Count Dante was such a legendary asshole and fraud that he was immortalized in popular culture in not one, but three places.
His “there is no pain in this dojo” mantra, Vietnam military service past, and supposed abuse of his students was the inspiration for the abusive Cobra Kai Sensei Kreese in the Karate Kid film.
He was also the inspiration for the martial arts fake and blowhard Mr. Satan in the comic book Dragon Ball. (”Count Dante,” Mr. Satan, get it?) Toryama even copied his fro/sideburns/moustache combination.
Finally, in his later years, “the most dangerous man in the world” became a hairdresser and was one of (but not the only) the inspirations for Adam Sandler’s character in You Don’t Mess With the Zohan.
If you ever find yourself getting misty-eyed in Karate Kid II that Mr. Miyagi never married the woman he loved and spent a lifetime apart from her (the Pete Cetera ballads don’t help matters), you can console yourself with that episode of Happy Days where Arnold got married to her with Fonzie as his best man. Both times, Pat Morita’s lady was played by the same actress, Nobu McCarthy (in real life, she and Pat Morita were good friends). And back in the day, she was damn fine and a wild thing.
“Karate Kid” Animated Series, 1989. A fun one-season wonder. With a globetrotting search for a magic object, it was basically a dress rehearsal for the later “Jackie Chan Adventures.”
Karate Kid action figures, 1980s.