Kwai Change Caine Outfit - On
the western adventure KUNG FU/ABC/1972-75 David Carradine played
Kwai Chang Caine, a Shaolin priest who wandered the Old West in
search of his brother. In the earlier episodes Caine's wardrobe
consisted of a hat, jacket, pants a shoulder bag, a bed roll, a pair
of shoes (often carried over his shoulders) and a bamboo flute.
Throughout the life of the program, a series of wardrobe changes
- To commemorate the death of martial artist Bruce Lee, Carradine
changed the color of his shirt from brown (muddy maroon) to saffron.
- When a real Shaolin master was hired as technical advisor on the
program (Kam Yuen), Carradine arranged to lose his trademark hat.
- And later in the series, when Caine's clothes were damaged from an
avalanche, a new Kung Fu outfit (a black silk pantsuit and jacket
with a black belt, worn over a white shirt) obtained from a fellow
Shaolin priest, replaced his tattered and torn clothing. The
appearance of the
black kung fu outfit coincided with David Carradine formally starting kung-fu training.
Another part of Caine's ensemble was the shoulder bag that Caine
always carried with him (like Felix the cat's bag of tricks with a
remedy for any circumstance).
It once belonged to Master Po, a blind
monk who died at the hands of the Imperial Chinese Nephew. The bag
was given to Caine as Po was dying. His last words to Caine (after
Caine avenged Po's attack by killing the Royal Nephew) "If I had a
son, all I could give him is contained in this pouch. Please take
it...There will be a price on your head...You must leave the
And so, with few things to his name, Caine left China and
began to his odyssey in the new land of America taking care to avoid
those who would kill him for the
bounty on his head ($10,000: Alive or $5,000: Dead).
Another fashion statement on the program were the brilliant
orange robes worn by the Shaolin monks. The significance of the orange
color was explained by Kam Yuen, one of the show's technical
advisors: "Orange is the color of the sun. Every time the sun comes
up, it's another day-a new beginning, a rebirth, enlightenment."
(The Kung Fu Book of Caine by Herbie J. Pilato p. 51)
Back to Top