5 fascinating facts you didn’t know about the Karate Kid
The Karate Kid is now 30, and star Ralph Macchio is older than Pat Morita was during filming. However, the film has legs, and remains beloved after a generation.
So here’s five facts we bet you never knew about The Karate Kid.
1. Daniel-san should been disqualified
Point karate tournaments are not MMA – they do not allow full contact blows to the face. A kick that lands flush, knocking the opponent to the ground, would not earn victory.
Lest there be any confusion about the rules at the All-Valley Karate Tournament, a scene in the original script makes it clear.
“I went into read and I remember doing a scene that’s cut out of the movie,” explained William Zabka. “It’s before the final tournament and I go up to Daniel and hand him a piece of paper. He goes, ‘What’s this?’ and it’s a death certificate. He’s like ‘What’s this for?’ and I’m like, ‘You got to get your mommy to sign it to be in the tournament with the big boys.’ Then, he goes ‘I thought it was supposed to be no contact’ and I go, ‘Yo, accidents happen!'”
So Daniel cheated; Johnny rightly should have won.
2. Mr. Miyagi didn’t perform the Crane Kick
In a memorable scenes from The Karate Kid, Mr. Miyagi performs a Crane kick while standing on top of a wooden post on the beach, with Daniel watching at a distance. However, the kick was actually executed by Darryl Vidal, dressed in a body-suit and bald-head wig.
Vidal also appears as a semi-finalist in the All-Valley Karate Tournament (as “Karate Semi-Finalist”), along with Johnny Lawrence, Bobby Brown, and Daniel LaRusso. Vidal loses to Johnny in the semis, but shows terrific technique.
Here Vidal, a life-long martial artist, explains how he developed the Crane Kick. And all this time we thought is was O’Sensei Steven Seagal.
Shito-Ryu Master Fumio Demura handled the stunt doubles in Miyagi’s fight scenes.
And incidentally, the title character was called Daniel Webber in the original script; Johnny Lawrence’s name was originally Donald Rice. And “put him in a bodybag Johnny” was unscripted. “Put him in a bodybag Donnie” just doesn’t have the same ring/
3. You’re The Best was written for Rocky 3
“You’re the Best,” written by Bill Conti and performed by Joe Esposito, served as the music to the All-Valley Karate Championships montage. However, it was written for Rocky 3 (hence the lyrics “History repeats itself, Try and you’ll succeed”). “You’re the Best” was passed over for Rocky 3 in favor of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.”
“You’re the Best” was also offered for the movie Flashdance, but was passed over in favor of Michael Sembello’s “Maniac.”
So three songs that define 80s music all have ties to The Karate Kid.
4. Famous family ties, and an allegedly angry Clint Eastwood
Charlie Sheen, son of actor Martin Sheen, and Sean Penn, son of actor and director Leo Penn, both turned down the role of Daniel LaRusso. Kyle Eastwood, son of Clint Eastwood, was rejected for the role of LaRusso. In response, Clint allegedly banned all Coca-Cola products from his movie sets, since Columbia Studios, which made The Karate Kid, was owned by Coca-Cola.
Other star’s kids did make it in however. Cobra Kai member Dutch was played by Chad McQueen, son of actor (and Bruce Lee student) Steve McQueen.
When Freddy invites Daniel to a beach party, one of the friends there is Chucky, played by Frank Burt Avalon, son of singer and beach film star Frankie Avalon. And moving a farther from fame, the guy dressed as a chicken who smashes an egg on Daniel’s head at the Halloween dance was played by Todd Lookinland, brother of Mike Lookinland, Bobby from the Brady Bunch.
5. The Karate Kid name was taken, by DC Comics
There was a character named “Karate Kid” in DC Comic’s “Legion Of Superheroes.” who was a member of the Legion. DC Comics owned the name, and gave special permission for the title to be used in the film. At the end of the credits, there is a thank you to DC Comics for use of the name.
Facts 6-10 coming soon…