Bruce Lee’s career in America started not with his roles when he screamed so high-pitched that only dolphins could hear him, but with a little series called The Green Hornet. In it, he was supposed to be the secondary character Kato, the valet and the sidekick of playboy Britt Reid, better known as the Green Hornet.
But this was just the intention of the creators of the show (which was, in fact, a small lived one, since it never got past the first season). When this first season was shipped over the seas in China, his already established fans didn’t believe that he could be just a sidekick, so the show was dubbed The Kato Show.
Looking back, even we from the western civilization believe that the Chinese weren’t wrong. The Green Hornet was the first time when a martial artist like Bruce Lee was seen on the smaller screens and Kato’s 30-something combo hits were simply astonishing.
Comparing Bruce Lee’s skills to the ones of Van Williams (who portrayed Britt Reid) would be impossible. Bruce captured everybody with his speed and energy even when fighting against more than one villain, while Van Williams fought only with kind-of lazy villains, who always telegraphed their punches. Furthermore, while Kato stood against his enemies, Reid even sucker-punched his. As said, a comparison cannot be made.
But even if we look at Bruce Lee’s audition for The Green Hornet we can see who the show’s star would eventually be. Granted, he never lays his finger on his opponent, but at times you cannot even see his hand moving – that is how fast he was.
Of course, legends started circulating, especially after he became a super-star. Legends such as the ones that said Bruce was so fast that he appeared to stand still on camera, while the villains just fell in front of him.
Obviously, it isn’t exactly accurate. However, it comes to say that Kato appeared to have supernatural abilities to the unsuspecting eye.
And that is why Bruce could not be a sidekick or someone’s valet. He was the real hero of The Green Hornet.