Thursday, June 04, 2009

I Hear The Grasshopper

David Carradine, the actor who portrayed the iconic 70's tv character Kwai Chang Caine, was found dead today in a Bangkok hotel room. The news is shocking to me, probably because my image of Carradine is shaped by the show Kung Fu. He was Kwai Chang Caine, the gentle, soft spoken monk whose memories of Shaolin Temple training leads him to fight the good fight with some well placed slo mo kicks. The show influenced a generation of kids who wanted to be THAT guy, learning from Master Po, "Take the pebble from the hand", and introduced the nickname "Grasshopper" into popular culture. The character seemed immortal, not because of superhuman abilities but because Carradine's performance as the serene ex-monk seemed almost spiritual .

I saw the show in reruns but it was still well liked by most kids my age in the late 70's. It was rare to see an Asian character be portrayed as positively in television as Caine, which was nice (though Carradine is not Asian). In the 80's I didn't see him in much other than Lone Wolf McQuade (Kung Fu versus Chuck Norris!) and kind of wondered what happened to him until the Kill Bill film series. Carradine's performance as Bill was excellent, playing into that mysterious quality he had.

So it is with sadness that we say goodbye to David Carradine. Though I was surprised tonight to see an advertisement of a tv show called Mental flash Carradine's face all over the screen in what will be one of his last acting roles. That was bizarre, even if it is just bad timing. When you can walk the rice paper without tearing it, then your steps will not be heard.


Arsenette said...

I was horrified to hear how he died :( I grew up watching him.. even now we kinda joke how Kane (or is it Caine? LOL damn the Kosugi kid..) used to speak.. so lackadaisical.. we'd go "I am.. Caine.. I.. (shrug).. will (shrugs more) help you (rolls eyes)".. LOL Just a shame really. I have a lot of fond memories watching Kung Fu (and the Legend continues).

As for TV having bad timing.. oy don't get me started.. LOL They certainly don't know the term "tact".

May he rest in peace and pray for his family who must be devastated at the loss and in the manner in which he passed :(

Mr. Mike said...

I forgot about...the...speech...imitation...very funny. His passing is a very sad turn of events for his family.