Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 3, Episode 6 (Story 2)

Background

Anybody in the mood for a villain based on Humpty Dumpty? If not, don't read this review.

Story 'The Devious Dr. Dumpty'

While taking pictures of the holiday parade for the Daily Bugle, Spider-Man finds his likeness immortalizes in a colossal parade balloon. [Cap and Iron Man balloons are there as well. Colored orange and green respectively. Iron Man looks more like Titanium Man. Not sure why they couldn't get that right , the palate was there.] He swings in closer to get a better view and catches a glimpse of the queen of the parade movie star Rochelle Welles. She's wearing an elaborate - and expensive - set of jewelry in the parade to promote her latest film. [As if her presence isn't enough?]

At the appointed time the master criminal Dr. Dumpty unleashes a thick cloud to cover his theft of Welles' jewels. Spider-Man checks on Welles [Who sounds like Mae West] and then catches up to them as they escape in their hot-air balloon. He is knocked off the hot-air balloon and would have dropped to his death had he not landed on the Spider-Man balloon. As it deflates, the balloon safely lowers him to the ground.

Later at his house, Peter creates a new web formula with a special ingredient to combat Dr. Dumpty - I.B.P. He finishes it in time for the costumed ball at the Caesar Astoria Hotel. The main attraction is the Venezuelan Mask of Dondelorro, made of pure gold. Dumpty's mol Bubbles is upset that Spider-Man is now dead; she thought he was cute.

That night at the gala, [Stock footage of the Go-Go Band is used. They're quite popular. ] Spider-Man bumps into Bubbles. She blurts out that the "Doc" said he was dead. He quickly realizes her connection to Dumpty. A cursory check of her purse reveals a gas mask. Just then Dumpty launches his attack; Spider-Man uses the mask while the rest of the patrons are exposed to laughing gas [Including Bubbles, you heartless quarter-animated man. She idolized you! She ... was a plot device. Carry on.]

Spider-Man prevents Dumpty from stealing the mask. As Dumpty and his gang make their escape, Spider-Man uses the I.B.P. (which is now revealed to be an acronym for Instant Banana Peel) turning their path into a giant Slip 'N Slide. This causes the thieves to slide into the wall on the opposite side of the room. [His secret weapon is Vaudeville schtick? What does he do for an encore, spray Dumpty with seltzer water?]

Dumpty regains his footing and heads toward the balcony. His hat inflates to parachute size, promising to carry him gently land on the ground below. Dumpty bids adieu to the hero and jumps from the balcony. Spider-Man grabs the nearest sword [Someone brought a sharpened sword to a costume party? Reckless endangerment, anyone?] and follows the rotund crook to the street.

Once on the ground, Dumpty is unable to escape the confines of his parachute. Spider-Man helps him by poking the hat with his sword, causing a minor explosion [Huh what?]. This leaves Dumpty ready for the authorities.

Later that night, Peter and his date Sue are watching television. Rochelle Welles is being interviewed about her recent activities. She makes it a point to thank Spider-Man for recovering her jewels. She offers to play "Miss Muffett" to his spider anytime. Sue notices that Peter is blushing, but won't tell her why.

General Comments

The writer(s) apparently forgot that in the nursery rhyme "Little Miss Muffett" the spider actually SCARED Miss Muffett away. Nothing from that little poem could be used in the manner in which Wells was hinting. Her intentions are QUITE clear, however.

I also feel a bit cheated. With a name like Dumpty, one would assume a nursery rhyme them to his crimes. Nope, just a verbose fat guy that looks like the mayor of Whoville.

Overall Rating

2 webs. Despite the Instant Banana Peel webbing, a plot device with a Queens accent, and a Mae West knockoff making quasi-obscene propositions to the hero in a kids' cartoon, it wasn't too bad.

The story was structured - a rarity it seems - and simple enough to progress through the plot points with no confusion. Unlike it's sibling this episode, the villain isn't chosen completely out of left field. This is another critical element in making a decent episode.

We know that Dumpty isn't going to be a challenge, but we do expect him to follow the basic outline. They did and they get 2 webs because of it.