Memories We Share: Hong Kong in the 1960s and 1970s
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Popular Entertainment

With no significant entertainment industry of its own before the 1960s, Hong Kong turned to China to fill the gap, and the Shanghai capitalists that had moved to Hong Kong became a driving force in this sector, helping to popularise Mandarin films and pop songs. Meanwhile, traditional forms of entertainment such as street performances, comic book stands, sweepstakes and the tse fa lottery remained hugely popular. The annual Cross-harbour Swimming Race held in Victoria Harbour and the Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo were also major attractions, while Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park and Kai Tak Amusement Park, which opened in 1949 and 1964 respectively, found favour with Hong Kong’s youth.

During the 1960s and 1970s, free television and radio broadcasts were the main forms of entertainment for Hong Kong citizens. The transistor radio finally reached the market in 1957, and Hong Kong Commercial Broadcasting Company (Commercial Radio) was established in the same year. Many Hong Kong people, especially factory workers, tuned in to listen to the shows and popular music, often gathering in herbal tea houses for radio time. In 1967, Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) started up operations, and after colour TV became available in 1971 television dramas quickly captured a keen audience in Hong Kong. By 1975, Hong Kong’s five broadcast companies – TVB, Rediffusion Television (RTV), Commercial Television (CTV), Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) and Commercial Radio – had each established their position in the industry, and Broadcast Drive, where they had their headquarters, was known as “Five Station Hill”. As well as launching the careers of TV personalities, television broadcasts were largely responsible for the rise of Cantonese pop music (Cantopop). At the same time, Cantonese films began to usurp their Mandarin cousins, with the kung-fu films of Bruce Lee and comedies by Michael Hui topping the box office charts. To attract business, the film industry introduced a variety of innovative practices, such as midnight shows and “mystery shows”.

Rebuilt in 1962, Hong Kong City Hall affirmed the government’s commitment to bringing culture to the territory through facilities such as public libraries, museums and performance venues. The activities and exhibitions held at City Hall injected great vibrancy into Hong Kong’s cultural life.


  • The launch ceremony of TVB

  • Sale of television

  • TVB’s Enjoy Yourself Tonight

  • A variety show of RTV