Friday, August 11, 2017

Spider Man on the Electric Company

Spider-Man, where are you coming from?

Spider-Man, nobody knows who you are!

Spider-Man, you've got that Spidey touch

Spider-Man, you are a web-slinging star!

Now this will probably only be remembered by those that grew up in the drug ridden 1970s, but yes Spiderman’s first jaunt out of the comic pages into live theater happened on a kids show called The Electric Company. The Children's Television Workshop, who produced the still famous Sesame Street, wanted a follow up to keep the kids educational market cornered and beat down those bastards at Zoom.
        At first this show was nothing new. Another kids educational show set up with sketch comedy style bits. Basicly it was like Sesame Street without the muppets- so you see the problem. It needed a hook to grab the kids in. And then it found it. SPIDER MAN.
        Hell yeah! When that happened the pre-pubescent me was all over that show. Tuning in every chance I got to catch up on the crime fighting action of our friendly neighborhood web slinger. Twenty nine segments were produced, along with another- presented here with The Blue Beetle. Each has the web slinger fighting against a unique foe and narrated by a cast member, the most famous one being Morgan Freeman, presented in the first two segments Spider Man Meets The Sack, and Spiderman Meets The Spoiler.
        Stay tuned true believers. The style of these sketches were amazing. And as demonstration of lack of budget spurring imagination. No special effects were used, instead comic book panels were peppered through each episode. Also, to encourage kids to actually read, Spider Man's dialogue was supplied as word balloons. These details gave the segments a truly unique look, that are decent even today. No one has ever done Spider Man like this.
        Permission for use of the character was apparently given free of charge, I assumed this allowed Marvel and it’s parent company to have a nice charitable tax write off, as Spider Man at the time was Marvel’s most popular figure and its licensure would have garnered triple digits at the time.
        I enjoy them even now, granted only for a hoaky, look at this weirdness, chuckle. But they were artistic, stylish, and definitely of their time. So enjoy and caveat emptor.
                                               Spider Man Meets the Sack
                                           Spider Man Meets the Spoiler
                                          Spidey Up Against the Wall
                                             Spider Man Meets The Prankster

                                                     Spider Man Vs. The Blue Beetle