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The Green Hornet
(1966-1967 TV Series)
Green Hornet & Kato

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About the Show
Green Hornet Episode Guide

Green Hornet Gallery: Linda Gaye Scott as Vama
Green Hornet Gallery: Van Williams as Green Hornet
Green Hornet Gallery: Wende Wagner as Ms. Lenore "Casey" Case
Green Hornet Guest Stars
Green Hornet Interview: Van Williams (November 2006)

The Green Hornet (1966-1967):  This show is AWESOME!  The special effects and action sequences in this show is quite unexpected and impressive for being made in 1966, when most TV shows were real tame in that regard.  Although it comes from the producers of the "Batman" TV show of the same time, this is almost exactly its opposite.  This series was meant to be more serious and no narrator (except for the opening).  There is no origin given for Green Hornet and Kato.  The shows move quite quickly as they are only a half-hour.  Since the shows are so short, we don't see any character development.  The characters are established, it's just that we don't get a close look at the relationships between the characters.  I actually like this concept.  Still, a full hour would have been fantastic, using the same formula.  Plus, there is no continuity from show to show.  Every episode is a show within itself with no ongoing storylines, unless it's a two-parter.  This show is an actioner with interesting characters and an intriguing premise.  The narrator in the introduction of every episode tells us who the Green Hornet is and what he does and pretty much sets up the show for us.  Then it goes into some interesting theme music by the popular trumpeter Al Hirt.  It actually SOUNDS like hornets!  Really moody and eerie theme music.

    Van Williams is great as the Green Hornet.  He actually LOOKS like he can beat somebody up, plus he's a cool-looking guy, anyway.  And he acts well, too.  He has the polite-but-no-nonsense demeanor one would expect of this character.  In addition, his Green Hornet is very convincing when he talks trash to the criminals.  Before this, he was one of the stars of TVs "Surfside 6" from 1960-1962, and had a number of successful film appearances to his credit.  He even had a spot on one of my favorite shows, "The Beverly Hillbillies".  And of course he was in two episodes of "Batman" as the Green Hornet and the voice of the U.S. President in the 1966 "Batman" movie.  Perhaps most interesting is a role he had in Bruce Lee's biography film "Dragon:  The Bruce Lee Story" in 1993 where he played the Green Hornet Director and interacted with Forry Smith who played Van Williams playing the Green Hornet.  That had to be a bit odd for Van to do, but it is so entertaining to watch!  Mostly, I just think he's a very good action actor and really made the show work.

    Bruce Lee as Kato is another strong plus for this show.  Just the look of him and the way he carries himself makes him an instantly likeable presence.  And his martial arts scenes along with all the other stuff he does to help the Hornet really adds a lot to this show.  I don't think they could ever make a Green Hornet show without Kato.  In real life, Van Williams actually pushed for Bruce Lee to have more screen time than he was getting.  If you notice in the earlier episodes, you don't see Kato's face close-up unless he has the mask on.  It's noticeable.  With all the anti-Asian sentiment that was going on at this time with the Vietnam War and old-school social attitudes, the powers-that-be tried to downplay Kato's importance.  But when everyone saw what Bruce could do, and very well, they started giving him more close-ups and screen time.  In China, this show was actually called "The Kato Show".  Unfortunately, Bruce Lee is probably best known for his mysterious death on July 20, 1973.  He was 32 years old.  It's been rumored by many the true cause of his death, but cerebral edema is what went down officially.  And just when his star was on the rise with his final, but most popular film "Enter the Dragon" in 1973, a landmark in martial arts cinema.

    Wende Wagner is another wonderful highlight for the series.  Besides Kato and District Attorney Frank P. Scanlon, secretary Lenore "Casey" Case (Wagner) was the only one who knew millionaire newspaper publisher Britt Reid was in fact the Green Hornet.  Ms. Wagner had a pretty face and a good body, but besides those things she really was a fine actress for this part.  Her secretary had a bit more importance than most secretary roles on television.  She collaborated information with Britt to help him as the Green Hornet.  We also see a hint of puppy love between the two characters, although no real big, torrid romance is ever shown.  I kind of like that.  Too many shows play the serious romance card.  This show wasn't given that drama, basically because it was too short.  A half-hour barely gives time for an action-packed story, let alone romance.  Secretary Case is quite savvy and comes off being very bright.  Her inclusion in this show makes it even more interesting than if it were just Britt, Kato, and Scanlon solving crimes.  Sadly, Wende Wagner died on February 26, 1997 of cancer.  She was 55 years old.

    Frank P. Scanlon was played by Walter Brooke.  I liked this character.  Too often in shows we see crooked DAs.  Scanlon was actually an honest District Attorney who helped out the Hornet with giving him information and keeping his identity a secret.  Above all else, Scanlon was likeable and even-tempered.  Walter Brooke died on August 20, 1986 of emphysema.  He was 71 years old.  An interesting fact about Mr. Brooke is that he knew everything about Thomas Jefferson.  In addition, he was quite a popular actor in many film and TV appearances, including a well-received performance in the 1967 film "The Graduate" where he gives a line about plastics.

    Last, but not least, is nosy, middle-aged reporter Mike Axford played by Lloyd Gough.  His character was something like you'd see Red Buttons or similar actors play:  old, jumpy, and irritable.  This was the only main character of the series that DID NOT know Britt Reid was the Green Hornet.  And it's a good thing, because Axford was a pain in the butt!  He believed, like the cops, that the Green Hornet was a criminal.  So everytime he reported something, he suspicioned the Green Hornet's involvement.  Mike was a good guy, just a little in the dark about the Green Hornet and definitely stubborn on his views about him.  What was funny is that Mike was always getting sprayed in the face by Hornet's green knockout gas.  Mr. Gough died on July 23, 1984 of an aortic aneurism.  He was 77 years old.

    And of all the stars, we can't forget the non-human star of the show, "The Black Beauty".  This was the name of Green Hornet's car:  an arsenal on wheels!  The car will eventually be spotlighted on this site so check back soon.