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‘Seiko Jewels’

By Ronald Constantino

STARBUILDERS – Nowadays, TV stations – GMA, ABS-CBN, and for a while TV5 – build stars via reality and talent shows.

But in the ‘70s, ‘80s, up to the early ‘90s, movie companies were the star builders. Regal, Viva, and Seiko come to mind.

Highspeed dwells on them, starting with Seiko headed by Robbie Tan, whose contract stars were billed “Seiko Jewels.”

Assisting Robbie in the promo of Seiko movies and stars was the late Oskee Salazar, he with the imaginative and naughty mind.

‘SEIKO JEWELS’ – They included such sexy ladies as Gretchen Barretto, Rossana Roces, Priscilla Almeda, Diana Zubiri, and even the prim and proper Rita Avila. Also the late tragic Stella Strada.

The men included Cesar Montano, Joel Torre, Jestoni Alarcon, Ian Veneracion, and John Regala. They were cast in action pictures.

But of course, there were sexy leading men such as Rodel Velayo, Fernando Montenegro, Gardo Versoza, Winston Elizalde, Edgar Mande, Rafael Roces, Leandro Baldemor.

Then Oskee had a field day promoting Seiko’s bold films and “Jewels.” He coined such terms as ST (Sex Trip), TF (not Talent Fee, but Tittilating Film).

This is not to say that all “Seiko Jewels” were sex symbols and action stars. The studio had its share of wholesome stars led by Sheryl Cruz and Romnick Sarmenta. Of course, they starred in youth-oriented movies.

DIRECTORS – Robbie hired every now and then fine directors like Lino Brocka, Laurice Guillen, Joey Reyes, Chito Roño, Mel Chionglo, Maning Borlaza, Jeffrey Jeturian.

Its resident director was Mauro Gia Samonte aka Rico Mambo.

Seiko stopped producing movies altogether some 10 years ago, but Robbie helped Cinemalaya during its early years, profiting from his experience in making movies – marketing, casting, promoting.

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