Kung Fu: Season 1, Episode 9

The Praying Mantis Kills (15 Mar. 1973)

TV Episode  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Western
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A frightened boy, defending a jail against the bandits who killed his sheriff father, inspires courage in an adult coward. At the moment of truth, Caine (DAVID CARRADINE) teaches them both to temper justice with mercy.



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Title: The Praying Mantis Kills (15 Mar 1973)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Martin Crossman
Sheriff Crossman (as Norm Alden)
Hap Darrow
Willis Roper
Jason Wingreen ...
Mr. Kennemer
Murray MacLeod ...
Bill Fletcher ...
Philip Ahn ...
Karen Morley ...
Mrs. Roper
Julie Licker ...
Girl Clerk, Julie
Richard Collier ...
Mr. Grisson


A frightened boy, defending a jail against the bandits who killed his sheriff father, inspires courage in an adult coward. At the moment of truth, Caine (DAVID CARRADINE) teaches them both to temper justice with mercy.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis





Release Date:

15 March 1973 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The windows of the Sheriff's house are shot out during the gunfight, yet the night after they are fully glazed again. See more »


Kwai Chang Caine: When you no longer strive to understand, then you will know... without understanding.
See more »

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User Reviews

Episode 9 features Victor Sen Yung and Karen Morley
6 July 2010 | by (Youngstown,Ohio) – See all my reviews

This episode starts with a bank robbery perpetrated by the gang of Hap Darrow (Don Knight), who coldbloodedly shoots Mrs. Roper (Karen Morley) in the back to prevent her from exposing them to the sheriff. As all the witnesses were threatened with death, not even her newly widowed husband Willis (William Schallert) is willing to reveal what they all saw, but Caine, outside the bank, confirms the facts for Sheriff Crossman (Norman Alden), whose teenage son Martin (Wendell Burton) falls under the influence of the fearless Caine. After the sheriff gets murdered by Darrow's gang, Darrow himself is captured, and Martin, seeing that his new friend will not use a gun, accuses Caine of being a coward (this being the first entry to explicitly explore the difference between cowardice and fear). Martin only has Willis Roper to help him guard Darrow against an attack on the prison. Victor Sen Yung appears unbilled in a Shaolin flashback,where Master Kan (Philip Ahn) reveals why the temple accepted the orphaned Caine as a student, after spending many days waiting for an entrance, even during inclement weather, because he was alone- Caine: "is that why you let me enter and taught me?" Kan: "we taught you young man, because you already knew." Norman Alden had appeared in Tim Conway's short-lived series "Rango," with Karen Morley making one of her three TV appearances; this legendary actress had starred as Poppy, the sexy gangster's moll in the 1932 "Scarface," with Paul Muni and Boris Karloff, later joining Karloff again in "The Mask of Fu Manchu." There would be more casting surprises during the show's three year run.

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