|1972 - 1975
David Carradine starred as Shaolin priest
Kwai Chang Caine, an Oriental/American raised in
a Chinese monastery who later fled to America
when he killed the Royal Chinese nephew in
Master Po (Keye Luke), a blind monk who called Caine
While in America, Caine searched for his family roots and his
half-brother Daniel "Danny" Caine whose father Thomas Henry Caine
fell in love with an oriental woman name Kwai Lin while in China and
gave birth to Kwai Chang.
Listen to Opening Music & Narration
As Kwai Chang trekked through the Old West in search of his
he was confronted by many who wanted the $10,000 reward for his
capture. His only defense: Kung Fu.
"In the Shaolin Temple, there are three kinds of men...students,
disciples and Masters. The development of the mind can be achieved
only when the body has been disciplined. To accomplish this, the
Ancients have taught us to imitate God's creatures...From the Crane
we learn grace and self control. The Snake teaches us suppleness and
rhythmic endurance. The Eagle, the duality of hard and soft. The
Praying Mantis teaches us speed and patience. The Way of the
Tiger...tenacity and power. And from the Dragon we learn to ride the
When Caine first arrived at the Shaolin monastery, Master Kan
(Philip Ahn) pointed to a pebble in his open palm and said" "As quickly as you
can...snatch the pebble from my hand." Caine (Radames Pera) grabbed for the tiny
stone but Kan's hand closed before he could get to it. Then, Kan said
to Caine, "When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be
time for you to leave."
Years later, Caine, fully trained and educated in the Ways of the
Shaolin, again presented himself before Master Kan. This time he
snatched the pebble and thus graduated which included branding his
arms with the sign of a tiger and a dragon. These
marks identified Caine as a priest to Chinese immigrants and a
tell-tale sign for the Imperial Chinese agents and bounty hunters who sought to catch Caine dead or alive.
"It is said a Shaolin priest can walk through
walls...listened for, he cannot be heard...looked for, he cannot be
seen...felt, he cannot be touched."
The closest Caine ever came to a reprieve for killing the
Emperor's nephew was when they offered him a pardon if he considered
returning home to China. The only condition. He had to cut off one
of his fingers as a sign of atonement. Caine passed on the deal.
Eventually, Caine finds his brother Danny (Tim McIntire), but for
the rest of his life Kwai Chang would still be on the look out
for emissaries of the Imperial Court in China who wanted revenge
the Royal nephew's death.
Caine's family offered to let him stay at
their ranch but he declined and instead wandered off into the
wilderness on an endless journey of self discovery.
Other relatives discovered on Caine's journey included:
- Dean Jagger as Henry Rafael Caine, the grandfather who
lived in Lordsville. He gave Caine Danny's letters, and his great
grandfather's watch. Henry's deceased wife was Elizabeth Hale
Caine. When Kwai Chang made a return visit to his father's home,
he discovers his grandfather was murdered.
- John Blyth Barrymore as nephew, Zeke.
Radames Pera played Caine as a boy in
David Carradine's brother, Keith portrayed Caine
as a teenager in flashbacks during the series.
Another brother Robert played the one-shot role
of Sonny Jim. And their father, veteran actor,
Carradine had a recurring role as Serenity
Johnson, a poor preacher blinded by Indians.
David Carradine later appeared as Kwai Chang
Caine in the TV Movie Kenny Rogers: The
Gambler - The Luck of the Draw, that also
featured a reunion of such classic western
characters as Lucas McCain (Chuck Connors of THE
RIFLEMAN); Wyatt Earp (Hugh O'Brian of THE LIFE
AND LEGEND OF WYATT EARP; and Bart Maverick
(Jack Kelly of MAVERICK).
The series also spawned:
- Kung Fu: The Movie (1986) a
made-for-TV movie whose plotline featured
Chung Wang, Caine's adult son from China
who was trained by the father of the slain Royal nephew to kill Caine.
Caine, of course had no idea he had fathered a
- Kung Fu: The Next Generation (1987)
a failed attempt at a second series set in the
present about Kwai Chang Caine's
grandson (David Barlow) and great-grandson,
Johnny Caine (Brandon Lee).
KUNG FU : THE LEGEND CONTINUES/SYN/1993-96
a successful sequel where the grandson of Kwai Chang Caine and his
son. great grandson Peter Caine (Chris Potter) live in a
large metropolitan city and help others using
modern weapons and, of
and martial arts. Other relatives revealed on
the series were:
Grandson: Damon Caine and Grandson: Martin
"The grandson of Kwai Chang Caine walks out of
the past. [Great grandson of Kwai Chang Caine
speaks ] "But I want to fight. [Grandson
responds] "Yes, so did your great grandfather
when he was your age" [Narrator continues] "He
teaches his son wisdom at a Shaolin Temple. An
evil force destroyed that temple; father and son
each believed that the other had perished.
Fifteen years later they were reunited. Now
Caine faced new challenges and his son grew up.
[Caine's son speaks] "Look, I'm not my father. I
don't do Kung Fu. I'm a cop, that's who I am,
that's what I do." [Voice of Caine] "I am Caine.
I will help you."
Obituaries: David Carradine: 06/04/2009; Keye Luke: 01/12/1991; Philip Ahn:
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