Welcome True Believers to another all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are talking a character that is a personal favorite of the boys- particularly J. Blake -and with a new film hitting theaters this week, what better time then to discuss a certain New York City Web-Slinger! That’s right, your ‘friendly neighborhood Spider-Man‘ is the topic and his journey through television with an emphasis on the 1977 TV movie entitled just Spider-Man, and the live-action series that blossomed out of that movie pilot, The Amazing Spider-Man, which ran from 1978 to 1979.
With such a huge topic to cover, the boys initially set out to only talk the 1970’s live-action series but decided they needed to touch on the original 1967 Spider-Man cartoon series that ran until 1970, as well as the first live-action appearance of the character which appeared on of all places, PBS, on 1970’s series The Electric Company. They also felt compelled to discuss the little known, but amazing (no pun intended… or maybe it was…) live-action Japanese TV show entitled Spider-Man (or Supaidâman) that ran from 1978-1979, coinciding with the live-action America series. The fellas do touch upon the other iterations of Spidey in his various animated forms but set up the conversation by going into how much of an influence the character was for Blake growing up, even as far as a very young Blake (with the help of his Mom) submitting Spider-Man artwork to Marvel in hopes of becoming an artist there. The boys then go through the history of the character: summing up comics in the Golden Age, specifically pre and post war; Timely / Atlas Comics’ evolution into Marvel Comics; and Stan Lee‘s fight to breakout of the then-standard storytelling molds for comic books of the day, to be able to tell new kinds of stories that humanize the characters portrayed within. From the 1967 cartoon and appearances on The Electric Company, they dive deep into the 1977 TV movie ‘Backdoor Pilot‘ (as it was called), to the last two-part episode of that series in 1979 called The Chinese Web, released theatrically later as The Dragon’s Challenge overseas. They also breakdown the pilot to the 1978 Japanese show and try to put into words how much the Japanese show blew their minds… So could it be argued that Spider-Man‘s origin story is in fact more tragic than Batman‘s? How does the life-action adaptations from the 70’s hold up? And just how freaking amazing is the Japanese show really? Well make sure you grab some extra web cartridges, your camera and pack a lunch, cause we’re swinging through the glass and cement canyons of New York City this week in an all new and exciting installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!
*(This podcast was recorded prior to the passing of Stan Lee’s wife, Joan. Our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to Mr. Lee and his family.)
Take a look at Blake’s Turkish Spider-Man poster for the theatrical release of The Dragon’s Challenge, signed by Stan Lee! AND here is the American edition of that same poster.
As brought up in the podcast, here is a link to the Society of Illustrators‘ current exhibit on The Art of Spider-Man.
Check out the original 1977 ‘Backdoor Pilot’ TV movie that greenlit the 1970’s series, courtesy of YouTube!
Here’s Stan Lee talking about why he disliked the 1978-79 American television series.
Have a look at the great opening for the 1978-79 Japanese series, with subtitles!
And if you didn’t believe the boys about the awesomeness of the Japanese series, have a look at this trailer for it’s re-release from Marvel.com!
For anyone who didn’t know or forgot this existed, please check out the full video of How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, from 1986, starring Stan Lee and John Buscema!
Also discussed in the podcast, have a listen to Michael Bublé‘s great big band cover of the 1967 animated series theme, which starts as Sing Sing Sing and segues into Spider-Man. And to the show how popular this rarity must of been overseas, check out this live version with stage show, on Italian TV!
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I wasn’t sure how this one was going to come out as I’ve got mixed feelings about the show. I remember being very young and my dad taking me to the video store where I saw tapes of a live action Spider-Man. I was really excited and he rented them for me…god, it was dull! Mind you, I’m a kid and not used to the pacing but I kept wondering where the super villains were. The same thing happened to me with the Reb Brown Captain America stuff when we rented those. I also remember the Sci-Fi Channel showing re-runs. It sucks when the most memorable thing to me is the saxophone in the theme song…
I love that you guys mentioned folding paper and creating your own comics because I totally did that, too! I even did a Spider-Man one! Oh, that brought me back to simpler times. I too went through a phase where I wanted to do comics and animation. I’d often say I wanted to be a cartoon animator to people and I wanted to work for Disney…imagine if I went through with that and ended up getting there just as they closed down their animation studios? Thank god I had writing to fall back on.
And the three pack Marvel comics that were mentioned in the episode…we totally had those at the Bodega at the corner! I would beg my parents to get me them because they had three comics in there…what I didn’t realize was, it was the same three comics over and over again. I had so many copies of that Marvel Tales Classic Spider-Man that had the Death of Captain Stacy.
Finally, when you guys mentioned the Nitehawk and the Kevin Geeks out thing they have every month, I almost flipped. I’ve been to the Nitehawk quite a bit and always wanted to go to one of those. Should they invite you to speak at one PLEASE let me know because I’d love to go, but also I’d love to say hi.
Awesomely fun episode. Thank you so much for all that you do and for giving me something to keep myself sane during a very busy workday.
Thanks so much Jose! Your continued support is always appreciated and don’t worry, if we ever do an appearance in NYC, we will be advertising the hell out of it. We are so thrilled that you enjoyed the episode…you da man.