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Spider-Man: ’70s Style

So I’m sure most of you have seen this (it’s been on YouTube since 2007), but I rediscovered it the other day and felt like sharing it/making fun of it.

It’s a segment from the ’70s PBS learning show The Electric Company featuring the first live-action television appearance by your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. They did several of these between 1974 and 1977. This is my favorite. A Sam Raimi movie it is not.


There are many reasons to love this. Here are mine.

1) That “comic book” looks like a hastily-produced coloring book my mom bought me at the supermarket. Those ones that only marginally resemble the characters, but it’s like 99 cents, so what the hell? Pre-licensing rights fiasco.

2) The title. It sounds like a Movie of the Week but with a superhero in it.

3) I know he’s from Queens, but I have a hard time believing Spider-Man would be a Mets fan. And he sure does think-cheer very loudly. Him thinking sounds like someone rubbing a penny on corduroy pants.

4) What is the deal with the lady to Spider-Man’s left in the opening illustration? It’s like Heath Ledger’s Joker got dolled up and went to a baseball game.

5) The Wall is maybe the best non-villain ever conceived. This is literally the one an only scenario where he could do even a modicum of harm. It’s like his whole life has been leading to this one, single moment.

6) What sort of chemistry experiment would turn someone into a 3×4 foot fully realized brick wall?

7) What is Spider-Man looking at? The first time we see him as a guy in a suit, he’s really enthralled in whatever he’s watching, but all the painted people behind him are looking in a completely different direction. The mask apparently impairs eyesight.

8 ) Spidey’s “favorite player.” Is that what kind of dire straits the Mets were in in the 70s that they’d let a nearsighted drunk rambling incoherently play professional baseball?

9) The Wall hates the Mets almost as much as their fans do.

10) The Umpire. Yes friends, that’s Morgan friggin’ Freeman playing the rule book-toting ump. He was on The Electric Company for all seven seasons during his “get busy livin'” phase.

11) No one can stop The Wall, except maybe The Wrecking Ball, The Dynamite, The Bulldozer, The Graffiti Artist, The Drunk With A Full Bladder…

12) Spider-Man can’t talk. Sure, he’s a weirdo in an ill-fitting spandex costume, but he’s still a comic book character, so he’d naturally talk in word bubbles.

13) Good point about the lack of mouth, The Wall.

14) What stops a guy who is made of bricks and mortar? A cargo net. Obviously.

15) The Theme Song. I love this the very most. Let’s take a look at the lyrics:

Spider-Man, where are you coming from?
Spider-Man, nobody knows who you are.

That could be a song about anybody in the whole world. “Where are you coming from?” Yeah! What’s your point of view, Spider-Man? “Nobody knows who you are.” Of the 20 or so-odd things that are cool and worth singing about regarding Spider-Man, the fact that nobody knows who he is is only one step above “Clearly you’re bipedal.” Didn’t The Electric Company know that he does whatever a spider can — like go to Mets games?

There is so much enjoyment out of this 3 minute clip. It makes me chuckle every time I watch it.

-Kanderson can also throw cargo nets on people, but only if they don’t follow him on TWITTER

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16 comments

  • Spider-man is a Mets fan in the comics! In fact, a year or so ago Marvel received some angry email when they mistaken had Peter Parker wearing a Yankees jacket in an issue.

    The drawings of Spidey in the comic in the show are taken from actual issues of the Spider-man comics. That front cover is from an issue where he loses his powers while fighting the Green Goblin and can no longer stick to walls. The rest of the “art”…? Well, that’s what you get on a PBS budget.

    These segments used to be my favorite part of the Electric Company and I regularly bought the “Spidey Super Stories” tie-in comic. It all seemed very impressive when I was 7.

  • Wow, I am having some serious flashbacks watching this. I loved Electric Company and Spiderman was one of my fav parts. Think I need to go get a big glass of milk and have some ants on a log to complete my 5 year old tv watching experience.

  • I had some of the Spidey tie-in comics too. I remember they had a little Easy Reader (one of Morgan Freeman’s characters) logo on the cover and said, “This comic book is easy to read”. Also, for many years afterward, I thought that Spider-Man was always silent.

  • OUTSTANDING post….one of my favorite memories from early childhood was spidey’s appearances on the electric company. ( that and perhaps the haunting tones of tom Lehrer on such tunes as “silent e”. “whoooo can turn a can into a cane? whoooo can turn a man into a mane? its not to hard to see its silent E!”). Thats the first time ive seen a clip in over 30 years and its awesome. Next up you need to dig out some clips of the cheesy live action spidey movies from the late 70’s. loved those too!

  • The real reason that no-hitter was blown was because the outfielder was yelling to the pitcher that he was pitching one. You don’t talk to the pitcher during a no-no!

    I loved Electric Company. At least some TV did me some good growing up.

  • I was a big “Electric Company” fan as a kid. My favorite bits were the “Adventures of Letterman” shorts, with the voices of Gene Wilder, Zero Mostel, and Joan Rivers. He was faster than a rolling O, stronger than silent E, and able to leap capital T in a single bound.