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Monday, April 13, 2015

K is for a Show which taught as well as entertained

Some TV shows seem to have been aired longer than they were from the impact that they made on you.

KUNG FU is one of these.
Kwai Chang Caine (David Carradine) is the orphaned son of an American man, Thomas Henry Caine,

and a Chinese woman, Kwai Lin, in mid-19th century China.

After his maternal grandfather's death he is accepted for training at a Shaolin Monastery,

where he grows up to become a Shaolin priest and martial arts expert.

In the pilot episode Caine's beloved mentor and elder, Master Po,

is murdered by the Emperor's nephew.

Outraged, Caine retaliates by killing the nephew.

With a price on his head, Caine flees China to the western United States,

where he seeks to find his family roots and, ultimately, his half-brother, Danny Caine.

Although it is his intention to avoid notice,

Caine's training and sense of social responsibility repeatedly force him out into the open,

to fight for justice or protect the underdog.


* The show's creators picked Caine as a last name to reference the Biblical Cain.

* David Carradine only shaved his head once (when shooting the pilot) --

So you can gauge when an episode was shot by looking at Caine's hair.

* David had no martial arts experience,

but he was a skilled dancer. 

He only studied Kung Fu aggressively during the last season.

* In one scene in the Pilot,

Master Kan asks young Caine to snatch a pebble from his palm. 

That shot was filmed over 15 times because the young actor was always faster than the man!

Finally he was told to snatch it with his left hand, farther from the grown actor. 

This time Master Kan foiled young Caine.     :-)

* Philip Ahn, who played Master Kan, later opened a successful restaurant, Moongate,

and children would shyly approach him, asking if they could try and snatch a pebble from his hand. 

He always obliged.


  1. I loved this show... it's message was clear and I don't know how many times it took me to catch the pebble...

    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2015]

    There's no earthly way of knowing.
    Which direction we are going!

    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood... is Nuts?

  2. This was a show I loved, Roland, back when I watched more tv. I liked David Carradine and the overtones of the show. Most excellent IMO. I even took a couple of introductory Karate classes, due to watching the show. Never went too far with that, but it did have an influence on me. Great pick for K.

  3. Hi Roland .. I don't think I ever saw the show .. but the music lives on. Good to see Philip Ahn obliged his young customers ..

    Cheers Hilary

  4. Carradine was a skilled dancer? Had no idea.

  5. Jeremy:
    Certain scenes and bits of dialogue stay with me to this day from this show. It touched my mind for the better. What better legacy can a show and actor have, right?

    I think KUNG FU will have more lasting influence than GAME OF THRONES though right now GOT is King of the Hill. Glad you like Kung Fu, too! :-)

    It is a part of my past and sometimes my present. How many tiny slivers of entertainment pass unappreciated across oceans. Yes, it made me smile to learn that Philip Ahn was kind to the young children who came to his table. :-)

    It is amazing how many things we do NOT know about personalities that loom large in the media, right?

  6. I really liked that show. I love reading your trivia. Most of it I didn't know.

  7. Teresa:
    I try to make each post fun. I am so happy you like my trivia. I worry lest I bore my visiting friends! :-)

  8. I loved that show. I was sone of the few girls who watched it, but I grew up with five brothers.

  9. Melissa:
    Growing up with 5 brothers gave you lots of practice standing up for yourself I bet! :-) Good to meet another Kung Fu fan.

  10. I've heard of that show... sounds like a good one.

  11. Oh, what a sweet story, there at the end - I'd never heard that about Philip Ahn!

  12. Nick:
    It was. I have the first season DVD collection of it. :-)

    Wasn't that a sweet story about Philip Ahn?

  13. How sweet that the owner would let the kids try to get a pebble from him!


  14. Betty:
    It makes me smile every time I think of it. We can define our generation for others by staying humble, being kind, and keeping a sense of humor. :-)