The Green Hornet

Posted: July 8, 2008 in ความบันเทิง, Comic, Gadgets, Hero, Movie Poster, Movies

The Green Hornet is a masked fictional crime fighter.
Originally created by Fran Striker for an American old-time radio program in
the 1930s, the character has appeared in other media as well, including film
serials in the 1940s, a network television program in the 1960s, and multiple
comic book series from the 1940s to the 1990s. Though various incarnations
sometimes change details, in most incarnations the Green Hornet is Britt (or
“Brit”) Reid, a newspaper publisher by day who by night goes out in
his masked “Green Hornet” identity to fight crime as a vigilante,
accompanied by his similarly masked Asian manservant Kato and driving a car,
equipped with advanced technology, called “Black Beauty”. The Green
Hornet is often portrayed as a fair-to-above average hand-to-hand combatant and
is often armed with a gun that sprays knock-out gas (an electric stun weapon
called the “hornet’s sting” was added to his arsenal in the TV
series).

           

Originally, the show was to be called The Hornet, but the
name was changed to The Green Hornet so that it could be more easily
trademarked. The color was chosen because green hornets were reputed to be the
angriest. 

One relatively minor aspect of the character which tends to
be given limited exposure in the actual productions is his blood relationship
to The Lone Ranger, another character created by Striker. The Lone Ranger’s
nephew was Dan Reid. In the Green Hornet radio shows, the Hornet’s father was
likewise named Dan Reid, making the hero the
Ranger’s grand-nephew.


Harry_Cording--Green_Hornet.jpg picture by SLEETAPAWANG

The Western property was sold to another company in the
1950s, a legal complication that resulted in the identity of the Masked Rider
of the Plains being obscured when it has been dealt with at all in Green Hornet
depictions (though a comic book from NOW Comics later displayed the Hornet’s
living room as being decorated with a painting of a man dressed very similarly
to the Lone Ranger; the radio series had expressly indicated the presence of
such a portrait there). 

Radio series
The character premiered in The Green Hornet, an American
radio program that ran on WXYZ

(a local Detroit
station), the Mutual Broadcasting System and the network known through its
succession
of various owners as NBC Blue, the Blue Network and the ABC Network
from January 31, 1936
to December 5,
1952.  


51EH6YTJNSL_SS500_.jpg picture by SLEETAPAWANG

The series detailed the adventures of Britt Reid, debonair
newspaper publisher by day, crime-fighting
masked hero at night: 

With his faithful
valet Kato, Britt Reid, daring young publisher, matches wits with the
Underworld,
risking his life so that criminal and racketeers within the law may
feel its weight by the sting of
the Green Hornet! 

During World War II, this was changed to:

    … matches wits
with racketeers and saboteurs, risking his life so that criminals and enemy
spies will feel the weight of the law by the sting of the Green Hornet! 

After the revving of the Black Beauty motor, the announcer
would then say: 

    Ride with Britt
Reid in the thrilling adventure [episode title]! The Green Hornet strikes
again! 

When the series first began in 1936, this was originally: 

    Ride with Britt
Reid as he races toward another thrilling adventure! The Green Hornet strikes
again! 

and after the thrumming of the hornet sound, Britt Reid
would then call out: 

    “Hurry, Kato!
Here’s where we smash a [type of racket, such as graft, political, union, etc.]
racket!” 

The vigilante nature of his operation quickly resulted in
his being declared an outlaw himself, and Britt Reid decided to play to it. The
Green Hornet became thought of as one of his city’s biggest criminals, allowing
him to walk into suspected racketeers’ offices and ply them for information, or
even demand a cut of their profits.


green_hornet_spotlight_web.jpg picture by SLEETAPAWANG

He would be accompanied by his similarly masked but unnamed
chauffeur/bodyguard/enforcer, who was also Reid’s valet, Kato, initially
described as Japanese, and eventually as Filipino. A widespread urban legend
has been the claim that the show’s writers switched from one nationality to the
other immediately after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, but the first
disappeared well before direct U.S. involvement in the war, and the latter was
not initially given until much later, with nothing more specific than
“Oriental” being said in the interim. 

Specifically, in and up to 1939, in the series’ opening
narration, Kato was called Britt Reid’s “Japanese valet”. From 1940
to ’45 he was Reid’s “faithful valet”, and in 1946 he became his
“Filipino valet”. When the characters were used in the first of a
pair of movie serials, the politically perceptive producers of 1939 had Kato’s
nationality given as Korean. 

Music

 

581278.jpg picture by SLEETAPAWANG

The radio show used Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the
Bumblebee” as its theme music, blended with a hornet buzz created on a
theremin, and “The Infernal Dance of King Koshchei” from Igor
Stravinsky’s The Firebird, usually used after this announced part: 

    Stepping through a
secret panel in the rear of the closet in his bedroom, Britt Reid and Kato went
along a narrow passageway built within the walls of the apartment itself. This
passage led to an adjoining building which fronted on a dark side street.
Though supposedly abandoned, this building served as the hiding place for the
sleek, super-powered “Black Beauty”, streamlined car of The Green
Hornet. [Sound of Reid and Kato getting into car] Britt Reid pressed a button.
[Sound of car starting] The great car roared into life. [Sound of revving
engine] A section of the wall in front raised automatically, then closed as the
gleaming “Black Beauty” sped into the darkness. [Sound of engine
roaring and car driving away]

Other famous classical works used as incidental music for
the series included Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. Pyotr Ilyich
Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique Symphony, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony,
Paul Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Modest Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald
Mountain and the Overture to Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman. 

The Lone Ranger

Britt Reid is a blood relative of The Lone Ranger. The
character of Dan Reid, who appeared on the Lone Ranger program as the Masked
Man’s nephew, was also featured on the Green Hornet as Britt Reid’s father,
making the Green Hornet the grand-nephew of the Lone Ranger.


clayton-moore.jpg picture by SLEETAPAWANG


Confirming this was the November 11, 1947 radio show episode
“Too Hot to Handle”: After his secret identity was uncovered in a
previous episode, “Exposed” (broadcast October 28, 1947), by Linda
Travers, a novice reporter secretly hired by Britt’s father to check up on him,
Britt told his father Dan that he was the masked Green Hornet. After his
initial shock and anger, Dan Reid referred to a “pioneer ancestor” of
Britt’s that he himself had rode alongside with in Texas, a man who rode a
horse and acted as a vigilante, and expressed his pride in and love for his
son. As he explained this, the Lone Ranger theme briefly played in the
background.

Actors

The Green Hornet was played by:

    * Al Hodge (who
later went on to play television’s Captain Video) (1936-1943)

    * Donovan Faust
(1943-1944)

    * Robert Hall
(1944-1947)

    * Jack McCarthy
(1947-1952).

The role of Kato was originated by Raymond Hayashi but
handled through most of the run by Roland Parker, who also voiced “The
Newsboy” at the conclusion of each episode who hawked the
“Extra” edition of The Sentinel that carried the story of the weekly racket
or spy ring being smashed, concluding with:

    “Read all
about it! Green Hornet still at large! Sentinel Ex-tree, paper!”

Mickey Tolan was the radio series’ final Kato.

Jim Jewell directed the series until 1938. Jewell’s sister,
Lee Allman (Lenore Jewell Allman) wanted to play a part in a radio series at
WXYZ so Jim had her written into The Green Hornet. She was the only actress to
play Lenore Case, Britt Reid’s secretary, during the entire run of the series.

Other characters

Lenore Case, known as “Casey”, was aware of her
boss’s double life, but only in the later years of the run. Similarly, another
confidant, Police Commissioner James Higgins, did not come into existence until
near the end of the series; he was introduced in the previously mentioned
episode “Too Hot to Handle” as an old friend of Dan Reid’s who was
being blackmailed and who was rescued by the Green Hornet. Shortly thereafter,
either Dan Reid or Britt himself confided the Hornet’s secret identity to
Higgins. 

Other major characters in the radio series included: 

    * Mike Axford
(originated by Jim Irwin, then played for most of the series by Gil Shea), a
bombastic former policeman who originally had been hired by Britt Reid’s father
as a bodyguard for Britt, but who drifted into becoming a reporter for The
Daily Sentinel by virtue of his contacts at Police Headquarters (especially his
best friend Sergeant Burke, known usually as “Sarge”). He was the
most dedicated pursuer of the Green Hornet (while expressing his admiration for
the Hornet’s ability to both smash criminals and elude the authorities). He was
known for his pet phrases “Holy Crow!” and “Sufferin’
Snakes!” and his usual parting phrase “See ya later. So long!”

    * Gunnigan, the
irascible city editor of The Daily Sentinel (whose temper invariably got worse
in the presence of Axford or even when Axford was talking to him on the phone).

    * Ed Lowery
(played by Jack Petruzzi), one of The Sentinel’s best reporters, who also
admired the Hornet.

    *
“Clicker” Binny, a female photographer for The Sentinel who usually
teamed up with Lowery on news assignments and filled in as Britt Reid’s
secretary on those occasions when Lenore Case was away.

When “Clicker”‘s character was written out of the
series (in the episode “The Corpse That Wasn’t There”, broadcast on
February 28, 1943, a letter from “Clicker” states that she has become
a Second Officer in the WACS stationed in North Africa), her place was filled
in 1942 by Gale Manning, whose southern drawl and “dumb southern belle”
manner (which didn’t fool Britt Reid but which totally irritated both Lowery
and Axford, especially when she managed to get information or stories that
neither man could) hid both her intelligence and her ability as a top-notch
reporter. After Gale’s character left the series, Lenore Case herself sometimes
joined either Lowery or Axford on assignments.

Two major foes for The Green Hornet were the mysterious
“Mr. X”, a criminal mastermind introduced in the episode
“Walkout for Profit” (broadcast June 21, 1941) who became part of a
storyline in 1941 pitting the Hornet against him in an ongoing battle, and
Oliver Perry (1945-49), a famous but unscrupulous private detective who
repeatedly returned to try and unmask The Green Hornet. Perry suspected Britt
Reid of being the Hornet but was never able to prove it, and episodes featuring
him always ended with the Hornet either outwitting him or humiliating him to
the point where he was forced to leave town, if not both.

In the original introduction of the radio show, the
announcer (famed newsman Mike Wallace held the position at some point during
the run) proclaimed that the Green Hornet “hunts the biggest of all game
… public enemies that even the G-Men cannot reach,” referring to FBI
agents. FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover objected to the line’s implication that some
crime fighting was beyond the abilities of the FBI, and it was changed to
“public enemies who try to destroy our America.”


reid_kato.gif picture by SLEETAPAWANG


In other media

Film serials

The Green Hornet was adapted into two movie serials.
Disliking the treatment
Republic gave The Lone
Ranger in two serials, George W. Trendle took his Number 2 property to
Universal Pictures, and he was much happier with the results. The first serial,
titled simply The Green Hornet and released in 1940, starred Gordon Jones in
the title role, albeit dubbed by original radio Hornet Al Hodge whenever the
hero’s mask was in place, while The Green Hornet Strikes Again of 1941 starred
Warren Hull. Keye Luke, the famous #1 son of the Charlie Chan films, played
Kato in both; also starring in both serials were Anne Nagel as “Lenore
Case” and Wade Boteler as “Mike Axford”. Even though America wasn’t
in the war yet, Kato’s nationality is changed to Korean. Ford Beebe directed
both serials, partnered by Ray Taylor on The Green Hornet and John Rawlins on
The Green Hornet Strikes Again, with George H. Plympton and Basil Dickey
providing the screenplays for both serials. The Green Hornet ran for 13
chapters while The Green Hornet Strikes Again had 15 installments, and in both
serials the plotlines followed the radio series style, with the Hornet and Kato
smashing a different racket in each chapter. In each serial, they were all
linked to a single major crime syndicate which was itself put out of business
in the finale, while the radio program had the various rackets completely
independent of each other.   

Television


           

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 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.


bat31.jpg picture by SLEETAPAWANG


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. 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.


screencapsgreenhornetsc9-1.jpg picture by SLEETAPAWANG


The TV series displayed the Hornet’s car, Black Beauty, a
1966 Chrysler Crown Imperial sedan customized by Dean Jeffries. 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)
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, implying the use of the “polarized” filter, while Williams was
seen in normal flesh tone, although this is not the case in close-ups of Lee
alone; since specification of what this lighting was supposed to indicate never
made it into any finished episode, the effect was 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.


oldbb3.jpg picture by SLEETAPAWANG


The Black Beauty could fire explosive charges from tubes at
its bumpers, which were said to be rockets with explosive warheads, had a
concealed-when-not-in-use, drop-down knock-out gas nozzle in the center of the
front grille, and could launch a small flying video/audio surveillance device
through the trunk lid. Jeffries built two vehicles for the series. One is now
in the Petersen Automotive collection in California,
and the other is in a private collection in South Carolina. George Barris subsequently
made a copy, which has led to some sources incorrectly crediting him with
creating the car in the first place.

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.)

 

Bruce Lee Screen Test The Green Hornet


Green Hornet and Kato Surprise Batman and Robin

Comic books 

Green Hornet comic books began in December 1940. These,
initially titled Green Hornet Comics, were originally published by Helnit, with
the writing attributed to Fran Striker. This series ended after six issues.
Several months later, Harvey Comics launched their own version, beginning with
issue #7. This series ended in 1949, having run to 47 issues. (The title was
changed to Green Hornet Fights Crime as of issue #34 and Green Hornet, Racket
Buster with issue #44). Harvey additionally used the character in the
public-service one-shot, War Victory Comics in 1942[4], and gave him one
adventure in each of two issues of All-New Comics, #13, where he was also
featured on the cover[5], and #14[6], in 1946. Dell Comics published a one-shot
with the character, officially entitled Four Color #496, in 1953, inexplicably
several months after the radio series ceased production[7]. Both stories
therein share titles with late-era radio episodes (“The Freightyard
Robberies,” June 23, 1949, and “[The] Proof of Treason,” October
17, 1952) and might well be adaptations. In 1967 Gold Key Comics produced a
series based on the TV show, which reflected that program’s short life with a
brief three-issue run.


GreenHornetComic.jpg picture by SLEETAPAWANG


Beginning in 1989, NOW Comics produced a line of Green
Hornet comics, initially written by Ron Fortier and illustrated by Jeff Butler.
Inspired by the aforementioned Lone Ranger connection of radio days, they
attempted to reconcile the different versions of the character into a
multi-generational epic. There was even a portrait of the Ranger in the Reid
family’s mansion, though due to the legal separation of the two properties, his
mask covered his entire face (as in the Republic serials) and he could not be
called by name. In this interpretation, the Britt of the radio series had fought
crime as the Hornet in the 1930s and 1940s before retiring. In NOW’s first
story in the line, back-dated to 1945 (in Vol. 1, #1, November 1989), the
original Kato (named in the comic series Ikano Kato)’s nationality is revealed
to be Japanese, but that because of the political/popular feeling of that time
against the Japanese and through Britt Reid’s efforts, this had been hidden and
officially Kato was “Filipino”, thus preventing him from being sent
to an American internment camp. A shocking twist to the comic series’
modern-day storyline is that Britt Reid is murdered in Vol. 1, #5, March 1990,
on the orders of mob-heiress Angela DeVane and at that very moment back in Japan, Ikano
Kato suddenly awakens from a deep sleep, telling his wife sorrowfully, “My
friend is dead.” 

The television character was revealed to be the namesake
nephew of the original Britt Reid, referred to as “Britt Reid II” in
the genealogy, who took up his uncle’s mantle after his friend, an
up-and-coming political reformer, is assassinated. In the comic, his nephew,
Paul Reid, a concert pianist, takes on the role of the Hornet after his older
brother Alan is killed on his very first mission and is assisted by a new,
female Kato trained by Ikano Kato. 

The addition of the female character, Mishi Kato (the much
younger half-sister of the 60s version), caused problems between the publishers
and the property’s owners, who withdrew approval of that character and mandated
the return of “the Bruce Lee Kato”[8], named in the comic series Hayashi
Kato (Fortier took this from the surname of the first actor to play the role on
radio[9]) and revealed to be Ikano Kato’s son. Hayashi Kato had become a famous
star in ninja movies after Britt Reid II’s Green Hornet retired due to a heart
attack, and returned to become “Kato” to Britt II’s nephew Alan when
he became the Green Hornet. When the neophyte vigilante was killed in an
explosion on his very first mission, Hayashi blamed himself and fell into a
period of alcoholism from which he finally emerged to see Paul Reid and Mishi
don the masks. After Mishi’s departure he again became “Kato” to
Paul’s Green Hornet in Vol. 1, #11, September 1991.

Mishi Kato’s sudden departure in Vol. 1, #10, August 1991,
was explained as orders from her father to travel to Zurich, Switzerland,
to replace an injured automobile designer at a facility of the Kato family
corporation, Nippon Today. However, Mishi Kato returned in the second series
(begun in September 1991) as “The Crimson Wasp” on a mission of
bloody vengeance against the criminal leader calling himself Johnny Dollar, who
had had her fiancé (a Swiss police officer) and his daughter (from a previous
marriage) murdered, an attack which also caused the unknowingly pregnant Mishi
to miscarry. Her resultant vendetta brought her into conflict with Paul Reid’s
Green Hornet who tried to prevent her from committing murder but seemingly
failed to stop her killing Johnny Dollar in Vol. 2, #14, October 1992 (however,
Johnny Dollar was revealed to have survived in Vol. 2, #29, January 1994).
Mishi did return to her “Kato” persona one more time alongside Paul
and Hayashi in Vol. 2, #34, June 1994, when the Hornet attended a gangland
meeting with both Katos flanking him as guards/enforcers—the rules stated that
each “boss” was allowed two “boys.” In NOW’s final two
issues (Vol. 2, #39 & 40), a fourth Kato, Kono Kato (the grandson of Ikano
Kato and nephew to Hayashi and Mishi) took over as Paul’s fellow masked
vigilante. 

Another major character was Diana Reid, the original Britt
Reid’s daughter, who had become District Attorney some time after the TV
series’ Frank Scanlon had retired, and used her position to provide information
and assistance to the Green Hornet exactly as Scanlon had. As the comic series
progressed, a romantic relationship formed between Diana and Hayashi (at one
point Diana thought she was pregnant with Hayashi’s child, and in the very last
issue is discussing wedding plans with his sister) and a possible bond between
Mishi and Paul was hinted at. 

There were two main Green Hornet series from NOW, as well as
various annuals, mini-series, and spin-offs. The first series, referred to as
Volume One, began in 1989 and had reached 14 issues when the company suspended
operations for several months. Volume Two began in 1991 and lasted 40 issues,
ending in 1995 because the publishers went out of business. Like Tonto before
him, Kato (specifically, the Bruce Lee-based one) got his spin-off solo
adventures: a four-issue miniseries in 1991, and a two-issue follow-up in 1992,
both written by Mike Baron. He also wrote a third, first announced as a
two-issue mini, then as a graphic novel, but it was never released due to the
company’s collapse. Tales of the Green Hornet, consisting of nine issues spread
out over three volumes (two, four, and three issues, respectively), presented
stories of the two previous Hornets, with Volume One having a plotline,
starring Green Hornet II, provided by Van Williams, the actor who played that
character’s basis on TV. The follow-ups, beginning with the most detailed
version of the Green Hornet’s origin in any professional medium, were written
by James Van Hise. Other mini-series included The Green Hornet: Solitary
Sentinel (a three-issue story retroactively set between Volumes 1 and 2, with a
major role for Britt II) and Sting of the Green Hornet (a four-issue series
starring the original Green Hornet and set during World War II, involving Nazi
espionage and in which the Hornet and Kato encounter unnamed versions of The
Shadow and the future Captain America. They also barely miss running into
reporters who look like Clark Kent and Lois Lane).


GREENHORNET.jpg picture by SLEETAPAWANG


Another three-issue series (June – August, 1993), entitled
Dark Tomorrow, focused on a Green Hornet in the future of 2080 who had actually
turned into the criminal he was pretending to be and who was fought by the Kato
of that era in an effort to set him back on the right path. This series
featured a hallucinatory episode in which the future Green Hornet was attacked
and beaten by each of his Green Hornet ancestors (in attacking order: Britt
Reid I using his gas gun, Britt Reid II with his Hornet’s Sting, Paul Reid with
his fists and the future Hornet’s own father) and the unnamed Lone Ranger as
well. An interesting twist is that the Green Hornet of Dark Tomorrow has dark
hair and Asian features beneath his hologram mask, while the future Kato has
blond hair and Caucasian features. This Kato even said that they were blood
related. Furthermore, the art indicated that the Dark Tomorrow Hornet was the
grandson of Paul Reid and Mishi Kato. The main Hornet of this comic is named
Clayton “Clay” Reid, and a family tree feature in The Green Hornet,
Vol. 2, #26, October 1993, gives his father the first name Gordon and the only
depicted future Kato the given name Luke (these are references to actors
Clayton Moore (the Lone Ranger), Gordon Jones {the Hornet in the first Saturday
matinee serial} and Keye Luke {Kato in both serials}). 

Discounting depictions of the cars utilized by the 1940s and
1960s Hornets, there were two different versions of the Black Beauty used in
the NOW comic series.. The first was based on the Pontiac Banshee.[11] Painted
black and green, as a sports/exotic car, it was a big change from the two Black
Beauty limousines used by previous Green Hornets. With the realization that
such a distinctive vehicle was inappropriate to the nature of the Hornet
operation, the series writers created a storyline in which the Black Beauty was
destroyed and replaced by a 4 door sedan, this time based on the 91-96 Oldsmobile
98 Touring Sedan. 

Prose fiction  

Western Publishing subsidiary Whitman Books released four works of text
fiction based on the character, targeting younger readers. There were three
entries in the children’s line of profusely illustrated Big Little Books, The
Green Hornet Strikes!, The Green Hornet Returns, and The Green Hornet Cracks
Down, in 1940, 1941 and 1942, respectively, all attributed to Fran Striker. In
1966, their line for older juveniles included Green Hornet: Case of the
Disappearing Doctor, by Brandon Keith, a tie-in to the television series. At
about the same time, Dell Publishing released a mass-market paperback, The
Green Hornet in The Infernal Light by Ed Friend, not only derived from the
small-screen production as well, but, “allegedly based on one of the TV
episodes”.


TheGreenHornetStrikesAgain.jpg picture by SLEETAPAWANG

Feature films

One feature-length movie was edited from the last six chapters of the first
serial and bore the same title. Two others were cut from the television series,
to cash in on the subsequent popularity of Bruce Lee. The first, carrying the
program’s name, was seen in US theaters and in the mid 1990s briefly released
on the Video Treasures label in VHS. The other, Fury of the Dragon has been
available in America
only via the bootleg recording market. Finally, there was an unauthorized
feature made in Hong Kong in 1994 . Titled
Qing feng xia, it starred Kar Lok Chin as a masked hero called Green Hornet (in
English subtitles), but dressed like Kato, as seen in the 1960s television
version. In fact, one scene had this man being reminded of those who had come
before him, and he was shown a standee of Bruce Lee in his Kato costume and
mask as one predecessor.

A new feature film is in the works with Seth Rogen set to star and co-write
the film. The film will be released by Sony Pictures in 2010

Recent developments

A new film version of the character has been in the works for decades. In
the 1990s, the magazine Comics Scene reported that George Clooney and Jason
Scott Lee were lined up to play the leads. Late in the 90s, music video
director Michel Gondry worked with RoboCop screenwriter Edward Neumeier on a
possible Green Hornet adaptation. Subsequently, screenwriter John Fusco created
a screenplay for the film around 2002. 

As of the summer of 2004, Kevin Smith was writing a screenplay for a new
rendition of The Green Hornet which was originally scheduled for release in
2005. It was rumored that Jet Li would portray Kato and Jake Gyllenhaal would
play the Green Hornet. In 2004 Kevin Smith put the film on the back burner.
After a long downtime in which his status with the project was unknown, Smith
announced at the 2006 Wondercon that he officially no longer has anything to do
with The Green Hornet. 

A ten-minute The Green Hornet fan film was released in 2006. The short film
was produced by Aurélien Poitrimoult and is distributed free on the Internet
along with a “making of” featurette. 

An episode from the radio series of The Green Hornet was played for those in
attendance at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention in September 2006. Terry
Salomonson, a radio historian, presented a brief history of the radio program
and then shared the recording, which until that day, had been unheard since its
initial broadcast back in the 1930s. 

On March 20, 2007, Columbia Pictures confirmed they had bought the film
rights to the character with a possible release slated for summer 2009 which
Variety reported on July 20, 2007 that Seth Rogen had been hired to write,
produce and star as the Green Hornet himself.On July 21, 2007, it was stated
that Rogen would like Stephen Chow to play Kato. However, a spokesman for
Stephen Chow regarding the film has said, “We haven’t got any information
at this time. We don’t know who the director is and what the screenplay is
like.” 

On June 4, 2008 Sony Pictures announced plans that they are going ahead with
plans for a feature film of the superhero. Set to be released on June 25th,
2010, the film will star Seth Rogen, who along with Superbad co-writer Evan
Goldberg, will also take on writing duties.


greenhornetlogo.jpg picture by SLEETAPAWANG


A new feature film is in the works with Seth Rogen set to star and co-write
the film. The film will be released by Sony Pictures in 2010.



FACT

Lets look at some facts that have been overlooked or pushed
under the rug by SOOO many here and in Hollywood.

1. The character predated Batman and the ONLY tie in was in 1966
when the same producer for
the TV show did the TV Green Hornet.

2. The Character is not a superhero, he has no super powers,
no super villains, he is at best
a masked crime fighter. Really he is no different than any TV/Film crime fighter except he happens
to have a secret
identity.

3. The Character did not come from the comic world; comics
only explored their version of the story
after the radio show was already established. The later 90’s Comic series further explored
an alternate universe
of the Green Hornet world. Not too uncommon for the comic world but
not
congruent with the characters true origins and world.

4. The character is a hard driving young (33) successful
businessman who is dedicated to fight crime
in his community and wherever it
occurs. NOT a lazy billionaire playboy that is pure recent media hype.

5. He is seen as a criminal in the criminal world so law
enforcement is always after him.
The criminals hate him because they fear him, Kato,
and the Black Beauty.

6. The Green Hornet is a brilliant strategist and foils his
foes in a well played out mental
chess game (SEE Jason Borne or James Bond) Kato
assists in strategy, weapons development
and construction and muscle when
needed.

5. The Green Hornet is fully capable in hand-to-hand combat
in most every situation.
He has a totally different style than Kato. He is in
top physical condition.

6. Kato is fully competent in any situation of combat. He is
so confident that his attitude comes
across as smug. But make no mistake he
takes crime fighting and combat very seriously.
It would be a very rare
occurrence if he were bested in hand-to-hand combat.

7. The TV series was canceled because the producer was not
allotted enough TV time
to further develop the character. ABC only allowed 30m
and Dozier insisted on 60m for
the second season. ABC refused so dozier
canceled the series.

8. Production costs were out of control on Batman (A Huge
hit) and budgets were getting tight so
this was also a factor in sidelining the
Green Hornet.

9. Keaton worked as Batman because he has shown he an actor
that has depth and intensity.
It makes no difference that he was in a comedic
role prior. He is/was capable of VERY serious roles
and can be very dark, which
is needed for the Dark Knight. Same goes for Robin Williams as Joker, Riddler.
He
has proven himself in serious roles and can also be a believable villain and
can also be very dark. Seth??

10. The Green Hornet does not exist in the DC or Marvel
universe.

11. Seth has in the past said this will be a comedy then
said it will be an action film just like
Pineapple Express (due out this fall), so who knows what he/they will decide on.


The were able to hold the elements together for Spider-man, Fantastic
Four, Elektra, Daredevil, Hulk, Iron Man, X-Men, Batman, Superman, Punisher, Blade
so why not do the same for the Green Hornet? The Hornet is more like a Jason
Borne, or a James Bond without the MI5-CIA connection. Hard fighting, mental
strategy game, interesting gadget technology.

Anything less that what the character is or was created to
be is just a slap in the face to all of fandom and aficionados of the genre. People
do not want something different they want something familiar but updated to
take advantage of the wonderful film technology we have today.

Filmgoers want to leave the film after paying their $10
saying “…damn that was awesome!” Not “Damn I could have blown that $10 bucks
elsewhere and been happier.”

Fans are not looking for another Rush Hour film, they did
that and it was fine for what it was.

Impress us Seth! Don’t rip us off!


accurate_mask_logo-1.jpg picture by SLEETAPAWANG

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s