The Green Hornet is a masked superhero, created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker for an American radio program in the 1930s. The character also has appeared in film serials in the 1940s, a network television program in the 1960s, and multiple comic book series from the 1940s to the present (2010). Though various incarnations sometimes change details, in most incarnations the Green Hornet is Britt Reid, a newspaper publisher by day who goes out in his masked "Green Hornet" identity at night to fight crime as a vigilante, accompanied by his similarly masked Asian Wheelman Kato -- who drives their car, equipped with advanced technology, called "Black Beauty". The Green Hornet is often presented as possessing fair to above average hand-to-hand combat skills and is often armed with a gun that sprays knock-out gas (a sonic blast weapon called the "Hornet's Sting" was added to his arsenal for the television series).
Originally, the radio program was to be called The Hornet, but the name was changed to The Green Hornet so that it could be more easily trademarked. One relatively minor aspect of the character that tends to be given limited exposure in the actual productions is his blood relationship to The Lone Ranger, another character created by Striker. The Lone Ranger's nephew was Dan Reid. In the Green Hornet radio shows, the Hornet's father was likewise named Dan Reid, making Britt Reid the Lone Ranger's great-nephew.
The Lone Ranger property was sold to another company in the 1950s, which resulted in a legal complication that precluded The Lone Ranger being directly associated with the Green Hornet (though a comic book from NOW Comics depicted the Britt Reid's living room furnished with a painting of a man dressed very similarly to the Lone Ranger, and the radio series had expressly indicated the presence of just such a portrait hanging there).
During World War II, the radio show's title was used as a codename for SIGSALY, secret encryption equipment used in the war. "The Green Hornet" also became a popular nickname for Lieutenant-General George S. Patton, due to the unique and attention-getting uniform that he proposed for tank crews, which featured a gold-painted football helmet. Supposedly, while Patton was testing it after development (which he funded out of his own pocket), one Army trooper said "Look! It's the Green Hornet!" and the name followed Patton for years .
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