The Green Hornet

The Green Hornet


caption = Van Williams as the Green Hornet in the 1960s TV series.
character_name =The Green Hornet
publisher =
debut = American old-time radio, January 31, 1936
creators =George W. Trendle and Fran Striker
alter_ego =Britt Reid
Base of operations =
alliances =
powers=Genius-level intelligence
Master detective
Martial arts master|

The Green Hornet (also referred to as simply Green Hornet) is a masked fictional crime fighter. Originally created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker for an American old-time radio program in the 1930s, the character has appeared in other media as well, including film serials in the 1940s, a network television program in the 1960s, and multiple comic book series from the 1940s to the 1990s. Though various incarnations sometimes change details, in most incarnations the Green Hornet is Britt Reid, a newspaper publisher by day who by night goes out in his masked "Green Hornet" identity to fight crime as a vigilante, accompanied by his similarly masked Asian manservant Kato and driving a car, equipped with advanced technology, called "Black Beauty". The Green Hornet is often portrayed as a fair-to-above average hand-to-hand combatant and is often armed with a gun that sprays knock-out gas (an electric stun weapon called the "hornet's sting" was added to his arsenal in the TV series).

Originally, the show was to be called "The Hornet", but the name was changed to "The Green Hornet" so that it could be more easily trademarked. The color was chosen because green hornets were reputed to be the angriest.

One relatively minor aspect of the character which tends to be given limited exposure in the actual productions is his blood relationship to The Lone Ranger, another character created by Striker. The Lone Ranger's nephew was Dan Reid. In the Green Hornet radio shows, the Hornet's father was likewise named Dan Reid, making the hero the Ranger's grand-nephew.

The Western property was sold to another company in the 1950s, a legal complication that resulted in the identity of the Masked Rider of the Plains being obscured when it has been dealt with at all in Green Hornet depictions (though a comic book from NOW Comics later displayed the Hornet's living room as being decorated with a painting of a man dressed very similarly to the Lone Ranger; the radio series had expressly indicated the presence of such a portrait there).

During World War II, the radio show's title was used as a codename for SIGSALY, secret encryption equipment used in the war. "The Green Hornet" also became a popular nickname for General George S. Patton, possibly because of the speed with which he re-routed the Third Army to relieve the 101st Airborne Division at the Battle of the BulgeFact|date=May 2007, or possibly due to the unique and attention-getting uniform that he proposed for tank crews, which featured a gold-painted football helmet. Supposedly, while Patton was testing it after development (which he funded out of his own pocket), one Army trooper said "Look! It's the Green Hornet!" and the name followed Patton for yearsFact|date=May 2007.

Radio series

The character premiered in "The Green Hornet", an American radio program that ran on WXYZ (a local Detroit station), the Mutual Broadcasting System and the network known through its succession of various owners as NBC Blue, the Blue Network and the ABC Network from January 31, 1936 to December 5, 1952.

The series detailed the adventures of Britt Reid, debonair newspaper publisher by day, crime-fighting masked hero at night:

:"With his faithful valet Kato, Britt Reid, daring young publisher, matches wits with the Underworld, risking his life so that criminal and racketeers within the law may feel its weight by the sting of the Green Hornet!"

During World War II, this was changed to:

:"... matches wits with racketeers and saboteurs, risking his life so that criminals and enemy spies will feel the weight of the law by the sting of the Green Hornet!"

After the revving of the Black Beauty motor, the announcer would then say:

:"Ride with Britt Reid in the thrilling adventure " [episode title] "! The Green Hornet strikes again!"

When the series first began in 1936, this was originally:

:"Ride with Britt Reid as he races toward another thrilling adventure! The Green Hornet strikes again!"

and after the thrumming of the hornet sound, Britt Reid would then call out:

:"Hurry, Kato! Here's where we smash a " [type of racket, such as graft, political, union, etc.] " racket!"

The vigilante nature of his operation quickly resulted in his being declared an outlaw himself, and Britt Reid decided to play to it. The Green Hornet became thought of as one of his city's biggest criminals, allowing him to walk into suspected racketeers' offices and ply them for information, or even demand a cut of their profits.

He would be accompanied by his similarly masked but unnamed chauffeur/bodyguard/enforcer, who was also Reid's valet, Kato, initially described as Japanese, and eventually as Filipino. A widespread urban legend has been the claim that the show's writers switched from one nationality to the other immediately after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, but the first disappeared well before direct U.S. involvement in the war, and the latter was not initially given until much later, with nothing more specific than "Oriental" being said in the interim.

Specifically, in and up to 1939, in the series' opening narration, Kato was called Britt Reid's "Japanese valet". From 1940 to '45 he was Reid's "faithful valet", and in 1946 he became his "Filipino valet". When the characters were used in the first of a pair of movie serials, the politically perceptive producers of 1939 had Kato's nationality given as Korean.


The radio show used Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee" as its theme music, blended with a hornet buzz created on a theremin, and "The Infernal Dance of King Koshchei" from Igor Stravinsky's "The Firebird", usually used after this announced part:

:"Stepping through a secret panel in the rear of the closet in his bedroom, Britt Reid and Kato went along a narrow passageway built within the walls of the apartment itself. This passage led to an adjoining building which fronted on a dark side street. Though supposedly abandoned, this building served as the hiding place for the sleek, super-powered "Black Beauty", streamlined car of The Green Hornet." [Sound of Reid and Kato getting into car] "Britt Reid pressed a button." [Sound of car starting] "The great car roared into life." [Sound of revving engine] "A section of the wall in front raised automatically, then closed as the gleaming "Black Beauty" sped into the darkness." [Sound of engine roaring and car driving away]

Other famous classical works used as incidental music for the series included Hector Berlioz's "Symphonie fantastique". Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique Symphony", Ludwig van Beethoven's "Pastoral Symphony", Paul Dukas' "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", Modest Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain" and the "Overture" to Richard Wagner's "The Flying Dutchman".

The Lone Ranger

Britt Reid is a blood relative of The Lone Ranger. The character of Dan Reid, who appeared on the Lone Ranger program as the Masked Man's nephew, was also featured on the Green Hornet as Britt Reid's father, making the Green Hornet the grand-nephew of the Lone Ranger.

Confirming this was the November 11, 1947 radio show episode "Too Hot to Handle": After his secret identity was uncovered in a previous episode, "Exposed" (broadcast October 28, 1947), by Linda Travers, a novice reporter secretly hired by Britt's father to check up on him, Britt told his father Dan that he was the masked Green Hornet. After his initial shock and anger, Dan Reid referred to a "pioneer ancestor" of Britt's that he himself had rode alongside with in Texas, a man who rode a horse and acted as a vigilante, and expressed his pride in and love for his son. As he explained this, the Lone Ranger theme briefly played in the background. [radio episode "Too Hot to Handle," "The Green Hornet", November 11, 1947, ABC radio network]


The Green Hornet was played by:

*Al Hodge (who later went on to play television's Captain Video) (1936-1943)
*Donovan Faust (1943-1944)
*Robert Hall (1944-1947)
*Jack McCarthy (1947-1952).

The role of Kato was originated by Raymond Hayashi but handled through most of the run by Roland Parker, who also voiced "The Newsboy" at the conclusion of each episode who hawked the "Extra" edition of "The Sentinel" that carried the story of the weekly racket or spy ring being smashed, concluding with:

:"Read all about it! Green Hornet still at large! Sentinel Ex-tree, paper!"

Mickey Tolan was the radio series' final Kato.

Jim Jewell directed the series until 1938. Jewell's sister, Lee Allman (Lenore Jewell Allman) wanted to play a part in a radio series at WXYZ so Jim had her written into "The Green Hornet". She was the only actress to play Lenore Case, Britt Reid's secretary, during the entire run of the series.

Other characters

Lenore Case, known as "Casey", was aware of her boss' double life, but only in the later years of the run. Similarly, another confidant, Police Commissioner James Higgins, did not come into existence until near the end of the series; he was introduced in the previously mentioned episode "Too Hot to Handle" as an old friend of Dan Reid's who was being blackmailed and who was rescued by the Green Hornet. Shortly thereafter, either Dan Reid or Britt himself confided the Hornet's secret identity to Higgins.

Other major characters in the radio series included:

* Mike Axford (originated by Jim Irwin, then played for most of the series by Gil Shea), a bombastic former policeman who originally had been hired by Britt Reid's father as a bodyguard for Britt, but who drifted into becoming a reporter for "The Daily Sentinel" by virtue of his contacts at Police Headquarters (especially his best friend Sergeant Burke, known usually as "Sarge"). He was the most dedicated pursuer of the Green Hornet (while expressing his admiration for the Hornet's ability to both smash criminals and elude the authorities). He was known for his pet phrases "Holy Crow!" and "Sufferin' Snakes!" and his usual parting phrase "See ya later. So long!"

* Gunnigan, the irascible city editor of "The Daily Sentinel" (whose temper invariably got worse in the presence of Axford or even when Axford was talking to him on the phone).

* Ed Lowery (played by Jack Petruzzi), one of "The Sentinel"'s best reporters, who also admired the Hornet.

* "Clicker" Binny, a female photographer for "The Sentinel" who usually teamed up with Lowery on news assignments and filled in as Britt Reid's secretary on those occasions when Lenore Case was away.

When "Clicker"'s character was written out of the series (in the episode "The Corpse That Wasn't There", broadcast on February 28, 1943, a letter from "Clicker" states that she has become a Second Officer in the WACS stationed in North Africa), her place was filled in 1942 by Gale Manning, whose southern drawl and "dumb southern belle" manner (which didn't fool Britt Reid but which totally irritated both Lowery and Axford, especially when she managed to get information or stories that neither man could) hid both her intelligence and her ability as a top-notch reporter. After Gale's character left the series, Lenore Case herself sometimes joined either Lowery or Axford on assignments.

Two major foes for The Green Hornet were the mysterious "Mr. X", a criminal mastermind introduced in the episode "Walkout for Profit" (broadcast June 21, 1941) who became part of a storyline in 1941 pitting the Hornet against him in an ongoing battle, and Oliver Perry (1945-49), a famous but unscrupulous private detective who repeatedly returned to try and unmask The Green Hornet. Perry suspected Britt Reid of being the Hornet but was never able to prove it, and episodes featuring him always ended with the Hornet either outwitting him or humiliating him, if not both, to the point where he was forced to leave town. In the original introduction of the radio show, the announcer (famed newsman Mike Wallace held the position at some point during the run) proclaimed that the Green Hornet "hunts the biggest of all game ... public enemies that even the G-Men cannot reach," referring to FBI agents. FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover objected to the line's implication that some crime fighting was beyond the abilities of the FBI, and it was changed to "public enemies who try to destroy our America." [Harmon, Jim, "The Great Radio Heroes", Doubleday and Co., 1967, p.224.]

In other media

Film serials

"The Green Hornet" was adapted into two movie serials. Disliking the treatment Republic gave "The Lone Ranger" in two serials, George W. Trendle took his Number 2 property to Universal Pictures, and he was much happier with the results. The first serial, titled simply "The Green Hornet" and released in 1940, starred Gordon Jones in the title role, albeit dubbed by original radio Hornet Al Hodge whenever the hero's mask was in place, while "The Green Hornet Strikes Again!" of 1941 starred Warren Hull. Keye Luke, the famous #1 son of the Charlie Chan films, played Kato in both; also starring in both serials were Anne Nagel as "Lenore Case" and Wade Boteler as "Mike Axford". Even though America wasn't in the war yet, Kato's nationality is changed to Korean. Ford Beebe directed both serials, partnered by Ray Taylor on "The Green Hornet" and John Rawlins on "The Green Hornet Strikes Again", with George H. Plympton and Basil Dickey providing the screenplays for both serials. "The Green Hornet" ran for 13 chapters while "The Green Hornet Strikes Again" had 15 installments, and in both serials the plotlines followed the radio series style, with the Hornet and Kato smashing a different racket in each chapter. In each serial, they were all linked to a single major crime syndicate which was itself put out of business in the finale, while the radio program had the various rackets completely independent of each other.


Infobox Television
show_name = The Green Hornet

caption =
genre = Action-adventure
creator = George W. Trendle
director = William Beaudine
E. Darrell Hallenbeck
Leslie H. Martinson
Allen Reisner
Seymour Robbie
developer =
presenter =
starring = Van Williams (Green Hornet)
Bruce Lee (Kato)
Walter Brooke
Lloyd Gough
Wende Wagner
voices =
narrated = William Dozier
theme_music_composer =
opentheme =
endtheme =
composer = Billy May
country = USA
language = English
num_seasons = 1
num_episodes = 26
list_episodes =
executive_producer = William Dozier
producer = Richard M. Bluel
Stanley Shpetner
supervising_producer =
asst_producer = Jerry Thomas
co-producer =
editor = Fred R. Feitshans Jr.
story_editor =
location =
camera =
runtime = 30 min.
network = ABC
picture_format =
audio_format =
first_run =
first_aired = September 9 1966
last_aired = March 17 1967
preceded_by =
followed_by =
related =
website =
imdb_id = 0059991
tv_com_id = 587
Inspired by the success of the "Batman" series, ABC brought "The Green Hornet" to television in 1966-67, an adaptation which introduced martial arts master Bruce Lee to American audiences as Kato and starred Van Williams as the Green Hornet. Unlike "Batman," the TV version of "The Green Hornet" was played straight, but in spite of the considerable interest in Lee, it was cancelled after only one season. However, the rise of Lee as a major cult movie star ensured continued interest in the property to the point where proposed "Green Hornet" productions typically have the casting of some major martial arts film star as Kato as the first order of business. Lee's popularity in Hong Kong, where he was raised, was such that the show was marketed there as "The Kato Show". As with the later years of the radio version, secretary Lenore "Casey" Case is again aware of Reid's secret, and the Hornet also has a confidante within the law enforcement community, but now he is District Attorney Frank P. Scanlon. This character was changed from the original's police commissioner because the same company's "Batman" TV series was already using a man in that post as the official contact of its hero. William Dozier, executive producer of both programs, wanted no more comparisons between the two than were unavoidable. Michael Axford, the bodyguard turned reporter of the radio series, is now simply the police reporter for "The Daily Sentinel", with no history of having been on the force. The music of "Flight of the Bumblebee" was so strongly identified with "The Green Hornet" that it was retained as the theme, orchestrated by Billy May (who also composed the new background scores) and conducted by Lionel Newman, with trumpet solo by Al Hirt, in a jazz style nicknamed "Green Bee". Years later, this music was featured during a key scene in the 2003 film, "Kill Bill, Vol. 1", which paid tribute to Kato by featuring dozens of swordfighters wearing Kato masks during the film's key fight sequence. The TV series displayed the Hornet's car, "Black Beauty", a 1966 Chrysler Crown Imperial sedan customized by Dean Jeffries. [Van Hise, James, "The Green Hornet Book", Schuster and Schuster Inc., 1988, p. 24 (this chapter describes a conversation with Dean Jeffries)] The Beauty's regular headlight cluster supposedly could be flipped over to reveal what studio publicity described as "infra-green" headlights, but this could not be done on the actual vehicle, and the green filters were always seen deployed. It was revealed in the related comic book spun off from the show that the green headlights used polarized light which in combination with the appropriately polarized vision filter (translucent green sun visor-like panels that the two men pulled down when needed) could provide almost as much illumination as conventional headlights while being extremely dim -- almost invisibly dark -- to someone without the filter. In some early episodes in two-shots with both Van Williams and Bruce Lee inside the Black Beauty, as seen through the windshield, Lee's face was tinted green since he was supposedly seen through a "polarized" filter in the form of a large pull-down, transparent green-gray visor; Williams on the other hand was seen in normal light. The tint is not present in close-ups of Lee alone. Since specification of what this lighting was supposed to indicate never actually made it into any finished episode, the effect was unexplained to the audience and soon discontinued. However, most night shots were actually filmed during the daytime by the day for night technique, giving the illusion of night-time as the actual car headlights were not polarized but just had green lenses, which would render the headlights useless for real night-driving. As the series progressed, the process was executed less effectively, reaching the point where the viewer would need context to understand that some scenes were supposed to be taking place at night, as can be observed in screening the episodes in either original network airing or syndication (production) order. The Black Beauty could fire explosive charges from tubes hidden behind retractable panels below the headlights, which were said to be rockets with explosive warheads; had a concealed-when-not-in-use, drop-down knock-out gas nozzle in the center of the front grille, and could launch a small flying video/audio surveillance device (referred to as the Scanner) through a small rectangular panel in the middle of Black Beauty's trunk lid. Jeffries built two vehicles for the series. One is now in the Petersen Automotive collection in California, and the other is in a private collection in South Carolina. George Barris subsequently made a copy, which has led to some sources incorrectly crediting him with creating the car in the first place. The TV series also employed an audio device from the radio show. In its era, the engines of cheaper cars made a lot of noise; the expensive Pierce-Arrow was reputed to be extremely quiet. So, when the Green Hornet said, "rig for silent running," the hornet-like buzz on the radio show was turned off and the listener was left to imagine that the car really was silent. On TV, the car sounded like a modern car, but the noise was removed from the soundtrack after this command.

(An article in "TV Guide" published during the show's network run made reference to disparaging comments made within the industry about ABC being "the two-car network" because of the Black Beauty and the Batmobile.)

The program currently airs on AmericanLife TV Network.

Comic books

Green Hornet comic books began in December 1940. These, initially titled "Green Hornet Comics", were originally published by Helnit, with the writing attributed to Fran Striker. This series ended after six issues. Several months later, Harvey Comics launched their own version, beginning with issue #7. This series ended in 1949, having run to 47 issues. (The title was changed to "Green Hornet Fights Crime" as of issue #34 and "Green Hornet, Racket Buster" with issue #44). Harvey additionally used the character in the public-service one-shot, "War Victory Comics" in 1942 [ [ "War Victory Comics" at Grand Comic-Book Database] ] , and gave him one adventure in each of two issues of "All-New Comics", #13, where he was also featured on the cover [ [ "All-New Comics" #13 at Grand Comic-Book Database] ] , and #14 [ [ "All-New Comics" #14 at Grand Comic-Book Database] ] , in 1946. Dell Comics published a one-shot with the character, officially entitled "Four Color" #496, in 1953, inexplicably several months after the radio series ceased production [ [ "Four Color" #496 at Grand Comic-Book Database] ] . Both stories therein share titles with late-era radio episodes ("The Freightyard Robberies," June 23, 1949, and " [The] Proof of Treason," October 17, 1952) and might well be adaptations. In 1967 Gold Key Comics produced a series based on the TV show, which reflected that program's short life with a brief three-issue run. Beginning in 1989, NOW Comics produced a line of Green Hornet comics, initially written by Ron Fortier and illustrated by Jeff Butler. Inspired by the aforementioned Lone Ranger connection of radio days, they attempted to reconcile the different versions of the character into a multi-generational epic. There was even a portrait of the Ranger in the Reid family's mansion, though due to the legal separation of the two properties, his mask covered his entire face (as in the Republic serials) and he could not be called by name. [Murray, Will, "Where Hornets Swarm," "Comics Scene" #9, (October) 1989, Starlog Communications International, Inc., p. 41] In this interpretation, the Britt of the radio series had fought crime as the Hornet in the 1930s and 1940s before retiring. In NOW's first story in the line, back-dated to 1945 (in Vol. 1, #1, November 1989), the original Kato (named in the comic series Ikano Kato)'s nationality is revealed to be Japanese, but that because of the political/popular feeling of that time against the Japanese and through Britt Reid's efforts, this had been hidden and officially Kato was "Filipino", thus preventing him from being sent to an American internment camp. A shocking twist to the comic series' modern-day storyline is that Britt Reid is murdered in Vol. 1, #5, March 1990, on the orders of mob-heiress Angela DeVane and at that very moment back in Japan, Ikano Kato suddenly awakens from a deep sleep, telling his wife sorrowfully, "My friend is dead."

The television character was revealed to be the namesake nephew of the original Britt Reid, referred to as "Britt Reid II" in the genealogy, who took up his uncle's mantle after his friend, an up-and-coming political reformer, is assassinated. In the comic, his nephew, Paul Reid, a concert pianist, takes on the role of the Hornet after his older brother Alan is killed on his very first mission and is assisted by a new, female Kato trained by Ikano Kato.

The addition of the female character, Mishi Kato (the much younger half-sister of the 60s version), caused problems between the publishers and the property's owners, who withdrew approval of that character and mandated the return of "the Bruce Lee Kato" [Piron, Diane, "The Buzz Word" (letter column), "The Green Hornet", Vol. 1, #13, November 1990, NOW Comics.] , named in the comic series Hayashi Kato (Fortier took this from the surname of the first actor to play the role on radio [Murray, Will, "Where Hornets Swarm," "Comics Scene", #9, (October) 1990, Starlog Communications International, Inc., p.42.] ) and revealed to be Ikano Kato's son. Hayashi Kato had become a famous star in ninja movies after Britt Reid II's Green Hornet retired due to a heart attack, and returned to become "Kato" to Britt II's nephew Alan when he became the Green Hornet. When the neophyte vigilante was killed in an explosion on his very first mission, Hayashi blamed himself and fell into a period of alcoholism from which he finally emerged to see Paul Reid and Mishi don the masks. After Mishi's departure he again became "Kato" to Paul's Green Hornet in Vol. 1, #11, September 1991.

Mishi Kato's sudden departure in Vol. 1, #10, August 1991, was explained as orders from her father to travel to Zurich, Switzerland, to replace an injured automobile designer at a facility of the Kato family corporation, Nippon Today. However, Mishi Kato returned in the second series (begun in September 1991) as "The Crimson Wasp" on a mission of bloody vengeance against the criminal leader calling himself Johnny Dollar, who had had her fiancé (a Swiss police officer) and his daughter (from a previous marriage) murdered, an attack which also caused the unknowingly pregnant Mishi to miscarry. Her resultant vendetta brought her into conflict with Paul Reid's Green Hornet who tried to prevent her from committing murder but seemingly failed to stop her killing Johnny Dollar in Vol. 2, #14, October 1992 (however, Johnny Dollar was revealed to have survived in Vol. 2, #29, January 1994). Mishi did return to her "Kato" persona one more time alongside Paul and Hayashi in Vol. 2, #34, June 1994, when the Hornet attended a gangland meeting with both Katos flanking him as guards/enforcers—the rules stated that each "boss" was allowed two "boys." In NOW's final two issues (Vol. 2, #39 & 40), a fourth Kato, Kono Kato (the grandson of Ikano Kato and nephew to Hayashi and Mishi) took over as Paul's fellow masked vigilante.

Another major character was Diana Reid, the original Britt Reid's daughter, who had become District Attorney some time after the TV series' Frank Scanlon had retired, and used her position to provide information and assistance to the Green Hornet exactly as Scanlon had. As the comic series progressed, a romantic relationship formed between Diana and Hayashi (at one point Diana thought she was pregnant with Hayashi's child, and in the very last issue is discussing wedding plans with his sister) and a possible bond between Mishi and Paul was hinted at.

There were two main "Green Hornet" series from NOW, as well as various annuals, mini-series, and spin-offs. The first series, referred to as Volume One, began in 1989 and had reached 14 issues when the company suspended operations for several months. Volume Two began in 1991 and lasted 40 issues, ending in 1995 because the publishers went out of business. Like Tonto before him, Kato (specifically, the Bruce Lee-based one) got his spin-off solo adventures: a four-issue miniseries in 1991, and a two-issue follow-up in 1992, both written by Mike Baron. He also wrote a third, first announced as a two-issue mini, then as a graphic novel, but it was never released due to the company's collapse. "Tales of the Green Hornet", consisting of nine issues spread out over three volumes (two, four, and three issues, respectively), presented stories of the two previous Hornets, with Volume One having a plotline, starring Green Hornet II, provided by Van Williams, the actor who played that character's basis on TV. The follow-ups, beginning with the most detailed version of the Green Hornet's origin in any professional medium, were written by James Van Hise. Other mini-series included "The Green Hornet: Solitary Sentinel" (a three-issue story retroactively set between Volumes 1 and 2, with a major role for Britt II) and "Sting of the Green Hornet" (a four-issue series starring the original Green Hornet and set during World War II, involving Nazi espionage and in which the Hornet and Kato encounter unnamed versions of The Shadow and the future Captain America. They also barely miss running into reporters who look like Clark Kent and Lois Lane).

Another three-issue series (June - August, 1993), entitled "Dark Tomorrow", focused on a Green Hornet in the future of 2080 who had actually turned into the criminal he was pretending to be and who was fought by the Kato of that era in an effort to set him back on the right path. This series featured a hallucinatory episode in which the future Green Hornet was attacked and beaten by each of his Green Hornet ancestors (in attacking order: Britt Reid I using his gas gun, Britt Reid II with his Hornet's Sting, Paul Reid with his fists and the future Hornet's own father) and the unnamed Lone Ranger as well. An interesting twist is that the Green Hornet of "Dark Tomorrow" has dark hair and Asian features beneath his hologram mask, while the future Kato has blond hair and Caucasian features. This Kato even said that they were blood related. Furthermore, the art indicated that the "Dark Tomorrow" Hornet was the grandson of Paul Reid and Mishi Kato. The main Hornet of this comic is named Clayton "Clay" Reid, and a family tree feature in "The Green Hornet", Vol. 2, #26, October 1993, gives his father the first name Gordon and the only depicted future Kato the given name Luke (these are references to actors Clayton Moore {the Lone Ranger}, Gordon Jones {the Hornet in the first Saturday matinee serial} and Keye Luke {Kato in both serials}). [ [ "Dark Tomorrow" at Grand Comic-Book Database] ]

Discounting depictions of the cars utilized by the 1940s and 1960s Hornets, there were two different versions of the Black Beauty used in the NOW comic series.. The first was based on the Pontiac Banshee. [Weis, Joan, "The Buzz Word" (letter column), "The Green Hornet" Vol. 2, #9, May 1992, NOW Comics] Painted black and green, as a sports/exotic car, it was a big change from the two Black Beauty limousines used by previous Green Hornets. With the realization that such a distinctive vehicle was inappropriate to the nature of the Hornet operation, the series writers created a storyline in which the Black Beauty was destroyed and replaced by a 4 door sedan, this time based on the 91-96 Oldsmobile 98 Touring Sedan.

Prose fiction

Western Publishing subsidiary Whitman Books released four works of text fiction based on the character, targeting younger readers. There were three entries in the children's line of profusely illustrated Big Little Books, "The Green Hornet Strikes!", "The Green Hornet Returns", and "The Green Hornet Cracks Down", in 1940, 1941 and 1942, respectively, all attributed to Fran Striker. In 1966, their line for older juveniles included "Green Hornet: Case of the Disappearing Doctor", by Brandon Keith, a tie-in to the television series. At about the same time, Dell Publishing released a mass-market paperback, "The Green Hornet in The Infernal Light" by Ed Friend, not only derived from the small-screen production as well, but, "allegedly based on one of the TV episodes". [Weis, Joan, "Buzz Word" (letter column) "The Green Hornet", Vol. 2, #36, August 1994, NOW Comics, (letter from Timothy E. Jones)]


* The Green Hornet was parodied by Bill Cosby in his c. 1970 syndicated five-minutes-a-day radio program, "The Brown Hornet", which he revived in the late 1970s for his "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids" cartoon show. As Cosby described the radio parody on "The Tonight Show" to Johnny Carson, the Brown Hornet rode in the White Beauty, a 1957 2-door Plymouth, driven by his aide Leroy, and lived in a 5-story walk-up apartment.
* The 1960s cartoon series "Batfink" was a parody of both Batman and The Green Hornet. Batfink rode in a pink vehicle called the Battilac, which was driven by his assistant Karate who was a martial artist.

Feature films

One feature-length movie was edited from the last six chapters of the first serial and bore the same title, compiled by Film Shows, Inc. for VHS release by GoodTimes Home Video in 1990. Two others were cut from the television series, to cash in on the subsequent popularity of Bruce Lee. The first, carrying the program's name, was seen in US theaters and in the mid 1990s briefly released on the Video Treasures label in VHS. The other, "Fury of the Dragon" has been available in America only via the bootleg recording market. Finally, there was an unauthorized feature made in Hong Kong in 1994 [imdb title|0110926|Qing feng xia] . Titled "Qing feng xia", it starred Kar Lok Chin as a masked hero called Green Hornet (in English subtitles), but dressed like Kato, as seen in the 1960s television version. In fact, one scene had this man being reminded of those who had come before him, and he was shown a standee of Bruce Lee in his Kato costume and mask as one predecessor.

Seth Rogen is set to star and co-write a film adaptation of "The Green Hornet". Stephen Chow is directing the film and co-starring as the character, Kato, depicted in previous adaptations by Bruce Lee. The film is scheduled to be released by Sony Pictures in 2010. [ [ Green Hornet Gets Release Date] ]

Recent developments

A film version of the character has been in the works for decades. In the 1990s, the magazine "Comics Scene" reported that George Clooney and Jason Scott Lee were lined up to play the leads. Late in the 90s, music video director Michel Gondry worked with "RoboCop" screenwriter Edward Neumeier on a possible "Green Hornet" adaptation. [ [,,2009742,00.html] ] Subsequently, screenwriter John Fusco created a screenplay for the film around 2002. As of the summer of 2004, Kevin Smith was writing a screenplay for him to direct a new rendition of "The Green Hornet" which was originally scheduled for release in 2005. It was rumored that Jet Li would portray Kato and Jake Gyllenhaal would play the Green Hornet. In 2004 Kevin Smith put the film on the back burner. After a long downtime in which his status with the project was unknown, Smith announced at the 2006 Wondercon that he officially no longer has anything to do with "The Green Hornet". [ [ newsaskew] ] An episode from the radio series of "The Green Hornet" was played for those in attendance at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention at Aberdeen, Maryland in September 2006. Terry Salomonson, a radio historian, presented a brief history of the radio program and then shared the recording, which until that day, had been unheard since its initial broadcast back in the 1930s.

On June 4, 2008 Sony Pictures announced plans that they are going ahead with plans for a feature film of the superhero. Set to be released on June 25, 2010, the film is to star Seth Rogen, who along with Evan Goldberg, will also take on writing duties. [ [ Seth Rogen's 'The Green Hornet' gets a green light | Movie Biz | Hollywood Insider | ] ] Later, Sony Pictures announced that the Hong Kong action/comedy star Stephen Chow will direct the film as well as play the role of Kato. []


*Commercial audio releases of many radio series episodes (various labels).

*Commercial home video releases of both serials (VCI Home Video, and Video Treasures/Anchor Bay, respectively).

*Home video releases of all television episodes (bootleg market).

*All three Gold Key Comics comic books.

*Eighty-one NOW Comics comic books (some letter columns give information about other areas of Green Hornet development).


*Harmon, Jim, "The Great Radio Heroes", Doubleday, 1967.

:___,___, "Radio Mystery and Adventure and Its Appearances in Film, Television and Other Media", McFarland & Company, Inc., 1992.

*Little, John, "Bruce Lee and the Green Hornet: Van Williams remembers 'Kato'", "Black Belt", Vol. 33, #4, April 1995, Rainbow Publications.

*Murray, Will, "The Green Hornet," "TV Gold", #4, August 1986, Movieland Publishing.

:___,___, "Van Williams After the Mask," "Starlog", #135, October 1988, Starlog Communications International, Inc.

:___,___, "Where Hornets Swarm," "Comics Scene", #9, [October] 1989, Starlog Communications International, Inc.

:___,___, "The Grey Hornet," "Comics Scene", #15, October 1990, Starlog Communications International, Inc.

*Osgood, Dick, "WYXIE Wonderland", Bowling Green University Press, 1981, (ISBN 0-87972-187-1).

*Pollard, Maxwell, "is ["sic"] "The Green Hornet"'s version of Gung-Fu Genuine?," "The Best of Bruce Lee", 1974, Rainbow Publications (reprinted from "Black Belt", October 1967, Rainbow Publications, volume & issue numbers not given).

:___,___, "In Kato's Gung-Fu Action Is Instant," "The Best of Bruce Lee", 1974, Rainbow Publications (reprinted from "Black Belt", November 1967, Rainbow Publications, volume & issue numbers not given).

*Van Hise, James, "The Green Hornet Book", Schuster and Schuster Inc., 1988.


External links


*imdb title|0031394|The Green Hornet|(1940 film serial)
*imdb title|0209004|The Green Hornet|(1990 feature condensation of 1940 serial)
*imdb title|0032559|The Green Hornet Strikes Again!|(1941 film serial)
*imdb title|0110926|Qing Feng Xia|(1994 Hong Kong Green Hornet film)


*imdb title|0059991|The Green Hornet|(1966 TV series)
*imdb title|0827709|The Green Hornet|(1974 feature compilation of TV episodes)
*imdb title|0187039|Fury of the Dragon|(1976 feature compilation of TV episodes)


* [ Official Site]
* [ Official Black Beauty site]
* [ Green Hornet Discussion forum]
*imdb character|0035161|The Green Hornet (character)
* [ International Superhero entry]
* [ Grand Comic Book Database: Green Hornet in various incarnations]
* [ Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs: "The Green Hornet"]

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