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Green Hornet, The

Entry updated 27 April 2018. Tagged: Film, TV.

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1. US tv series (1966-1967). Greenway Productions/20th Century Fox Television for ABC-TV. Characters created by George W Trendle, Fran Striker for the 1936 Radio drama version. Executive Producer: Charles B Fitzsimons. Producers: Richard M Bluel, Stanley Shpetner. Directors included William Beaudine, James Komack, Leslie H Martinson. Writers included Lorenzo Semple Jr, Paul Dubov, Sheldon Stark. Cast includes Walter Brooke, Lloyd Gough (Mike Axford), Bruce Lee, Wende Wagner and Van Williams. Narrator William Dozier. 26 30-minute episodes. Colour.

Wealthy newspaper publisher Britt Reid (Williams) is secretly The Green Hornet who fights crime along with his valet/martial artist friend Kato (Lee), although thought to be criminals themselves by the police. Secretary Lenore "Casey" Case (Wagner), and District Attorney Frank Scanlon (Brooke) are the only ones who knew the truth. The pair's customized automobile, the Black Beauty, is a 1966 Imperial Crown sedan equipped with Rocket launchers, and a flying device called the scanner stored in the front hood; the Hornet could observe the entire city with the latter Machine, which would then return to the car. The vehicle is stored on a rotating upside-down platform in Reid's garage which normally displays his personal car. The pair come and go via hidden routes through an adjacent building, presumably also owned by Reid. The sf elements were slight as the producers wished the team to fight realistic criminals. Some of the latter nevertheless use sf gadgetry including laser cannon (see Ray Guns) and mind control machines; the Hornet himself has a multi-purpose ultrasonic device called the Hornet's Sting that opens doors (anticipating the sonic screwdriver introduced to Doctor Who in 1968) and starts fires. The final two-part episode features a hoax Alien Invasion as part of an effort to steal a nuclear weapon.

Unlike Batman (1966-1968), The Green Hornet was played straightforwardly, although as a possible in-joke the Batman series was twice seen showing on Reid's television. The pair served as foils for Batman and Robin after their own series was cancelled. Novel spinoffs include The Green Hornet: The Case of the Disappearing Doctor (1966) by Brandon Keith and The Green Hornet in the Infernal Light (1966) by Richard Wormser writing as by Ed Friend. [GSt]

2. Film (2011). Directed by Michel Gondry. Written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg based on characters created by George W Trendle and Fran Striker. Cast includes Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, David Harbour and Seth Rogen. 119 minutes. Colour.

This unsuccessful feature film version reboots the familiar characters Britt Reid/The Green Hornet (Rogen), Kato (Chou), Lenore (Diaz) and DA Scanlon (Harbour) in an adventure whose villain is a mundane drug baron and whose Technothriller elements are essentially confined to the Black Beauty and other items of established Green Hornet gadgetry. [DRL]


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