Saturday, June 7, 2014

1960s / Silver Age Green Hornet Links

Here's a list of links to my previous posts about The Green Hornet Silver Age comics based on the tv series.
The final Silver Age Green Hornet comic book tale...featuring multiple Hornets, and at least one more Kato...
"Hi-Ho Hornet! Awayyy!"
The Green Hornet takes a page out of his grand-uncle's edition of the Hero Handbook!
The Hornet and Kato battle a tong.

Next, links to my Golden Age comic/radio show posts...including a tale showing how the radio show might have been made into a tv series in the 1940s!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Captain's Library GREEN HORNET "Ring of Terror" Conclusion

When Last We Left MeTV's other Dynamic Duo...
Newspaper publisher Britt Reid discovers an old friend and her scientist father are being forced by gangsters to manufacture a drug that renders people susceptible to orders to perform illegal acts, then forget they did them!
In his alter ego of The Green Hornet, the masked man and his partner, Kato, break into the home of the scientist and his daughter, now serving as the criminals' base of operations!
What The Hornet doesn't know is that Reid's friend has been drugged, armed, and ordered to kill Reid himself!
Written by Paul S Newman (not the actor) and illustrated by Dan Spiegle, this tale followed the format of the first few episodes (playing up the "masked detective" angle, and downplaying the fight sequences) perfectly.
When polls showed that the audience wanted more action, additional fights were written in, playing up Bruce Lee's martial arts skills.
This proved invaluable when, after Lee died in 1973, a pair of compilation films were released during the Kung Fu craze of the mid-1970s... seen in these trailers for the films...
But, because the show only ran one season of 26 episodes, its rarely shown in syndicated reruns, where long-running shows could be aired Monday through Friday without repeating for months.
As a result, most fans under 40 only knew the tv version of The Green Hornet and Kato via their guest appearance on Batman!
Click on pic to really ENLARGE!
(You can read about that now-legendary meeting HERE)
Fans have long clamored for a sequel of some kind.
Almost 50 years later, the tv versions of the characters meet once a new comic mini-series!
...which is currently in comic shops and available as a digital download on Comixology!

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Captain's Library GREEN HORNET "Ring of Terror" Part 2

An anonymous phone tipster alerts newspaper publisher Britt Reid to an upcoming armored car robbery.
As The Green Hornet, Reid and his partner, Kato interrupt the crime and capture the gang, but the leader gets away with the prize...drugs.
Oddly, the armored car guards aided the thieves, but can't remember doing so!
The next day, Reid sees Ellen Neill, an old friend, and recognizes her voice as that of the tipster!
But, before he can ask her, she's hustled home by a surly man she seems terrified of.
1) the armored car robbery occured near Ellen's home.
2) the gang leader quickly that area.
3) Ellen's father is a noted chemist, who hasn't been seen in public for an extended period.
Reid decides further investigation is warranted...
What will happen when The Green Hornet and Kato break in and confront both the gang, and a friend "programmed" to kill Britt Reid...aka The Green Hornet?
Be here tomorrow for the astounding conclusion, PLUS some kool videos, trivia...and news about the return of the 1960s TV Green Hornet to all-new comics!
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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Green Hornet: the TV SuperHero Who WASN'T Based on a Comic Book!

Van Williams as The Green Hornet and Bruce Lee as Kato
On January 12, 1966, Batman debuted on ABC to absolutely astounding ratings!
The whole country went "Bat-Mad"!
Anything and everything comics-oriented sold like crazy!
Radio syndicator Charles Michelson quickly put together a package of old superhero radio shows including The Shadow, Superman (which featured Batman as a guest-star), The Lone Ranger, and The Green Hornet and marketed them to local radio stations (where, in some cases, ratings doubled) as well as issuing them on lp record albums (which sold well).
Cover to one of the 1960s lp albums re-presenting classic radio adventures
Meanwhile, ABC told Batman producer William Dozier they wanted MORE comic/super-hero shows.
Dozier had been listening to the re-issued radio shows and decided The Green Hornet would make a good follow-up to Batman, despite the fact that the last new radio show aired in 1952, and the last new comic (which we presented HERE) was published in 1953!
(Batman had been continually-published since 1939.)
But audience response to the radio show re-runs, especially among adults (who remembered the show) and college students (who were discovering it) was good, so Dozier felt it was worth a try...

Both Dozier and original Hornet creator George Trendle felt the "camp" approach used on Batman would be inappropriate.
Trendle pointed out that doing a "straight" version of his other character, The Lone Ranger, resulted in a long-running tv show and two successful feature films!
So ABC agreed to do it their way...but with some "updating".
Art by Dan Spiegle
The Hornet's mode of transport, Black Beauty, was upgraded from just being a really fast car to a really fast bulletproof car with, among other things, a flying tv camera, knockout gas projectors, and lethal rocket launchers.
The Hornet retained his knockout-gas gun, but added an ultrasonic "Hornet Sting", which quickly became his primary weapon.
The Hornet's costume, as described in the radio show and shown in Golden Age comics included a full-face mask that would've required expensive and time-consuming redubbing whenever the character spoke, so it was modified to be a standard domino mask covering just the upper half of the face (see pic at top of page).
Since Batman worked with a police comissioner, The Hornet's police comissioner liaison became District Attorney Frank Scanlon (who, unlike Batman's Comissioner Gordon, knew The Hornet's secret identity and that he wasn't the criminal he pretended to be.)
In a compromise, there were no costumed super-villains, but the gangsters could use cutting-edge technology and unique weapons, like a radio-controlled leopard or a laser gun.
Dozier himself promoted the differences between the two shows in a promo shown only to tv station owners (note the two different Hornet logos that weren't used in the final version)...

(Note: near the end of the show's run, there was an attempt to introduce more flamboyant enemies including a cloaked assassin and a mad scientist pretending to be an alien invader.)

ABC also insisted that "Flight of the Bumblebee" was too dated to be used as the show's theme. Dozier brought in jazz musician Billy May, who had previoiusly done music for tv shows like Naked City, to compose an updated version.
With trumpeter Al Hirt performing, the new theme became the show's signature element, recognizable almost 50 years later...

The Green Hornet debuted on September 9th, 1966 to solid (but not Batman-level) ratings.
On-set photo from the Batman episode "Batman's Satisfaction"
Despite several promotional stunts, including an appearance on Batman as a "visiting hero" (even though everyone, including Batman, thought the Hornet was a villain), the show was cancelled after only one year.
It found a new home in reruns, which are must-see viewing, since the series is not available on DVD/BluRay!
You can see it on MeTV every Saturday morning at 8am, Eastern time.

Ironically, since there wasn't a Green Hornet comic book at the time, a new series (based on the TV show) from Gold Key (the premier publisher of Silver Age movie/tv tie-in comics) hit newsstands in late 1966.
It only lasted three issues and has never been reprinted.
From 1966, here's The Green Hornet's first comic appearance in 13 years...
Can The Green Hornet figure out how the gangsters are pulling off these robberies with the aid of the victims?
And, what's the connection between his old friend and the criminals?
This post is so full of stuff, we couldn't fit the whole story in, so...
(Oops, wrong show!)

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