April 2: Forgotten Heroes — Share a superhero movie that no one knows but you.
The Green Hornet started as a radio show on January 31, 1936 on WXYZ, the same Detroit station that aired Challenge of the Yukon and The Lone Ranger, a show that this is connected to, as The Green Hornet is newspaperman Britt Reid, the son of Dan Reid Jr., who is the nephew of the Lone Ranger.
It was so successful that starting on April 12, 1938, it was syndicated by the Mutual Broadcasting System radio network, and then NBC Blue and its successors, the Blue Network and ABC. The show ran the whole way until September 8, 1950 and then came back for a short run from September 10 to December 5, 1952.
Created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker, with input from radio director James Jewell, The Green Hornet was so popular that he got this thirteen-episode serial, which was followed by a fifteen-episode sequel, The Green Hornet Strikes Again!
Britt Reid (Gordon Jones with Al Hodge as the voice of the Green Hornet; he also did the voice on the radio) is the publisher of The Sentinel newspaper by day and The Green Hornet by night, along with his Korean valet — and also the inventor of his Black Beauty car and gas gun — Kato. For this serial, Kato would be no longer Japanese, due to World War II, and is instead a Korean man that Britt saved from the Japanese. He’s played by Keye Luke, who was Charlie Chan’s number one son and in everything from Kung Fu to Gremlins.
Directed by Ford Beebe (The Invisible Man Returns, Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe) and Ray Taylor (Outlaw Country, Frontier Revenge) and written by George H. Plympton (Blackhawk: Fearless Champion of Freedom), Basil Dickey (The Crimson Ghost) and Morrison Wood, this serial finds the Green Hornet and Kato stopping faulty bridge and tunnel construction, insurance fraud, bus and truck sabotage, dry cleaning and zoo extortion, election fraud, gun running and the attempted bombing of the offices of The Sentinel, all commanded by the evil mastermind known as The Chief.
It’s really interesting to see this character before the TV show that most discovered him from, but I’ve always loved the radio show and this even gets the buzzing noise and theme song right.
The Green Hornet is available from VCI on blu ray. It comes with liner notes by author Martin Grams Jr., two radio episodes of the show, an audio piece by Clifford Weimer and a photo gallery. You can get it from MVD.