Sunday, July 6, 2008


Even with all the things I've had to do in the last few days, I'm still running farther behind on the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame than I intended. So I've called upon Wikipedia for help in talking about this month's inductee into the Hall.

Traditionally, the month of July is dedicated to TV Westerns here at Toobworld Central. In the old days of the Tubeworld Dynamic, there would be pages upon pages of material for July and August combined, usually all tied in to that month's inductee, and topped off with an essay about Dr. Miguelito Loveless, my all-time favorite TV character.

So now that we're on a daily basis with the Inner Toob blog, I've also cut back on the Western content. But we're still going to be inducting Western characters into the Hall during the month of July to maintain that tradition.

And for July of 2008......


This wasn't in any way due to the upcoming Olympics in China, but it makes for a nice bit of serendipiteevee....

Here's the entry from Wikipedia:

Kwai Chang Caine is a fictional television character played by David Carradine as an adult, Keith Carradine as a younger Caine and Radames Pera as the youngest Caine, in the 1972-1975 western television series, Kung Fu.

In the late 19th century China, Kwai Chang Caine was the orphaned son of an American man and a Chinese woman. He was raised in a Shaolin Monastery, and was trained by the monks to be a Shaolin master. Kung Fu follows his adventures as he travels to the American Old West (armed only with his skill in martial arts) as he seeks hishalf-brother, Danny Caine. Although it was his intention to find his brother Danny in a way which would escape notice, the demands of his training as a priest in addition to the sense of social responsibility which was instilled within him during his childhood, forced Caine torepeatedly come into the open to fight for justice. He would then leave his new surroundings in a further search for anonymity and security.

Orphaned after his maternal grandfather's death, Caine eventually found himself outside the local Shaolin temple along with other hopeful candidates. After waiting patiently for several days (even after being told to go home), Caine and the few other remaining candidates were taken inside the temple where only Caine passed a subtle test in manners. Although taking a student of mixed parentage into the order was unprecedented, the head monk sagely noted "For everything there is a first time," and welcomed Caine.

Following his induction into the order, Caine then lived in the temple until adulthood, mastering many of the fighting forms and lessons taught by the Shaolin monks. At one point during his training he was shown the various forms and his instructor explained that it wouldtake a lifetime to master one of the forms. Later, while in America, when asked by a student which forms he teaches, Caine's response was "All of them."

One of his first instructors was the blind master named Po. Po considered Caine his favorite pupil and behaved more like an elderly grandfather. Caine was given nickname "Grasshopper" by Master Po. The reference was from an exchange where the still ignorant young Caine asked the old blind master how he could function without seeing. Pothen described the room in detail, including a grasshopper at Caine's feet. Incredulous, Caine asked Po, "Old man - how is it that you hear these things?". Po's reply was, "Young man, how is it that you do not?". From that point on, Po affectionately called Caine"Grasshopper".

Years after his graduation, Caine travel to the capital to meet Po, whose lifelong ambition was to travel to the city on that date. While talking, the Emperor's nephew and his entourage come along and an altercation ensued. While defending himself from an unruly and belligerent guard, Master Po is shot by the Emperor's nephew. In a moment of shock, Caine kills the Royal nephew. With his dying words, Po instructs Caine to flee to America.

Caine flees to the American Old West during which time he discovers that he has a half-brother, named Danny. At the same time, he was on the run from a steady stream ofbounty hunters and Chinese agents searching for him.

Although it was his intention to find Danny in a way which would escape notice, the demands of his training as a priest in addition to the sense of social responsibility which was instilled within him during his childhood, forced Caine to repeatedly come into the open to fight for justice. He would then leave his new surroundings in a further search for anonymity and security.

This conflict between a desire for anonymity and a sense of social responsibility is conveyed through the frequent use of flashbacks. In these flashbacks, the adult Caine (Carradine) recalls a particular lesson during his training in the monastery while a child (Rad Pera) by his teachers, the blind Master Po (Keye Luke) and Master Kan (Philip Ahn).

During the concluding four episodes of the third (and final) season (Barbary House, Flight to Orion, The Brothers Caine, and Full Circle,) Caine not only finds his brother Danny, but his nephew Zeke as well.

In 1986 Kung Fu: The Movie premiered as a made-for-TV movie. In reality, the movie was the pilot for a new series in which Caine finds himself hunted by the father of the royal nephew killed by Caine in the original pilot. The royal's primary weapon against Caine is ayoung man named Chung Wang - unknowingly Caine's adult son (played by Brandon Lee).

In 1987 a second series called Kung Fu: The Next Generation was supposed to be launched. It was set in the present day telling the story of Kwai Chang Caine's grandson (played by David Darlow) and great-grandson, played by Brandon Lee. Throughout this series, Caine would teach his rebellious son of the Shaolin ways. The series ideanever took off beyond the pilot, however, and was not launched.

In 1993 a third series was begun, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, wherein Carradine played the grandson of the original Caine. Identical in appearance to and named after the first Kwai Chang Caine, this Caine was reunited with his son from whom he was separated fifteen years ago (when both thought the other had died in an explosion).

Raised by a Los Angeles policeman, the son is now a police detective who has long since abandoned his boyhood Shaolin training.

David Carradine made one final appearance as Caine in "The Gambler-The Luck of the Draw", part of Kenny Rogers "The Gambler" telefilm series. It also featured the final appearance of Chuck Conners as Lucas McCain, 'The Rifleman'.

Apparently that page in Wikipedia has not been updated, as the original Caine swapped places with his grandson in an episode of 'The Legend Continues'. This episode also marked an appearance by fellow Hall of Famer Cheyenne Bodie. They both appeared in the earlier "Gambler" movie, but did not meet during the course of it.

Kung Fu (1972)

"Kung Fu" (1972) (TV series)

Kung Fu: The Movie (1986)

"CBS Summer Playhouse"
- Kung Fu: The Next Generation (1987) TV episode

The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw (1991)

Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (1992)

"Kung Fu: The Legend Continues" (1993) (TV series)

Not that it technically applies for the original Caine, but in the "Kung Fu Divas" episode of 'Eve', Rita and Shelley took part in a martial arts class in which David Carradine played the Master Teacher of the class. Since he was not named, it could be that he was appearing as the Kwai Chang Caine of the new millennium, originally seen in 'Kung Fu: The Legend Continues'......

I'm of a mind to just ignore those Yellow Book ads with Carradine as some kind of Zen master hawking yellowbook.commmmmmmmm....... Maybe there is something to be said for Hugh Davis' idea there should be an "Adverse".

I've included the 'CBS Summer Playhouse' burnoff of the first Next Generation pilot which starred David Darlow as a descendant of Caine. I could have easily tossed it off to an alternate dimension, but whose to say that the branches of the family tree didn't spread farther than the too-linear lineage of the Caines seen in the shows and movies generally accepted as being part of the canon?

So even though Carradine doesn't appear in that pilot, he is in its historical background.

Just for bleeps and giggles (or perhaps in this case, hee-haws), here are the other Western inductees into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame:

Proto-Hall: James West & Artemus Gordon
1999 - Brady Hawkes
2000 - Calamity Jane
2001 - Dr. Miguelito Loveless (honorary induction)
2001 - Bart Maverick
2002 - Wyatt Earp & Bat Masterson
2002 - Lucas and Mark McCain
2003 - Cheyenne Bodie
2004 - none (special 'Star Trek' salute that year)
2005 - Hec Ramsay aka Paladin
2006 - none (special 'Law & Order' salute that year)
2007 - Bret Maverick
2008 - Kwai Chang Caine

Toby OB


Anonymous said...

Hey--thanks for the shout out!

As you may recall, there was an episode of Lizzie McGuire (on which Robert Carradine played the dad) in which David Carradine appeared as a very familiar martial arts master. He was unnamed in the show but called David in the credits, so it could be in that episode he was either Kwai Chang Caine again or *another* sibling/descendant. Caine was brought to life (and voiced by Carradine) in some web animation a few years back, not to mention a pair of skits on SNL (and I know you count those as "Skitlandia").

And to tie to another entry on your site...on Matt Houston, was Larry Harmon definitely playing a lookalike of Stan Laurel and not supposed to be the funny man, since Chuck McCann did go on to play Ollie another time or two, and Harmon voiced Laurel on their cartoon show.

Anonymous said...

Whoops--should have signed the last one.