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The Green Hornet

Van Williams and Bruce Lee in The Green Hornet TV series

Here’s some trivia for the classic TV series The Green Hornet:

  • The show aired on ABC on Friday nights from 1966 to 1967. It was the heyday of superhero and spy shows, from Batman to The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
  • Van Williams played Britt Reid (aka the Green Hornet), lady’s man and owner/publisher of The Daily Sentinel and (in this TV version of the character) a TV station.
  • The legendary martial artists Bruce Lee played Reid’s partner and valet Kato. No special powers needed here; he was amazing. Lee appeared on an episode of The Milton Berle Show in 1966 as Kato to attack a villain along with Adam West, who played Batman.
  • To the police, the Green Hornet is a wanted criminal. However, he only pretends to be a criminal so he can infiltrate criminal gangs. Rather than fighting the bizarre villains of Batman, the Green Hornet tended to fight more organized crime.
  • Britt Reid began this dual life because his father, Dan Reid, died in prison, even though he was framed and incarcerated for a crime he did not commit.
  • The Green Hornet was created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker. The Green Hornet was a well-known character beginning in the 1930s, appearing in radio shows, movies, comic books, etc.
  • George W. Trendle also created another classic tv show: The Lone Ranger.
  • The Green Hornet’s father Dan Reid was The Lone Ranger’s nephew. Hence, they share the same last name of Reid.
  • The Green Hornet had a custom-built car named Black Beauty. It included a built-in TV camera that could see four miles ahead, an apparatus that could spread ice on the road, and brushes behind the rear wheels to sweep away tire marks. (In reality, the car was a 1966 Chrysler Imperial, redone to the tune of $50,000 by Hollywood customizer Dean Jeffries).
  • And, speaking of tunes, the theme for The Green Hornet TV series was “Flight of the Bumblebee” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, arranged by Billy May, conducted by Lionel Newman, and performed by trumpeter Al Hirt.

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Here is a free TV video of The Green Hornet Season 1 Episode 1 titled “The Silent Gun.” It first aired on September 9, 1966. The Green Hornet goes after  a gun that does not make a sound or a flash. The includes Van Williams, Bruce Lee, Wende Wagner, Lloyd Gough, Walter Brooke, Lloyd Bochner, Kelly Jean Peters, Ed McCready, Al McGranary, Breland Rice, Bob Harvy and Charles Francisco. William Dozier is the voice of the narrator. Running time: 24:07.

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Jane Minogue

1 Comment

  1. […] Jam.” The theme was written by composer, arranger, and trumpeter Billy May for the TV series The Green Hornet, which aired on ABC for 26 episodes from 1966 to 1967. Ah, all of those 1960s superhero shows! Van […]

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