First there was Batman. Then…there was…The Green Hornet!
The Green Hornet aka rich owner of the Daily Sentinel newspaper Britt Reid (Van Williams) along with his assistant Kato (Bruce Lee) are vigilantes, but unlike Batman, they’re not friends of the law; the Green Hornet is a wanted criminal (Britt Reid is a totally cool law abiding citizen, though). The only people who know about Britt and Kato’s double lives are Britt’s secretary, Lenore Case (Wende Williams), and District Attorney Frank Scanlon (Walter Brooke). One of Britt’s reporters, Mike Axford (Lloyd Gough), is determined to one day expose the Green Hornet, not realizing that it’s his boss. He’s pretty much the comedy relief.
The narrator should sound familiar. It was William Dozier, the same guy that did it on Batman.
While Batman amped the camp, the Green Hornet toned it down. Instead of a revolving door of comic book villains, the Green Hornet took on slightly more run of the mill bad guys involved in racketeering, arson, murder, theft, that sort of thing. Some jobs bigger than others. The guys pretending to be aliens to steal a nuclear warhead was one of the biggest. They looked like their clothing was supplied by Jiffy Pop. Tin foil awesome.
The Green Hornet didn’t have a utility belt, but that didn’t mean he didn’t have his share of neato gadgets. His favorite was the Hornet Sting, which emitted ultra sonic waves that were good for popping locks or threatening criminals. He mostly used Kato’s martial arts skills, though.
Like most millionaires, Britt Reid had a fancy garage with a rotating floor so he could hide the Hornet’s ride, Black Beauty.
The Black Beauty was equipped with a phone, a TV for surveillance and casual news watching, and rockets for those pesky car chases.
The show was only on for one season, so the guest stars were pretty thin. But if you watch a lot of reruns and pay attention, then you might recognize Lloyd Bochner, Kelly Jean Peters, Diana Hyland, Gary Owens (Laugh-In), Jack Garner (James Garner’s brother), Barbara Babcock (Dallas, Hillstreet Blues), Chuck Hicks (a stuntman that showed up in uncredited roles on Batman, The Rockford Files, and Starsky and Hutch), and Larry D. Mann (Gunsmoke, Hillstreet Blues).
However, they did do some crossover with Batman. In one episode, Dick Grayson was watching an episode of the show. In a later episode, Green Hornet and Kato popped out of a window during one of the Dynamic Duos Batclimbs.
Finally, they couldn’t fight it any longer, and Green Hornet and Kato came to Gotham City in pursuit of a stamp counterfeiter named Colonel Gumm. Law-upholding Batman and Robin didn’t take too kindly to a couple of vigilantes in their town and things got wacky. Britt and Bruce? Yeah, they were rivals, too, vying for the attention of some woman with extravagant taste. Really, they could have done better.
Even the show was short-lived, it still managed to bring a whole lot of kickass to the table while it was around.