- Somehow I got off track with these, and since I really wanted to
finish them off, I started watching them again so they'd be fresh in
my mind. Yeah, I'm now plowing thru the "WORST" episodes-- deliberately!
"KNIGHT MUST FALL" has a guy in a suit of armor-- whose "steed" is a
motorcycle-- stop a robbery of a Broadway threatre, only to make off
with the money himself! Jameson naturally blames Spidey when "Sir
Galahad" escapes, figuring the "knight" was just a publicity stunt for
the play that was robbed, "KING ARTHUR". On the road (where there's
nothing to swing from!) Sir Galahad rips off an armored car, and AGAIN
Spidey feels foolish when he gets away. But 3rd time's the charm, when
Spidey does finally manage to nab the guy when he tries to steal a
sword believed to belong to the "real" King Arthur. "Sir Galahad"
almost seems a tribute to the villainous "Black Knight" (who started
out as a Giant-Man & Wasp villain). Maybe a winged horse was
considered too difficult to animate? (They don't even suggest the
wheels on his bike are spinning-- it's getting that cheap here.) Like
several episodes early in the 3rd season, this feels like a return to
the 1st season, except most of the music in this is the really weird
stuff, much of it I believe first used in "CLOUD CITY OF GOLD".
"THE DEVIOUS DR. DUMPTY" continues the trend of villains who look like
they might have been more at home on BATMAN than SPIDER-MAN (the
non-super-powered variety). Described by Spidey as "Dr. Humperdink
Dumpty, master thief and despair of Weight-Watchers Anonymous", he
reminds one of a cross between The Penguin and W.C. Fields (sort of).
Like The Scarf before him, he successfully gets away with one crime
(stealing a fortune in jewels worn by a famous movie star during a
parade), then decides to be audacious and pull ANOTHER crime later
that same night! Will they never learn?
Points of interest this time are the huge balloons used in the
parade-- in addition to the Spider-Man balloon, there are also clearly
recognizable balloons of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor-- but
totally mis-colored, as Krantz Films didn't have the rights to use
them. I also got a kick out of "Bubbles", the Doc's half-witted (but
very CUTE!) girlfriend, who laments that Spidey was apparently
"scragged" (she thought he "looked cute in his Dr. Dentons"), then
later bumps into Spidey at a costume party and blurts out, "I thought
you was DEMISED or somethin'."
Spidey takes out the baddies this time with the help of "I.B.P."--
Instant Banana Peel-- in his web-shooters. See, this just wouldn't
work in the movie series!!
Among the technical flubs this time is a scene where Spidey falls, and
the sky is moving in the WRONG direction-- then, when Spidey is
climbing, but the animation is running in reverse! OY.
"UP FROM NOWEHRE" brings the refreshing new trend of the 3rd season to
a crashing halt, by essentially taking one of the 2nd-season
episodes-- "SWING CITY"-- and remaking it! AUGH!!! "Dr. Atlantean"--
master scientist of the "lost civilization of Atlantis"-- fills in for
The Master Technician, and his underwater craft is a dead ringer for
the roof of the Atomic Research Center (gee, I wonder why). The
interior is the same, though it seems totally at odds (and far, far
too big) to possibly fit inside what looks on the outside like a
After the army attacks instead of capitulates, Dr. Atlantean uses a
ray which covers the entire island of Manhattan with a transparent
dome-- and then SINKS the island, underwater! There's a few things
wrong with this scenario... topping the list is, there's SOLID BEDROCK
under Manhattan, yet we see the island separated, as it was in SWING
CITY, wreckage hanging underneath... but WHERE are the foundations of
the island? If the solid mass under Manhattan sank in its entirety,
that would be one thing, but that's NOT what this looks like at all.
Dr. Atlantean's voice, as far as I can tell, keeps alternating between
that used for "The Mole" (in SPIDERMAN BATTLES THE MOLEMEN") and The
Master Technician (from "SWING CITY") in some scenes. Weird!
The whole of the climax, where Spidey makes it to Atlantean's craft,
is teleported inside, confronts him, is weakened by radiation,
sidesteps as the baddie shoots his own control panel... it's all so
nearly-identical (yet nowhere near as good as the original cartoon), I
could not believe what I was seeing the first time I watched this.
There's also loads of flubs, as when Atlantean appears to fade out and
into view and moving while Spidey lays helpless, or one scene where
his mouth is moving, but no words are heard. I can't be sure, but it's
long seemed plain to me many of these later episodes were knocked out
just to fill out a nice syndication package of 52 shows (the minimum
number for a successful sale, generally), as CHEAPLY as possible. It
worked. SPIDER-MAN ran nearly non-stop for the whole of the 70's,
while Hanna-Barbera's FANTASTIC FOUR disappeared without a trace. I've
long felt this series did more for the popularity of Spider-Man than
the comic-books ever did! (Never underestimate the power of T.V.)
"ROLLARAMA" --as if "UP FROM NOWHERE" wasn't bad enough, this one is a
blatent remake of "VINE"-- which wasn't so hot to begin with. This
time, it opens with the city already in ruins, as "another" giant
rolling ball smashes its way thru town. Pete & "Sue" (can this be the
same one who treated him so bad in the previous season?) are
investigating the home of Dr. Karl Von Glutz, who disappeared years
earlier, find a mysterious pod, something called "The Glutz Machine",
and his journal, which describes the doorway to "The Cave Of Crystal
Creation", and has a warning not to expose the pod to air. TOO LATE!
The pod grows, smashes its way out, then, STOPS, at the top of a hill,
about to smash into missile base "Camp Forward" which is apparently
within view of the house.
The police, national guard, army, have no clue, but somehow Pete & Sue
figure out where the pods came from? And who let the other pods loose?
Never mind... as in the previous version, Pete decides to see if he
can find Von Glutz, saying "Our entire free enterprise system is at
stake!" (You feel like the writers were into deliberate self-parody by
now?) As before, Spidey fights a giant frog, but gets knocked out by
it, then wakes up a prisoner of some furry blue guys. This time
around, their leader, "Vegio", tells of how Von Glutz created an
atomic generator to turn their once-paradise into a frozen wasteland,
so the pods he found could grow. After some of the most stilted
dialogue in the show's entire run, Spidey goes to "Summit City" to
disable the generator, warned that the pods "have eyes everywhere".
(HUH???) With no explanation, we find intelligent plants, who reveal
Von Glutz is no longer alive, and plan to ambush the approaching
"animal" and pit him in the arena against "Goliath".
Instead of a giant idol, Spidey fights the plants atop the atomic
generator, the design of which makes it look like it has 2 giant eyes
and a mouth. After being clobbered, he awakens to face... a giant
caterpillar. He wins, removes 2 big gems, leaves, and the plants die--
for no apparent reason! Meanwhile, the giant rolling pod has waited
patiently atop the hill until Spidey arrives before it starts falling,
at which point he tosses the gems into the barrel of a cannon, which
allows it to destroy the pod. Sue tells Pete he's too modest when he
claims Spidey did all the work.
There's SO much wrong with this it's absolutely mind-boggling. When we
see the ruler plant, one shot has him floating in mid-air because they
used the wrong background. This happens again when Spidey falls to the
ground unconscious. All the dialogue relating to "Goliath" suggests
Spidey was supposed to fight a giant CAT (they no doubt intended to
re-use the black cat from "PARDO PRESENTS"), but we get the same
caterpillar seen in "VINE" instead. When Spidey arrives in the city,
he sneaks up behind a plant to give it a karate chop-- but when he
actually delivers the blow, it's one of the Molemen he hits!! (Were
they just trying to see if anybody was paying attention at this
point?) As he returns to the doorway, he waves good-bye to the furry
blue guys-- and we see Dr. Von Glutz among them, even though he's
supposed to be DEAD in this story! Finally, the army destroys one
giant pod. WHAT about the OTHER ones???
"RHINO" was actually the first of these later cartoons to be aired on
ABC-- smack in the middle of the 2nd season! I'd completely forgotten
about this, until I ran across a website dedicated to the show, that
listed all the original airdates. And then, the horrible memory came
"RHINO" consists of scenes from both "HORN OF THE RHINO" and "THE
GOLDEN RHINO", re-edited together, with most of the original dialogue
left completely intact! The only new scenes appear to be the ones in
Jameson's office, and one short odd scene of the Rhino, in a dark
alley, saying "I'll cause such a ruckus he'll come running!" (--but
then, he doesn't) I have to figure that what happened was, they were
running late, desperately needed something to put on Saturday morning,
but instead of a rerun from the 2nd (or the 1st) season, they threw
together this abortion of a remake!!
Now here's the WORST part (as if all that wasn't bad enough). I now
remember seeing this as a kid. They ran this abortion, and after its
10 minutes was over, went to a commercial break... and NEVER CAME
BACK!! Over 15 solid minutes of commercials!!! I'm pretty sure this
was nearly the last straw for me. I stopped watching for a few weeks.
I did eventually see most of the rest of the 2nd season, but by the
time the 2nd season ended, I'd had it with this show, and didn't watch
it again until a few years later when it wound up in syndication,
where Channel 17 in Philly ran much of the 2nd & 3rd seasons-- OUT of
"THE MADNESS OF MYSTERIO" did not, I assure you, run with "RHINO" on
the network. But it was lumped together with it in syndication. While
"RHINO" was a horrible double-remake, "MADNESS" surprised the heck out
of me the first time I saw it-- because it was an actual adaptation of
a real comic, and one which I had only recently read a reprint of!
This final adaptation was based on "THE MADNESS OF MYSTERIO!" and "TO
SQUASH A SPIDER!" from ASM #66-67 (Nov-Dec'68) Like the comic, it
begins with Mysterio looking over a table-top amusement park, talking
to himself, and planning the doom of Spider-Man! Soon, he appears in
Manhattan, announces his return, then vanishes. Pete races to the
Bugle, where Jameson has the TV on. We see Mysterio smash the Brooklyn
Bridge, saying, "The sight you have witnessed is only an illusion!
But-- it COULD happen! Mysterio has the power to do it!" He then
challenges his "sworn enemy" to face him at the sight of their "first
Inexplicably, Spidey shows up at the TV studio rather than the
Brooklyn Bridge-- and Mysterio is waiting for him! Some more genuine
Stan Lee dialogue is used when Mysterio asks, "So soon Spider-Man? Or
do you rent that corny costume by the hour?" Caught in the beam of
what looks like a movie camera, Spidey gets dizzy... and suddenly
finds himself-- apparently-- shrunk to 6 inches and on the table-top
amusement park, about to be crushed by his foe! It's one death-trap
after another after another, Spidey never getting a chance to catch
his breath, until he wonders if that's what the guy is really trying
to do. Suffice to say, Spidey figures out that his foe really has
lived up to his rep as Hollywood's "greatest special effects man"
(which makes more sense than having him be a "stuntman" as in the
This is COOL, and ranks way up there with "The Big Brainwasher". They
adapt a story (though simplified), they use actual dialogue from the
comic (again, simplified), and the voice-actor even managed to use the
ORIGINAL Mysterio voice from "THE MENACE OF MYSTERIO"!! (He got it a
bit "off" in "RETURN OF THE FYING DUTCHMAN"-- here, it's spot-on!!)
But here's the WEIRD part. Instead of the classic Ditko costume, we
get a complete redesign-- a Mysterio who looks like a whacked-out
Hollywood movie director-- green skin, orange hair, purple
shell-rimmed glasses, long cigarette holder. WHAT th'...??? It also
seems this cartoon MAY have been intended for early in the 2nd season,
but scrapped at the last minute (the comic would have been done JUST
about the same time that Grantray-Lawrence went belly-up!!). According
to something I read online (somewhere), it seems when Krantz got their
hands on G-L's materials to get their run started, among the materials
were the VOICE recordings for this episode! Reading this finally
explained why, even though Mysterio looks COMPLETELY different, nobody
mentions it, everybody recognizes him, and in one scene, Spidey even
calls him "bowl-head"-- when he AIN'T wearing the bowl!!!
Despite this "minor" glitch (heh), I rank this as the LAST really good
episode in the run. From here's it's downhill and picking up speed...
though there were a couple of interesting shows left to come.
- I love these reviews. You are right on point. I
can't wait until you review the Rocket Robin Hood
episode and "Dementia 5". The one true classic homage
to the psychodelic culture of the time.
And then episode 50, Specialists and Slaves, the
melding of episodes 23 and 39. And who was he? The
radiation specialist or the master technician? they
couldn't get names consistant either.
Still as bad as parts of the third season were there
were bright spots. Sky Harbor/Big Brain Washer were
just plain fun episodes, with the latter coming from
the comic book. The musical intro to Scourge of the
Scarf rocked and who can forget the, "I was a teenage
tuna." line from Up from Nowhere. And as silly as
Trouble with Snow was it is still "cool" to watch on a
dreary eastern winter day.
--- "Henry R. Kujawa" <profh@...> wrote:
> Ep.45=== message truncated ===
> "ROLLARAMA" --as if "UP FROM NOWHERE" wasn't bad
> enough, this one is a
> blatent remake of "VINE"-- which wasn't so hot to
> begin with. This
> time, it opens with the city already in ruins, as
> "another" giant
> rolling ball smashes its way thru town. Pete & "Sue"
> (can this be the
> same one who treated him so bad in the previous
> season?) are
> investigating the home of Dr. Karl Von Glutz, who
> disappeared years
> earlier, find a mysterious pod, something called
> "The Glutz Machine",
> and his journal, which describes the doorway to "The
> Cave Of Crystal
> Creation", and has a warning not to expose the pod
> to air. TOO LATE!
> The pod grows, smashes its way out, then, STOPS, at
> the top of a hill,
> about to smash into missile base "Camp Forward"
> which is apparently
> within view of the house.
> The police, national guard, army, have no clue, but
> somehow Pete & Sue
> figure out where the pods came from? And who let the
> other pods loose?
> Never mind... as in the previous version, Pete
> decides to see if he
> can find Von Glutz, saying "Our entire free
> enterprise system is at
> stake!" (You feel like the writers were into
> deliberate self-parody by
> now?) As before, Spidey fights a giant frog, but
> gets knocked out by
> it, then wakes up a prisoner of some furry blue
> guys. This time
> around, their leader, "Vegio", tells of how Von
> Glutz created an
> atomic generator to turn their once-paradise into a
> frozen wasteland,
> so the pods he found could grow. After some of the
> most stilted
> dialogue in the show's entire run, Spidey goes to
> "Summit City" to
> disable the generator, warned that the pods "have
> eyes everywhere".
> (HUH???) With no explanation, we find intelligent
> plants, who reveal
> Von Glutz is no longer alive, and plan to ambush the
> "animal" and pit him in the arena against "Goliath".
> Instead of a giant idol, Spidey fights the plants
> atop the atomic
> generator, the design of which makes it look like it
> has 2 giant eyes
> and a mouth. After being clobbered, he awakens to
> face... a giant
> caterpillar. He wins, removes 2 big gems, leaves,
> and the plants die--
> for no apparent reason! Meanwhile, the giant rolling
> pod has waited
> patiently atop the hill until Spidey arrives before
> it starts falling,
> at which point he tosses the gems into the barrel of
> a cannon, which
> allows it to destroy the pod. Sue tells Pete he's
> too modest when he
> claims Spidey did all the work.
> There's SO much wrong with this it's absolutely
> mind-boggling. When we
> see the ruler plant, one shot has him floating in
> mid-air because they
> used the wrong background. This happens again when
> Spidey falls to the
> ground unconscious. All the dialogue relating to
> "Goliath" suggests
> Spidey was supposed to fight a giant CAT (they no
> doubt intended to
> re-use the black cat from "PARDO PRESENTS"), but we
> get the same
> caterpillar seen in "VINE" instead. When Spidey
> arrives in the city,
> he sneaks up behind a plant to give it a karate
> chop-- but when he
> actually delivers the blow, it's one of the Molemen
> he hits!! (Were
> they just trying to see if anybody was paying
> attention at this
> point?) As he returns to the doorway, he waves
> good-bye to the furry
> blue guys-- and we see Dr. Von Glutz among them,
> even though he's
> supposed to be DEAD in this story! Finally, the army
> destroys one
> giant pod. WHAT about the OTHER ones???
> "RHINO" was actually the first of these later
> cartoons to be aired on
> ABC-- smack in the middle of the 2nd season! I'd
> completely forgotten
> about this, until I ran across a website dedicated
> to the show, that
> listed all the original airdates. And then, the
> horrible memory came
> "RHINO" consists of scenes from both "HORN OF THE
> RHINO" and "THE
> GOLDEN RHINO", re-edited together, with most of the
> original dialogue
> left completely intact! The only new scenes appear
> to be the ones in
> Jameson's office, and one short odd scene of the
> Rhino, in a dark
> alley, saying "I'll cause such a ruckus he'll come
> running!" (--but
> then, he doesn't) I have to figure that what
> happened was, they were
> running late, desperately needed something to put on
> Saturday morning,
> but instead of a rerun from the 2nd (or the 1st)
> season, they threw
> together this abortion of a remake!!
> Now here's the WORST part (as if all that wasn't bad
> enough). I now
> remember seeing this as a kid. They ran this
> abortion, and after its
> 10 minutes was over, went to a commercial break...
> and NEVER CAME
> BACK!! Over 15 solid minutes of commercials!!! I'm
> pretty sure this
> was nearly the last straw for me. I stopped watching
> for a few weeks.
> I did eventually see most of the rest of the 2nd
> season, but by the
> time the 2nd season ended, I'd had it with this
> show, and didn't watch
> it again until a few years later when it wound up in
> where Channel 17 in Philly ran much of the 2nd & 3rd
> seasons-- OUT of
> "THE MADNESS OF MYSTERIO" did not, I assure you, run
> with "RHINO" on
> the network. But it was lumped together with it in
> syndication. While
> "RHINO" was a horrible double-remake, "MADNESS"
> surprised the heck out
> of me the first time I saw it-- because it was an
> actual adaptation of
> a real comic, and one which I had only recently read
> a reprint of!
> This final adaptation was based on "THE MADNESS OF
> MYSTERIO!" and "TO
> SQUASH A SPIDER!" from ASM #66-67 (Nov-Dec'68) Like
> the comic, it
> begins with Mysterio looking over a table-top
> amusement park, talking
> to himself, and planning the doom of Spider-Man!
> Soon, he appears in
> Manhattan, announces his return, then vanishes. Pete
> races to the
> Bugle, where Jameson has the TV on. We see Mysterio
> smash the Brooklyn
> Bridge, saying, "The sight you have witnessed is
> only an illusion!
> But-- it COULD happen! Mysterio has the power to do
> it!" He then
> challenges his "sworn enemy" to face him at the
> sight of their "first
> Inexplicably, Spidey shows up at the TV studio
> rather than the
> Brooklyn Bridge-- and Mysterio is waiting for him!
> Some more genuine
> Stan Lee dialogue is used when Mysterio asks, "So
> soon Spider-Man? Or
> do you rent that corny costume by the hour?" Caught
> in the beam of
> what looks like a movie camera, Spidey gets dizzy...
> and suddenly
> finds himself-- apparently-- shrunk to 6 inches and
> on the table-top
> amusement park, about to be crushed by his foe! It's
> one death-trap
> after another after another, Spidey never getting a
> chance to catch
> his breath, until he wonders if that's what the guy
> is really trying
Pinpoint customers who are looking for what you sell.
- eightman wrote:
"I love these reviews. You are right on point. I
can't wait until you review the Rocket Robin Hood
episode and "Dementia 5". The one true classic homage
to the psychodelic culture of the time."
Thanks! The 2 RRH remakes are next!
"Sky Harbor/Big Brain Washer were just plain fun episodes, with the
latter coming from the comic book. The musical intro to Scourge of
the Scarf rocked and who can forget the, "I was a teenage tuna." line
from Up from Nowhere. And as silly as Trouble with Snow was it is
still "cool" to watch on a dreary eastern winter day."
I can't shake the feeling the way the 3rd season started that they
hoped to get back to how the 1st season had been, except with the
style of the 2nd... but after several episodes, they just COMPLETELY
ran out of money.
There are moments in some of them were you get brief glimpses of how
it might have been had Gray Morrow's character designs gotten "proper"
animation. Wouldn't it have been something if those designs had
gotten the kind of treatment (and animation) ot the original JONNY QUEST ?
- And then, it REALLY got weird!!!!!
"PHANTOM FROM THE DEPTHS OF TIME" was originally announced as the
title of a 2nd-season story which became "THE EVIL SORCERER". The
title instead turned up in the 3rd season, on another remake. But this
wasn't a remake of an earlier SPIDER-MAN cartoon-- no! This was--
incredibly-- a remake of a ROCKET ROBIN HOOD cartoon!
While Grantray-Lawrence was doing THE MARVEL SUPERHEROES SHOW, and
later, the 1st season of SPIDER-MAN, they also did a show for
syndication-- RRH. This was the adventures of the descendants of Robin
Hood & his Merry Men, fighting the descendants of King John & the
Sheriff of Nottingham-- in the 30TH CENTURY!!! What a wild, loopy, yet
inherently FUN idea. They did 2 "normal" seasons, distinguishable by
the story title cards (1st season had a yellow background, 2nd season
had a black background, both with a full figure of RRH holding up his
bow & arrow.) When G-L went belly-up, and Krantz hired Bakshi (who in
turn hired Gray Morrow) to fill out their contracted (and
already-paid-for) next season of episodes, they did the 2nd season of
SPIDER-MAN-- and the 3rd season of RRH. The change in look, tone,
style, etc., was EQUALLY shocking for both series. My initial reaction
was the same in both cases-- "What the F*** is THIS S***??" In
retrospect, I've developed a fondness for these dark, deeply demented
'toons-- and once I finally "connected" the Gray Morrow of comic-books
as the same guy who did these later shows (with his drawing style
clearly INTACT!), my admiration grew... despite the tragically low
budgets and unbelieveably inferior animation used to bring them-- just
barely-- to "life".
The 3rd season of RRH, if anything, deviated even more from the
earlier episodes than the SPIDER-MANs had. Gone were the recurring
villains-- no more Prince John, no more Sheriff Of N.O.T.T. (National
Outer-space Terrestrial Territories). Instead, RRH became possibly the
wildest ride on TV-- a bizarre, mind-expanding SCIENCE-FICTION epic
(of sorts), where nothing was too strange, too off-beat, too WEIRD. No
Philly-area stations have aired this show since the late 60's. But--
incredibly-- 2 of the WEIRDEST episodes ever made-- live on, remade
the following year as a pair of SPIDER-MAN cartoons!
Opening with "Stop Look And Listen" (previously heard in "THE SCOURGE
OF THE SCARF" and "SUPER SWAMI"), Spidey enjoys a rare crime-free
night, saying, "Nothing to do but swing and dig it!" But on some
remote island, terror strikes, as a swarm of giant, robot beetles
attack a small town, destroy buildings, stun inhabitants with
freeze-rays and kidnap them. In a replay of the JONNY QUEST episoide
"TURU THE TERRIBLE", the captives are told they will remain
prisoners-- SLAVES-- until "every ounce of precious lavacide" has been
mined for their captor-- the insect-like Dr. Mantan! With his demented
sidekick Igor (who looks a lot like The Hunchback Of Notre Dame),
you've got 2 of the sickest villains in cartoon history!
Before I go on, I'd like to point out a few things. The island looks
downright prehistoric from a distance. The buildings look downright
futuristic. The fashions worn by the inhabitants also look like
something out a sci-fi movie (or maybe the late 60's were really just
a wild time for fashion designers??). Originally, this entire story
took place in the far future on another planet. But here, it's
modern-day Earth. WHERE is this place, and what's it supposed to be?
Perhaps it's a some kind of vacation resort island. That could account
for the architecture and the clothing. It just would have been nice if
it was explained as such in the dialogue.
One of the prisoners slips away and uses some kind of radio (about the
size of a modern-day cell phone!) to send a "Mayday" message.
Somehow-- Spidey picks it up via his Spider-sense (!!!), and makes a
point of saying that the frequency it was on could not have been
picked up by anyone else but him! HUH??? Next thing, he decides "I've
done everything else, why not test pilot?" --and "borrows" a
experimental jet plane! The design changes completely between take-off
and flight, becoming in the process a dead ringer for one of Rocket
Robin Hood's small spaceships. He finds the island, and no sooner does
he land, then... "The hills walk again!" With Dr. Mantan playing a
mournful tune at his church-style pipe organ, "hills" transform into
robot beetles, and attack-- destroying the "borrowed" jet in seconds.
Spidey climbs inside one of the robots, switches it to manual, and
creates a "pile-up". He approaches Mantan's castle, causing Igor to
say, "Look, master! They're walking right up to the castle!" Yeah--
"they". They didn't even bother re-recording the dialogue from the
earlier cartoon! Spidey's knocked into the moat by a swarm of
devil-bats. Mantan says, "We have FRIENDS in the moat, Igor! Friends
who need NO ENCOURAGEMENT from us!" And some sort of prehistoric
reptile attacks. (Where is this stuff coming from??)
One of my favorite exchanges is when Mantan & Igor are talking...
"It's a pity there's no one here who can appreciate my plans." "I am
here, master! I appreciate them." "YOU? You cannot appreciate the
fear, the sheer TERROR that I inspire! At best, YOUR befogged mind can
merely TWITCH in AWE!" "Master, that's not FAIR! I can..." 'NEVER
mind! I am my best audience. But I consent to your presence." "Oh,
THANK you, master!" Great stuff!!! (I seem to recall The Joker once
saying "I'm my best audience." --I wonder if whoever wrote that saw
this cartoon and was inspired by it?)
Although he was almost at the castle, it takes Spidey another 5
minutes of story, roaming over what looks like half the jungle island,
before he finally makes his way back and into it-- and we don't even
get to see it. Abruptly, Mantan is speaking, "As a matter of fact, the
lavacide is already loaded onto my spaceship." --and we find he's
talking to Spidey (scene missing???). Spidey challenges him, whereupon
Mantan, swearing he will have his "revenge" (as if they'd fought each
other before!), plays again, and says, "The MOUNTAIN monster is
programmed to destroy this ENTIRE ASTEROID!" (This made SO much more
sense when it was taking place in space...)
Spidey uses Mantan's ship to take out the Mountain Monster, then is
thanked by the freed inhabitants. (But WHAT happened to Mantan &
Igor??? No clue!) "Where do you COME from, webbed one?" (These are
supposed to be Earth people??) Spidey realizes he has to get the
borrowed jet back before it's missed-- and does. But WAIT a minute! We
saw it get RIPPED to pieces earlier! Oh, never mind. Even I can't come
up with a "no-prize" worthy explanation for that one...
"REVOLT IN THE FIFTH DIMENSION" ranks as the single WEIRDEST episode
in this entire run-- and that's really saying something! It's also the
ONLY one, reportedly, never run by ABC-- as they considered it "too
scary" for the kiddies.
Once more enjoying a "peaceful" night, Spidey looks up at the stars
and thinks "Yeah, it's peaceful up there!" Guess again... as we see an
entire planetary system WIPED out of existence, by the "mental powers"
of Infinata, master of "Dimensia 5". Two scientists on the planet
Garth lament their entire civilization is about to end, because they
discovered Infinata's secrets. Aton declares all their endless work,
all their culture, will live on, as he has the entire "Library Of
Garth" transferred via computer onto magnetic tape, and then into
cosmic energy stored in a single small sphere. He escapes by spaceship
only moments before his planet is obliterated. (This is a SPIDER-MAN
Infinata's "extra-sensory perception" informs him of what's happening,
and he sends 3 of his minions to bring down Aton's rocket. But he
makes to "another galaxy" (they keep referring to star systems as
"galaxies" in this one-- sheesh), and Earth. To escape destruction,
Aton magnetically attracts meteors to form a shield around his ship--
a visual later reused in the DOCTOR WHO story, "UNDERWORLD". On
entering the atmosphere, his ship somehow causes Earthquakes, until
finally a parachute opens, and Spidey sees it's coming down right
where he's standing! Right into his HAND, in fact-- as we discover the
ship is only about 6 inches long, and Aton even smaller within. By
mental projection, he fills Spidey in on what's going on-- before he
dies. Spidey realizes he has to get the "Library" to the proper
authorities, so it can be decoded, that Infinata can be stopped.
And then, to the tune of Alanb Hawkshaw's "L.S.D." (first heard in
"MENACE FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD"), Spidey is sucked thru a "force
field" and straight into another dimension! He finds himself drawn up
a twisting stairway to a doorway where there's a clawed hand where the
doorknob should be. Pulled thru, he finds himself in "Dimensia 5", and
confronts Infinata, who demands the Library. Spidey tries to fight,
then escape, but is hauled back before his foe, who now stands atop a
giant open hand. Spidey claims the Library was "lost when you pulled
me into this dimension"-- and Infinata's E.S.P. reveals it is "not on
his person". At which point, not needing him anymore, he says, "To
your DEATH!" --and Spidey is pulled down into the ground as if it were
quicksand. "How do you fight a thing like this? A malevolent
intelligence-- composed entirely of pure evil?" But when his eyes
close, he sees himself back in NYC, and realizes "It's all illusion!"
He escapes-- and Infinata realizes he must flee and to escape
destruction, and "never cross the threshold into reality again."
Back in NYC, Spidey reveals the Library was hidden INSIDE one of his
web-shooters (so WHY didn't it show up on Infinata's scan??), and goes
to turn it over to the authorities-- then get some much-needed sleep.
The visuals-- both character designs and psychdelic backgrounds-- and
the music (some of the wildest in the KPM Library) combine to make
this one of the most mind-bending cartoons EVER made. I just wish I
could see the RRH version again. After decades, I can STILL recall one
piece of very memorable music from that (used in the sequence when RRH
was pulled into Dimensia 5), and I know the original was even BETTER
than this remake.
- Getting to the end here...
"SPECIALISTS AND SLAVES" managed to be a remake (or is that, ahem,
"sequel"?) of 2 earlier episodes: "SWING CITY" and "TO CAGE A SPIDER".
Incredibly, that INSANE scientist who called himself "The Master
Technician"-- now calling himself "The Radiation Specialist"-- is out
of jail after "a few years" (he says), and shows up at the SAME
experimental nuclear power plant, stuns the guards, and takes over.
AGAIN! This guy's parole officer must have been sleeping on the job.
Using a "robot car" he lures Spidey outside the city, then after it
crashes off a cliff, gloats via radio transmitter. This time out, the
guy uses radiation to deaden the minds of everyone in NYC (okay, so
maybe he doesn't have that far to go), then "seals off his kingdom" by
LIFTING Mahnattan into the air. ("AGAIN? But that trick NEVER works!")
Spidey makes it UP to the city-- somehow-- but "The Specialist" causes
an Earthquake, knocking him loose from a building (and causing the
building to collapse in the process). A mob encircles him, but he's
taken to a prison infirmary on the orders of Captain Stacy-- one of
the only people whose mind has not been "enslaved". (Only "strong"
minds and "evil" minds would not be affected, the Specialist tells us.)
While recovering, Spidey is witness to an attempted jailbreak (WHAT,
ANOTHER ONE??). He saves Stacy, makes it to the power plant, is
teleported inside...and you know, if you've seen "SWING CITY" or "UP
FROM NOWHERE", you've already seen the rest of this TWICE before!! Really.
The number & type of onscreen mistakes are so great, one suspects they
were having fun seeing how much they could get away with. When
Manhattan rises into the sky this time, it's got a bubble over it
(like in "UP FROM NOWHERE") but that disappears in the next shot. When
Spidey climbs up thru the sewar pipe, the animation of his movements
is running BACKWARDs-- and repeats about a half-dozen times. Captain
Stacy's appearance completely changes in 2 scenes, but he's his usual
self the rest of the story. In one shot, "The Specialist" has pointed
ears and a crest on his head (from when the animators turned him into
"Dr. Atlantean" in "UP FROM NOWHERE"). When Spidey reaches for the
lever on the control panel, in one shot, you see the lever, floating
in mid-air. The next shot, it's connected to the control panel. When
Manhattan lowers back in place, they use the wrong image of it, making
it look like it SHRUNK to half its normal size!
Compared to this, having "The Specialist" use a COMPLETELY different
voice as we heard used by "The Master Technician" (he sounds more like
Dr. Noah Boddy in this one) is nothing-- but it does make you do a
double-take when Spidey instantly recognizes him over the radio, when
his voice AND name are different from his last appearance.
"DOWN TO EARTH" is just about the last straw, as it's a remake of one
of my LEAST-favorite 2nd-season episodes, "NEPTUNE'S NOSE CONE". Do I
really have to summarize the plot? It's easier just to list the
differences. Instead of a missile nose-cone (which looked like a space
capsule anyway), this time we have "Rabbit-Ear Meteor", a hunk of rock
with what looks like really big TV antennas sticking out of it. It
comes down near the North Pole rather than the South. Pete goes after
it with "Osa Olsen", and land on an ice flow instead of a prehistoric
jungle island. Pete calls the natives "Snowmen", and suggests they
probably live in underground caverns, warmed by a geyser (as opposed
to a volcano). Unlike Penny in the original, Osa is NOT captured by
the savages, though in long shots we keep seeing what looks like a
girl tied to the meteor! The flying snake, steel-tendrilled plant,
huge wooden door, underground cavern with stone statues, monstrous
creatures & fires that start to go out at just the wrong time are all
IDENTICAL to the original-- only the music has changed!
Osa meets Spidey-- yet NEVER connects that she never sees him & Pete
together! (And they're at the NORTH POLE!!) When he tries to stop the
savages from dumping the meteor into the geyser, we keep seeing shots
of the white space caspule instead, one of them including the girl
tied to it. (OOPS-- wrong episode!!) This time, when it takes off--
the rocks surrounding it breaking off, revealing a weird-looking
flying saucer inside-- both Spidey & Osa are dragged along into the
air, until they manage to drop off into the snow.
The original's scene of Pete giving Jameson a box containing a flying
snake egg-- which hatches-- is missing from the remake, but instead
Pete & Osa talk about her maybe getting an exclusive "interview" with
Spider-Man, Pete baffling her when he laughs about how it might be
easier than she thinks. (And STILL she never connects him & Spidey
being the same? What kind of a reporter IS she???)
Just 2 more to go now...
- And that brings us to... the end of the line.
"TRIP TO TOMORROW" is that most hated of episode types (and lazy of
production methods)-- the "all-flashback" episode! Spidey is swinging
around when lightning shoots upward, zapping his webline, sending him
crashing thru the roof of a railroad box car. When he wakes up, he
finds a kid running away from home, hoping to head to Podunk to become
"The Caped Protector Of Podunk". He asks is Spidey can teach him how
to become a superhero, and what follows are excerpts of 3 earlier
First up is "THUNDER RUMBLE", where we see Boltan & Boomer steal gold
from the Depository, then watch Spidey fight Boltan, who gets whisked
to space via his own badly-aimed and out-of-control lightning bolt.
Much longer is "RETURN OF THE FLYING DUTCHMAN", where Spidey fights
Mysterio for the 2nd time. In both cases, they pretty much just took
the films as-is with no changes.
The 3rd flashback comes from "THE EVIL SORCERER". What makes this
stand out is, it starts with Spidey in the other dimension, hopping a
ride on the fire-breathing whatsit, getting to Kotep's lair and being
snagged by the giant spider. THEN, it switches to the fight in the
museum, followed by Kotep's summoning the demon army, who demand he
destroy his "rival" or they will kill him. At which point they cut to
the climax of Spidey vs the giant spider, the sceptre getting broken
and Kotep being sent back to "the depths of time", On top of
re-structuring it so there's a flashback within a flashback, ALL the
music from the original cartoon has been replaced with much darker,
The kid winds up running home, saying "My mom won't even let me cross
the street!" Spidey laughs, and we never do find out where that
lightning bolt came from. Even as a kid, I HATED these type of
episodes-- to me, they were a rip-off, and a waste of time. I noticed
not long ago that this is apparently listed LAST on the recent DVD
set-- but when Channel 57 re-ran the show in the early 80's, it was
"THE WINGED THING" is another quickie "remake", this one combining
elements of "THE SKY IS FALLING" and "THE VULTURE'S PREY". Following a
penthouse robbery, The Vulture (not "Vulture-Man" as earlier) warns
people to stay off the streets. When some fail to comply, he destroys
a skyscraper under construction. Then, he steals a mini-missile, and
uses it to attack a helicopter carrying a device that can control
animals. He ditches the missile, then attacks the city with a swarm of
vultures obeying his commands!! At least, until they inexplicably turn
on HIM. If you've seen the 2 earlier episodes, you can see how this
was pieced together. Virtually all the dialogue is new, and the sky
backgrounds have all been replaced with those dark, demented,
"psychedelic" skylines. Same goes for the music. Very little Ray
Ellis, almost entirely "KPM" stuff-- and the darker, demented stuff at
Among the gaffs this time are Vulture having his feet webbed to the
missile before Spidey ever reaches him, and Spidey having a handful of
dollars in his hand (as he did at the climax of "THE SKY IS FALLING")
despite it having nothing whatsoever to do with the plot! The
"animal-control" device would seem to make this a PREQUEL to "THE SKY
IS FALLING", even though everything else screams "sequel". No point
trying to figure it out...
"CONNOR'S REPTILES" is basically a remake-sequel to "WHERE CRAWLS THE
LIZARD". All the dialogue is new, but ALL the animation is the same,
most of it in the same sequence as the original! The backgrounds &
music, as with the other half of this "twofer", have all been replaced
with the dark, demented variety. The sequence of The Lizard
overturning the boat with the 2 fishermen has been moved to the middle
of the story from the beginning. Also, instead of Connors turning into
a Lizard, this time, he was experimenting with "reptile intelligence",
and reportedly, one of his "creations" kidnapped him and is planning
to create an intelligent reptile army to take over the world. As
Connors was supposedly being held in "the old Spanish fort", it would
have been a PERFECT opportunity to reuse footage of Connors being held
prisoner in "FOUNTAIN OF TERROR"-- but we never see Connors until
after his rescue! The "thing" (as Spidey calls it) is also called
"Reptilla" at one point, and is (big surprise) wearing the same
clothes "The Lizard" did in the original. Inexplicably, while Billy
Connors recognizes Spider-Man, he makes no mention of having met him
At one point, Pete wonders why he puts up with Jameson, but muses "I
guess life would be pretty dull without him." If that's all the
justification he has for sticking with that job, he should consider
some serious psychiatric help.
And so, the series creeks to a rather ignominious end... All the
excuse one needs to go back to Ep.1 and start watching all over again!