So back when VHS tape trading was a thing, and this is a subject that will come up often in this blog, I would get lists and catalogs from traders all over the country looking for copies, or better copies, of The Green Hornet. I eventually got curious enough to accept four episodes in a swap for something, and found the show didn’t really appeal to me, although the marvel of watching Bruce Lee move at light speed really can’t be denied. These days, you can watch the whole series on YouTube.
I mention this because back in the late eighties when I was trying to track down Honor Blackman episodes of The Avengers or season three of Land of the Lost, it really did honestly seem like every single tape trader in America either had this show on offer or wanted better quality versions. (Honey West was another rare high-demand show from the period.) Since they only made 26 episodes of Hornet, it was not a success in syndication. It remained available for purchase into the early 1990s, but few UHF stations bought it, since there weren’t enough episodes to interest them. Before I understood how rights worked, I often thought that Fox should have added them to the Batman package and make it 146 films.
No, The Green Hornet wasn’t a hit, but the people who did watch it in 1966-67 really loved it, and wanted to see it again and own copies. And while I wasn’t taken with it, the four episodes that I did watch were miles better than this story. Typically, the Green Hornet would bring in murderers, which makes him a weird fit in a program where nobody ever dies. The Hornet’s world of mobsters and syndicate hitmen is so far removed from the absurd Colonel Gumm that I’d be amazed Dozier was willing to cross the two over if it weren’t so clear that the whole affair was born of ratings desperation.
On the other hand, since his own show was ridiculously rare for so long, maybe it was for the best. At least showing up in the heavily-syndicated Batman kept the characters and their performances alive while their own show vanished from the airwaves, even if all us kids who saw the show in the mid-to-late 1970s just asked “Who the heck is this guy?” and wondered why somebody who was actually in Batman comics didn’t arrive for a team-up, like in an issue of The Brave & the Bold, and why the villain was so pathetic. These days, they get it right, and Flash and Green Arrow team up to fight the biggest bad guys together. Egad, now I’m imagining Vandal Savage played the way Roger C. Carmel played Gumm. We’ve come so far.
Daniel straight up volunteered “That was MUCH better than part one,” and he’s right, but it still wasn’t very entertaining to me. I am glad that he really got into this one and liked it more than I did, but it’s a shame that Hoffman again came up with a wacky Batcomputer gag to waste time instead of giving more attention to Van Williams and Bruce Lee. This time, forget what we learned a few months ago about a gigantic diamond powering the computer, because Aunt Harriet short-circuits the phones and the electricity in Wayne Manor and the cave because she’s under the hair dryer too long. Women!