Friends, I caught The Karate Kid on it’s opening weekend when it was released to theaters back on June 22nd of 1984. As I had a pretty miserable experience in school with bullies at the time, the underdog tale of Daniel LaRusso (Macchio) and his friendship with Mr. Miyagi (Morita) won me over rather easily. Especially as the character of Daniel is eventually trained to defend himself from a group of High School bullies – and as much as I look back and still feel wronged by how I was treated – at least it wasn’t as physically brutal as what LaRusso went through. While I will not lie and say I didn’t spend some afternoons practicing the crane kick featured in the film, considering my size and demeanor – it felt best to inform my teachers instead of attempting something physical. Having said that there was a part of me that wanted to experience the thrill of standing up to the lead bully and laying him low like Daniel does with Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) in the climax of The Karate Kid.
A few months after I had graduated High School I began working at an awesome Mom and Pop video store and one of the videos I kept in pretty heavy rotation was The Karate Kid. Frequently I was running the place myself so having something familiar playing on the television set helped pass the time – plus it has a pretty great soundtrack to boot.
So imagine how delighted I was to find this 1983 audition featuring Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio – on that appears to have originally been two separated VHS tapes edited together and uploaded by none other than Director John G. Avildsen who states:
“I cut these two auditions together recently. It was late Spring 1983. Pat did his audition first in Burbank CA. Ralph did his in my office in NYC a few weeks later. I felt they were both just right for their roles, but the audition period went on for several weeks before they were offically offered the roles.The rest is history.”
I am sure you already know this but if you too enjoy The Karate Kid franchise – you owe it to yourself to check out Cobra Kai!