The Electric Company was the Pepsi of children's television in the 1970s to Sesame Street's Coca-Cola.
Sesame Street had lovable Muppets which allowed them to earn additional income through merchandising (the main reason the show is STILL on the air after all this time). The Electric Company had Morgan Freeman. As cool as he is, I can't see a Morgan Freeman plush toy outselling Big Bird, Kermit, or Grover (especially the Super Grover variant). Oscar the Grouch, maybe.
Perhaps to compete with their sibling show, TEC somehow managed to acquired the rights to use Spider-Man in small segments starting in 1974. The intention was to teach children to read using one of the most popular comic book characters of all time. On that front they succeeded.
However some of the segments had to be GREATLY toned down to be appropriate for their target audience. This resulted in many so-bad-they're-good encounters with villains that wouldn't quite make the cut in the comics.
|Star:||Danny Seagren (Spider-Man), Hattie Winston (Woman eating Ice Cream Cone), Jim Boyd (The Yeti), Judy Graubart (Elderly Woman), Luis Avalos (Ice Cream Vendor), Rita Moreno (Spy), Skip Hinnant (Elderly Man)|
Our announcer tells us that in this episode, Spider-Man will confront a Yeti, the legendary abominable snowman! (Will this be like the Bugs Bunny one? "I will pet him, and hug him, and call him 'George'").
It's a warm summer day (in New York, I presume). A young woman sits on a park bench about to enjoy a double-scooped fudge-ripple ice cream cone (That sounds good. I'm heading to Baskin-Robbins for some Cookies 'n Creme. See you in a few). As she reads her magazine, the Yeti walks silently behind her. She holds her prize cone of summertime goodness inches above the bench. The Yeti sees the cone and walks around the bench and sits on it, punctuated by a squishy sound. The Yeti appears refreshed and just as silently leaves the oblivious woman with the remains of her squished dairy treat. Only as he walk out of the shot does she realize what has just happened. She yells her furry assailant that he just "bent her cone". (Whaaaat? I was looking for my keys when you said that. What'd I miss? Oh the Yeti sat on an ice cream cone? Yeah I'll wait a few).
The distraught woman is in luck. Spider-Man is busy jogging through the same park for some exercise (web-swinging burns five times more calories. I read that on the internet somewhere). She tells him to catch the monster that did this or she'll stop reading his comic book. "Not that!" the word balloon hiccups. Spider-Man then sets out help the lady... avenge... her ... ice cream... cone? (Say it right: sell one more copy of his comic).
Elsewhere Officer Morgan Freeman is taking a break: grape soda (lots of ice) and what looks like a hot dog. (Grape soda? Not. Touching. This. One.) The silent Yeti approaches Officer Freeman. When he sets his soda down, the Yeti sits on it as well, resulting in a sound of cracking ice. Office Freeman carefully turns his head to the side and sees the Yeti in action. The Yeti then rises refreshed again and goes on his furry way. Officer Freeman is outraged and begins calling for the police to help him. He then realizes he IS the police and is appropriately embarrassed. Spider-Man hears the cry for help and confirms with Officer Freeman that there's a serial sitter on the loose.
Still elsewhere an elderly couple celebrate the husband's (Rosco's) birthday. At the wife's insistence, Rosco is to blow out the candles and make a wish. (Instead of blowing out the candles, Rosco coughs all over them. Don't get old, kids!). The Yeti appears in their apartment and while the terrified couple cringes, sits on the birthday cake. Rosco is outraged and states "This isn't what I wished for!" After the Yeti leaves, Spider-Man appears. "That's not what I wished for either," Rosco quips. Spider-Man checks that the couple is ok and continues on his search for the Yeti.
Pondering intently Spider-Man stumbles on the answer. They Yeti must have gotten lost and made his way to New York (much like the Hulk does on occasion). He sits on cold things because he's homesick and they reminds him of his frozen home. (Of course! Couldn't be because he's 95% fur and it's hot, could it?) The cake was an accident. He thought "frosting" would be cold; he was mistaken.
Spider-Man makes a plan to trap the Yeti. He finds a vendor that sells "ices" and buys ten from the happy purveyor of cold things. (What are "ices"? Cold drinks? Snow cones? Whatever.) He puts the items in a line on the ground (kinda like the Reese's Pieces in E.T.). Sure enough the Yeti finds them and works his way down the line, sitting on each one and shaking with enjoyment when he stand (Yeti enjoys this a little too much. Scary.) He is then webbed by our intrepid hero.
Officer Freeman then arrives intent to arrest the Yeti. Spider-Man convinces him that the Yeti is only homesick and promises to take him back home. Officer Freeman feels a little guilty for misjudging the Yeti and allows Spider-Man to do just that. Spidey is then seen hailing a taxi, bound for the frozen North.
Spidey's gonna need a lot of cash to pay for that taxi ride.
I can't help but wonder why they didn't show the Yeti just trying to eat cold things. That would have made the most sense. Having him sit on things (specifically the ices which are questionably shaped) doesn't make much sense.
How exactly did the Yeti find these objects? Does he have some sixth-sense that tells him where cold items can be found? Does he have... Yeti-sense?
5 webs. This is by far the most unusual story I have seen/can remember from this series. It actually follows the standard 3-part "chase" formula and has it own bizarre humor.
Here's the real reason it gets 5 webs: Morgan Freeman drinking grape soda. AND HE MAKES ME BELIEVE IT!