ALL SCI-FI Forum Index ALL SCI-FI
Nothin' but pure science fiction!
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

The Green Hornet (1966 - 1967)
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    ALL SCI-FI Forum Index -> Sci-Fi on Television from 1950 to 1969
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Pow
Galactic Ambassador


Joined: 27 Sep 2014
Posts: 2954
Location: New York

PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud, that was the show's producers attempt to make Kato more than just the muscle for the Green Hornet---as awesome as that muscle was with co-star Bruce Lee.

I believe it goes back to when TGH was first created as a radio program. Kato was the BB expert which gave his character a dimension of brains which was a great idea.

On the radio programs and two GH movie serials Kato would certainly assist Britt Reid and drive the BB but his physical fighting scenes were somewhat limited.

Many times Britt as the GH would investigate a mansion, warehouse or some such locale while Kato remained behind the wheel of the BB.

The 1966 TV show transformed him into this astonishing martial arts machine he had never been before.


Last edited by Pow on Sun Dec 12, 2021 11:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Pow
Galactic Ambassador


Joined: 27 Sep 2014
Posts: 2954
Location: New York

PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2021 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gold Key Comics would publish three issues based upon The Green Hornet TV series.

Issue #1 "The Green Hornet and Kato combat a ruthless gang whose victims are forced to obey Criminal Commands!" This was the wording on the front cover.

On the cover is a color photograph of Van Williams as the GH with his Gas Gun drawn & Bruce Lee as Kato. They are standing before a door that has a note stuck to it by a knife. The note reads "Green Hornet! Let this be a warning to you!"

The lower right hand of the comic book features a small picture of the GH logo of a hornet with a swirling background that was used on the opening & closing credits for the show.

The inside of the cover has a black & white photograph of Van Williams. To the right is a drawing of the GH holding the extended weapon known as the Hornet Sting.
Written on the page is: "Britt Reid...owner-editor of the Daily Sentinel...and man about town, by day. By night, The Green Hornet...most daring of all crusaders against crime."

Story Title: Ring of Terror." A criminal gang utilizes the drug DDL that makes individuals do the gang's bidding and perform robberies.

Artist Dan Spiegle does a excellent job with this issue and the others.

All the elements from the TV show are well shown in this issue. The Black Beauty, the Hornet Sting, the Gas Gun, secret fireplace entrance to Britt's home, communicator pocket watch, D.A. Scanlon's glasses which alert him that Britt & Kato need to meet with him, the back wall of Britt's garage that rises upwards to allow the BB to exit, the alleyway billboard that separates down the middle and slides open to have the BB come through.

Discrepancies: There are some differences between the ABC TV series and this comic book adaptation.

The Hornet scanner, a drone, on the TV show is shaped more like a roulette wheel. In the comic it is a sphere shape with four antennas protruding outwards.

On TGH TV show the BB has two drop-down doors under the headlights. Each compartment has a series of tubes with four on top and four below making a total of sixteen. These tubes launch deadly rockets.

The comic book changes this by having only a single large tube on each side which sticks out quite a bit as compared to the TV show rocket tubes.

On the TV show the revolving garage floor that hides the BB is square shaped. The comic has it as circular shaped.

Britt's convertible is white on the TV series while the comic has it as red.

The comic book establishes that Britt has a secret underground laboratory. Britt had no such lab on the TV show.

The back inside cover has a black & white photo of Bruce Lee on the left and a drawing of Kato in his disguise to the right. Under Bruce's photo is:
"Kato...a master of Gung-Fu, advanced form of Karate and Jujitsu. He is Britt's houseboy and crime fighting aide."

On the bottom of the page is a black & white photo of Wende Wagner. Written by it is : " Casey Case...secretary to Britt Reid at the Daily Sentinel...and one of three who shares the secret of his dual role."

On the outside back cover is a black & white photo of the GH & Kato crouching in front of the BB with the GH holding the not fully extended Hornet Sting in his right hand.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Bud Brewster
Galactic Fleet Admiral (site admin)


Joined: 14 Dec 2013
Posts: 15694
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2021 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

I keep meaning to catch up on my Green Hornet watching, but it slips my mind. Thanks for the reminder!
Cool
_________________
____________
Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Pow
Galactic Ambassador


Joined: 27 Sep 2014
Posts: 2954
Location: New York

PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Producer William Dozier had test footage made for the Green Hornet with other actors in the roles for Britt Reid & Casey Case that Van Williams & Wende Wagner would end up doing on the show.

Beautiful Lynn Borden (1937~2015) played Sentinel newspaper secretary Casey on one test footage for the series.

This is interesting because her father was cartoonist William Henry Freyse (1898~1969) Bill was a co-creator of the Green Hornet but never got his due credit for his contribution.

I wonder if Dozier was aware of that point and hired Lynn for the part? Ultimately he did not cast her in the final decision. And what were Lynn's feelings about it all? Had she been part of the regular cast for the GH, she'd be appearing on a TV series about a character her father helped create but was never acknowledged for.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Bud Brewster
Galactic Fleet Admiral (site admin)


Joined: 14 Dec 2013
Posts: 15694
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2021 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

What a great trivia item for this production, Mike! Very Happy

Casting a series like this one must be very difficult for the producers. They have a specific mental image of the character, and they have to find actors who can bring these imaginary people to life.

_________________
____________
Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Pow
Galactic Ambassador


Joined: 27 Sep 2014
Posts: 2954
Location: New York

PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2021 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Green Hornet's ratings were not great, Van Williams said that the producers were scrambling to figure out what measures they could take to significantly increase their audience.

To that end, they came up with the two-part episode "Invasion from Outer Space" March 10 & 17, 1967.

While not a complete disaster of a plot, fans were dismayed at elements of it that strayed from the original serious noir dark atmospheric style of the show.

Invasion has guest star Larry D. Mann (Voice of Yukon Corneilias on the Christmas classic Rankin~Bass stop-motion special Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer) as a crazed scientist/terrorist. He wore a cheesy spacesuit & goggles posing as an alien invader that looked like it came from a bad 50s "B" science fiction film. His female assistant, Vina, also wearing a head-to-toe silver spacesuit, could hurl lightning bolts from her hands.

True, we discover that his appearing as an extraterrestrial invader was part of his ruse to fool law enforcement & the military. True, Vina was revealed to be wearing a rig that allowed her to create electrical discharges from her hands.

Fans just found it too over-the-top for a GH episode. It was more like something you'd see on the comic/camp Batman TV series.

I think that's exactly what the producers were doing in their desperate bid to save the GH. Batman was a mega-hit at the time, although it would fall rapidly by its third and final season.

The producers were at least wise enough to realize they would alienate GH if they went too far in copying Batman, so they attempted to blend a little of the highly successful Batman facets with the GH.

It spelled a catastrophe because the GH was now trying to serve two radically different styles that clashed with one another.

Williams was very displeased by this turn of events and reported in an interview years later that he would have exited the show had it been renewed for a second season.

He was actually pleased the series did get cancelled. He was ready to cut back on his acting career and pursue his business interests. He would show up a few more times on TV series such as The Big Valley where he did the episode with his friend Richard Long, "Rimfire" February 19, 1968.

"Rimfire" also served as a backdoor pilot for Van. On the episode he played a widowed sheriff with a young son of the town of Rimfire. The pilot wasn't picked up, probably due to western TV shows dying out by the late 60s in popularity.

Van would go to guest star in the final season of Gunsmoke in "Thirty a Month and Found" on October 7, 1974.

He would even show up in a smaller role as a villain on the Mission: Impossible episode "The Deal" from September 30, 1972 in Mission's final season.

Williams had been born in Texas and grown up working on his parents' ranch and riding horses. He said he loved it and always found that it was ironic that when he was an actor in Hollywood they often cast him as a guy in business suits more than as a cowboy, which is what he really was.

He was disappointed that Rimfire did not become a weekly western series since he loved the genre.

He had a small role on the James Michener novel adapted as a TV western miniseries "Centennial" 1978~1979. It was fun to be back in front of the cameras he said after being on television infrequently by that time. Then as the shooting for Centennial was winding down he watched as many of the actors scrambled to phones in order to secure another acting assignment.
Van smiled and was glad that he had pretty much stepped away from the entertainment business.

As much as I enjoyed the Green Hornet, if they had produced a second season with the series straddling between its original style and Batman it would have been a big letdown.

Even if the show had returned in an hour format as producer William Dozier had hoped ABC would do, I'm unsure just how long the show could have maintained interest for fans.

The premise is a clever one of having two crime fighters posing as deadly and brilliant criminals in order to infiltrate criminal operations. Yet, it is also a narrow concept.

How fresh and original could the writer's make the scripts within that concept every week?

Van observed that while the show was fun---at first---even he became rather weary of the same plot of battling mobsters all the time. Sure, the gadgets were fun to use and the Black Beauty was cool. However, after a while it sagged into a too familiar routine for him.

Perhaps new writers could have brought some more innovative plots to the show for a second season and do a decent job. But as big a fan of the series as I was, I could never see it running for several years and managing to keep it vital and compelling.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Pow
Galactic Ambassador


Joined: 27 Sep 2014
Posts: 2954
Location: New York

PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2022 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

STARLOG Magazine interview with Van Williams about his GREEN HORNET TV series (1966~1967).

"To be honest with you, I didn't really want to do it. I had just done a pilot for Four Star and I really liked that role. It was called Pursue & Destroy and I played a World War II submarine commander."

"I was very familiar with the Green Hornet character before the TV show. Growing up on a ranch in Texas, I was a huge fan of the radio show of the Hornet."

As a counterpoint to the campy thrills of the Batman TV series, The Green Hornet was written as a straight crime show. This approach by Batman producer William Dozier for his Hornet show surprised some, delighted others, and is cited as the chief reason that The Green Hornet was a one-season wonder. STARLOG

"We tried to make The Green Hornet as truthful as you could be with a guy running around in a mask. I feel proud of that."

"We didn't really have time to develop anything within the half-hour format except a stern guy who was out to do good. There was no scope to the show."

"It was always my contention that Britt Reid should have gotten more involved in the stories. However, we were limited to our 30-minute format."

"For some reason, the thing [Gas Gun] never worked right. They had a heck of a problem showing anything coming out of the gun because we used low-key lighting. You'd see me firing the gas, see nothing register on camera, and the villains falling down. It really was funny. They finally came up with me having a bottle filled with powder under my jacket and a tube running under my coat sleeve and into the gas gun. The powder would come out and just cover everything on the set."

"The Hornet Sting was another problem. It was a spring clip with too much power. The Sting would come apart, fly off and stick in the wall. Those broke so often that I ended up either flicking or pulling the Sting's telescoping barrel outward."

"The Black Beauty was a low-slung, dull black limo with dark windows that I called the Black Ugly. We had a good number of problems with the car though it was a tough old bird."

"It was a fun show to do with the stunts and gadgets until we had done it long enough."

By the time they did the two-part episode "Invasion From Outer Space," there was a little bit of a panic at that point. They started jerking it [the show] around and tried to change its tone. I'm afraid if the show had gone on for another year, they would have changed a number of things not to my liking."

"Contrary to popular belief, The Green Hornet wasn't cancelled due to poor ratings. We were winning our time slot. ABC wanted to renew us, but Bill Dozier would not agree unless the show was expanded to one-hour. ABC said no, and so did Bill."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Bud Brewster
Galactic Fleet Admiral (site admin)


Joined: 14 Dec 2013
Posts: 15694
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2022 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

__________________________________________________

Two WONDERFUL posts in a row, Mike. I love 'em both!

The one above made me wonder what would have happened if Batman hadn't been such an instant hit and caused the public to think The Green Hornet was supposed to be funny . . . but simply was not. Rolling Eyes

An audience's expectations for a movie or TV series can make all the difference in their response to it. If you expect one thing and get another, it can sabotage your enjoyment.

If The Green Hornet had come first and been successful as an hour-long show (instead of just thirty minutes), would Batman have fizzled because folks thought it was making fun of superhero fans? Confused

Frankly that's exactly what I thought about Batman when it first came out!

_________________
____________
Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Pow
Galactic Ambassador


Joined: 27 Sep 2014
Posts: 2954
Location: New York

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2022 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

STARLOG Interview with Van Williams.

"Bruce didn't realize that he was dealing in a two-dimensional medium and not three-dimensional with his gung fu fight scenes. He wanted to work everything in close with his battles. The other issue was that he was so lightning fast in real life with his movements that the camera could not catch those amazing moves."

"In time, we were able to convince him to both slow down in his moves, and to not work too close in a fight scene. The camera could now capture him beautifully."

"The other problem was that Bruce really disliked having to portray a manservant. So it was challenging for the writers to come up with scenes with him discussing a case with Britt Reid and D.A. Frank Scanlon at Reid's home when he was dressed as servant."

"Doing the Hornet definitely put a big damper on my career. I more or less decided to in the middle of the Green Hornet that I was going to get out of the business. I never liked showbiz, even though I had spent twenty-five years in it. I grew up on my family's ranch in Texas where your word is always good."

"I did around three hundred or four hundred shows over my career, I'm proud of about ten of those performances."

After all is said and done, Van Williams remains stubbornly proud of his time as the Green Hornet.

Sidebar: It's interesting that once upon a time that men or women portraying comic book superheroes often had their careers all but killed off. We live in such a different time regarding the public's outlook of such characters. Now we see epic, feature films and television shows that are superhero based. Yet, for all that, an actor accepting such roles is not doomed anymore to have their career options wither away. We live in an age where an audience can accept an actor as a superhero in one film or TV show, and as entirely normal character in another genre. No one thinks twice about it. And that's wonderful.

It's a great shame that people like Van Williams and George Reeves existed in an era where once you played a superhero — even ones without any super powers — you were no longer taken seriously by producers, directors, and casting people. I'm not sure audiences back then were anymore forgiving either?

I'm grateful that movie studios and networks, as well as audiences, now have grown up and become accepting of actors who perform as superheroes, by allowing them to smoothly move into non-superhero roles. A case where times have changed for the better.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Bud Brewster
Galactic Fleet Admiral (site admin)


Joined: 14 Dec 2013
Posts: 15694
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2022 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

__________________________________________________

That fact the TV series and serials that were made in the 40s and 50 were not done in a manner that allowed adults to take them seriously is the reason actors who appeared in them damaged their reputations.

George Reeves was a fine actor, but Adventures of Superman was a kid's show, plan and simple.

This sad practice was continued for decades, and it didn't change until Stan Lee created intelligent comic books, and Hollywood started making mega-hit movies that lived up to Lee's high standards.

_________________
____________
Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Pow
Galactic Ambassador


Joined: 27 Sep 2014
Posts: 2954
Location: New York

PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2022 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As big a fan as I am of the GH, I do have to wonder if the show really had more stories to tell had the show been renewed for a second season?

While the premise is quite clever by having our superheroes pose as mastermind criminals when they are, in reality, brilliant crimefighters. It remains a narrowly defined premise. In other words, how much variation could you actually bring to such a concept each week over the course of twenty-five episodes?

The Hornet & Kato battle mobsters, period.

Sometimes you can shake it up as they did on the series from time to time. Bring in a serial killer ("Alias the Scarf"), crooked cops ("Bad Bet on a 459 - Silent"), a pyromaniac "The Hornet and the Firefly"), which all helped. Perhaps a second season could have seen Britt & Kato take on a cult, terrorists, white supremacists, a mad bomber. Still, those things get quickly used up and you're back to mobsters.

If Producer William Dozier had been able to get ABC to agree with his wishes that the show would go from being a half-hour to an hour long, they might have been able to create more complex plots, add more characters (suspects) as guest-stars. Britt, Casey, and Kato might have had situations where they could have gone undercover (minus the masks for Britt & Kato), like the agents of the Impossible Missions Force. Espionage and spies could provide fresh story ideas for a time.

How long they could have maintained it all and still keep it interesting though, who can say?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Bud Brewster
Galactic Fleet Admiral (site admin)


Joined: 14 Dec 2013
Posts: 15694
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2022 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

__________________________________________________

I haven't watched the show in ages, so this might be a dumb question, but was The Green Hornet actually considered by the authorities to be a criminals?

If so, what criminal acts were they suspected of committing?

Perhaps the show should have made The Green Hornet and Kato "outlaws" only in the sense that they were vigilantes whose activities were not legally sanctioned — crime fighters who violated the civil rights of the criminals they fought so that they could put a stop the criminal activities.

Fiction is filled with admirable vigilantes who do the "right thing" even when it isn't "legal"! And the viewer would be sympathetic with our superheroes AND the authorities who could not condone the actions of these well-meaning but unauthorized crime fighters.

_________________
____________
Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Pow
Galactic Ambassador


Joined: 27 Sep 2014
Posts: 2954
Location: New York

PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2022 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Making Britt & Kato into outlaw but heroic vigilantes would just turn them into the same formula followed by The Shadow, Batman, the Spider, and many others of that ilk.
What was so imaginative & clever about the Green Hornet & Kato was they essentially operated as secret agents, or undercover law enforcement. Their purpose in posing as deadly criminals was to allow them to cozy up to the real illegal organizations. This allowed them to penetrate into the rackets deeply enough so that they could know what exactly was going on, study it, locate its weaknesses, and take down the criminal enterprise from within.

In order to appear as real criminals they had to be sure not to include many people in their operation. Doing so could have someone inadvertently reveal the true nature of their operation. They would have to also consider what if someone they trusted was somehow forced to spill the beans? What if someone they trusted went bad?

So by having Brit & Kato only include only D.A. Frank Scanlon and secretary Casey Case in their crimefighting activities, they lessened the chances of someone revealing their true intentions. It also meant that the law enforcement agencies could not be privy to their true agenda. That would include far too many individuals who could potentially ruin it by talking when they should not. It also brilliantly set up more danger for Britt & Kato by having them not only tackle vicious mobsters, they had to watch their backs against the very law enforcement people they were attempting to help.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Bud Brewster
Galactic Fleet Admiral (site admin)


Joined: 14 Dec 2013
Posts: 15694
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2022 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

__________________________________________________

I understand. That clarifies things for me. Very Happy

I was just thinking of the fact that even if the authorities know that The Green Hornet is NOT conducting criminal activities of the same sort as actually criminals, the fact that their committing acts which are only legal for official law enforcement officers is, in fact, BREAKING THE LAW!

But now I understand that the criminal element itself must be convinced that The Green Lantern and Kato are NOT vigilantes, for all the reasons you described above.

I suppose, therefore, that the only reason law enforcement officials think The Green Hornet and Kato are criminals is the belief that they're working with the criminal element in some capacity, rather than any actual evidence of a crime which is connect specifically to The Green Hornet.

I guess what got me confused was the way the Batman
TV series changed the traditional nature of Batman, making him someone that the police not only accepted, but even depends on.

As a matter pf fact, the movies treat Spider-Man the same way . . . even though City Hall doesn't have a "Spider Phone" to call Peter Parker when they need held. Laughing

_________________
____________
Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    ALL SCI-FI Forum Index -> Sci-Fi on Television from 1950 to 1969 All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3
Page 3 of 3

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group