In the 1980’s Martial Arts were everywhere you looked. On movies , TV shows , comic books , cartoons and video games .
Even in the classic toy line G.I. JOE, the two most popular characters were a couple of Ninjas named Snake Eyes ( granted a very American one ) and Storm Shadow.
It seemed like every town no matter how small had one school where you could learn Karate, Taekwondo or at the very least you could take a self defense class at your local YMCA.
Then one Saturday morning I turned on my television set and witnessed one of the greatest events in pop culture history…
Animated Chuck Norris Vs. an Alligator!
7 year old me thought this was 100% realistic
You might think for a movie obsessed kid who loved Kung Fu , Ninjas , Samurai Swords , Nunchucks, vengeance and fights to the death that it couldn’t get any better ? …
well you’d be wrong!
At two PM on Saturday afternoons WJZY 46 out of Charlotte would show KUNG FU THEATER ! It was the highlight of my week.
I saw films from the other side of the world, learned about cultures I’d otherwise never have been exposed to and watched a bunch of guys get kicked in the face!
Strangely I was the only kid i knew who watched these films.
When I was in the third grade I watched a movie called CRIPPLED AVENGERS ( still my favorite film staring the Five deadly Venoms ) , and when I enthusiastically told my friends at school about it. They seemed less than interested…
But in their defense not everyone is interested in a movie where a guy with metal hands shoots darts out of his fingers ( although I’m not sure why ) .
By the early 90’s most of the independently owned TV stations that showed Black Belt Theaters were bought up by large corporations and switched over to networks , but it was a beautiful thing while it lasted!