Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Kung Fu (TV series)
Kung Fu is a television series that ran for three years beginning in 1972, about the adventures of a Shaolin monk in the Wild West armed only with his skill in martial arts. It was produced by Warner Brothers for ABC, and starred David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine and Rad Pera as the young Caine. Also part of the regular cast were Keye Luke as Master Po and Philip Ahn as Master Kan.
Overall series plot summary
In the late 19th century, 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. After becoming a master, due to a violent incident he had to flee China to escape legal prosecution, ending up in the western United States looking for his half-brother. Although it was his intention to escape notice, the demands of morality and the responsibility to use what he had been taught in the monastery to aid the innocent against injustice, forced him to come into the open from time to time to right a serious wrong—and then to move on in a further search for anonymity and security.
After many adventures, the television series ended and Kwai Chang Caine passed beyond the eyes of fictive history, outside of a 1986 TV movie starring Carradine and Brandon Lee in which Caine was forced to fight his hitherto unknown son.
Carradine won the lead role over Bruce Lee, who had extensive involvement in its development (he conceived the original concept of the series, originally called by him "The Warrior").
The set of the Shaolin Temple was originally a set used for the film Camelot (1967). It was inexpensively and effectively converted for the Chinese setting.
The first season of the series was released on DVD in North America in 2003, but was controversial with viewers due to the decision to use a simulated widescreen format, letterboxing the episodes which were originally produced in full frame.
The second season of the series has also been released on DVD in North America in early 2005.
Two decades later a second, related series running in syndication followed the adventures of a descendant of Kwai Chang Caine. Entitled , it again starred Carradine, this time co-starring Chris Potter as his son. The second series ran for four years, from the beginning of 1993 through the end of 1996.
For extensive notes on episodes, plots, etc., see The Kung Fu Book, by Robert Anderson. ISBN 155698328X
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