In Memoriam: David Carradine, RIP 2009

The late David Carradine was an amazing actor. Not only for the influential TV Series “Kung Fu”, which was the #1 TV series for several years in the early 1970s, and probably spawned more interest in the martial arts than almost any other single influence or other factor; but also for many other roles he played, such as playing Woody Guthrie in Hal Ashby’s minor classic “Bound for Glory”, which plays on TCM from time to time.

I had an acquaintance once here in Philly who was a lawyer, this was in the 90s, who had come here from LA, who had been Robert Altman’s personal attorney in LA during the 1970s. He told me some interesting stories about Bob Altman, David Carradine, Barbara Hershey and Altman’s son, who was the composer of the “MASH” theme, “Suicide is Painless.”

It seems that the Mash theme was so successful, that Altman’s son made far more money than his dad, and that he, Carradine and Hershey were inseparable during the 1970s, and they all lived more or less in Topanga Canyon in a commune like arrangement, living like hippies more or less, and getting into all kinds of trouble back in those days. My friends’ job back then was, from time to time, to bail out David Carradine, Barbara Hershey, and Bob Altman’s son, from jail, or get them out of whatever situation they were in, and then hush it up quietly and make it go away.

David Carradine lived a life of Riley. He slept with the lovely Barbara Hershey when she was young and beautiful, living as young and carefree LA hippies in the hills of LA in the free days of the 1970s, and they even had a love child out of wedlock.

In addition to Hershey, Carradine was married FIVE times and had children by most of those wives as well. He had a productive love life, to say the least.

Quentin Tarantino was brilliant to cast Carradine in the Kill Bill Vol I and Vol II series, and seeing Carradine playing the flute, barefoot, in black and white, as Kwai Chang Caine incarnate on the big screen in Kill Bill II was one of the most incredible screen moments I will ever remember. Sheer brilliance. And then to turn that character inside out into a monstrous killer from the peaceful shaolin monk that he was on TV in the 1970s–that was really something. A masterpiece of cinema homage to a wonderful TV show.

I don’t need to add that Carradine was fantastic in Kill Bill Vol 2.

Here again is a post I previously posted at

These are from the actual Kung Fu Show, carefully transcribed from episodes and scripts, and are the actual sayings of either Kwai Chang Caine or his Master.

Grasshopper, we will miss you…

The Sayings of Kung Fu, the First Season
By pedrofeliz3b

From the Crane, we learn grace and self-control.
The Snake teaches us suppleness and rhythmic endurance.
The Praying Mantis teaches us speed and patience.
And from the Tiger, we learn tenacity and power.
And from the Dragon, we learn to ride the wind.
All creatures, the low and the high, are one with nature.
If we have the wisdom to learn, all may teach us their virtues.
Is it good to seek the past? If a man dwells on the past, then he robs the present; but if a man ignores the past, he may rob the future. The seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past.
When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.
You must walk the rice paper without leaving any marks. This will signify that you can walk without making any sounds.
The outer strength, the strength of the body, withers with age. The inner strength, the Chi, remains and grows stronger with age.
The right of vengeance belongs to no man.
A Shaolin priest can walk through walls.
A man cannot live his whole life in fear. To hide such feelings is to increase them 1000 times.
If you tell a man he is less than a man often enough, he will come to believe it.
All life is sacred. I would not take pleasure in the death of any man.
Fear is the enemy. He who conquers himself is the greatest warrior.
To hate is like drinking salt water; it only makes the thirst worse.
I have seen the silkworm; it spins a thread that it may be seen. Hate is the thread and the tomb you weave; it will not save you from your suffering.
The mind and the body and the spirit are one. When the body expresses the desires of the mind and the spirit, the body is in tune with nature, the act is pure and there is no shame. Love is harmony.
Each journey begins and also ends. Life is such a journey, yet it is full of journeys within which begin and end.
Seek always peace. To endanger one, endangers all. In such times, the soul must be the warrior. The soul sees always. What the soul sees cannot be denied.
Discipline your body that you may find greater strength. Be one with all that is without one’s self.
Where the tiger and the man are one, there is no fear, there is no danger.

Part II

I have three treasures which I hold and keep: the first is mercy, for from mercy comes courage; the second is frugality, from which comes generosity to others; the third is humility, for from it comes leadership.
How shall I hold these treasures, Master? In memory?
Not in memory, but in your deeds.
Peace lies not in the world but in the man who walks the peaceful path.
To reach perfection a man must develop equally compassion and wisdom.
Shall I treat every man the same? Yet the flower beneath the water knows not the sun. Other men, not knowing me, will find me hard to understand.
As far as possible, be on good terms with all. Accept the ways of others; respect first your own.
Look beneath the surface of the pool to see its depths.
Rock crushes scissors. Paper covers rock. Scissors cuts the paper. Each in turn conquers the other; there is no stronger or weaker. This is the harmony of nature.

Part III

Ten million living things have as many different worlds. Do not see yourself as the center of the universe, wise and good and beautiful. Seek, rather, wisdom and goodness and beauty, that you may honor them everywhere.
A man may tell himself many things, but is a man’s universe made only of himself?
If a man hurts me and I punish him, perhaps he will not hurt another.
And if you do nothing?
He will believe he may do as he wishes.
Perhaps. Or perhaps he will learn that some men receive injury but return kindness.
If you sow rice, you will grow rice. If you sow fear, you will grow fear.


–art kyriazis philly/south jersey
home of the world champion philadelphia phillies

Tags: Art Kyriazis, arthur j kyriazis, Arthur Kyriazis, Clasic TV Series, David Carradine, DVD, Kung Fu, Kyriazis, Sayings of Kung Fu, Sayings of Kung Fu the First Season

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