The Old-Time Radio Program The Green Hornet

Outline of the old-time radio program The Green Hornet. Discusses origin of the show as well as themes and format of the program. Main characters discussed.

How did "The Green Hornet" begin?

On January 31, 1936, the Green Hornet radio program aired on WXYZ in Detroit, Michigan. Al Hodge played the part of the Green Hornet from 1936 through January of 1943. The program was created by George W. Trendle, the same man associated with the creation of the Lone Ranger radio show.

The premise of the Green Hornet was that of a modern day Lone Ranger. The main character was Britt Reid, a newspaper publisher of the Daily Sentinel by day and the Green Hornet by night. Britt Reid was supposed to be the great-nephew of the Lone Ranger. Britt Reid's war against crime was an extension of his family history. The Green Hornet fought crime with his high-powered car, the Black Beauty. He also utilized a gun that fired knockout gas instead of bullets. His fists also came in handy on a regular basis. He was assisted by his Filipino valet, Kato. Kato would drive the Black Beauty, keep watch out for the police or the bad guys and sometimes lend a helping fist to the fighting. The Green Hornet pretended to be a villain while really battling the forces of crime in the big city. This would make for some interesting plot twists as the Green Hornet would be actively avoiding detection by the police while at the same time attempting to destroy criminal activity in the city. Many times the Green Hornet would lead the police to believe that the Green Hornet had been the mastermind of the case at hand. The police would receive an anonymous tip of where they could pick up the now subdued crooks with the Green Hornet just barely making his escape from the scene.

The Green Hornet would be alerted to criminal activity through his job as editor of the Daily Sentinel. The crime stories would lead Britt Reid to transform into the Green Hornet to battle crime at night.



How long did "The Green Hornet" play on the radio?

The Green Hornet program began in January of 1936 and played to December 5, 1952. The shows typically ran thirty minutes and ran twice a week in the beginning years. They later reverted to being broadcast once a week. The last season of the show in 1952 the show reverted back to a twice a week schedule. As mentioned above, Al Hodge played the role of Britt Reid for seven years. Fran Striker, a co-creator of the Lone Ranger, wrote all of the scripts for the Green Hornet until April 1944. After that, several other writers were brought in to script the show. The writing output of Fran Striker was incredible. While he was scripting the Green Hornet he was also writing the scripts for the Lone Ranger program.

Following Al Hodge, three other radio actors played Britt Reid. Donovan Faust took the role for the 1943 season. Robert Hall played the part for three years, from 1943 to 1946. Jack McCarthy finished the last years of the series from 1946 through 1952. Thus ended a tremendous 16-year radio program full of action, high-speed chases, and the overcoming of evil by the Green Hornet.

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