Spider-Man (1967 TV series)

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Spider-Man
Spiderman1967.jpg
Genre Action/Adventure
Created by Stan Lee (comic book)
Steve Ditko (comic book)
Ralph Bakshi
Starring Paul Soles
Theme music composer Paul Francis Webster
Bob Harris
Composer(s) Ray Ellis
(incidental music)
Country of origin Canada
United States
No. of episodes 52 (list of episodes)
Production
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) Grantray-Lawrence Animation (1967-1968)
Krantz Films (1968-1970)
Marvel Comics Group
Distributor Buena Vista Television (1985-2007)
Disney-ABC Domestic Television (2007-present)
Release
Original channel ABC
Original release September 9, 1967 – June 14, 1970
Chronology
Followed by Spidey Super Stories

Spider-Man was an American animated television series that aired 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, and was jointly produced in Canada (for voice talent) and in the United States (for animation).[1] The first two seasons aired on the ABC television network, and the third was distributed in syndication. Grantray-Lawrence Animation produced the first season. Seasons 2 and 3 were produced by Krantz Films in New York City.

Synopsis[edit]

The series revolves around the scientific-minded teenager Peter Parker who, after being bitten by a radioactive spider, develops amazing strength and 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. As Spider-Man, Parker risks his life to fight super-powered criminals such as Doctor Octopus, Mysterio and the Green Goblin; however, Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson views him as a criminal, and continually writes front page headlines declaring him as such.

The first season of the show dealt primarily with Peter's job as a freelance photographer at the Daily Bugle. It focused on his relationship with the gruff, demanding J. Jonah Jameson and romance with receptionist Betty Brant, with Peter often being called into action as his crime-fighting alter-ego. Peter's life away from the Bugle's newspaper offices and his Aunt May's Forest Hills home were almost never dealt with in these early episodes, and he was also never seen at college—although he would sometimes visit various professors he clearly knew (such as the opening of "Sub-Zero for Spidey," when he went to see a professor by the name of "Smartyr"). The character design for young Peter combined the conceptualizations of both Steve Ditko (such as Peter's primary-colored blue suit, yellow vest, white shirt, and red tie) and John Romita, Sr., who served as art consultant for the show.

Season 1 stories mostly involved classic Spider-Man villains from the comic book series, whose captures were often punctuated by a note signed "Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man." Stan Lee served as story consultant for this season of the show. 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, and magical monsters. This enabled reuse of stock footage from Rocket Robin Hood, another animated series produced by Bakshi.

Production[edit]

Budget[edit]

In order to be more cost-effective given its limited budget, 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). The series also relied upon reused stock animation from one episode to the next, 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 spider-suit 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.

After Grantray-Lawrence went bankrupt[citation needed], 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 reusing almost all of the footage from two Rocket Robin Hood episodes (most notably the season 3 Rocket Robin Hood episode "Dementia 5") as well as remaking previous episodes with minimal changes. In addition, footage from previous episodes was cannibalized almost in its entirety with minimal changes and essentially the same plots. The episodes featuring The Vulture and The Rhino from the first season were reedited together as single episodes in the later seasons. 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 the season 3 episode "The Madness of Mysterio", he was never wearing his costume, but he had started carrying a cigarette-holder in his mouth, wore a smoking jacket, his skin was green, and his ears were no longer pointed, while the series' final episode simply reran Mysterio's standard appearance in "The Return of the Flying Dutchman" as part of a clip episode.[citation needed]

An error on Spider-Man's costume appeared through season one. The spider on his costume (both front and back) was depicted with only six legs. By season 2, new drawings of the costume showed an eight-legged spider, but reused footage from season 1 maintained that season's error.

The second and third season 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 his failed try-out for the football team in "Criminals in the Clouds" and emergence as 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 (as in "Home") or found themselves angrily waiting for him while Spider-Man saved the city from certain destruction (as in "Swing City"). Peter's most recurring love interest was Susan Shaw, who first appeared in "Criminals in the Clouds" and continued to appear in some season 2 and 3 episodes, although her character model was constantly changed from episode to episode. Bakshi also provided fans with the first origin story for the Spider-Man character ever presented on TV, the aptly-titled "The Origin of Spider-Man", which used entire chunks of Stan Lee's dialogue. This dialogue came 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.

Rocket Robin Hood footage[edit]

The episodes "Phantom from the Depths of Time"[2] and "Revolt in the Fifth Dimension" were, for a large part, recycled animation from two episodes ("From Menace to Menace" and "Dimentia Five") of an earlier series, Rocket Robin Hood.[3] Therein, Spider-Man was substituted for Robin Hood on the animation cels.

As well as having two similar episodes to that of Rocket Robin Hood, Spider-Man featured many voice actors previously heard on Rocket Robin Hood, and many of the second season Spider-Man episodes used the former's music cues[citation needed].

Theme song[edit]

The 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 line, "Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can," became almost as synonymous with the character as his costume. The original song was recorded at RCA Studios in Toronto (where the cartoon was also produced) featuring twelve CBC vocalists (members of the Billy Van Singers, and Laurie Bower Singers groups) who added to the musical backing track supplied by RCA Studios, New York. The singers were paid only for the session and have had no residuals from its use since then.

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's Spider-Man 2 has 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. In 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter uses a version of the theme as his ring tone.

Meanwhile the incidental music from the series, with its jangling surf guitar, groovy brass lines and jazzy scoring, is highly regarded by fans and much sought after by soundtrack collectors.[citation needed] The first season featured an original score written by Ray Ellis,[citation needed] who also adapted the Bob Harris theme, in the same way John Barry utilized Monty Norman's "James Bond Theme" in various 007 films, or Nelson Riddle utilized Neal Hefti's "Batman Theme" in addition to new material. The second and third seasons reused the Ellis score while adding a substantial amount of new music taken from KPM Musichouse tracks[citation needed] ("production music") featuring such English composers as Johnny Hawksworth, Syd Dale, David Lindup, Johnny Pearson, Alan Hawkshaw, Kenny Graham and the team of Bill Martin & Phil Coulter. Other music came from the Capitol Library by U.S. composers Bill Loose, Emil Cadkin & Jack Cookerly. The Capitol tracks can also be heard on such earlier shows as The Untouchables, The Fugitive and 8th Man. Still other recordings came from the DeWolfe Library.

Broadcast schedule[edit]

Spider-Man was initially broadcast in the U.S. on Saturday mornings on ABC. The first episode that aired was "The Power of Doctor Octopus"/"Sub-Zero for Spidey" on September 9, 1967. For the full run of the first season and of the second season, the show was seen at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. ABC's last Saturday morning broadcast of Spider-Man was on August 30, 1969, with 39 half-hour episodes (many with two separate stories) aired. The show went on hiatus until the following March, when a third season began a six-month run, from March 22 to September 6, 1970, on Sunday mornings, at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time. It continued to be re-run in syndication throughout the United States in the 1970s, usually as part of local stations' mid-afternoon cartoon block. In Canada, the series continued to air on CTV Network affiliates on Saturday morning (and in other time slots) through the 1970s and '80s.

In 1977, the series was broadcast abroad, airing in several international markets for the first time. In the case of the Spanish and Italian versions, a completely different theme song was used, dubbed over original footage of the introduction. The song was written by composers Erick Bulling & Santiago and performed by Chilean singer Guillermo "Memo" Aguirre, aka "El Capitan Memo." This song was also released as a vinyl LP single.[citation needed] For the Italian version, the show's title there, L'uomo Ragno, was superimposed in large yellow type over the first two shots of Spider-Man swinging through the city.

The series has also aired on ABC Family, starting in 2002 as part of the network's Memorial Day weekend-long "Spidey-Mania" marathon, timed to coincide with the release of the feature film. However, it appeared that airings of the show were only limited to the special marathons in question, as it would not be seen again until a third "Spidey-Mania" marathon (to coincide with the release of Spider-Man 2) in 2004, the last time it was seen on ABC Family in the US. (The second "Spidey-Mania" marathon, aired in 2003, did not feature this series.) In addition, the show aired on Family in Canada until September 2007 when they took it off to make room for their fall schedule. The show is not known ever to have aired on the channel since.

The network was notorious for heavily editing footage so it could be more suitable for younger audiences;[citation needed] for example, J. Jonah Jameson's right hand, which usually held the cigar he puffed on, had to be manipulated—and removed altogether in some cases. In one episode, where Jameson originally held his cigar in his hand, he was manipulated to make an "okay" sign.

As of September 1, 2008, the series can be seen (unedited) in Canada on Teletoon Retro. A French-language dub could be seen on Radio-Canada's Saturday morning lineup well into the mid-2000s.

Episodes of the series have also been posted in the "Videos" section of Marvel's official website.

The Spider-Man: The '67 Collection DVD set (see below) is currently available for streaming on Netflix in the United States.

Episodes[edit]

Cast[edit]

Credits[edit]

First season credits[edit]

Produced by Grant-Ray Lawrence Animation

  • Executive Producer: Robert L. Lawrence
  • Producer: Ray Patterson
  • Animation Directors: Grant Simmons, Clyde Geronimi, Sid Marcus
  • Story Direction: June Patterson
  • Story Material: Bill Danch, Al Bertino, Dick Robbins, Dick Cassarino, Phil Babet
  • Theme Song Written by Bob Harris and Paul Francis Webster
  • Music Composed and Conducted by Ray Ellis
  • Animators: Hal Ambro, Robert Bentley, Dan Bessie, George Cannata, Herman Cohen, John Dunn, I. Howard Ellis, Bill House, Tom McDonald, Chic Otterstrom, Don Schloat, Ralph Somerville, Reuben Timmins, Harvey Toombs, Kay Wright
  • Backgrounds: Curt Perkins, Dick Thomas, Bill Butler, Mike Kawaguchi
  • Layout: Ray Aragon, Joe Asturino, Herb Hazelton, Jim Mueller, C.L. Hartman, John Ewing, Joel Seibel
  • Production Supervised by Robert "Tiger" West
  • Production Manager: Gene Meyers
  • Film Editor: Bryce Corso
  • Sound Editor: Hank Goetzenberg
  • Animation Checking: Rollie Greenwood, Dave Hoffman
  • Creative Consultants:
    Stan Lee (called "Smilin'" Stan Lee),
    John Romita, Sr. (called "Jazzy" Johnny Romita),
    respective story and art consultants
  • Voices: Bernard Cowan, Paul Kligman, Paul Soles, Peg Dixon
  • Re-Recording: Producers Sound Service
  • A GrantRay-Lawrence Production in Association With Steve Krantz Productions (Krantz Films), Inc.
  • Spiderman Appears in Marvel Comics Magazines C Superheroes Productions/Marvel Comics Group 'MCMLXVI' all rights reserved.
  • SPIDERMAN IS A TRADEMARK OF THE MARVEL COMICS GROUP. THIS PROGRAM IS PRODUCED UNDER LICENSE OF THE MARVEL COMICS GROUP.

Second season credits[edit]

Produced by Krantz, Animation inc

  • Executive Producer and Animation Director: Ralph Bakshi
  • Assistant Director: Cosmo Anzilotti
  • Layout: Gray Morrow
  • Animators: Clifford Augustson, Douglas Crane, Frank Enders, John Gentilella, Earl James, Martin Taras, Nick Tafuri, Terry Tarricone
  • Backgrounds: John Vita, Richard Thomas
  • Production Supervised by Sylvia White
  • Production Manager: Jerry Schultz
  • Film Editors: Howard Kaiser, George Copeland
  • Animation Checking: Barbara Donatelli
  • Camera: Jerry Smith, Larry Hogan
  • Story Supervision: Ralph Bakshi
  • Story Material: Ira Turek, Lin Carter, Fred Halliday
  • C MCMLXVII Superheroes Productions inc
  • Dialogue Director: Bernard Cowan
  • Voices: Paul Kligman, Paul Soles, Peg Dixon
  • Music and Effects Editing: Hank Goetzenberg, Inc.
  • Theme Song Written by Bob Harris and Paul Francis Webster
  • Music Composed and Conducted by Ray Ellis
  • Produced by Krantz Animation, Inc.
  • Distributed by Steve Krantz Productions (Krantz Films), Inc.
  • C Krantz Films/Marvel Comics Group all rights reserved MCMLXVII
  • Spiderman is a Trademark of the Marvel Comics Group. This Programs is Produced Under License of the Marvel Comics Group.

Third season credits[edit]

Produced by Krantz Animation inc

  • Executive Producer and Animation Director: Ralph Bakshi
  • Assistant Director: Cosmo Anzilotti
  • Layout: Gray Morrow
  • Animators: Clifford Augustson, Douglas Crane, Frank Enders, John Gentilella, Richard Hall, Earl James, Martin Taras, Nick Tafuri, Terry Tarricone
  • West Coast Animation Director: Grant Simmons
  • West Coast Animators: Robert Bentley, Ralph Somerville, Robert Taylor, Reuben Timmins, Karran Wright
  • Backgrounds: John Vita, Bob Owen, Richard H. Thomas
  • Production Supervised by Sylvia White
  • Production Manager: Jerry Schultz
  • Film Editors: Howard Kaiser, George Copeland, Richard Calamari
  • Animation Checking: Rena Smith
  • Color Checking: Barbara Donatelli
  • Camera: Jerry Smith, Larry Hogan
  • Story Supervision: Ralph Bakshi
  • Story Material: Ira Turek, Lin Carter, Fred Halliday
  • C MCMLXVII Superheroes Productions inc
  • Dialogue Director: Bernard Cowan
  • Voices: Paul Kligman, Paul Soles, Peg Dixon
  • Music and Effects Editing: Hank Goetzenberg, Inc.
  • Theme Song Written by Bob Harris and Paul Francis Webster
  • Music Composed and Conducted by Ray Ellis
  • C Krantz Films/Marvel Comics Group all rights reseved MCMLXVIII
  • Spiderman is a Trademark of the Marvel Comics Group. This Programs is Produced Under License of the Marvel Comics Group.
  • Based on an original character creation by Stan Lee
  • Produced by Krantz Animation, Inc.

Home video releases[edit]

Various episodes were released on VHS videotapes throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and the early 2000s. These were usually compiled with other Marvel Comics based characters' cartoons also. In the case of the early-2000s releases, these episodes were packaged with those from the 1990s animated series as bonus episodes. The episodes on 'Ultimate Villain Showdown & Return Of The Green Goblin were mastered from pre-2004 tapes, while the remaining DVD's used the 2004 remastered versions.The final release to feature this was the DVD edition of Spider-Man vs. Doc Ock in 2004. During the late 2000s, Marvel rereleased the series as a video stream via the official site, free to watch.

In 2008/2009 Morningstar Entertainment released a number of episodes on DVD in Canada. These were reissues (and mastered from VHS/Betamax copies) of the 1985 Prism Video Marvel Video Library. Compared to the early 2000s DVD's by Disney, the video and audio quality on the Morningstar are quite poor.

DVD release[edit]

On June 29, 2004, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (whose parent company would acquire Marvel's assets five years later[4]) released the complete series on DVD in Region 1, with the set titled as Spider-Man – The '67 Collection. The 6-disc box set features all 52 episodes of the series as well as an introduction from creator Stan Lee. But the set later fell out of print, and copies came to command high prices on amazon.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
Spider-Man – The '67 Collection 52 June 29, 2004

On November 10, 2008, UK company Liberation Entertainment released the first season of Spider-Man (titled "The Original '67 Series") on Region 2 DVD.

Another UK company, ClearVision, later acquired the rights to region 2 release.[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Spider-Man on TV". IGN. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  2. ^ "spyder-25.com". spyder-25.com. Retrieved 2015-03-11. 
  3. ^ "spyder-25.com". spyder-25.com. Retrieved 2015-03-11. 
  4. ^ Ken Sweet (August 31, 2009). "Disney to Acquire Marvel Entertainment for $4B". Fox Business. Retrieved 2009-08-31. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Marvel". Clearvision.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-03-11. 

External links[edit]