'Karate Kid': John Avildsen's rehearsal tapes '...are the best!... around!!'

“Daniel Larusso’s gonna fight?… Daniel Larusso’s gonna fight!

Fans of the original Karate Kid might be disappointed to learn that the famous exclamation from the announcer at the All-Valley Under-18 Karate Tournament was not in the original script. Or at least it wasn’t in the scene when it was rehearsed for director John Avildsen’s video camera in 1983. In one of a series of lengthy audition and rehearsal clips that the director has posted on YouTube over the years — and recently showcased on Slate — the late Bruce Malmouth doesn’t deliver that oft-quoted line of incredulousness. Instead, he simply holds the trophy away from the villainous Johnny Lawrence and says, “Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on… hold on… Isn’t this what it’s all about folks?”

Hold on, hold on… hold on? Oof. Kudos to the script doctor — or Malmouth himself — who made something out of nothing before the cameras actually rolled. Scroll to 3:30 in the video clip below to see that specific scene, but by all means, start from the beginning of the fight sequences, which help explain some of the mysterious scoring decisions that have baffled obsessive Karate Kids fans for years.

If you’ve ever practiced the crane technique in your bathroom mirror or screamed, “Get him a body bag!” with or without irony, then you should spend some time this weekend exploring all of these grainy clips. (There’s more than two hours worth.) You’ll finally learn how Daniel defeated Dutch in their glossed-over tournament match-up, and why Daniel’s mother drove all the way across the country to work… in a restaurant.

[Slow bow]

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