The Green Hornet roared across the radio airwaves from 1936 to 1952, courtesy of George Trendle and Frank Striker, the same guys who brought us The Lone Ranger. As most folks know, the Hornet's alter-ego was Britt Reid, son of the Ranger's nephew Dan Reid.
I've read in numerous places that this relationship was intended right from the start. But according to a new book by Martin Grams and Terry Salomonson, that ain't exactly so. Online excerpts from the book The Green Hornet: A History of Radio, Motion Pictures, Comics and Television (2010, OTR Publishing), state that the idea was not introduced to listeners until the episode "Too Hot to Handle" in November, 1947. In fact, the authors tell us, Britt's father Dan Reid first appeared on The Green Hornet in 1936, six years before nephew Dan Reid showed up on The Lone Ranger. When Striker and Trendle actually got the idea is unknown, but it seems mighty unlikely it was there from the beginning. The misinformation now in print seems to stem from differing recollections of Trendle and Striker, and flat-out mistakes by Trendle's one-time lawyer, Raymond Meurer.
Among other factoids gleaned from the article . . .
- For the first three episodes, the show was called The Adventures of the Hornet. Green was added in episode 4.
- Britt Reid was originally Britt Reed and Kato was Cato.
- Kato was originally Japanese. He was changed to Filipino in 1938 (not, as some sources have claimed, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor).
- The idea for the series was Trendle's, inspired by the pulp and novel character Jimmie Dale (aka The Gray Seal) created by Frank L. Packard. The details, like characters' names, weapons and the Black Beauty, were apparently provided by Frank Striker.
Here are links to several sites offering streaming or free downloads of the show. The first, Radio MickDanger, offers the greatest variety, with episodes ranging from 1936 to 1952. It also features the pivotal episode mentioned above, "Too Hot to Handle."
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