Book Heaven

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Location: South Amboy, New Jersey

I am deeply involved in trying to solve the discrepancy between being interested in zen and trying to acquire all the things I've been accumulating

Friday, October 15, 2004

Kung Fu

One of the selling points of DVDs is their ability to add a seemingly endless assortment of extras to the presentation of the original production. In truth, most of the highly touted extras don't bear an initial watching much less multiple viewings. Such is fortunately not the case with Kung Fu though. I bought the first season of KUNG FU on DVD as soon as it was released, and of course it's been sitting unopened ever since. It had a Made in Taiwan sticker on it, and I began to think that was the equivalent of disappearing ink, so I finally cracked it open today and watched the 90 minute pilot that started the series. Though I had seen it before I was immediately struck by how novel it was and the fact that it was really a wonderful piece of writing. In the documentary "From Grasshopper To Caine," the writers Ed Spielman and Howard Friedlander told how they came up with the idea, and, against all odds, managed to sell the project. The best part is when producer Jerry Thorpe tells of a scene where David Carradine has to leap off a cliff. Before he asked Carradine to do the jump, Thorpe did the jump himself. In the documentary, Carradine remembers how he had this excited expression on his face when he fell but Thorpe had the most placid and serene expression on his, and this is documented in mid-fall still photos. Thorpe was also responsible for the brilliant photographic style of the series.

I've now spent an hour searching for my copy of Herbie J. Pilato's The Kung Fu Book of Caine: The Complete Guide to TV's First Mystical Eastern Western but so far have yet to turn it up in the archives. I did however manage to come across my copy of David Carradine's Introduction to Chi Kung, a book that will obviously help me if I can ever find the time and the interest to read them.

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