David Carradine, "Kung Fu" actor, dead in Bangkok
David Carradine has died, in a Bangkok hotel room. The initial police report says "suicide", his family and friends say "No way", his manager, too, disputes the suicide theory. Whether or not his hanging was a voluntary act, accidental or assisted by another, may never be determined. That David Carradine will be missed, however, is certain.
David Carradine came from an acting family...his father John was a noted and busy actor from the 30s to the 80s and his brother Bruce Carradine, his half-brothers Keith and Robert Carradine, his niece Martha Plimpton and nephew Ever Carradine, are all actors, too. His case, therefore, calls to mind the recent death of Natasha Richardson, also from an extensive acting dynasty, though of the British variety.
I am not going to write a potted biography of David Carradine: many other sites have done that. I am, however, going to look at his effect on many children around the world.
Ever so long ago, from 1972 to 1975, David Carradine appeared in the lead role of "Kung Fu", the series, as Kwai Chang Caine, a wandering half-Chinese monk. His adventures captivated me, as a young boy and I watched him avidly, imagining myself doing, as he did, as, no doubt, many young boys did.
Kwai Chang Caine was an iconic character and one strangely influential. After the first run of the series ended, I took up Kung Fu, myself, as a little boy. That youthful interest owed itself, to some degree, to David Carradine's portrayal of the mastery of movement that Kwai Chang Caine showed. From my browsing on the net, it is clear that David Carradine's character inspired many young boys, from around the world, to develop an interest in the martial arts.
It is funny to think of it, but not many tv characters made such a lasting impression on me, in my early years, as Kwai Chang Caine, did. Perhaps some of his success was his difference from what was then normal. He was an ODD character. His behaviour was out of the ordinary. His skills were magical. His self-assurance was attractive. He was the invincible outsider. There was something very alluring about that: a man who was not a part of what surrounded him, but was superior to it. He bested the typical Americans around him, at every encounter...and yet he was unarmed. To a young boy, that seemed very impressive.
There were also philosophical echoes to the character and the storyline. It had depths that were not immediately evident. This, too, had its allure: there was something to think about there.
The most shocking thing, for me, is to learn that the series was so long ago. When I watched it, I didn't think of myself as a little boy. I didn't feel undeveloped. I cannot, now, conceive that I was between four and seven years old, when I saw it - because it seems so recent, so present. The series made an impression on me that never really left, though, of course, I very rarely thought of it in the subsequent decades.
Oddly, however, I did a net search for David Carradine, a few days ago, on a whim. He had come to mind, for reasons I cannot explain, and I felt moved to go looking for what had happened to him and to see how popular he was, nowadays. It was the first time I had ever searched for him, on the net - and the first time, in perhaps three decades, that I had thought of him. That he should die a few days later is just the kind of coincidence that makes some people believe in psychic abilities.
David Carradine was an actor who was always working. However, most of his roles were sufficiently low key not to make a global impression. He was, therefore, one of those actors remembered largely for but one role: Kwai Chang Caine, despite having played over a hundred.
Thank you David Carradine, for inspiring so many young boys, to trying the martial arts. RIP.
(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to:http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.
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