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35 years later, I finally finished

Because it introduced me to Taoism, the TV series Kung Fu 1972-1975 was a life transforming experience for me. Because we had no stations broadcasting ABC in our area, we had to tune into the show via UHF, which was always a little iffy. As fuzzy as the show came in, I could not wait to watch it each week. But, sadly, we totally lost the ability to tune into it half-way through the second season, so I never got to watch the final episodes.

Throughout the 1980s I hoped and prayed that some day Warner Brothers would release the show on VHS tape. And, eventually they did. At some absurd price like $39.95 per tape. As much as I loved the show, I could not afford to spend hundreds of dollars on it.

Then, finally, they released the series on DVD and I bought all three seasons. I began watching, oh, maybe 3 years ago, just one episode every so often. For me it was like drinking precious vintage wine. I wanted to savor the experience and make it last.

About a month ago, I was down to the last of 4 DVDs for the third season. And then I heard that David Carradine had died. That settled it; after 35 years, it was time to finish watching the series.

Two nights ago, I watched the true final episode, where Kwai Chang Caine is reunited with his half-brother, Danny. I was a bit confused about the fact that there were 3 more episodes listed on side B of the DVD. Watching the first one, I found that it was out of sequence, going back to an earlier time in Caine's life. Same for the next, as well as the last one I watched today.

Some research on the Web revealed that this order of episodes corresponded to the dates that they were initially released in 1975. But they actually belonged earlier in the season. When the show is rebroadcast these days, the episodes are in logical order. But not on the DVD.

It was a confusing ending after a 35-year wait and 3 years of savoring the series. Rewarding, nonetheless. And the final bonus feature, Carradine's visit to China, including the Shaolin Monastery, was great.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 23rd, 2009 05:52 am (UTC)
Sounds like an interesting show... should I check it out?
Jun. 25th, 2009 12:08 am (UTC)
Gosh, I'm not sure. It is a very slow-paced show, set in the old West, and superficially resembles typical cowboy movies of the Clint Eastwood genre. It differs, though in that the main character, Kwai Chang Caine, is a Taoist priest who trained in the Shaolin Temple until he had to flee China for America. There is a price on his head, so he is simultaneously eluding the Emporer's men who are after him as he travels from town to town, searching for his half-brother. In his travels he encounters many types of challenges that cause him to flash back to lessons of Chinese wisdom that he learned from Master Po and Master Kan. He applies these lessons to help people, right wrongs, and escape dangers. Almost inevitably in every show there will be at least one scene in which he must defend himself or others with his martial arts skills, so there is some action in each show. But mostly the tempo is slow and deliberate. Caine himself speaks simply, in slow, halting English. If this sounds like a concept that you would find appealing, all of the seasons are available on DVD now.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )