials such as this one.It’s funny,and you’ll laugh at all the jokes and impersonations.But look more carefully,you can actually learn some lesson in life.What sort of lesson?Be hopeful,be optimistic and never give up in our goals.That we see in the three guys,especially Lam Hiu Fung’s character.This guy,he has neither the looks nor the talents that could give him fame but he had determination.He loves acting and any role he received,however small and however less the lines were,he made sure he did his best.So he never made it big,he never became famous,which is actually quite sad but he never gave up.He is proud of what little he had achieved and he is always hopeful of something that we all know he’ll never achieve.Maybe he’s too much of an optimist,but maybe that’s how we should be in life.To do our best even though it may just be the most unimportant stuffs and insignificant contribution.And another lesson.You would notice that even after Tse Yuen became famous,he never forgot who he was,his friends and his life.That means that we should never forget the people around us ,be it friends or family.We should be humble and never forget,that we were once just like everybody elss and perhaps we should stay that way,character wise.

The Ending
Since this serials was like soooo long ago,I guess most of the readers would have seen it.So I guess giving away the ending would not earn curses from you all.Well,the ending.The last we see was Lei Kei hiding from his friends coz he was ashamed having accidentally acted in a 3rd category movie.Many many years later in the present HK,he became a taxi driver,owns his own apartment,never married but still in contact with Po Chu.There was no love lost between him and Tse Yuen ,in fact he tried to avoid Tse Yuen but as fate would have it…..Anyway,the funny thing is,he was an old man with white hair.Po Chu was also older and so was Jessicca.BUT Tse Yuen,HE LOOKED THE SAME!In fact,he does facials!And amongst the four of them,Lei Kei was the richer one.Funny isn’t it?

Should I rent it
YES!!!!!!!In fact,you must!!Yuor mom,dad,especially all those who had live in the 60’s will love it.It would be familiar to them.It’s funny,sad,poignant,bittersweet all at the same time.The script’s the best here.The acting is top notch(ok,not ALL but MOST of them were great!) .For a funny and yet simple family entertainment,go for this one.

Is it BETTER than…:
Old Time Buddies II?NOOOOO!!!!!Though with same names and set in the same time,the plot is different.Frankly,yours truly couldn’t get past 2nd episode of Part 2.It was sooo boring.Even though we still have Gallen,I guess it just shows that the script was just tooo bad!Never ever watch Part II unless you want to waste your money.Save whatever you have for other serials.Any serial will be better than Part 2!

Interesting Facts
Gallen Lo won the Most Popular Actor that year for his protrayal of Lei Kei and he became soooo famous you would never recall how many years he had struggle in TVB (11 years)!In fact,when he first acted,people say he couldn’t act,like a log etc.Now look at him!Anyway,this serial also won the Most Popular Serials of that year,beating Journey to the West and Detective Investigation Files(I forgot which Part).Rumous had it that Dicky Cheung should have won that year but TVB pulled his name out of the votes after he turned down JTTW II,which the role went to Benny Chan Ho Man.In fact,Michael Dao could’ve won too but his name was pulled out after he supported Dicky in his decision to refuse the HK$6m for JTTW II(I can’t remember the sum but it should be around this region).Frankly,though Old Time Buddies is great and funny,JTTW should have won because it was a classic.But this one became a classic in its own right.In fact,that year was the Golden Year for TVB.Two huge hits!

And another interesting fact.All you should know but in case you didn’t,there was a bitter rivalry between Jessicca and Hor Yee during the filming of this serials.Jessicca claimed that Hor Yee was always late for filming and Hor Yee didn’t like it when Jessicca made an official complain to the higher authorities and to the press.In fact,ever noticed after the serials,Gallen always stand between them when taking promo photos.In fact,Jessicca did not act in the movie version of Old Time Buddies and as of now,I still don’t think the wound have healed yet.Quite rare actually to have two actresses fighting a cold war.

Interesting Fiction
First of all,I am not sure if it’s fiction or fact but Kwok Siu Wan and Yuen Keng Tan's potrayal of Bak Suet Sin and Yam Kim Fai respectively,quite accurate.They were very famous female chinese opera singers.I think both had died a long long time ago.They had a sisters relationship and they always played lovers on stage,Yam Kim Fai having the male name obviously played the male roles.Do not mistake their affection for each other as something else.

There was this Lei Kei,made famous by Tony Leung Kar Fai(excellent potrayal),actually called Lui Kei.He did talk like that,walked like that and was very very fair and thin.Quite famous at his time,but he never became a taxi driver.I really don’t think so.But what I do know is later after his acting career declined,he directed several succesful soft porn movies.He’s still alive.And he never fell in love with Chan Po Chu nor Siew Fong Fong.In fact,I doubt they acted together at all.

There was Chan Po Chu and Cheung Hor Yee looked exactly like her.She was very very famous at her time for her potrayal as Lui Sat Sau(Lady Killer) and my mom,well,they all loved her.People would line up just to catch a glimpse of her.You can think of her as one of the Heavenly Kings of today but more famous and of the 60’s.She later retired,married,had children and reportedly didn’t quite enjoy acting during those days.Actually,during that era,most actors act because they needed money to make a living to support their whole family.She did have a strict mom.Anyway,she’s still alive and had recently went back to acting,on stage.And no,she never had a relationship with Lui Kei.

There was definitely Siew Fong Song,only her name is Siu Fong Fong.Jessicca didn’t look a bit like her,too thin and too dark.As we all know now,she became a respected actress.She started acting in her teens.She is smart,is a qualified child psychologist.Who could forget her funny potrayal of Fong Sai Yuk’s mom,Miu Chui Fah and also Summer Snow?I could still remember the character Lam Ah Chan,and no,I am not that old!I saw the repeat some time ago.Anyway,she is now retired from acting,involved in charities.Why?Probably because of her hearing problems which she had since young.The last I know,she was completely deaf in one ear.If you notice,she looked at the lips of fellow actors when acting coz she can lip read.And no,she never married Tse Yin.

Now,Tse Yuen who is actually Tse Yin.Do you know Tse Ting Fung?Good looking?Stylish?According to my mom,he is no where near his father in terms of STYLE.Not the way he wore his clothes but the way he makes himself to be.He was very famous,even now.Anyway,the mannerisms you see in the serials could be funny but after seeing Mega Trio Show where Tse Yin was a guest,I have to agree on two things:That man got style and yep,what you see in the serials,he’s like that.The laughing sound,the robotic movement of his hands and his impossibly straight posture.And he looks too good for his age,in his 60’s and he looked like years younger.And anyone who saw those old TVB serials will agree his his acting is nothing to shout about.He’s still very much alive and I don’t think he has been acting lately.One funny fact for you.When Tse Ting Fung was a young boy,the boy,the sister ,the father and the mom would always wear the same clothings and take a christmas promos family picture to be printed in magazines,every year without fail!And no,he never married Siu Fong Fong.


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