Shows : Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 1, Episode 2

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

This review was first published on: Feb 2010.

Background...

The first appearance and origin of the Lizard was detailed in Amazing Spider-Man #6. The title of this episode is taken from Amazing Spider-Man #44 when the Lizard was unleashed upon an unsuspecting New York.

In Detail...

"Where Crawls the Lizard"
Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 1, Episode 2 (Story 1)
Sep 1967 : SM Title
Summary: First Aired Sep 16th 1967
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In the Florida Everglades, a humanoid lizard attacks two innocent fishermen. [It's a golden-colored swamp. I'm guessing the rules of public hygiene don't apply here]. He demands that they leave his kingdom immediately. He turns over their small boat, forcing them to swim for the shore.

This news makes its way to New York. When Spider-Man hears about it, he wants to investigate. The problem – as always – is getting the money for plane fare. He soon realizes that the best way to do this is on the Daily Bugle's dime.

Peter arrives at the Daily Bugle and plays on Jonah's ego to be the first newspaper to provide proof of this Lizard-Man. His plan works and soon finds himself on a plane to Florida. Once in the Everglades, Peter changes to Spider-Man and begins searching the swamps for the lizard.

He soon stumbles upon a sign pointing toward the lab of the famous herpetologist Dr. Curt Connor. [#1 - its "Connors" with an "s", the Lizard's favorite letter. #2 - a famous scientist actually needs a sign pointing to his lab? In case of visitors?] Spidey decides to look him up for some advice on handling an aggressive human-sized lizard. While on his way to Connor's lab, he is attacked by the Lizard. The Lizard pulls him underwater and tries to drown him. Spider-Man's strength and reflexes enable him to escape his reptilian enemy. He continues on his way to Connor's lab.

He soon encounters a small boy sitting on a rock. The child immediately recognizes him as Spider-Man. He then identifies himself as Billy Connor [But for all he knows, this could be some kook in a Spidey suit. Didn't they teach kids not to talk to strangers in the sixties? Famous doesn't always equal harmless.] Spider-Man asks if he is any relation to Curt Connor; Billy responds that he (Curt) is his father. Billy then explains that his father disappeared and that his mother has been crying for a week. Spider-Man then tells him that he needs to see his mother [This comes across as creepy. The woman's in mourning and Spidey's hitting on her. It also dawned on me that the voice artist that played Billy also played Rudolph in the Rankin/Bass stop-motion "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" ]

Billy's mother Martha explains that Curt was working on a cure for swamp fever when he disappeared. He left them a note stating that they something bad happened (supposedly during the experiment) and they are not safe. They need to leave and never come back. [Ok Connor not only has a lab – with a sign – in the swamp, but his house is in the swamp too? Does he want privacy or an audience?]

Suddenly they hear Billy scream from outside. The Lizard has appeared and is moving toward him. Spider-Man saves Billy but is knocked out by the Lizard. When the Lizard hears Martha approaching he leaves. Spider-Man quickly regains consciousness and asks to see Connor's lab.

After a series of tests, Spider-Man finds that the serum Connor was working on contains reptilian DNA. If his theory is correct he'll need to use all his scientific skills to create an antidote for this serum. Lucky for him, Connor's lab is well-stocked. While working on the antidote, the Lizard appears in the lab and takes the swamp fever serum from Spider-Man.

The Lizard explains that he plans to create a reptile army from the swamp serum and conquer the world. To cover his escape, the Lizard throws a grenade that destroys one quarter of the lab; Spider-Man survives. [What is the Lizard doing with a grenade?]

Spider-Man then begins searching for the The Lizard by creating a makeshift flotation devices for his feet and a propulsion unit with his webbing [How do you do this with a substance that has two setting: thin stream and bad-guy net?]

He eventually finds the Lizard at an abandoned Spanish Fort where he plans to dump the serum into the swamp, presumably to mutate more reptiles. Spider-Man falls from his perch, landing near the Lizard who tries to escape. Spider-Man follows him and forces him to ingest the antidote. Just as he predicted, the Lizard reverts to a very surprised and thankful Curt Connor. Connor was transformed into the Lizard when he tested the serum on himself, unaware it would turn him into a giant lizard bent on global domination. He then escorts Curt back to his grateful family.

When Peter returns to New York, Jonah refuses to buy his pictures. It seems that a movie company was shooting a movie in the Everglades about lizards. He's convinced that this was just a ploy to generate publicity. Jonah doesn't realize that those pictures are authentic.

In General...

The majority of the plot was taken directly from Amazing Spider-Man #6, which translated pretty well to the small screen. They altered a few points, most notably the family surname and allowed Connor to keep both arms. I don't understand why depicting a man who transforms himself into a giant lizard is acceptable, but they can't show him with only one arm. This is a little confusing.

Overall Rating...

3.5 webs. This was a surprisingly good episode. By sticking to the source material as much as possible, the show writers were able to come up with a fully acceptable origin story for the Lizard.