Kung Fu

KUNG FU/ABC/1972-75 (Blind)

Master Po, (Keye Luke) , a blind Shaolin Buddhist monk living in the Hunan Province of China in the later half of the 1800’s.

kung-fu-master-po-keye-luke

Seen mostly in flashback sequences, Master Po was the mentor of an orphaned boy (part Chinese and American) named Kwai Chang Caine (David Carradine), who later – as a grown man – fled China after avenging the murder of Master Po.

On episode No.9 “A Praying Mantis Kills” (3-15-73) Master Po spoke to Caine in the garden of the Shaolin temple.

Master Po: The monarch butterfly rests itself on the young cherry blossom.
Young Caine: You are blind. How do you see this, Master?
Master Po: I see it with my history. I smell it is spring. I know the monarch loves the cherry. I feel the flutter of disturbed air. All this speaks to me.
Young Caine: Sometimes, I feel strange…You make it seem better to be blind.
Master Po: You are learning.

Once Master Po asked the neophyte Caine to close his eyes and relate what he heard. Sitting by a pond, the boy heard the obvious sounds of water, and birds in the trees. “Do you not hear the grasshopper at your feet?,” asked Master Po. Caine looked to the ground and was astonished that the blind man had discerned the location of such a tiny insect. From that day, Master Po called the boy “Grasshopper.”

Years later on a religious pilgrimage, Master Po was callously murdered by the Royal Chinese Nephew. In defense of his Master, Kwai Chang Caine killed the nephew and was forced to flee China to America. Caine called the blind Master Po, “Old Man.”

Note: To make MasterPo look blind, opaque contact lenses were inserted into the actor’s eyes. Tiny holes were drilled into the contacts so Keye Luke could see a bit.

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