I was out in the Hamptons this past weekend and saw the van for Royal Pains out and about. If you haven’t seen it already USA has a new series that starts this Thursday at 10PM EST titled Royal Pains. Royal Pains is about a doctor “Hank Lawson” (played by Marc Feuerstein) who was fired from his position and against his judgment becomes a “concierge doctor” for the rich.
In the show pilot, the writers wasted no time on black card references, the son of the heir to family that invented the blender (Tucker Bryant) wrecks his Dad’s Ferrari and is injured. After some emergency care, Tucker needs transport to a hospital, “[Tucker Bryant] The Hamptons heritage no way man, Dad calls it the local cemetery. [Hank Lawson] What would your Dad suggest we do? [Tucker Bryant] Go into my wallet and get the little black card that says American Express on it.” Tucker is then taken by helicopter to Mount Sinai in Manhattan. You can watch the full pilot for Royal Pains on Hulu
Lupin III (?????, Rupan Sansei) began as a Japanese manga (comic) series written and illustrated by Kazuhiko Kato under the artist handle of “Monkey Punch.” The storyline focuses on a gang of thieves led by Arsène Lupin III, the grandson of Arsène Lupin, the gentleman thief of Maurice Leblanc’s series of novels. Lupin and his gang travel throughout the world to steal treasures and escape from the law. Phew, okay, glad we’ve gotten all that settled!
At any rate, the first Lupin III manga appeared in “Weekly Manga Action,” a series magazine, beginning on 10 August 1967. This led to the creation of a media franchise that includes numerous manga comics, a handful of animated TV shows, feature films, direct-to-video releases, TV specials, music CDs, video games, and a musical. Finally, WhiteLight Entertainment, a production company owned by Gerald R. Molen, purchased the live action theatrical rights to Lupin III in 2003 and the Hollywood production is scheduled to be released in 2009.
So what does any of this have to do with The Black Card you might be asking? Maybe you’re antsy for me to get to the point. Well, if I still haven’t lost you by now: on one of the Lupin III TV episodes, a character reserved her $8,000.00 a night suite at the Waldorf Astoria (pic below). Even Anime, although considered adult cartoons, has been infected. This is not only another example of Black AMEX in popular culture, but goes to show that the AMEX has gone global with the Black AMEX as a status symbol.
The show Entourage on HBO has been around for a while, and we just discovered this quick little reference to the Black Card when Vince and “E” are being told they’re in financial trouble and can’t rely entirely on Vince’s Black Card for their spending needs. Just another example of how the Black Card has become an icon in popular culture.