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 The Green Hornet (tv series)

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PostSubject: The Green Hornet (tv series)   Tue May 12, 2009 10:29 am




Any other fans, such a classic series, I have to admit I like it BETTER than Batman & Robin, and seeing such a young Bruce Lee in action is pure gold in itself, not to mention the stone tongue in cheek mannerisms & action of the one and only Van Williams (THE GREEN HORNET)!!


Inspired by the success of the Batman series, ABC brought The Green Hornet to television in 1966-67, an adaptation which introduced martial arts master Bruce Lee to American audiences as Kato and starred Van Williams as the Green Hornet. Unlike Batman, the TV version of The Green Hornet was played straight, but in spite of the considerable interest in Lee, it was cancelled after only one season. However, the rise of Lee as a major cult movie star ensured continued interest in the property to the point where proposed Green Hornet productions typically have the casting of some major martial arts film star as Kato as the first order of business. Lee's popularity in Hong Kong, where he was raised, was such that the show was marketed there as The Kato Show.

As with the later years of the radio version, secretary Lenore "Casey" Case is again aware of Reid's secret, and the Hornet also has a confidante within the law enforcement community, but now he is District Attorney Frank P. Scanlon. This character was changed from the original's police commissioner because the same company's Batman TV series was already using a man in that post as the official contact of its hero. William Dozier, executive producer of both programs, wanted no more comparisons between the two than were unavoidable. Michael Axford, the bodyguard turned reporter of the radio series, is now simply the police reporter for The Daily Sentinel, with no history of having been on the force.

The music of "Flight of the Bumblebee" was so strongly identified with The Green Hornet that it was retained as the theme, orchestrated by Billy May (who also composed the new background scores) and conducted by Lionel Newman, with trumpet solo by Al Hirt, in a jazz style nicknamed Green Bee. Years later, this music was featured during a key scene in the 2003 film, Kill Bill, Vol. 1, which paid tribute to Kato by featuring dozens of swordfighters wearing Kato masks during the film's key fight sequence.

The TV series displayed the Hornet's car, Black Beauty, a 1966 Chrysler Crown Imperial sedan customized by Dean Jeffries.[3] The Beauty's regular headlight cluster supposedly could be flipped over to reveal what studio publicity described as "infra-green" headlights, but this could not be done on the actual vehicle, and the green filters were always seen deployed. It was revealed in the related comic book spun off from the show that the green headlights used polarized light which in combination with the appropriately polarized vision filter (translucent green sun visor-like panels that the two men pulled down when needed) could provide almost as much illumination as conventional headlights while being extremely dim – almost invisibly dark – to someone without the filter. In some early episodes in two-shots with both Van Williams and Bruce Lee inside the Black Beauty, as seen through the windshield, Lee's face was tinted green since he was supposedly seen through a "polarized" filter in the form of a large pull-down, transparent green-gray visor; Williams on the other hand was seen in normal light. The tint is not present in close-ups of Lee alone. Since specification of what this lighting was supposed to indicate never actually made it into any finished episode, the effect was unexplained to the audience and soon discontinued. However, most night shots were actually filmed during the daytime by the day for night technique, giving the illusion of night-time as the actual car headlights were not polarized but just had green lenses, which would render the headlights useless for real night-driving. As the series progressed, the process was executed less effectively, reaching the point where the viewer would need context to understand that some scenes were supposed to be taking place at night, as can be observed in screening the episodes in either original network airing or syndication (production) order.

The Black Beauty could fire explosive charges from tubes hidden behind retractable panels below the headlights which were said to be rockets with explosive warheads; had a concealed-when-not-in-use, drop-down knock-out gas nozzles in the center of the front grille and the vehicle could launch a small flying video/audio surveillance device (referred to as the Scanner) through a small rectangular panel in the middle of Black Beauty's trunk lid. Working "rockets" and "gas nozzles" were incorporated into the trunk lid as well.

In 1992, a Green Hornet enthusiast Dan Goodman, purchased the "number one" Black Beauty from the former transportation director of Twentieth Century Fox for the sum of US $5000 and commissioned Jeffries to restore the car; two cars had been built for the series and Goodman's was the primary car. Although the vehicle was in perfect mechanical condition with the original custom wheels and most body modifications as used in the show and had logged only 17,000 miles (approximately 27,350 km) since new, it was badly weathered and in need of a full cosmetic restoration. Despite numerous legal bouts between Jeffries and Goodman over cost overruns and rights to the "Black Beauty" name and likeness, Jeffries eventually restored the car to its current condition albeit series incorrect. While the rocket launcher panels on the trunk lid had been welded shut, requiring replacement of the body panel in order to make the system functional again, the flip-down green headlights were intact less their drive motor and discovered beneath the hood after Goodman took delivery of the car. The car was sold to Prop collector, Louis Ringe in 1999. The Black Beauty is currently part of the Petersen Automotive Museum collection; The "Number Two" Black Beauty is currently under restoration to be completed in 2009. It resides in a private collection in South Carolina.

The TV series also employed an audio device from the radio show. In its era, the engines of cheaper cars made a lot of noise; the expensive Pierce-Arrow was reputed to be extremely quiet. So, when the Green Hornet said, "rig for silent running," the hornet-like buzz on the radio show was turned off and the listener was left to imagine that the car really was silent. On TV, the car sounded like a modern car, but the noise was removed from the soundtrack after this command.

(An article in TV Guide published during the show's network run made reference to disparaging comments made within the industry about ABC being "the two-car network" because of the Black Beauty and the Batmobile.)

The program currently airs on AmericanLife TV Network.




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PostSubject: Re: The Green Hornet (tv series)   Tue May 12, 2009 9:42 pm

This was a great series! I also liked this more than the Batman t.v. show.
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