Remember that one day when you could wake up without an alarm? When you would get your favorite bowl of cereal and sit between the hours of 8 and 12? This is a blog dedicated to the greatest time of our childhood: Saturday mornings. The television programs you watched, the memories attached to them, and maybe introducing you to something you didn't realize existed. Updated every weekend.
When Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) moved from
Newark, New Jersey to Reseda in Los Angeles, California, things weren’t all
that great. Befriending cheerleader Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue) drew the wrath
of her boyfriend Johnny Lawrene (William
Zabka). Johnny and his cronies, all students of the unethical and vicious
form of karate known as Cobra Kai, attacked Daniel until he was saved by Kesuke
Miyagi (Pat Morita). Daniel
enlists Miyagi’s aid in learning karate, and before long he has a rematch with
Johnny in a tournament.
That was the plot of The Karate Kid, a 1984 movie from Columbia Pictures
directed by John G. Avildsen
and written by Robert Mark Kamen.
The film opened on June 22nd and became a critical and commercial
success, earning over $90 million and getting Morita nominated for the Academy
Award for Best Supporting Actor. 1986 saw the release of the first sequel, The Karate Kid, Part II,
which followed Daniel joining Miyagi on a visit back to his home village in
Okinawa. Despite mixed reviews, the film grossed even more than the original
and led to the production of The Karate Kid, Part III.
The second sequel focused on the teacher of the Cobra Kais, John Kreese (Martin Kove) seeking
revenge on Miyagi and Daniel. It was poorly received by fans and critics, and
only grossed $39 million.
Taki, Miyagi and Daniel.
Before the third
movie’s release, Columbia partnered with DiC Entertainment
Entertainment to build on the franchise’s popularity with a Saturday
morning cartoon developed by Dan
Distefano. Forgoing the tournament aspect central to the plots of the
films, the show was done as a quest show as Daniel (Joey Dedio) and Miyagi
(Robert Ito) pursued a miniature shrine with mystical powers after it was
stolen from a temple in Okinawa. The shrine traveled around the world and
bestowed powers upon those who ended up with it, and usually found a way to
elude the heroes just before they could retrieve it. Along the way, they
usually ended up having to help those they encountered with problems besides
the ones tied to the shrine. Joining them on their hunt was an Okinawan girl
named Taki (Janice Kawaye), who bore a resemblance to Daniel’s girlfriend from
the second movie, Kumiko (Tamlyn
Tomita). Haim Saban
and Shuki Levy provided the
The shrine in sinister hands.
The series debuted on
NBC on September 9th, 1989, nearly
three months after the release of the third movie. With the movie franchise
already on the way out with its audience, it came as no surprise when the
repetitive nature of the show failed to win them back and was cancelled after a
single season. The series never saw release on home media, but in 2009 Sony Pictures,
Columbia’s new parent company, released the series to digital streaming platforms
such as iTunes, Neftlix and Hulu.
Dedio and Kawaye would go on to star together again as Wheeler and Gi
respectively in Captain Planet and the
Planeteers, on which Ito would guest star.
In 1994, the original
Karate Kid franchise gained its final
chapter in The Next Karate Kid. The
movie was the first to not feature Daniel, be written by Kamen or directed by
Avildsen. Instead, it was written by Mark Lee and directed by Christopher Cain. It focused on
Miyagi visiting Boston and training the granddaughter, Julie (Hilary Swank), of his former
commanding officer during WWII. The film, while a breakout role for Swank, was
even more poorly received than the third movie.
In 2010, Columbia attempted to revive the franchise
with a reboot movie starring Jaden
Smith and produced by his parents Will
and Jada. The movie, written by Christopher Murphey and directed
Zwart, focused on Jaden’s character Dre Parker moving to Beijing and being
rescued from bullies by janitor Mr. Han (Jackie
Chan). Han trains Dre in the ways of Kung Fu and Dre enters a tournament
where he competed against Master Li (Rongguang Yu) and his merciless
students; in particular Cheng (Zhenwei
Wang). Despite mixed reviews, the film was a box office success and a
sequel has been announced.
“My Brother’s Keeper” (9/9/89) – Miyagi and Daniel help a South
American boy learn what he needs to past his tests of manhood besides relying
on a mystical shrine.
“The Greatest Victory” (9/16/89) – Miyagi helps a Chinese neighborhood
form an organized effort to oppose the gang terrorizing them as their leader
uses the shrine gain new members.
“The Homecoming” (9/23/89) – Daniel returns to New Jersey to find a
shrine where he used to live.
“The Tomorrow Man” (9/30/89) – In France, a clairvoyant predicts
Miyagi’s death as they try to beat a smuggler to the shrine.
“All the World His Stage” (10/14/89) – In London, a prop sword ends up
infused with the power of the shrine and the actor who wields it can no longer
distinguish reality from fantasy.
“The Paper Hero” (10/21/89) – The trio join forces with Daniel’s FBI
uncle in Mexico to stop banditos who have gained the power of the shrine.
“Over the Rainbow” (10/28/89) – A Himalayan village becomes young
again due to the shrine’s powers, and abandoning their responsibilities leave
it their home vulnerable to a blizzard.
“The Return of the Shrine” (11/4/89) – The trio finally get the shrine
to Okinawa, but a family feud can result in its being lost again.
“Walkabout” (11/11/89) – In Australia, an Aborigine man sees the
shrine but is being blackmailed by members of his tribe.
“East Meets West” (11/18/89) – A scientist steals the shrine from a
Russian lab in order to empower his son playing hockey in the Friendship Games.
“The Hunt” (12/2/89) – When a whale swallows the shrine the trio get
jobs aboard a whaling vessel in Norway to pursue it.
“The Gray Ghosts” (12/9/89) – The trio enlist the help of senior
citizen group The Gray Ghosts in San Francisco to get the shrine from a wealthy
“A Little World of his Own” (12/16/89) – A young boy uses the shrine
to shrink objects to add to his collection and get revenge on bullies, and
accidentally shrinks the trio.