Friday, November 18, 2016

Captain's Theatre THE GREEN HORNET "Preying Mantis"

Did you know The Green Hornet was promoted as "The Kato Show" in Hong Kong?
The spotlight is on Kato, as he and The Green Hornet battle a normally-benevolent Chinese secret society whose younger members are extorting "protection" money from helpless Chinatown business owners.
In addition, the society (or "tong") is being secretly manipulated by white gangsters using one of the tong members, Low Sing, as a cats-paw.
The Hornet wants to end the protection racket by removing Low Sing from his position of power by exposing the gangsters' influence on him.
Side Notes: When people mention The Green Hornet tv series, this is the episode they usually refer to.
It was the featured episode (due to it's emphasis on Chinese martial arts) in a compilation movie released theatrically shortly after Bruce Lee died.

This is the ep for Bruce Lee fans as he finally gets to strut his stuff in solo combat against multiple foes!
Lee choreographed the fights, including the one-on-one finale with Low Sing.
Rumor has it that most of the tong members participating in the climactic fight scene were students from Lee's dojo.

It's the only episode where Kato is defeated in hand-to-hand combat as a masked Low Sing attacks him from behind early in the ep.

Besides blasting a door and a tommy-gun with it, The Hornet uses the Hornet Sting extended to full-length as a fighting staff several times in this episode

There are things in this ep that beg the question; what's Kato's ethnicity in the tv series?
On the radio show he's said to be "Oriental", which became Filipino after World War II began.
In the two 1940s movie serials, he was Korean.
In the 1980s NOW Comics (which took the various Green Hornets and made them into a family legacy much like The Phantom) and the current Dynamite series, he's Japanese.
In this episode, he's familiar with Chinatown and many of it's residents, especially the lovely Mary Chang.
He speaks Chinese, and translates conversations between tong members for the Hornet's benefit.
Plus, he's well aware of social conventions and procedures of the tong itself.
Of course, he's well-versed in the Chinese martial art of gung-fu.
Is he Chinese? It's never specifically stated.

Curiously, at the end of the episode, when Britt Reid, Lenore Case, Mike Axford and the previously-blackmailed businessmen celebrate over dinner at one of the businessmen's restaurant, Kato is nowhere to be seen!

Weird Trivia: the toy company that resurrected the 1960s Captain Action action figure line 20 years ago with both a reissued Green Hornet costume and a never-before done Kato costume was called "Playing Mantis"!
Here's the tenth episode aired on November 18th, 1966..."The Preying Mantis".
And here's a bonus: the feature film combining this episode plus several others!
Next Week:
The Green Hornet, who "hunts the biggest of all game" (as his radio show opening said) finds himself being stalked!
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