This episode involves a debate between respecting historic sites and progress. The focal point is the Castle Theater. Ah, the theater. The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd! Or is that the other way around?
The old Castle Theater is scheduled for demolition as part of a beautification project. Jameson sends Peter to meet two of the actors that oppose the destruction of the theater. Emily Thorndike and James Boothe were popular performers at the height of the Castle's popularity. Peter listens to the older actors describe their contemporaries with utmost respect. Without warning one of the poster featuring Boothe comes alive and reaches for the trio.
Later at the Daily Bugle, Peter tries to explain to Jonah what happened at the theater. Jonah doesn't care; the Bugle has backed the beautification project from the beginning and insists that the building will be torn down tomorrow morning.
The next day the construction crew find that they cant tear down the building through a series of seemingly impossible feats. The wrecking ball is transformed into a giant helium-filled balloon. A sledgehammer becomes a feather duster. The crowbar changes into a giant candy cane. The crew flee the site in terror.
When notified about the "snag", Jonah beings ranting about results. He wants the building torn down, period. Peter overhears this conversation and decides to investigate - as Spider-Man. He makes his way toward the Castle Theater and begins to look around. He is unaware that he is being watched by Thorndike and Boothe. They are somehow involved in this plot to save the theater.
Spider-Man makes his way to the stage. Blackwell The Magician appears in one of the boxes and announces his presence. He confirms Spider-Man's suspicions that he's responsible for the impossible feats. He then attacks Spider-Man with his magic powers, proving that he's more sorcerer than illusionist.
Spider-Man soon finds himself strapped to a chair in the front row. Thorndike on his right and Boothe on his left, holding a knife and a gun respectively. They force him to watch the remainder of Blackwell's impressive act. At the end, Spider-Man frees himself and grabs their weapons, realizing that they're both fake.
The trio then admit that this was an elaborate ploy to convince him to help them save the theater. Spider-Man agrees to help and tells them their next step. They contact the Evening Star and have them run an article stating that Spider-Man wants the Castle Theater torn down.
The two actors go directly to Jonah's office and show him the article. Using all their acting skills, they ham it up in front of Jonah, stoking the enmity between them. Without hesitation Jonah decides to help preserve the theater since Spider-Man wants it torn down.
This was a strange episode. I really can't find anything wrong with it aside from one small item. How did they know Spider-Man would appear after the haunted demolition, let alone be interested in preserving the theater?
My assumption is that something unusual would bring him around since in many circles he's considered an auxiliary police officer. Perhaps the logic was if he comes around of his own free will to check on it, then he may be sympathetic to our cause.
Of course asking him to help them after their respective performances requires a lot of chutzpah.
3 webs. I'm as surprised as you are. Despite a few odd choices, this episode worked out well.