Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 2, Episode 1

Background

You remember when they changed Darrin Stephens on "Bewitched"? Sorry, bad reference. I'm stuck in the 1960s. Remember when Ross & Rachael were "on a break"? No, that's closer... uhm.. remember when "Lost" jumped the shark? (Maybe that'll work).

This season Krantz Films, Inc. took control of the production of the Spider-Man animated series. They dealt with a smaller budget than their predecessors and had to get creative (or lazy depending on how you look at it). The series changed and took on a much darker style with bizarre psychedelic backgrounds and extended sequences where Spider-Man would "chase" a villain. This would allow them to cycle through all combinations of existing backgrounds and Spider-Man stock footage. This may have allowed them to come in under budget, but quite frankly it's boring to anyone over the age of 7.

There are few villains used from the previous year. The plots - with few exceptions - can be summarized as follows: "Spider-Man must stop _____ from {destroying/capturing} _____". The rest is just filler. I will do my best to tell what happens, but there isn't too much of note.

This is probably the most ambitious episode they produced - and with good reason - it's the full-fledged origin of Spider-Man.

Story 'The Origin of Spiderman'

  Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 2, Episode 1
Summary: First Aired Sep 14th 1968 (start of 2nd Season)

Well they started out poorly by misspelling the main character's name on the title card. Nice job.

At Midtown High [not named but we know the score] teenagers "Moose" and Sal [two guys with a car] ask a group of three girls to join them for a soda. They won't go unless there's someone for all three of them.

In desperation Moose asks classmate Peter Parker to be the third guy and accompany them to the soda shop. Peter rejects the offer, stating that he has to attend a radioactivity demonstration. [I'm speechless. Even if it's to entertain the "ugly one" - none of which were - he was asked to join in and he said "no". Risking heresy, I say any future whining about his lot in life is now invalidated] Peter walks away to the sounds of the pejorative "bookworm". [Which he deserves in this case]

During the demonstration a spider becomes bombarded by the radioactive rays and falls onto the unsuspecting Parker's hand and bites him just before it dies. Feeling queasy, Parker leaves the demonstration to get some fresh air.

He walks around and accidentally bumps into two bikers. One punches him in the jaw, but he doesn't feel it. Cocking his fist to punch his assailant, he knocks over a lamppost. This scares the bikers away. He continues to walk around in a daze and is almost run over by a motorist. He leaps to safety - several stories up. He then begins to test the limits of his new powers. Peter soon realizes that the spider that bit him must have been radioactive. The venom from its bite transformed him into a human spider.

He returns home and decides to use his new powers to embark on a career as an entertainer or stuntman. In this way he'll be able to pay back his Aunt May and Uncle Ben who cared for him after the death of his parents. He soon creates his web-shooters, a costume, and a stage name: Spider-Man.

He then sets out to cash in on his abilities. He makes his way to Ed Sullivan's studio to audition for him. Once he reaches the studio, he ignores the pleas of the security guards to stop an escaping thief. When asked why he did that, he claims it's not his responsibility. The audition goes well and the producer agrees to put him on the next show.

When Peter returns home he finds that his Uncle Ben has been killed by a burglar. He's currently hiding in the Acme warehouse on the waterfront. Peter changes to Spider-Man and makes his way to the warehouse to confront the burglar that killed his uncle.

When he arrives, he makes short work of the burglar. He finds that the man in question is the same one he allowed to pass him in the hallway of the studio. If he had used his new powers wisely, his uncle would be alive now.

He vows to use his powers responsibly from that point forward, stopping any and all crime that he can.

General Comments

Well, there you have an animated and slightly expanded version of Amazing Fantasy #15. The only element that they forgot was to establish that Peter was bullied and/or shunned by his classmates.

They succeeded in portraying him as a giant nerd and is ridiculed because of his actions. Or action to be precise. The scene with his classmates is only one example, but I'm guessing it's an accurate one. Had Moose & Sal simply rejected the idea that Peter could be included, it would have gone a long way to establish his outsider status.

Overall Rating

5 webs. I'll give them the full 5 because they did an excellent job with the episode even with a few odd points. They hit the major points very well and were able to create a poignant scene when Peter has his "great power, great responsibility" moment.