“The Warrior” is referring to “Kung Fu” TV series

April 4 2017 at 6:14 PM
jkdragon  (Login jkdragon)

Response to Bruce’s letter: to receive $25,000 from Warner for his commitment in “The Warrior”

Hi LJF, agreed with all the 3 points you suggested.

It is very obvious that The Warrior pitched by Bruce Lee is referring to the Kung Fu tv series which he lost the lead role to David Carradine. Otherwise, which tv role did Lee lost to Carradine?

Below are something that could prove “The Warrior” is the title that Bruce pitched but later ABC Network used another title, “Kung Fu” for its actual show instead.

1. In the 1971 Berton’s tv interview, Bruce Lee made reference to both Warner Brothers and Paramount wanting him to do a TV series. What Berton and Lee called "The Warrior" and "Kung Fu" actually shared the same idea of a lead character in a TV series who performs Martial Arts in a Western setting. Based on Lee's comments to Berton, he was talking to both Warner Brothers and Paramount about "The Warrior" as late as Dec 1971. Both wanted a modern setting and thought Lee's idea was out (That maybe was a good way to reject his idea). But in the end, Warner still took the Western setting that Lee proposed for its "Kung Fu" series.

2. The storyline of “Kung Fu” certainly sounded like Bruce’s “Warrior” idea and according to producers like Harvey Frand, Ed Spielman and actor James Hong, all were sure that Bruce was considered for the “Kung Fu” lead role but it didn’t work out. Fred Weintraub and Ted Ashley could testify this since both were very close to Lee at that time. Fred recommended Lee to the TV Networks for the Caine’s role and Ted Ashley was involved in the pitching meetings with Lee.

3. Lee was consulted according to Warner executives and he did turn up for the many discussions of “The Warrior” as shown in his letters. Allegedly, Lee's concept was retooled and renamed Kung Fu, but if so, Warner Bros. gave Lee no credit. Moreover, there’s really no need to give him credits because Bruce’s idea was called “The Warrior” and ABC Network used the title “Kung Fu.” It’s just like changing the packaging of the wine. Package is different but wine is the same. Similar to the old-time U.S. stuntmen I read in the other post, they had never gotten the credit they deserved. Lee was the same even though the TV Networks would claim they are very careful about this kind of matters and would never miss out any credits to the particular person concerned otherwise they would be sued? Oh right, loads of BS and politics in the show business.

4. Lee’s letter stated that he would receive $25,000 (Dec 71 - Dec 72) from Warner for his commitment in “The Warrior.” That tells a lot of things going behind. Lee probably would act as a consultant or adviser to this show which was dubbed “Kung Fu.” If not “Kung Fu” what other TV shows? On the other hand, some of the information gathered from Lee could have been changed things in the script they ended up shooting or have been used in the series later and his information may have provided support for the whole project.

5. Lee lost the role to David Carradine in “Kung Fu” which Lee called “The Warrior”. More than a decade later, Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, played Caine's son, Chung Wang in “Kung Fu The Movie,” kind of a sequel to “Kung Fu. Towards the end of the film, Chung Wang asks Caine if he is his father. The question seems somewhat ironic since—in real life—Brandon's father was a contender for the role of Caine in the series. This makes one even more sure that the studio is trying to at least make-up for the late Lee. If not, why bother to use an unknown and inexperienced Brandon and not other better candidates (Hollywood surely have many then).

I don’t want to quote which producers said in whatever articles or interviews because some of them may not be telling the true. Why I said so? I once was in the entertainment industry, that’s why I know. Look, after attending so many discussions with the TV Networks and putting in so much effort and time for the project, Lee probably thought that they were considering him for the role yet the people who had control of the project claimed that they had never talked to him or even considered him (What a pack of lies!). Evidences show that someone at Warner Brothers surely talked to him and might have given him the impression that he was being considered. Franking speaking, if I'm in Lee’s position, I would also have that kind of false impression and would feel that my idea is being “stolen”coupled with the betrayal feeling. Again, there're loads of BS and politics in the show business.

Talking about BS and politics, the role of the Shaolin monk in the Wild West, known to have been coveted by Bruce, was awarded to non-martial artist David Carradine, purportedly because of the studio's belief that a Chinese leading man would not be embraced by the American public. That line from the Warner Executive back in the 70s about putting an Asian man on the TV screen would cause people to turn off in 5 minutes is such a load of crap.

Bruce Lee was the single most popular character on The Green Hornet show. Van Williams, who played The Green Hornet, knew this and asked the producers to give Lee more screen time and the producers flat out refused. The show only lasted one season. The thing is, white Hollywood executives just don't want to give non-whites big opportunities. Was there racism involved in the fact that the people in charge of the project didn't consider Lee? That seems likely. It's also that they underestimate their audience. They project their racist views onto the audience.

Lastly, even nobody from ABC or Warner Bros wanted to give Lee credits, most of the matured and rational Lee's fans who have the knowledge about the whole story would still credit Lee for his effort in “The Warrior” which was later dubbed “Kung Fu.” Not forgetting that Lee had left a large collection of the “Warrior’s” notes in his possession. That’s good enough for his legacy.

 Respond to this message   

  • Re: “The Warrior” is referring to “Kung Fu” TV series - JKD54 on Apr 4, 2017, 11:06 PM
  • Re: “The Warrior” is referring to “Kung Fu” TV series - Jacky on Apr 5, 2017, 2:12 AM
  • Re: “The Warrior” is referring to “Kung Fu” TV series - Ivan on Apr 5, 2017, 4:02 AM
    Find more forums on Asian CelebritiesCreate your own forum at Network54
     Copyright © 1999-2018 Network54. All rights reserved.   Terms of Use   Privacy Statement