The Superhero Network


OK… I am about to illustrate my profound geekiness (or my wealth of Useless Knowledge, you decide).  Way back in the mid to late 1970s, it seemed like at least two of the big three networks (remember those days?) had at least one live-action superhero show on the air.  ABC had The Six Million Dollar Man which lead to the Bionic Woman (which jumped ship to NBC for its third and final season… told you I was going to demonstrate my geekiness ;).  Over on CBS, you had The Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman (which ABC tried for a season by putting the story in the original WWII time frame), and The Amazing Spider-Man.

The Hulk and Wonder Woman are much easier to track down than your friendly neighborhood web-crawler for a number of reasons.  Sad to say the budget for the live-action Spider-Man was not over the top.  After locating several of the 14 episodes via youtube, the special effects definitely showed the lack of money put to it.  The crawling up and down buildings left much to be desired and to save even more money, stock footage from the pilot episode would be used.  Funny, but what finally spelled Spidey’s doom was not the cheesy effects but CBS’ self-described fear of becoming THE Superhero Network.  The Amazon Princess and the arachnid were given the ax while The Hulk continued on into the early 80s.

HOWEVER, this was not Spider-Man’s first appearance as a live-action hero. Beginning in 1974, he was seen in short live action bits on the children’s series The Electric Company.

Here is a Great pseudo cross-over Spider-Man episode tied with a classic episode with another series:

And here is an Electric Company short.  Guess the voice of the narrator:

Ok… enough geekiness for one day. I won’t go further by saying that Nicholas Hammond also played Fredrick (the oldest Von Trapp male child) in The Sound of Music… although I think I just did.

4 thoughts on “The Superhero Network”

  1. Morgan Freeman.
    The first video was entertaining yet surreal. Almost seemed like a bad joke or satirical parody. I hadn’t seen that mini-ep of the Brady Bunch yet – thanks for sharing!

  2. Satirical parody, fan-made video. You have never seen the BB ep in which Marcia’s nose gets broken? 😀

    Yes… amongst other stars… Mr. Freeman and Bill Cosby were part of the Electric Company back in the day. And as I heard somewhere… James Earl Jones was the first guest star on Sesame Street (before a little film something about a Star War came along)…

  3. I have seen that episode, of course, and it’s been so widely satirized that it’s run the gamut of parody – it was featured in at least one of the Brady Bunch movies, as well as Saturday Night Live and shows like that – lots of stuff.
    That shows the power of distraction kids running around have – I did not recognize the cross-over as a fan-made video and thought the shows were on the same network or something – cross-promotion. I thought, this HAS to be a joke!! And it was, jokes on me – haha!

  4. 1st video- hilarious! I thought it was real at first, but I remembered the broken nose ep so I realized what was going on at that point. The city was also just a b—i—t too close to Brady suburbia as well at the end.

    2nd video- cheesy, but of course EC was a kid’s show, so…

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