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Spider-Man (1967 TV series)

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Spiderman1967
Spider-Man
Genre(s): Action/Adventure

Rating:

TV-Y7
Created by: Stan Lee (comic book)
Steve Ditko (comic book)
Ralph Baskshi

Voices of:

Paul Soles
Peg Dixon
Paul Kligman
Bernard Cowan
Tom Harvey

No. of seasons:

3

No. of episodes:

52

Running time:

25 minutes

Original run:

September 9, 1967 - June 14, 1970

Network(s):

ABC

Spider-Man is an animated television series that ran from September 9, 1967 to June 14, 1970. It was the first animated adaptation of the Spider-Man comic book series, created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko.

Takes place in Earth-6799.

Summary

The series revolves around the scientific-minded teenager Peter Parker who, after being bitten by a radioactive spider, develops amazing strength and other spider-like powers. He decides to become a crime-fighting, costumed superhero; all the while dealing with his personal problems and the insecurities resulting from being a teenager. However, New York Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson views him as a criminal, and he is continually writing front page headlines declaring him as such.

Story

The first season of the show dealt primarily with Peter working at the Daily Bugle as a teenage freelance photographer, thereby capturing his relationship with the gruff, demanding J. Jonah Jameson and shyly romancing Betty Brant over the reception desk, while Peter was often being called into action as his crime-fighting alter-ego.

Season 1

Season 1 contained mostly stories involving classic Spider-Man villains from the comic book series, whose captures were often punctuated by a note signed "your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man." Character creator Stan Lee served as story consultant for this season of the show.

Season 2

The Ralph Bakshi-helmed Seasons 2 and 3, however, almost entirely eliminated villains from the comic book as a cost-cutting measure, choosing to instead have Spider-Man face generic green skinned magical villains and monsters, thereby enabling re-use of stock footage from Rocket Robin Hood, another animated cartoon TV show Bakshi produced.

Production

Budget

In order to be more cost-effective, given the limited budget for the show, Spider-Man's costume for this series only has webbed areas on his head, arms and boots; the rest of his costume is plain (save for the spiders on his chest and back). Additionally, the series also relied upon re-used stock animation from one episode to the next, stock animation which included everything from Spider-Man swinging across the New York City skyline, to Peter Parker stripping off his white dress shirt to reveal his supersuit (and putting on his mask) during his hidden transformations into the costumed superhero. Character movement was also kept to a minimum, though there was (arguably) more character movement here than in other Marvel-themed projects, such as The Marvel Superheroes.

Season 2 and 3

After Grantray-Lawrence went bankrupt the second and third seasons were produced at a dramatically reduced budget by Krantz Films under Ralph Bakshi. This cost cutting is most apparent in the third season with two episodes re-using almost the entire footage from two Rocket Robin Hood episodes as well as remaking previous episodes with minimal changes. An error on Spider-Man's costume appeared through Season 1. The spider on his costume (both front and back) was depicted with only 6 legs. By Season 2 new drawings of the costume showed an 8 legged spider, but reused footage from Season 1 maintained season one's error.

In addition, the episodes adopted a darker tone with darkly colored settings, psychedelic images, and atmospheric music. But while the reduced budget took its toll, Bakshi tried to delve further into Peter Parker's everyday life at college as a soft-spoken student, such as where he tries out for the football team, in "Criminals In The Clouds," only to fail miserably, and actually becomes a star pitcher for the baseball team in "Diamond Dust." Peter's romantic life also began to take shape as he started dating a variety of women who were either concealing secrets or found themselves angrily waiting for him while Spider-Man saved the city from certain destruction. Bakshi also provided fans with the first origin story for the character ever presented on TV, the aptly-titled "The Origin Of Spider-Man," which used entire chunks of Stan Lee's dialogue, not from the hero's first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15, published in August 1962, but instead from a drastically updated retelling in Spectacular Spider-Man #1, titled "In The Beginning," which was published in July 1968, only a few months before the episode was aired.

Theme song

Main article: Spider-Man theme songThe theme song of the show has become a popular standard. The lyrics were written by Academy Award winner Paul Francis Webster, while the music was composed by Bob Harris. The song's opening lines, "Spider-Man, Spider-Man, Does whatever a spider can," became almost as synonymous with the character as his costume.

Theme song in other media

The 2002 and 2004 film adaptations have featured characters as buskers performing the song; Jayce Bartok and Elyse Dinh respectively. Both films also feature some version of the song at the very end of the credits: the 2002 adaptation featured the original 1967 recording while the 2004 film had a re-recording by Michael Bublé (also featured on the film's soundtrack). 2007's Spider-Man 3 features a performance of the song by a marching band at a public rally celebrating Spider-Man.

The full theme song:

Spider-Man, Spider-Man does whatever a spider can,

Spins a web, any size,

Catches theives, just like flies,

Watch out here comes the Spider-Man,

Is he strong? Listen bud,

He's got raidioavtive blood,

Can he swing from a thread,

Take a look overhead,

Hey there, there goes the Spider-Man,

In the chill of night at the scene of a crime,

like a streak of light, he arrives just in time,

Spider-Man, Spider-Man friendly neighborhood Spider-Man,

Wealth and fame he's ignored, action is his reward,

To him, life is a great big bang,

Wherever there's a hang up,

You'll find the Spider-Man!

Voice cast

  • Paul Soles – Peter Parker/Spider-Man
  • Peg Dixon – Betty Brant
  • Bernard Cowan – Narrator, Dr. Matto Magneto, Plutonian Leader
  • Paul Kligman – J. Jonah Jameson
  • Carl Banas – Scorpion, Dr. Banas
  • Len Carlson – Green Goblin, Parafino, Stan Patterson/Human Fly, Bolton, Captain Ned Stacy
  • Vernon Chapman – Doctor Octopus
  • Gillie Fenwick – Dr. Curt Connors/Lizard, Vulture, Pardo, Plotter, Professor Smartyr
  • Max Ferguson – Fifth Avenue Phanton, Executioner of Paris
  • Tom Harvey – Electro, Sandman, Baron Von Rantenraven, Dr. Atlantean, Dr. Stillwell, Master Vine, Mugs Riley
  • Ed McNamera – Rhino, Blackbeard, Vulcan
  • Henry Ramer – Dr. Noah Boddy, Grandini the Mystic, Henry Smythe, Lee Patterson/Human Fly
  • Billie Mae Richards – Billy Connors
  • Chris Wiggins – Mysterio, Blackwell the Magician, Boomer, Harley Clivendon, Infinata

Trivia

  • The opening credits depicts a scene of robbers burgling a jewellery store. In the first shot, the sign reads "Fine Jewlery." Then in the next shot, it changes to the correct spelling ("Jewelry," US spelling).
  • Mysterio's appearance in the series differed from the first season to the third. In his first appearance, his mask was off periodically, and his head had pointed ears. In his second appearance, his mask and costume were the same as the previous episode, but the mask was never removed. In Season Three's "The Madness of Mysterio," he was never wearing his costume, but he had started carrying a cigar in his mouth, and his ears were no longer pointed.
  • An internet meme, commonly known as "Spider-Man 60's meme" has a screenshot taken at a random part of the series episodes and adding an inappropriate and/or witty text, while spoofing the show.
  • It was jointly produced in Canada (for voice talent) and the United States (for animation)

Notes

  • As of September 1, 2008, the series can be seen (unedited) in Canada on Teletoon Retro.

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