SB Means Shaw Brothers

Dear J—

I’m not sure if I ever told you but growing up we’d occasionally get the package in the mail – square and flat, inside having two or more reels of a film from Hong Kong. I’m not sure how my dad managed it but we’d get screeners or something from a consulate in Seattle or someplace similarly far-flung and then the coming Saturday, after enough notice had been given to the local students, we’d occupy an empty classroom on campus and show it. You learn your letters this way, or at least I learned what S and B stood for.

Right now Netflix has some classic Shaw Brothers stuff online – I’m finding that I’m partial to Fu Sheng (Alexander) and Ti Lung but you pick and choose what works for you – Come Drink With Me; Five Shaolin Masters; Avenging Eagle – but the roots of these things get sunk in deep and I wonder if my dad ended up being too busy with us to keep up but those Saturday’s did dry up after 1982 when we bought the store. It echoes in my life in a million different ways now, though, from learning to run projectors myself when I was ten to favoring that honorable genre late at night when there’s just me and the endless night facing along.



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