Superhero Sunday: ‘The Green Hornet’

"The Green Hornet" on ABC-TV.

You can say that wearing a mask and fighting crime with a faithful, loyal sidekick/friend by your side is part of a family business – especially if you are related to the Lone Ranger, who dispensed justice in the Old West.  On January 31, 1936, a new champion of justice made a buzz on WXYZ Detroit radio in the form of the Green Hornet.

The alter-ego of crusading newspaper publisher Britt Reid, the Hornet is the great-nephew of John Reid/Lone Ranger.  In order to protect the law, the Green Hornet had to break the law by posing as a master crook: giving him the perfect opportunity to infiltrate criminal enterprises and smash them from the inside.  With the help of Kato, a kung-fu expert and skilled driver of their rolling arsenal known as the Black Beauty, the Hornet faces one challenge after another in protecting the rights and lives of decent citizens: putting the sting on racketeers and political corruption.  

The Green Hornet spawned two film serials in 1940 and 1941, and a 2011 big-screen adaptation with Seth Rogen not only in the title role, but he also co-wrote the screenplay.  Co-starring Jay Chou as Kato and Cameron Diaz as Lenore Case, the action-comedy film helped created the buzz that 2011 would be the year of superheroes.  

But it was the ABC television series with Van Williams that made the most buzz thanks to martial arts superstar Bruce Lee as Kato.  Though it lasted one season (1966-67), The Green Hornet remains legendary among fellow masked crime-fighters of ABC: BatmanZorro, and The Lone Ranger.  The series continues to earn a devoted fan following with reruns that can be seen on cable network Heroes & Icons (H&I).

Video courtesy: ABC-TV

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