Click here to go to our home page!
 70s
 80s
 90s
BC 
Google
WWW  Super70s Awesome80s
FORUMS | Culture | Movies | Music | News | Sports | Sci/Tech | Timeline | TV



Looking for Videos?
DVD
VHS
Search by keywords:
In Association with Amazon.com

Add Amazon.com to your Favorites

 

Kung Fu

By Donald Liebenson

Snicker if you will, but Kung Fu was one of the most influential TV series of the Super70s, one that managed to inject a note of both spirituality and Eastern religion into the standard Western formula and make it seem new.

Everybody was kung-fu fighting after the 1972 premiere of this mystic western starring David Carradine (snatching the role from Bruce Lee) in his signature, Emmy-nominated role as Caine, a stoic Shaolin monk forced to flee China after killing the royal family member who slew his Master. Our wandering hero roams the west in search of his long-lost brother, while eluding American and Imperial bounty hunters, and imparting his ancient wisdom on those he encounters and is compelled to aid. Kung-Fu was never a ratings force, but its cult status was assured long before Samuel L. Jackson referenced it in Pulp Fiction.

Along with the inaugural 15 episodes, this three-disc set contains the feature-length pilot that establishes the series' iconography: the inscrutable aphorisms ("When you cease to strive to understand, then you will know without understanding"); the flashbacks to Caine's youth, where the orphaned half-American and half-Chinese boy served as disciple ("Grasshopper") to the Old Man; and, of course, the anticipated moments when the peaceful Caine, like Billy Jack, is reluctantly compelled by some frontier bigot to use his fighting skills. Look for appearances by father John Carradine and brothers Keith and Robert in the episode, "Dark Angel." That's 11-year-old future Oscar-winner Jodie Foster in "Althea." Other notable episodes include the Emmy-winning "An Eye for an Eye" and "Chains," featuring an Emmy-nominated turn by Michael Greene as a not-so-gentle giant to whom an imprisoned Caine is chained. "With each ending," Caine observes in the episode, "The Third Man," comes a new beginning." Kung Fu's new beginning comes on DVD. Thanks to the timeless frontier setting and the uniqueness of its genre-bending concept, Kung Fu dates better than other Super70s series. As these episodes demonstrate, the show still has plenty of kick.

While it may not rank with Richard Kimble's fateful meeting with the One-Armed Man in the series finale of The Fugitive, Caine's reunion with his long-lost brother, Danny, brings Kung Fu, to quote the title of the four-episode story arc's conclusion, "Full Circle." The third series' rich iconography and episodes featuring returning characters may make this final season heady going for newcomers. But those who have faithfully followed Caine (David Carradine in his iconic role) on his nomadic adventures will be richly rewarded with some of the series' best episodes.

The third season begins with a stellar two-parter, "Blood of the Dragon," in which Caine seeks the truth about his grandfather's murder, while Imperial assassins are dispatched to kill Caine. The venerable Patricia Neal guest-stars as the grandfather's iron-willed, cold-hearted former lover. Eddie Albert also stars as a doctor who sides with Caine. Other memorable guest stars this season include William Shatner broguing it up, Scotty-style, as a sea captain who arrives with an Imperial pardon for Caine (but at what cost?) in "A Small Beheading." Barbara Hershey portrays an aspiring Shoalin priest in the two-parter, "Besieged." In "The Brothers Caine, a pre-Airplane Leslie Nielsen is a ruthless magnate who puts a $10,000 price on Danny's head, making for an awkward reunion when Danny thinks that Caine is a bounty hunter. David's father, John, returns as blind preacher Serenity Johnson in "Ambush."

The third season was distinguished by innovative episodes set in China during Caine's "Grasshopper" tutelage. In "The Demon God," the youth, poisoned by a prince, experiences mystical visions of his older, wandering self, who is stung by a scorpion. In "The Thief of Chendo," young Caine's Master imagines an adventure for the aspiring priest. Two Carradine commentaries, and a near-hour long chronicle of Carradine's 30-years-on visit to a Shoalin monastery in China (an incredible journey that ends with Carradine's soulful rendition of "America the Beautiful") help to give Kung Fu a worthy DVD send-off.

Kung Fu on DVD!
Kung Fu is now available on DVD! Get it at Amazon.com!
Season One, Season Two, Season Three

 

Share Your Memories In Our Forums!

Check out our Kung Fu forum! Do you have a favorite episode of the show? What do you remember about the series? Do you have any questions about it or its stars? Now you can post comments and questions directly to our TV forums! Click here to see what other Kung Fu viewers have said or to post your own comments about the show!

Your Memories Shared!

Love your site. I remember Kung Fu. It had lots of slow motion violence but presented non violent ways of dealing with evil,as well. I remember Harrison Ford and A. Martinez as guest stars along with lots of others. A very important part for me was the music, (David playing his flute) and also as the end credits ran and he was slogging up a sandy hill, barefooted,the theme music ended as the camera caught the sunset. It was magical.

--Anonymous

Note: This is just a random sample of the Kung Fu messages in our TV forums! Click here to see what others have said or to post your own comments!

 

TV TIDBITS

Aired: October 14, 1972 - June 28, 1975

Cast: David Carradine, Keye Luke, Philip Ahn, Radames Pera, Season Hubley

Network: ABC

Genre: Western

Theme song

Image courtesy of ABC


Kung Fu memorabilia!
Kung Fu Videos and DVDs!
David Carradine memorabilia!
David Carradine Videos and DVDs!
Keye Luke memorabilia!
Keye Luke Videos and DVDs!

Register on eBay for free today and start buying & selling with millions each week!
   
FORUMS | Culture | Movies | Music | News | Sports | Sci/Tech | Timeline | TV



Copyright 1994-2017, Super70s.com. All Rights Reserved.
Use of this site is subject to our Terms of Service.
Privacy Statement


Copyright 1994-2017, Super70s.com. All Rights Reserved.
Use of this site is subject to our Terms of Service.
Privacy Statement
Review copyright Amazon.com and used by permission.