Classic Toys of the 1960's
The Green Hornet
Hot off the success of his Batman television show, producer William Dozier put together another property about a masked crimefighter supported by a youthful sidekick. The Green Hornet had originally been a radio character created by George W. Trendle (who also created the Lone Ranger); like Batman, he had also been the subject of a 1940's-era movie serial. Dozier must have seen Green Hornet as being a perfect complement to his red-hot Batman character: a cool, no-nonsense superhero with no powers but his fists, who operates just outside the law - and owns a cool automobile. Where the Batman TV show went for the camp angle, however, Green Hornet was played straight; and instead of fighting outrageous villains like the Penguin or Mr. Freeze, GH took on the lowlifes of the criminal underworld.
Handsome Californian Van Williams took on the title role; his Japanese-Filipino driver was played by a young Bruce Lee. Lee proved very popular with the show's viewers, unleashing kung fu kicks when needed. (Supposedly, Lee's character became so popular in his home town of Hong Kong that the show was marketed there as The Kato Show.) Britt Reid, owner and publisher of the Daily Sentinel, fights crime with his sidekick Kato and the use of his weapons, a (non-lethal) gas gun, a powerful 'sting' gun, and his car the Black Beauty. The only people who knew of Reid's alter ego (besides Kato) were his secretary Lenore and District Attorney Scanlon.
-The Black Beauty was a souped-up 1965 Chrysler Imperial. It was customized for the show by Dean Jeffries.
-The Black Beauty could fire rockets and make its engine run silently.
-The TV show's theme was a variation on Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee," played by trumpeter Al Hirt.
-In the movie Kill Bill Volume 1, members of the Japanese mafia gang The Crazy 88 wear Green Hornet masks; Al Hirt's theme makes up part of the soundtrack (it can be heard in the section where the Bride is on her motorcycle riding through Tokyo).
-The show only lasted one season, for 25 episodes.
-The Green Hornet and Kato appeared in two storylines (four episodes) of the Batman TV show; in one, each of the dynamic duos fights the other. Batman and Robin won. (Riiiiiight... like Robin could whip Kato given a million tries.)
The Green Hornet
Aired: Friday evenings 7:30-8:00 pm
September 9, 1966 - July 14, 1967
(Followed by The Time Tunnel)
Green Hornet / Britt Reid - Van Williams
Kato - Bruce Lee
Lenore 'Casey' Case - Wende Wagner
District Attorney Scanlon - Walter Brooke
Episode List: (title - air date)
"The Silent Gun" - Sept 9, 1966
"Give 'Em Enough Rope" - Sept 16, 1966
"Programmed For Death" - Sept 23, 1966
"Crime Wave" - Sept 30, 1966
"The Frog is a Deadly Weapon" - Oct 7, 1966
"Eat, Drink, and Be Dead" - Oct 14, 1966
"Beautiful Dreamer" (part 1) - Oct 21, 1966
"Beautiful Dreamer" (part 2) - Oct 28, 1966
"The Ray is For Killing" - Nov 11, 1966
"The Praying Mantis" - Nov 18, 1966
"The Hunters and the Hunted" - Nov 25, 1966
"Deadline For Death" - Dec 2, 1966
"The Secret of Sally Bell" - Dec 9, 1966
"Freeway to Death" - Dec 16, 1966
"May the Best Man Lose" - Dec 23, 1966
"The Firefly" - Jan 6, 1967
"Corpse of the Year" (part 1) - Jan 13, 1967
"Corpse of the Year" (part 2) - Jan 20, 1967
"Ace in the Hole" - Feb 3, 1967
"Bad Bet on 459-Silent" - Feb 10, 1967
"Trouble for Prince Charming" - Feb 17, 1967
"Alias 'The Scarf'" - Feb 24, 1967
"Hornet, Save Thyself" - March 3, 1967
"Invasion from Outer Space" (part 1) - March 10, 1967
"Invasion from Outer Space" (part 2) - March 17, 1967