Shows : Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 1, Episode 10
This story is part of a Lookback Series: The Show Must Go On...
This review was first published on: Mar 2010.
Just in case you're wondering, the Magneto used in this episode is not the one from the X-Men. This one is a crazy scientist with an obsession on magnetism.
Given the fact that "Magneto" is used in the X-Universe and would be too confusing for me, plus the resemblance is uncanny, I will refer to him as "Evil Einstein" throughout the review.
Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 1, Episode 10 (Story 1)
Nov 1967 : SM Title
Summary: First Aired Nov 11th 1967
Spider-Man is sitting on top of a lighthouse watching a violent storm batter a ship trying to make its way to shore. [This is purely coincidence, not an obvious set-up] Unknown to him, Evil Einstein is nearby (see screen cap #1). He is fed up with the constant rejections from the Science Hall of Fame and decides to show them all the full extent of his power [As all villains do].
Evil Einstein uses a weapon that magnetizes the controls of the lighthouse, which somehow translates into shutting off the giant search light. Spider-Man steps in and tries to help the lighthouse keeper turn the light back on. Unable to go with plan "A", Spider-Man uses the light from his utility belt to guide the ship to the shore. [Oh give me a break. Somehow Spider-Man's equipment is as powerful as a commercial-grade bulb for a lighthouse?]
The next day at the Daily Bugle, Jonah refuses to acknowledge Spider-Man's assistance helping the freighter to shore. He claims Spider-Man was out for publicity. Peter reminds him that the lighthouse keeper's report states the lighthouse equipment was magnetized. Jonah won't believe it. He finally agrees to print the story, but on the back page.
Evil Einstein reads the story and is furious that he was left out (screen cap #2). He decides to make an even bigger spectacle. That night he uses his magnetic ray gun to destroy one of the support columns on the elevated train near Yankee Stadium (screen cap #3). This causes part of the track to collapse as a train is approaching. As he runs away cackling, Spider-Man – who just happens to be in the area - creates temporary tracks with his webbing, saving the oncoming train.[This is not possible, I know. They do this all the time, so you should be used to it by now. On a lighter note, this feat was modified and used – with greater success – in the Superman movie]. The next day, Jameson accuses Spider-Man of staging the whole thing for more publicity. He prints the story but slants it so that Spider-Man is to blame.
Evil Einstein is livid at this point (screen cap #4). He has had enough of Spider-Man stealing headlines that should be his. [This guy is a true fanatic. He really wants everyone to know he did it.]. This time he plans an event that nobody will be able to blame on Spider-Man. He then composes a letter to Jameson.
Jameson receives the letter stating that the statue of Prometheus in Rockefeller Center has been magnetically charged and levitated to the top of the top of the Empire State Building. At noon, the charge will be removed, sending the statue plummeting toward the street. To ensure that there is no confusion, he signs the note "Dr. Magneto". [Like Reed Richards would if he was psychotic.] The name sounds familiar to Peter, but he can't place it.
Jameson initially dismisses the note, but receives a frantic call indicating that part one of this threat has been carried out. He sends Peter to take pictures [which is good because he was going there anyway]. When the clock strikes twelve, Evil Einstein demagnetizes the statue, causing it to drop. Spider-Man easily catches the statue with his web. Evil Einstein adds Spider-Man to his revenge list.
Peter returns to his house and looks up "Magneto" in his "Who's Who In Science" [the updated 1967 edition]. He find the entry and realizes that he's a specialist in magnetism and that he was a Hall of Fame nominee two years ago. He decides to begin his search at the Hall of Fame. [Why? Just because he's insane, it doesn't mean that he'll... Nevermind. I forget the advance-the-story-at-all-costs mandate]
As you can believe Evil Einstein is in fact at the Hall of Fame. [Not sure if this is his hideout or if he has a season pass. He's in "costume" so I assume he was looking for a fight.] He has discovered a way to magnetize wood, paper, cloth, and apparently artificially-created spider-webs. [I'm going with a reasoned, scientific IMPOSSIBLE on that one.] Spider-Man asks if he's tried to use his abilities to help mankind. Evil Einstein replies that they wouldn't believe his theories and now its too late. They must pay. He plans to magnetically lift the Hall of Fame, carry it to the ocean, and drop it in.
Spider-Man then destroys his gun with an anti-magnetic web. [Hey, don't laugh too much. This anti-magnetic trick was successfully used on the Vulture (Toomes) in Amazing Spider-Man #2] The shocked scientist mumbles that his power is gone. [Magnetism comes from your gun, not from your hands. This wouldn't be a problem if you were the real Magneto.] Spider-Man webs him up for the police (screen cap #5) and gives him a lecture about misuse of power.
I almost hate saying this, but aside from the obvious problems, the basic story wasn't too bad. You have an evil scientist (that looks like Einstein) that embarks on a career as a super villain because his peers think he's a crackpot. Given that he thought putting a red cape over his work clothes qualifies as a costume, I'd have to agree.
I'll admit that the Prometheus statue sequence was a good idea and executed well for the most part. Others had varying degrees of success, depending on how much the writers wanted to bend the laws of physics.
2 webs. This guy is almost a reasonable challenge for Spider-Man. If the writers had just stuck with the basic rules of magnetism instead of trying to branch off into unbelievable areas, it would have made a better story.
The lighthouse sequence would have worked better if controls were locked, but the light had remained on. Spider-Man could have manually moved the light with the keeper's assistance to bring the ship to the harbor. Not being 100% on this, I can't say for certain if this would switch off a light, but it sounds implausible.
The web-tracks just didn't make any sense. Maybe if scrap metal was webbed to the existing track, it would have seemed less impossible. Spider-Man's web may be strong - when they decide it needs to be - but it isn't that strong.
It's very difficult to overlook these items as they played a significant part in the story. Again, had they kept it simple, it would have been a better episode.