The Electric Company produced 130 shows per season, five per week for 26 weeks of the year. Spider-Man appeared on a few, and we're going to track down as many as we can and review them here for you.
This is Spider-Man's debut on the show. The episode is number #391. The date is Oct 21st 1974. Spider-Man appeared first of all in this start-of-show "teaser", before also appearing later in the show in a "five second" mini-sequence, before finally appearing in his first TEC feature - Spidey Meets the Spoiler. The episode #391 full segment list is as follows:
Cold open: Spider-Man on the Electric Company Today: The director says ["To the Queen!"] * "tr" pantomime * Silhouettes - "tr/ick/trick" * Trick or Treat at Dracula's * Cartoon - "rip/trip" * "Try not to Tremble" song (EKA 147) o "Tremble" word animation * Cartoon - "tack/track" (EKA 147) o "Train" word animation (EKA 375) * Monolith - "ai" o "Bait" word animation * "Everyone Has a Pain" song o Self-destructing word - "Spider-Man!" * The Adventures of Letterman - "The Great Escape" o "To" word animation * The Director - "To the queen" * The Punctuation Brothers * Eggs/Fried Eggs?/Scrambled Eggs! * Spider-Man - "Spidey Meets the Spoiler" * Easy Reader and Valerie the Librarian - "Words, Words, Words, Words" song * Paul plugs the Electric Company logo in and blows it up by mistake Next time: The scout tries to [rent a tent].
The following review is for the teaser only.
This segment starts at the very beginning of the show. Cue funky jazz music and fade in from black.
J. Arthur Crank is sitting on a bench by the bus stop reading a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #132, which hit the stands a few months earlier in the year. Easy Reader wanders past with a newspaper, and stops to chat. The pair exchange hip greetings, and Easy asks Crank what he's up to. Crank answers crankily: "I'm reading! What would I be doing on The Electric Company. Shooting fish?"
Turns out, Crank's a big fan of Spidey, and so is Easy Reader. "Speaking of which," asks Easy Reader... "guess who's gonna be on The Electric Company?" Turns out it's none other than Spider-Man!
Crank laughs at that, and explains to Easy that Spider-Man isn't a real guy, he's just a character in a funny book, he's just a drawing! "Well... suit yerself," says Easy Reader, and then "jets off" to "take his main squeeze to the library." He leaves Crank still laughing and asking who would believe that Spider-Man was gonna be on the Electric Company. Anybody who would believe that would have to be "some kind of a yo-yo!"
Meanwhile, Spidey wanders in from backstage and picks up the comic which Crank has temporarily put aside. The web-head leans up against a store to read the comic, while Crank discovers the missing book and blames Easy for taking it. Crank exits stage left, having never noticed Spider-Man at all. Spider-Man faces the camera and "thinks" in his soon-to-be-trademark thought-bubble... "What a yo-yo!"
Then fire up the main theme tune, and we're away!
Well, this is just a taster, but even so it's easy to see what a brilliant idea this was. The Electric Company was a great show with a fantastic goal - the theory that if a kid was gonna be in front of the TV, it's best they were at least learning something. Spider-Man tied in brilliantly with the whole concept.
I have no idea how I'm gonna rate these shows. I guess I'll just use instinct. And maybe a dice.
But as a teaser and a run-in to the main credits, this segment fits the bill perfectly. Four webs.
I found this segment on YouTube as "The Electric Company - Introducing Spidey".
The second segment "The next word you see will self-destruct in five seconds. Can you read it before it does?" is also available on YouTube as "The Electric Company - Five Seconds".
P.S. The word is "SPIDER-MAN".