In 1966, Bruce Lee played the role of the sidekick Kato alongside the title character played by Van Williams in the William Dozier’s produced TV series titled The Green Hornet based on the radio show by the same name. The show lasted only one season of 26 episodes, from September 1966 to March 1967. Lee and Williams also appeared as their respective characters in three crossover episodes of Batman, another William Dozier-produced television series.
Britt Reid, daring young owner/publisher of “The Daily Sentinel,” dons a mask and fights crime as The Green Hornet. 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, who is a kung fu expert and who drives the sleek “Black Beauty,” the Hornet’s well armed car.
The Green Hornet and Kato come to Gotham City to stop a stamp counterfeiting scheme, but the Dynamic Duo, unaware of their true heroic motives, is out to stop them.
“Batman’s Satisfaction” again combines two sets of crime fighters, as the Caped Crusaders are joined by The Green Hornet (Van Williams) and Kato (Bruce Lee) working in Gotham City on the trail of counterfeit Pink Chip Stamp Factory foreman Colonel Gumm (Roger C. Carmel), who has apparently succeeded in blocking, gumming, and perforating the Hornet into a life sized human stamp now thumbtacked to the wall. Batman manages to allow his fellow crime fighters to escape their death trap, then go on their way for a final showdown at a stamp exhibition in the Constellation Room at the Gotham Towers West. Colonel Gumm shows up in yet another clever disguise, this time as Argentine collector Senor Barboza, owner of the famous Howling Monkey stamp, but with two sets of heroes in the vicinity he and his men don’t stand a chance. Batman and The Green Hornet take jabs at each other, not a single one landing, while Kato gets at least one flying kick at Robin, sending the Boy Wonder sprawling!
Bruce Lee enjoyed a phony running feud with Burt Ward, who had claimed great prowess in the art of karate but wisely kept his distance from the masterful Lee, one crew member cracking him up off camera with this remark: “the black panther and the yellow chicken!” The ‘Visiting Hero’ and ‘Assistant Visiting Hero’ make a quiet exit before Batman easily captures Gumm with barely a whimper. This two parter couldn’t save the Green Hornet from cancellation, while Colonel Gumm proved to be too far out for the Hornet, yet too ordinary for Batman. In his various guises, Roger C. Carmel is as delightful as he was playing Harry Mudd in STAR TREK’s “Mudd’s Women” and “I, Mudd,” but in deemphasizing his character as ‘Special Guest Villain,’ continues to be among the show’s least appreciated bad guys. The Batclimb cameo comes from legendary Hollywood gangster actor Edward G. Robinson, discussing his real life passion for art with the Dynamic Duo, his dislike for the pretensions of Andy Warhol, and a plug for the Mona Lisa.
Bruce Lee was Burt Ward’s neighbor and buddy. Burt Ward was a black belt when he did the part. Bruce Lee and Burt Ward knew each other because they lived in the same condominium building. They used to spar together.
Kato: [During the big fight between Batman, Robin, Green Hornet, Kato, and Colonel Gum’s Henchmen, Robin punches Kato sending him to Green Hornet] It’s a good thing those guys are on our side, even though they don’t know it.
Robin: [after being hit by Kato, Robin stumbles into Batman] It’s a good thing those guys aren’t in town every week.
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