T Nation

Kung Fu


Well I'm a little too young to have grown up in the generation of those watching Kung Fu on TV. So the other day I was at the library looking at DVDs and I saw they had some of Season 1 of Kung Fu. I thought "Hmm, I've heard its a classic TV show, it sounds cool, I'll give it a shot."

So I get home and watch 2 episodes and I'm having a hard time believing how corny it is. A Shaolin monk in the Wild West. And not only is he a Shaolin monk, he doesn't even look Asian (well, maybe a little bit). So could somebody please enlighten me as to why this show was so popular?

Some young whippersnapper


Ah young grasshopper, you seek wisdom......about old TV shows........right.

hey it was the 60's. Who the Hell knows what they were thinking. As far as the character, I believe the storyline was that he was 1/2 Chineese and an orphan who the Shaolin took in. Originally Bruce Lee was slated to play the character and had a lot to do with selling the concept. but then the studio decided it would sell better with a Wetern actor.


He is supposed to be 50% Caucasian.

This is the best show ever. David Carradine kicks ass...and will still kick young whipper-snapper ass.

The episodes where they explain his training as a young boy are necessary to understand his unusual predicament.


That show was a ritual when I was growing up along with Kung Fu Theater, follwed by all four of us kicking the crap out of each other. Man, those were good times.


Another thing I've noticed is that his one Master (the non-blind one) reminds me a helluva lot like an Asian Jean Luc Picard.


While it may be a classic, that show did piss some people off because of the obvious racism in not choosing an Asian actor for that role. I think David Carradine is a great person and a great actor, I just think it sucks that at that time, putting an Asian actor into a leading role somehow meant suicide for a tv show.


I think a lot of it's popularity had to do with the fact it was the first mass market exposure to martial arts. This was before Van Dam, Chuck Norris, or even Bruce Lee became widely known. In short, we'd never seen any crazy shit like that before.


Actually, those old black and white Kung Fu movies had been on tv and even in some movie theaters before that. This was just the first time it was "Americanized". That has always had a market here even if for pure entertainment. It is why there were four different Karate Kid movies. It was the late 90's before there was a show that focused on martial arts and had a leading Asian cast.