Shows : The Electric Company (TV) - Season 4, Episode 1

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: The Show Must Go On...

This review was first published on: Jan 2010.

Background...

The Electric Company produced 130 shows per season, five per week for 26 weeks of the year. Spider-Man appeared on a few, and we're going to track down as many as we can and review them here for you.

This is Spider-Man's debut on the show. The episode is number #391. The date is Oct 21st 1974. Spider-Man appeared first of all in this start-of-show "teaser", before also appearing later in the show in a "five second" mini-sequence, before finally appearing in his first TEC feature - Spidey Meets the Spoiler. The episode #391 full segment list is as follows:

Cold open: Spider-Man on the Electric Company
Today: The director says ["To the Queen!"]

    * "tr" pantomime
    * Silhouettes - "tr/ick/trick"
    * Trick or Treat at Dracula's
    * Cartoon - "rip/trip"
    * "Try not to Tremble" song (EKA 147)
          o "Tremble" word animation
    * Cartoon - "tack/track" (EKA 147)
          o "Train" word animation (EKA 375)
    * Monolith - "ai"
          o "Bait" word animation
    * "Everyone Has a Pain" song
          o Self-destructing word - "Spider-Man!"
    * The Adventures of Letterman - "The Great Escape"
          o "To" word animation
    * The Director - "To the queen"
    * The Punctuation Brothers
    * Eggs/Fried Eggs?/Scrambled Eggs!
    * Spider-Man - "Spidey Meets the Spoiler"
    * Easy Reader and Valerie the Librarian - "Words, Words, Words, Words" song
    * Paul plugs the Electric Company logo in and blows it up by mistake

Next time: The scout tries to [rent a tent].

The following review is for the teaser only.

In Detail...

"Introducing Spidey"
The Electric Company (TV) - Season 4, Episode 1 (Story 1)
Oct 1974 : SM Title
Summary: First Aired Oct 21st 1974 (TEC #391)
Star:  Danny Seagren (Spider-Man), Jim Boyd (J. Arthur Crank), Morgan Freeman (Easy Reader)
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Review

This segment starts at the very beginning of the show. Cue funky jazz music and fade in from black.

J. Arthur Crank is sitting on a bench by the bus stop reading a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #132, which hit the stands a few months earlier in the year. Easy Reader wanders past with a newspaper, and stops to chat. The pair exchange hip greetings, and Easy asks Crank what he's up to. Crank answers crankily: "I'm reading! What would I be doing on The Electric Company. Shooting fish?"

Turns out, Crank's a big fan of Spidey, and so is Easy Reader. "Speaking of which," asks Easy Reader... "guess who's gonna be on The Electric Company?" Turns out it's none other than Spider-Man!

Crank laughs at that, and explains to Easy that Spider-Man isn't a real guy, he's just a character in a funny book, he's just a drawing! "Well... suit yerself," says Easy Reader, and then "jets off" to "take his main squeeze to the library." He leaves Crank still laughing and asking who would believe that Spider-Man was gonna be on the Electric Company. Anybody who would believe that would have to be "some kind of a yo-yo!"

Meanwhile, Spidey wanders in from backstage and picks up the comic which Crank has temporarily put aside. The web-head leans up against a store to read the comic, while Crank discovers the missing book and blames Easy for taking it. Crank exits stage left, having never noticed Spider-Man at all. Spider-Man faces the camera and "thinks" in his soon-to-be-trademark thought-bubble... "What a yo-yo!"

Then fire up the main theme tune, and we're away!

In General...

Well, this is just a taster, but even so it's easy to see what a brilliant idea this was. The Electric Company was a great show with a fantastic goal - the theory that if a kid was gonna be in front of the TV, it's best they were at least learning something. Spider-Man tied in brilliantly with the whole concept.

Overall Rating...

I have no idea how I'm gonna rate these shows. I guess I'll just use instinct. And maybe a dice.

But as a teaser and a run-in to the main credits, this segment fits the bill perfectly. Four webs.

Footnote...

I found this segment on YouTube as "The Electric Company - Introducing Spidey".

The second segment "The next word you see will self-destruct in five seconds. Can you read it before it does?" is also available on YouTube as "The Electric Company - Five Seconds".

P.S. The word is "SPIDER-MAN".