The Green Hornet
Directed byFord Beebe
Ray Taylor
Written byFran Striker (adapted from the radio show adventure series)
Screenplay byGeorge H. Plympton
(as Geo. H. Plympton)
Basil Dickey
Morrison Wood
(as Morrison C. Wood)
Lyonel Margolies
Produced byHenry MacRae
StarringGordon Jones
Wade Boteler
Keye Luke
Anne Nagel
CinematographyJerome Ash
William A. Sickner
Edited byIrving Birnbaum
Joseph Gluck
Alvin Todd
Universal Pictures
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • January 9, 1940 (1940-01-09)
Running time
258 minutes
(13 chapters)
99 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Green Hornet is a 1940 black-and-white 13-chapter movie serial from Universal Pictures, produced by Henry MacRae, directed by Ford Beebe and Ray Taylor, starring Gordon Jones, Wade Boteler, Keye Luke, and Anne Nagel. The serial is based on The Green Hornet radio series by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker.


Britt Reid, the new publisher of The Sentinel newspaper, secretly becomes the vigilante crime fighter The Green Hornet. Backing him up is his Korean valet and inventor Kato. Together, they investigate and expose several separate underworld rackets. During the course of 15 serial chapters, these high-profile events lead the Hornet and Kato into continued conflict with the henchmen of "The Chief", the hidden mastermind behind a 12-person criminal syndicate controlling those rackets.


Chapter titles


  1. The Tunnel of Terror
  2. The Thundering Terror
  3. Flying Coffins
  4. Pillar of Flame
  5. The Time Bomb
  6. Highways of Peril
  7. Bridge of Disaster
  8. Dead or alive
  9. The Hornet Trapped
  10. Bullets and Ballots
  11. Disaster Rides the Rails
  12. Panic in the Zoo
  13. Doom of the Underworld

Alternative versions

In 1990, under the same title, GoodTimes Home Video released a feature-length version of the serial on VHS tape, re-edited from the footage in the last six chapters.[citation needed]

Under the title The Green Hornet: Movie Edition, VCI Entertainment released its version of the serial on DVD, January 11, 2011, which includes the first and last chapter and selected other chapters.[4]


The 1960s Batman television series was created because of the popularity of a re-release of Columbia's Batman serial. The success of both led to the production of a Green Hornet TV series, which was played as a straight action crime series, "in the tradition of its former presentations", rather than the campy Batman series. It was cancelled after only one season.[5]


  1. ^ "The Green Hornet". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2011-03-28.
  2. ^ Lidz, Franz (2011-01-07). "Float Like a Franchise, Sting Like a ..." The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-10.
  3. ^ Cline, William C. (1984). "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 225–226. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
  4. ^ Jones, Steve (2011-01-17). "DVD extra: Go back in time with The Green Hornet". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-03-28.
  5. ^ Cline, William C. (1984). "2. In Search of Ammunition". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 14–15. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.