Thursday, 1 March 2012
Kung Fu - The Original Grasshopper (1972 - 1975)
For three seasons, David Carradine starred as a half-Chinese, half-Caucasian Shaolin monk, Kwai Chang Kaine, on the ABC hit TV series Kung Fu (1972–1975) and was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award for the role. The show, which took place in the Old West, helped to popularize the Martial Arts and Eastern Philosophy in the west and immortalized the character of Kwai Chang Caine, also referred to as "Grasshopper", in popular culture.
Although the choice of a Caucasian to play the role of Kwai Chang Caine stirred controversy, the show served as steady employment for several Asian-American actors in the U.S. In addition to Keye Luke and Philip Ahn, who held leading roles in the cast as Caine's Shaolin masters, Robert Ito, James Hong, Benson Fong, Richard Loo, and Victor Sen Young frequently appeared in the series. Kung Fu ended when Carradine quit to pursue a movie career, but he reprised the role of Kwai Chang Kaine in 1986 in Kung Fu: The Movie. Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, in his acting debut, portrayed his son.
Early in the 1990s, Carradine once again reprised the role of Kwai Chang Caine in Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (1993–97) playing the grandson of the original character of the same name. Carradine starred in the programme and served as Executive Producer and Director. The programme offered him the opportunity to recreate the character for which he was most widely recognized. The show was canceled in 1997, after 4 seasons, and 88 episodes.