Sunday, July 13, 2014
The Green Hornet Strikes Again (1940) Warren Hull, Keye Luke
I went to the library the other day and I see that they had a copy of the second Green Hornet Serial. I grabbed it and I watched my first serial.
This was so good. My previous exposure to The Green Hornet had come from the 1960's TV series starring Van Williams and Bruce Lee and the 2011 movie with Seth Rogan and Jay Chou. In both versions, Kato was a very important part of the team, providing the fighting skills. In this version, Kato does little more than drive the Black Beauty but there is the suggestion that he does invent many of the gadgets The Green Hornet uses. So that was surprising, but I liked Keye Luke and I'd seen him before as Number 1 Son in some of the Charlie Chan movies I'd watched a few years back. (Funnily enough I'd read that Bruce Lee had been involved in a series "Number 1 Son" as Lee Chan that never got made - so there's that connection as well)
Warren Hull makes a good Britt Reid/ Green Hornet. According to IMDB he took over from Gordon Jones who played the role in the first serial. Hull had also played Richard Wentworth/The Spider in two serials and Mandrake The Magician in a serial. I'm curious why Jones didn't come back but Hull does fine in the roles.
Lenore Casey also has a smaller role than I expected. There was a lot of fun banter between Michael Axford and Ed Lowery as rival reporters. Axford in particular made me laugh several times with his exaggerations. Lowery plays a trick on Axford knocking off his hat several times through the serial, that gets a nice payoff in the final chapter where Axford gets his revenge.
Axford is a reporter but he also serves as Britt's bodyguard and lives in Britt's apartment which causes several problems for The Green Hornet.
It was interesting to watch this as each chapter was mostly a standalone story with the Hornet tackling a different racket from the syndicate each one bringing him closer to the mastermind. In many ways I can see the influence on shows like Teen Wolf that has a season long arc (although the latter works in the opposite way teasing what comes in the next episode).
I loved this serial and was surprised to see that there were two episodes of the radio show on the second disk. I'll be looking out for the first serial and the other serials that Warren Hull made.