Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Too Unbelievable?
There has been some discussion about the authenticity of the Bruce Lee video published yesterday.

Sandi works on the show "Big Bang Theory". The cast and crew are obsessed with Ping Pong. There are now three Ping Pong Tables permanently on the Warner Brothers studio set with tournaments being played continually. How do they get the quality show that they do when their day is actually spent playing Table Tennis? That question is not for discussion here.

The director of the show (avid Ping Ponger) said he has seen the Bruce Lee video before and it is not legitimate. I'm not sure if that means it is trick photography or some other trick of perception. Is he is coming from his Ping Pong knowledge or film directing expertise? He didn't elaborate.

There is a moment seen with multiple viewings when the ball seems to hang in the air a little longer than normal so as to defy the law of physics. (Not unlike the magic bullet in the Kennedy assassination which people seem to have no trouble believing). It is subtle but one of my sons noticed the "magic ball" on the first viewing. I have looked at that moment over and over and I still can't make up my mind.

I have personal knowledge that Bruce Lee was not above using well crafted tricks in his movies to simulate magic Kung Fu moves. Before his death I had the occasion to be around his son Brandon Lee and would even call him a friend. He talked about his Dad from time to time.
Brandon was well on his way to claiming his birth right as Martial arts guru before he was shot and killed by accident on a movie set. That accident happened 16 years and two weeks ago today.

Brandon talked about some of the tricks he used that his Dad had devised. One was the simple use of an invisible fishing line attached to a cigarette. On camera a kick looks much closer to a persons head than it is in reality. Timed with precision a person off camera would hank the line making it look like a fancy kick had dislodged the cigarette.

It is perhaps a case of illusion that makes Bruce Lee's ping pong match so unbelievable. However, I like my heros to be greater than life size. Legend has it that Bruce Lee could knock a grown man to the ground with a punch from only one inch away. There are still people who believe he was killed by a deadly punch from a Ninja as punishment for trying to teach secret martial arts techniques to Westerners. Perhaps it was a deadly curse from the Samurai that did both Bruce and Brandon in. I know... I know and Elvis is still alive working in a fast food restaurant with Jim Morrison.

So, is the Ping Pong film really great martial arts technique or was it really great cinemagrahpic technique? Remember, this was done long before the availability of YouTube photoshop tricks. Since Bruce Lee was both a great martial artist and film maker it doesn't really matter. I will appreciate it on both levels of his talents.

In the words of Randy Jackson... "Just keeping it real"
As you were,

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