The Green Hornet

Van Williams as the Green Hornet and Bruce Lee as Kato in The Green Hornet TV SeriesThe Green Hornet is a fictional crime fighter which is originally created by Fran Striker for an American radio program in the 1930s, the character appeared in other media including it's television appearance in the 1960s. 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 and starred Van Williams as the Green Hornet.

Green Hornet is Britt (or "Brit") Reid, a newspaper publisher by day who by night goes out in his masked "Green Hornet" identity to fight crime as a vigilante. While the police and public believe the Hornet to be a ruthless criminal, the District Attorney knows Reid's secret identity, and welcomes his assistance in fighting racketeers and criminals. Also assisting Reid in his crusade are his secretary, Lenore Case, and his faithful valet, Kato (played by none other than the best in the business Bruce Lee), who is a Kung Fu expert and who drives the sleek "Black Beauty", the Hornet's well armed car. The Black Beauty could fire explosive charges from tubes at its bumpers, 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 through the trunk lid. 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 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.

Van Williams and Bruce Lee in The Green Hornet TV SeriesThe first episode of the series entitled, "The Silent Gun", aired at 730pm on Friday 9th September 1966 and was followed by the fantasy/time travel series "Time Tunnel". A few weeks later, on 28th September 1966, both the Green Hornet and Kato made guest appearances on the "Batman" episode "The Spell of Tut" in what was the first of two crossover plots in three episodes (the others being "A Piece of the Action" -1st March 1967 and "Batman's Satisfaction" -2nd March 1967). 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.