Thursday, June 04, 2009

Time for You to Leave, Grasshopper ...



According to reports, actor David Carradine, who was in a slew of movies and TV shows, is dead, maybe by his own hand, in Thailand.

A slew of movies and TV, but I expect that most people are going to remember him for his role as Kwai Chang Caine, the Shaolin monk who left China, after killing the Emperor's nephew, and went to America to search for his long-lost half brother.

That, and a generation of younger folks will know him from Kill Bill.

Kung Fu ran for several years in the early 1970's, there were some TV movies and syndicated sequels. America had never seen anything like it at that time.

The role, as I understand it, would have gone to Bruce Lee, but the risk of having an Asian play an Asian was too much for Hollywood, and Carradine got the job based on his dance background. (The producers allowed as how they needed somebody more "serene" than Lee, who hadn't hit it big yet after his role as Kato, in The Green Hornet. Asian Americans I've talked to never believed that for a second.)

A whole lot of folks got into the marital arts after this show cranked up because of what they saw. I had already been at it for four or five years at the time, living in L.A. and studying Okinawa-te, and I remember how a bunch of karate schools somehow morphed into kung-fu schools, sometimes overnight ...

DIAL UP the flute for the Kung Fu theme, and adios, Kwai Chang ...

4 comments:

Rhonda said...

I didn't feel "old" when I read this news until the "punk kid" next to me at word said he "heard" Carradine "had a series back in the 1070s" but he only knew him from the Yellowbook Commercials.

Ouch

Dan Moran said...

Sorry to hear about this -- I met Carradine a couple times, and he seemed a nice guy.

Steve Perry said...

Looks like Vaughn Bode Disease -- auto-erotic game gone wrong. Could have been a heart-attack once he got roped up.

MIght have been a partner involved who skedaddled.

Sad.

Steve Perry said...

Here's the sad part -- Carradine is dead, and, if it turns out to have been an auto-erotic accident, that's what people will remember as much as any role he played.

How awful it must be to maybe realize you are dying and know that your body will be found hanging naked in a closet, trussed up in bondage gear.

There's an oh, shit! thought to exit on.