Recap ~ Green Hornet,"The Preying Mantis"


Yay!! Favorite TV Show Episode Blogathon is here! Hosted by Terence Towles Canote of A Shroud of Thoughts, this is an awesome blogathon that covers classic television from the 1950's to 1990's. Check out the link because there are so many awesome posts covering classic shows we all loved and watched!


I’m excited to post a recap of an episode from The Green Hornet, a 1960's TV show starring Van Williams and Bruce Lee (yes THAT Bruce Lee!!) about a superhero duo who save the world by pretending to be a crime boss team that deals with the underworld.

GREEN HORNET, Episode: THE PREYING MANTIS


Britt Reed, perhaps pondering how everyone gets him number

The episode starts out with an Unnamed Guy in a telephone booth making a call to Britt Reed. The Guy tells Britt that he has big news about protection rackets that he wants to give to the Sentinel, the newspaper that Britt Reed runs. Britt relays the info to Kato and they head out.


Four dangerous gang members show up at the Golden Lotus. The Guy confronts Lo Sing, the gang leader, telling him to get lost. Lo Sing doesn't take that well and beats the poor Guy up.



Lo Sing and his evil minions don ski masks and threaten the Golden Lotus owner for "protection" money. The owner bravely resists but is knocked unconscious. The gang destroy the place and frighten a girl dressed in a great shiny gold '60s dress, who cradles her poor uncle lying comatose.


Cue intro with exciting narration while a rearrangement of "The Flight of the Bumblebee" plays!

 "Another challenge for the Green Hornet, his aide Kato, and their rolling arsensal the Black Beauty. On police records a wanted criminal, the Green Hornet is really Britt Reed: owner, publisher of the Daily Sentinel. His dual identity known only to his secretary and to the district attornery. And now to protect the rights and lives of decent citizens rides the Green Hornet!!"

Lo Sing drops a black mask near the Guy still lying unconscious on the street. They run when GH and Kato show up.


Kato chases after the gang but a member jumps him from behind and knocks him into a trash can! Whoa, you can't do this to Kato, dude!!


The Gold Dress Girl, Mary, sees the mysterious Guy, Jimmy, and thinks he's one of the gang members (because of the mask near him). Jimmy gets a little emotional and runs off when he hears the sirens.

looking dapper, gentlemen
At Reed's house, Britt, Kato and the district attorney listen to a news bulletin warning about an exhortation racket that is now inflicting Chinese-Americans. Kato and Britt clue the attorney on what's going on and their search for Jimmy, who's now on the run, before he's silenced forever. The attorney promises to get the police on the search as well.


Kato heads out to learn if Mary Chang has any info, but before he leaves he drops a hint about his thirst for a little Kung Fu revenge.

"You know, if we ever meet up with that masked Kung Fu man again; I want him." - Kato

"You got him." - Britt

which is faster: the gun or the hand?
Lo Sing gives his goons a little "preying mantis" style Kung Fu lesson when they're interrupted by three Men in Suits. Their leader, Mr. Slate, is ticked that Lo Sing is injuring people when he wants those victims' money, not dead. Uh-oh, Lo Sing threatens to use his kung fu skills to kill Slate but Slate's goons got guns aimed at him. Not looking so good, Lo Sing. Slate orders him to find Jimmy before it's too late.


Mike Axford, a Daily Sentinel reporter, brings news to Reed about Duke Slate, protection racketeer master, leaving a local Chinese restaurant Mike often haunts.



 Kato gets a call from Mary, who is for some reason in a dark room (because she's... safer?), who tells them Jimmy told her he's at a local Buddhist temple. However, Mary's certain someone's watching her so Britt tells Mary that he'll send his secretary to take her somewhere safer. Wait, he's sending his secretary to protect her from a gang? Lol. Um, okay. Of course, as soon as Mary sets down the phone the masked gang members rush in and snatch her away.


Kato and Green Hornet show up at the temple and find Jimmy. He gets scared, falls and is unconscious. Kato easily throws Jimmy over his shoulders and they carry him off.

Meanwhile, Secretrey Miss Case shows up to find Mary gone. She calls Britt, who has a phone in his car. They're know they're at a stalemate - the gang has Mary and obviously Jimmy won't talk if they try to harm her.



the "bro, please don't kill him yet" pat
Lo Sing and Mr. Slate are having a nice evening in when the doorbell rings. Kato busts in, fists flying. Kato recognizes Lo Sing and looks ready to take him on. But GH's "not now" calms him for a bit. GH starts playing his deceptive "bad guy" game, telling Slate that he knows he has Mary, and that GH has Jimmy. GH wants $25,000 bucks in exchange for giving Jimmy to Slate. He also wants Mary Chang, so that he can ransom her to her uncle.



Lo Sing, always a teensy-bit high-strung, tells GH to get lost. Kato puts up a defense Kung Fu stance, ready for if and when Lo Sing goes crackers and attacks. Slate is at his last straw and tells Lo Sing to shut up himself. Kato gives a hilariously cocky smile that is too adorable for words. He's totally loving this.


They agree to meet at the temple. One of Slate's goons tries to sneak up on GH, but he slugs him one easy. Kato and GH leave.



The Black Beauty arrives at the temple. Slate are waiting to shoot them as they enter but GH puts the surprise on them, using his Hornet's Sting, a gadget that uses ultrasonic waves, to blow the gun up. GH forces them inside the temple with Kato leading Jimmy in the front.


Looking Boss as usual
 Lo Sing and his gang are waiting in the temple. Jimmy speaks to them in Chinese (I’m assuming Cantonese) and Kato translate for GH (and viewers, hehe): Jimmy is urging the other Tong members to throw Lo Sing out and be honorable dudes again. They don't respond though. Jimmy rushes over to Mary's side when he sees her.




GH probes Lo Sing's arrogance, demanding the money and Mary as per the deal. But Lo Sing didn't bring the money. His men start to encircle GH and Kato. Kato immediately starts throwing shuriken-like darts, hitting several of the men. He tries to hit Lo Sing but he blocks it with an iron fan. GH starts beating up baddies. Kato's kicking butt and taking names, taking down four guys in a row!



There's a moment of calm as Slate and GH order Lo Sing around, clearly making him angrier. Lo Sing wants to know how GH plans to stop him. GH and Kato exchange knowing glances and Kato gives Lo Sing an intense look. Oh, it's ON! They're offering a Kung Fu duel; winner takes all. Lo Sing hesitates at a duel but GH goads him on, attacking his ego in front of his men.




Lo Sing breaks. He's ready to duel! Kato and Lo Sing approach and slowly circle, sizing each other up. They both get a few hits in. Kato finally runs in and hits hard, multiple strikes to Lo Sing's core. Lo Sing rips Kato's hat off, giving him a slight cut. Lo Sing stands for a few seconds and then falls, beaten.


GH points out Kato's wound, who gives a little shrug. Jimmy takes over from here telling the Tong members that Lo Sing's done for, it's now time to be good guys. You tell'm Jimmy.


Finally, we end with Britt, Miss Case, and Mike eating with Mary and her uncle at the Golden Lotus restaurant. It ends on an amusing moment as Britt shows no interest on a lead on Green Hornet that has Sentinel reporter Mike rushing out.



Such a fun, classic episode! There’s really so much to appreciate here from the unique superhero story that Green Hornet provides with GH and Kato, atypical heroes who pose as “villains”. The idea of two heroes playing baddies while really setting up traps on the real baddies is so cool. The show does a great job of balancing the lighthearted ‘60s feel with a seriousness that could’ve easily been just utterly campy and crazy (…like the ‘60s Batman series that was running at the same time, which I do like, just for waaay different reasons, lol).

Van Williams is extremely likable as the mega-rich Britt Reed, who is a fake villain by night to keep the city streets safe. I definitely like that so many people are in on his secret: his friend, the D.A., his secretary Miss Case, and of course sidekick Kato.

source: giphy
Though Bruce Lee had done some film roles as a child/teen back in Hong Kong, this was his first acting role in the U.S. Today, it’s still an iconic role that everyone correlates to the great martial arts expert and actor Bruce Lee. Watching Lee at his “earliest” on screen really shows his classic charismatic style was still there; from his high kicks to his cocky grin. This was before he’d done any of his films like Enter the Dragon; and you can really see the exciting potential he had that made him a huge star in Hong Kong and in the U.S. years later. For any Bruce Lee fans, this show is a must see.

The Green Hornet is truly an early foreshadowing of the coming popularity of martial arts in media in the U.S. Before action stars like Lee (and later on Jackie Chan), fight scenes were mainly John Wayne style battles of a few stiff punches and maybe someone getting hit by a chair. The Green Hornet was really a sign of the changing times as fighting choreography started branching out and bringing a more stylistic and intense art to the screen.

Really, the Green Hornet show is a lot of fun just for itself. William Dozier is cheesy memorable as the narrator's voice (he also narrated the campy Batman 1960s TV series). The costumes are fun and the episodic plots are entertaining and exciting with a new villain to catch each time. Sadly, the show only lasted one season. It had so much potential really, as Van Williams admitted in interviews later on that he and the other cast members wanted to explore the show further by developing the romance between Reed and Miss Case and giving Lee a much bigger role in the show. However, the ratings dictated that the show be canceled. Still, this is a gem of classic ‘60s shows and early live action superhero TV. Definitely worth looking up!!

Comments

  1. Love the way you describe Lo Sing as a "teensy bit high strung".

    I wish this show had lasted longer. I thought it was such fun.

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    1. I know! I would've loved it if it had been at least a couple seasons! ;)

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  2. In my pop-culture ignorance, I had never even heard of this show until a few months ago, when someone on Twitter started doing "Live Tweets" of it on Friday nights. I was surprised by the excellent quality of it -- far less tongue-in-cheek than "Batman," and all the better for it. You did a great job of summarizing this episode's (and series') virtues!

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    1. It's becoming more and more obscure. Sadly, a lot of people know that Bruce Lee was in it but have never seen any of it. Definitely GH is a lot less "tongue-in-cheek" hehe, and I agree; much better for it. Thanks! I had a lot of fun writing this up. :D

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  3. The Green Hornet was one of my favourite shows as a kid (well, actually it is still is). It is such a fun show and it was always so well done. This episode stands out for me because for a change Kato faces another master of kung fu instead of the usual thugs with everyday fisticuffs! The duel between Lo Sing and Kato is one of the heights of the whole series. I do wish The Green Hornet had run several more seasons! Anyway, thanks for the fine post and for participating in the blogathon!

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    1. So cool that you grew up watching this! It really is such a fun, well-done show. I definitely think of this episode as Kato's episode to shine. Thanks for hosting the blogathon!!

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  4. Oh just a teensy bit high strung, right?
    I have only seen a few episodes of this show, but it is such fun!
    -Summer Serendipitous Anachronisms

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    1. Lo Sing was definitely a character, lol.
      It really is a fun show. Glad you enjoyed it. :D

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