Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


THE GREEN HORNET (ABC TV series/1966).

Due to the success of the TV show Batman, ABC hoped lightning would strike twice with another super-hero show, Green Hornet. It was a good idea to play the show straight [unlike the campy Batman) but a bad idea to showcase a fairly obscure super-hero like the Hornet. The character had actually been around since the forties, appearing in two cliffhanger serials and in some comics. The Hornet was newspaper publisher Britt Reid (Van Williams) and only a few people knew of his secret identity as a costumed crime fighter. One of these was his partner Kato (Bruce Lee), whereas his top reporter Mike Axford (Lloyd Gough) didn't know -- and absolutely hated the Green Hornet, who was seen as a criminal by everyone but the DA (who also knew of Reid's dual identity). Wende Wagner played Reid's secretary-assistant Casey. The Hornet and Kato tooled around in a car they called Black Beauty.

Alas, the show tried too hard to be non-campy, and was far too bland. None of the episodes stand out as being especially exceptional, although there were some sporadically intriguing moments such as when there was a Green Hornet impostor and an alleged invasion from outer space. Williams and Lee were fine in their parts, as was Gough as the eternally exasperated Axford. With some better, more dynamic scripts and antagonists, The Green Hornet might have lasted more than one season. It's interesting that second banana Lee went on to super-stardom while tall dark and handsome Williams simply faded away into comparative obscurity. [Fear not for Williams, however, he did very well as a businessman].

Verdict: Watch Honey West instead. **.

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