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The Green Hornet
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TV Series
    (September 9, 1966-July 14, 1967)
    ABC
    Based on characters created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker
    Van Williams as Britt Reid (aka Green Hornet)
    Bruce Lee as Kato
    Wende Wagner as Lenore ‘Casey’ Case
    Walter Brooke as Frank ‘F.P.’ Scanlon
    Lloyd Gough as Mike Axford
    William Dozier (executive producer) as the Announcer
    A newspaper publisher and his trusty chauffeur pose as criminals to deal with various underworld groups
    Theme: a remade Flight of the Bumblebee
    Opening narrative: Another challenge for the Green Hornet, his aide Kato, and their rolling arsenal, the Black Beauty. On police records a wanted criminal, the Green Hornet is really Britt Reid, owner-publisher of the Daily Sentinel, his dual identity known only to his secretary and to the district attorney. And now, to protect the rights and lives of decent citizens, rides THE GREEN HORNET.
    No incarnation of Kato, prior to Lee, hinted at him being a martial artist.
    It wasn’t Trendle’s first attempt at a Green Hornet series (he made two other attempts in the 1950s).
    Unlike the camp of Batman, it was played all but fully straight.
    So popular was Kato in Hong Kong that there it was titled ‘The Kato Show’ there.
    It inspired a hideously insipid 2011 feature film that, among other things, portrayed Reid as a lazy brat.
    Williams is the last surviving main cast member (Brooke and Gough died in the 80s while Wagner died in 1997 at 55).
    It (and the unsold pilot for ‘Dick Tracy’) had almost the exact same crew as Batman (and made a guest appearance in its second season).
    The intro managed to combine simplistic live (still) shots and a beautiful animated sequence (with the depiction of a hornet).
    Another Black Beauty (#2, a 1966 Imperial Crown) was kept in reserve to minimize the shooting disruptions that surrounded the singular Batmobile.
    Want to know where things really began for Bruce Lee? Here.
    As the leads’ standard angular masks proved too hard to handle, they were outfitted with colored form fitting masks.
    Keye Luke, who played Kato in the 1939 serial, made a guest appearance in ‘The Preying Mantis.’
    Reid’s backstory presented him as the son or grandson of the Lone Ranger’s nephew (another Trendle property).

Credit: Cool It All Right?


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