If you’re over 45 years old (like me) you probably remember the Green Hornet TV series, which unfortunately only lasted one season (1966-67) and starred Van Williams as the Green Hornet and the legendary Bruce Lee as his sidekick Kato. The Green Hornet radio show debuted in 1936 and in 1940 the stinging superhero hit the comic book stands for the first time.
The Green Hornet’s vehicle was called the Black Beauty. The Green Hornet (newspaper owner Britt Reid by day) kept the car hidden under his garage floor, suspended upside down with steel clamps. With one push of a button, the floor would flip, positioning the car right side up and ready for action. After he and Kato jumped in, The Green Hornet always said his famous catch phrase, “Let’s Roll, Kato!”
The Black Beauty was a Chrysler Crown Imperial with an amazing arsenal, including rocket launchers; smoke guns; an oil gun in the rear; headlights that change from standard lights to special infrared green lights; a mortar; a flying deployable scanner containing a closed circuit TV monitor; a license plate that flips; a tack sweeper to remove sharp objects before they puncture the tires; and a broom to cover the vehicle’s tracks. The car was built and designed by Dean Jeffries, who also designed the Mantaray, which was featured in the film Bikini Beach Party. Both the Black Beauty and the Manta Ray are currently on display at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
It is anticipated that the 2010 Black Beauty will have many new high-tech, state-of-the-art features. But, right now, no one is talking. I’ve heard rumors that several car companies, including Mitsubishi, are working on possible designs to pitch to the film’s producers. We’ll keep you in the loop and give you all of the new buzz as it comes in.