Original caption: This site used to be Hollywood Park way back in the 1930s. Back then, this part of town was considered the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. It was for precisely this reason that Pudu Prison (popularly called Pudu Jail) was built in 1895.
Hollywood Park was later acquired by movie giants of the day, Shaw Brothers. It was upgraded to BB Park with a carnival-like setting: there were cabarets and dance halls, cinemas, stage shows, restaurants, game stalls and even a boxing ring!
BB Park’s fortunes started to decline with the rising popularity of television and radio. It was closed in the early 1970s and redeveloped into Sungei Wang Plaza.
I was too young to know about BB Park as an entertainment centre, except heard about my eldest brother being an excellent joget dancer, envied even by his Malay friends! Malay women wore sarong kebaya then.
But I can still remember there were two popular restaurants within the complex: Mak Yee and Loke Yuen, venues of many wedding dinners. It was one of the wedding dinners which my father attended that he bought a toy Rocket car (push and release type) for me. Years later, I mentioned it to my wife when I saw one, and she actually bought one from an antique shop!
When my father hosted my second brother's wedding dinner in Mak Yee, too many guests meant some of us had to forgo our seats! 60-table was a big deal then. In 1976, my wedding dinner was also held at Mak Yee, but at their then new premises on Jalan Sultan Ismail, near Shahzan Tower, not far from their original location in BB Park. But with the fast-paced development in KL, Mak Yee made way for redevelopment and even Shahzan Tower was renamed.