Not strictly comics-related, but I thought it rated a mention. David Carradine passed away in Bangkok yesterday. He was 72.
As it happens we’ve been watching a lot of the old Kung Fu around here lately. I was never allowed to watch it when I was a kid, because my mother was convinced that Carradine was a disgusting, drug-addled hippie after he appeared barefoot on The Mike Douglas Show. I still vividly remember her rant about that. Also, she was also furious with him for corrupting that nice Barbara Hershey, who was then calling herself Barbara Seagull– Mom was sure that was Carradine’s fault too.
I was bitterly disappointed — Mom was totally missing the point, I didn’t give a damn if the guy was a hippie or a Satanist or what — Kung Fu was a WESTERN with KARATE!!! How could she be so cruel as to deny me that??
So as I always did when I heard of something cool on TV that I wasn’t allowed to see, I naturally went with my usual work-around — books and comics.
So Carradine’s Kung Fu TV series, despite the fact that I wasn’t allowed to watch it, indirectly led me to check out all the kung fu comics and books that have been such a huge part of my life from then until now.
Finally, with the advent of DVD, I’ve been able to see the actual show that started the martial-arts rock rolling down the hill for me… and I really like it. We’re just getting through the third-season set this week, as a matter of fact.
Apart from that, I always enjoyed seeing him in whatever he was in… Death Race 2000, Gray Lady Down, even those parody commercials. It’s now being reported as a suicide, which makes me sad — in recent years he always came across as an easygoing, contented fellow in his interviews, with a charming sense of humor.
Mark Evanier has a nice Comic-Con anecdote about David Carradine as well, here.
Rest in peace. Mr. Carradine. Wherever you are, I hope nobody’s giving you a hard time about going barefoot.
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