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Friday, May 15, 2009

Kung Fu (TV Series) ~ David Carradine

Relive The Old Days.

Kung Fu (1972-1975) is an American television series which starred David Carradine.

Overall series plot summary

In the late 19th century, Kwai Chang Caine (David Carradine) is the orphaned son of an American man and a Chinese woman. He has been raised in the Shaolin monastery, and trained by the monks to be a Shaolin master.

In the pilot episode, Caine’s beloved mentor and elder, Master Po, is murdered by the Chinese emperor's nephew, and Caine retaliates by killing the nephew. In order to avoid execution for the nephew's killing, Caine flees from China to western America, where he seeks to find his half-brother, Danny Caine.

Although it is his intention to find Danny while avoiding notice, Caine's training as a priest has instilled in him a sense of social responsibility, forcing him to repeatedly come out into the open to fight for justice. After each such encounter, he is compelled to leave to stay ahead of the emperor's assassins.

The frequent use of flashbacks is used to recall specific lessons during Caine's childhood training in the monastery by his teachers, the blind Master Po (Keye Luke) and Master Kan (Philip Ahn). Part of the appeal of the series was undoubtedly the emphasis laid, via the flashbacks, on the mental and spiritual power that Caine had gained from his rigorous training. In these flashbacks, Master Po calls his young student "Grasshopper" in reference to a scene in the pilot episode:

Master Po: [after easily defeating the boy in combat] Ha, ha, never assume because a man has no eyes he cannot see. Close your eyes. What do you hear?

Young Caine: I hear the water, I hear the birds.
Master Po: Do you hear your own heartbeat?

Young Caine: No.

Master Po: Do you hear the grasshopper that is at your feet?

Young Caine: [looking down and seeing the insect] Old man, how is it that you hear these things?

Master Po: Young man, how is it that you do not?

During the concluding four episodes of the third and final season ("Barbary House," "Flight to Orion," "The Brothers Caine," and "Full Circle"), Caine finds his brother Danny, nephew Zeke and two cousins, Joseph and Ezekial.

In Kung Fu:The Movie (1986) Caine (played by Carradine) is forced to fight his hitherto unknown son, Chung Wang (played by Brandon Lee).

Herbie Pilato in The Kung Fu Book of Caine (page 157), also comments that Bruce Lee's son, Brandon Lee, was involved in sequels related to the series:

“The late Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, played Caine's son, Chung Wang. Toward the end of the film, Chung Wang asks Caine if he is his father. The question seems somewhat ironic since — in real life — Brandon's father was the chief contender for the role of Caine in the series. After Bruce Lee lost the part to Carradine, he went back to China, where he made The Big Boss, the film that began his legendary career in martial arts movies.” ~ The Kung Fu Book of Caine (page 157)

More info can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kung_Fu_(TV_series).

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