From out of the East, into the West, "Then Came Tree."
This classic TV action hit from the early 70's is fondly
remembered by fans of Westerns, blaxploitation, and "chop-socky"
movies everywhere. Combining elements of "Kung Fu,"
"Superfly," "Gunsmoke," and "F-Troop,"
it was a show like no other (except for "Kung
Fu," "Superfly," "Gunsmoke," and
remembers the set-up of the show, which followed an Afro-American
pilgrim across the Old West of the United States in the late
Left on the steps of a Buddhist Temple by a runaway British
slave and minstrel show banjo player, Tree was raised as a poor
Chinese child in the temple, where he was trained in the arts
of Kung Fu, Fung Shui, Zen philosophy, pan flute, stir-fry cooking,
and quality dry cleaning.
return, Tree helped the Buddhist monks learn tolerance, understanding,
and how to move your hips while you're dancing. His familiar
refrain, "Show me the love," echoed throughout the
Temple. These were the happy days... The
Chinese chicken salad days.
as a teenager, Tree was visiting the Forbidden City to pay tribute
to the Emperor, when a drunken palace guard insulted Tree's
momma, sending the hot-tempered teenager into a violent tantrum,
in which he accidentally stabbed the Emperor's 2nd-cousin with
his five-pronged Afro-comb.
was forced to flee to the New World, trudging through the Southwestern
United States, to help a long succession of recently-widowed-and
sexually-frustrated, beautiful farm owners battle the evil land
grabbers and drunken, culturally biased cowboys living in town
(but always waiting to beat the living crap out of them until
the last ten minutes).
Came Tree" ruled Saturday nights on CBS from 1972 until
but weeks before the long-awaited "Tree meets the Jeffersons"
show (with Sherman Helmsley himself playing the great-grandfather
of George Jefferson), the series was cancelled by the network
-- despite respectable ratings and the introduction of Tree's
adorable nephew, "Lil' Sappling."
After the show's cancellation, its legend continued to grow.
Tree's "Show Me the Love Clubs" sprang up all over
the world. It was seen several times a day on TV all over
the greater Detroit area for many years.
In 1994, a reunion show was filmed, with most of the original
cast returning (Ted McGinley replaced the original Shaolin
Master). It was a moderate ratings success, but the network
declined to revive the show as a series.
But now Tree can be seen again, twenty-five years later,
in the new bachelor-cooking show, "Show Me the Love,"
where Tree gives helpful hints on bachelor living and teaches
how to cook without a lot of fuss! (And then kick the asses
of three rednecks at the end of each show, for tradition's
So today the legend of Tree lives on, on a syndicated station
near you. Check your local listings. (Here's a hint: It'll
probably be when it's REEEEALLY late.) And remember: SHOW
HIM THE LOVE!
Wisdom of a
me the love!"
trees bend -- but this Tree breaks!"
a Zen Buddhist - mess with me, 'zen you in trouble!"
advises you to turn over a new leaf!"
-- soul food is not Korean!"
have a saying in Peking -- DUCK!"
"I am but a tree, searching for his 'Roots'!"
"Show me the love."
"You can call me 'Black Bart,' but skip the 'Bart.'"
off, or you're neck won't be the only thing that's red."
with longest branch spreads most seed."
to crumble a cracker!"
have no belongings. Tree carries no trunk."
"In China we have a saying: 'You can insult, me, insult my wife, but don't you ever insult my momma!!!"
"Show me the love!"