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DVD Talk review of 'The Green Hornet'

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DVD Talk review of 'The Green Hornet'

Old 11-05-09, 06:50 PM
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DVD Talk review of 'The Green Hornet'

I read John Sinnott's DVD review of The Green Hornet at http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=40014 and...He's more wrong than right about Kato's nationality/ethnicity. While it is true that at least one episode significantly predating the attack on Pearl Harbor refers to him as a Filippino, even earlier ones call him Japanese.
Old 11-05-09, 07:31 PM
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Re: DVD Talk review of 'The Green Hornet'

Which episodes exactly? I have never heard them and I've never found anyone who has. John Dunning in his seminal book "On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio" explains that it is a persistent, and false, rumor.
Old 11-06-09, 05:57 PM
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Re: DVD Talk review of 'The Green Hornet'

It's the Pearl Harbor attack-timing that's the urban legend, and no more than that. Apparently, Jim Harmon's comment denying that in his 1967 book, The Great Radio Heroes was misinterpreted to mean that Kato was never Japanese and it spread from there, but that is just not what he says and it is not true. I have about eighty episodes with original airdates (one can make a reasonable approximation when it isn't actually given, but Jerry Haendiges's otrsite.com has filled in quite a few gaps) widely scattered across the run, and some early ones do say in the more-or-less stock intro (each whole episode was done live, of course, so there's much if generally insignificant variation) "...his faithful Japanese valet Kato." It would take me a while to go through my collection and find them, especially since most of these are on cassettes and the only player we currently have in the house doesn't fast-forward or rewind very well. I'll do what I can, however. BTW, thanks for identifying the radio episodes included here. I suppose you have a review of the sequel with the same info posted somewhere around here, and I'll look for it.
Old 11-07-09, 03:50 PM
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Re: DVD Talk review of 'The Green Hornet'

The one compact disc (a Radio Spirits release, although they apparently have dropped individual CDs and audio cassette tapes, in favor of box sets) I have of two early episodes includes "The Political Racket" (5-5-38, the earliest original broadcast date attributed to a specific surviving episode, according to the aforementioned Haendiges). In this, the announcer/narrator says in the intro, "...his faithful Japanese valet, Kato." So there's one already. BTW, it is somewhat surprising that in your discussion of this issue, you made no mention of the fact that in this very serial, Kato says (in the earliest scene in the warehouse/garage, in Chapter 1) that he is Korean! This has suggested to me that as of the 1939 filming, Japan was already falling out of favor with Americans, and Universal came up with this alternate nationality on their own, as Trendle and company had not yet changed him to a Filippino. Oh yes, I found your review of the other serial's DVD and its identification of the two radio shows included there; thanks. I already have all four, so that's no selling point with me.
Old 11-07-09, 09:23 PM
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Re: DVD Talk review of 'The Green Hornet'

Originally Posted by tbrittreid
BTW, it is somewhat surprising that in your discussion of this issue, you made no mention of the fact that in this very serial, Kato says (in the earliest scene in the warehouse/garage, in Chapter 1) that he is Korean!
That's okay, I'm somewhat surprised that you didn't read the review I wrote before commenting on what I said. As I stated in the review:

With his loyal manservant Kato (Keye Luke), a Korean who Reid rescued from certain death in the Orient, he hunts down the racketeers and organized mobsters who are beyond the law.
I even attached the footnote to the word "Korean" stating that Kato was from the Philippines in the radio show and that he didn't change nationalities after Pearl Harbor.

Thanks for the radio show date! I have a hundred or so episodes and I'll have to see if I can find that one among my collection. Since you have agreed with everything I say in my review and footnote, I don't see any reason to change what I wrote but I'm very interested to hear that intro again. I appreciate you bringing it to my attention.
Old 11-09-09, 01:57 PM
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Re: DVD Talk review of 'The Green Hornet'

As a matter of fact, on my way in this time--I come by way of an outside link to the review--I noticed that you did indeed refer to the Korean statement and connected it to the footnote. Sorry that I somehow missed it. Haven't had the opportunity to check the audio cassettes of definitely early episodes yet, but I don't have many. I checked a dozen or so previously looking for clues as to when they had originally aired as the Haendiges listings didn't include the given titles. Most of them starred Hodge, and some even said "Public enemies even the G-men cannot reach" instead of "...who try to destroy our America" in the intros, but none said "faithful Japanese valet" there. I have a handful that the packaging and/or Haendiges's listings put fairly early, and I may have them checked by Wednesday. For the record, the one pre-Pearl Harbor episode I'm aware of the says "Filipino" does so in dialogue (Reid to Kato: "I thought you Filipinos were...." in "Walkout for Profit," 21 June 1941), not the intro.

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