Shows : The Electric Company (TV) - Season 4, Episode 1
This story is part of a Lookback Series: The Show Must Go On...
This review was first published on: Jan 2010.
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.
The Electric Company (TV) - Season 4, Episode 1 (Story 1)
Oct 1974 : SM Title
Summary: First Aired Oct 21st 1974 (TEC #391)
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!
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.
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.
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".