Spider-Man (1977 TV Pilot)

Spider-Man, 1970’s style.




Today, since I didn’t get to do a new movie review, I decided to do a special old movie review and this one is a very rare find. It’s not available on DVD. However, I recently discovered it on YouTube and I figure why not review it. Here then is a review of “Spider-Man…” the 1970’s TV pilot.

Yeah, it’s almost as cheesy as the 60’s Batman TV series and the visual effects are primitive even by 70’s standards, but it sure is nostalgic. I remember seeing  this as a kid on Videodisc (if you’re as old as I am, you’ll remember videodiscs) and I thought it was really good back then.

There were obviously some liberties taken with the show. For one thing, Peter Parker (played here by Nicholas Hammond who at the time was known only as one of the Von Trapp kids in The Sound of Music) gets his super powers while in college. In the comics, he gets them while still in high school. He starts out as a photographer for the Daily Bugle before he gets bitten by the radioactive spider whereas in the comics, he works for the Bugle after becoming Spider-Man. There’s no mentioning of his Uncle Ben, whose murder gave Spidey his motivation and his “with great power comes great responsibility” philosophy. So he really has no motivation to become Spider-Man except that he was bitten by a radioactive spider and that he becomes a superhero just for the fun of it. Plus, Spidey’s too quiet. It’s like he’s more ninja than superhero in this one.

I know I’m nitpicking, but I am a die-hard Spider-Man fan. Deal with it.

But there are some things that stand out: For one, the funky “porn music” score (which almost every 70’s show seemed to have and this was no exception) and the wall-crawling effects, which seem unbelievable and impossible (even for a stuntman in the 70’s) to do. But to be fair, Spidey was a next-to-impossible superhero character to pull off back in the 70’s as opposed to now where we have CGI technology to bring him to life. And this show gets an A for effort.

The 2-hour pilot is basically an origin story. Peter gets his powers, becomes Spider-Man and fights crime. His first adversary in this one  is a self-help guru (played by Thayer David aka the boxing promoter from the first Rocky movie) who uses mind control to hypnotize select people to rob banks for him. His evil plan that Spidey has to foil is that he’s blackmailing the city in which unless the city pays him millions of dollars, he is going to hypnotize ten people to commit mass suicide.

Sure enough, the pilot episode launched the series, which lasted for two very short seasons, producing a total of 13 episodes before CBS pulled the plug, not because of ratings but because of “network politics.” CBS didn’t want to be known as the “Superhero Network.” At that time, CBS also had “Wonder Woman” and “The Incredible Hulk” on the air at that time.

But I can’t really pick on the show too much. After all, it was the 70’s. But those were the days. So if you’re nostalgic and want to see an early attempt to bring your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to TV or film, you might want to check it out.

Since it still is not available on DVD, if you want to watch it and don’t want to search for it, here it is:

Hawaii Five-0 Reboot Review

Hawaii Five-O

Hawaii Five-O

“Book ’em, Danno.”

For 12 years on TV, that signature line was uttered by Detective Steve McGarrett whenever he brought a criminal to justice on the original “Hawaii Five-0” series that aired on CBS from 1968 to 1980. Now McGarrett and company are back, reimagined and reinvented by Hollywood’s newest “Dream Team,” screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (along with “Underworld” director Len Wiseman) for a new era in a brand-new, updated “Five-0” series which premiered on CBS this past Monday night. Considering that this is an era in Hollywood where all the classics (TV shows and movies alike) are being remade or rebooted, the big question is: Does this new “Five-0” live up to the spirit of the original series?

But before we get into that, let’s take a look inside the revamped “Five-0” as opposed to the original. The premise here is that McGarrett (played by Alex O’Loughlin), an ex Navy-SEAL, returns to Hawaii searching for his father’s murderer when he is recruited by the Governor of Hawaii to lead an elite police task force that specializes in pursuing some of the Aloha State’s worst criminals.

“Your rules, my backing, no red tape,” the Governor (Jean Smart) tells McGarrett. Every cop’s dream.

McGarrett is joined by Danny “Danno” Williams (Scott Caan, James’ son), here portrayed as a cynical, by-the-book divorcee detective whose methods sometimes clashes with McGarrett’s more cowboyish methods. Also along for the ride is Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae-Kim of “Lost,” which ironically was also filmed in Hawaii), an ex-cop wrongly accused of taking bribes but is persuaded by McGarrett to return to the force. Rounding out the team is Chin’s sexy cousin, Kono (played by “Battlestar Galactica’s” Grace Park), a rookie detective who surfs and packs a mean right hook to boot.

You can tell right away that this cast has pretty good chemistry, most notably the “buddy-cop” relationship between this generation’s McGarrett and Danno, which is somewhat reminiscent of Riggs and Murtaugh, the cops made famous by Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in the “Lethal Weapon” series.

The chemistry between the cast as well as the in-your-face action makes this seem like more of a big-budget movie instead of a one-hour TV series, let alone one that’s a reboot of a classic TV series. Not that it’s a bad thing. Personally, I do believe that this series offers a shot of adrenaline that has been sorely lacking for a genre that has been suffering from endless procedural cop shows (do we really need another “Law and Order” series, anyway?).

However, there are some elements from the original that remain intact, most notably the intro. “Five-0” fans will be happy to know that the iconic theme music is still intact, which was a wise move by Orci and Kurtzman. After all, it isn’t “Hawaii Five-0” without it. And some elements of the original intro (including O’Loughlin channeling Jack Lord’s famous “McGarrett dramatic stare” and the close-up of the police car light) are also present.

In short, this is not your father’s “Hawaii Five-0,” but it’s definitely way better than many of the procedural cop shows that are on the air right now. So if you want action on Monday nights, I’ve got three words for you: “Book ’em, Danno.”


Yes, folks. I really was behind the wheel of the 60's Batmobile... at the Hudson Valley Mall in 1989.

I have always been a diehard fan of Batman. He is my second all-time favorite superhero (behind Spider-Man of course.) I have a huge collection of Batman comics which I have collected back in high school. I grew up on the 60’s TV series as well as the 90’s cartoon series, which I still have some of the tapes from. I have also seen and own all of the movies. And, when I was 11 years old, I got to be behind the wheel of the Batmobile as you can see here. This was back in 1989, when the first “Batman” movie was the biggest movie of that year and Batmania was at its peak.

This Polaroid of me in the Batmobile was taken at the Hudson Valley Mall in Kingston, NY where the Batmobile (the one from the TV series) was on display. It was one of the first photos of myself that my friend uploaded for me onto the Internet for my various blog sites and my Myspace. This car is the third most recognized car in TV history (behind the General Lee and the Gran Torino from “Starsky and Hutch.”) When I got behind the wheel of the Batmobile, I felt like I was in heaven.

So why am I blogging about this? Well, last night at work, I was putting up some Hot Wheels cars in Toys and one of the new Hot Wheels cars I put up was the Batmobile from the 60’s TV series. So on my last break, I bought two of them (they’re only a buck at Wally World.) It brought the memories back.

So anyway, it is official. Monday, July 2, I am officially going to see “Transformers,” even though it won’t be at the Marquee in New Hartford as I originally planned, but instead I am going to the Little Falls Theater where I saw “The Matrix Reloaded” and “Dukes of Hazzard.” Either way, it is definitely going to be good. I can hardly wait.