Shows : Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 1, Episode 12

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

This review was first published on: May 2010.

Background...

A visiting dignitary, an international jewelers convention, and a series of thefts all intersect to provide Spider-Man with a mystery to solve.

In Detail...

"The Fantastic Fakir"
Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 1, Episode 12 (Story 2)
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While swinging through the city, Spider-Man discovers that an international jewelers convention is in town. The showpiece for the event is the Jhin Jamir Ruby. Spider-Man crawls to the 34th floor to take a sneak peak at the famous ruby.

He discovers someone stealing the ruby from its rather unique vault - a moderately decorated 50 ft elephant with a headpiece used to hold the ruby. When discovered, the thief uses his mystic flute to animate the elephant and charge Spider-Man. The elephant soon disappears after the thief makes his escape. From this point on, we'll just call him Fahkir, since he is never named. [A "fakir" or "faqir" is an individual that takes a vow of poverty and dedicates his life to teaching Islam. You now understand why I'm not going to use that title.]

Later at the Daily Bugle, Jonah explains that the Maharajah who donated the ruby for the convention is greatly upset by the theft. He isolates himself on his yacht and refuses to see anyone until it is found. Jonah tells Parker to get pictures of the yacht, the ruby, and the Maharajah. Both Peter and Betty try in vain to point out that he's literally asking for the impossible. The ruby is missing and nobody is allowed on the yacht without explicit permission. Jonah states he doesn't want excuses, just pictures. [Wow, another example of risking arrest to do your job. He really deserves a #1 boss mug. Or an exploding cigar.]

That night Spider-Man makes his way aboard the yacht, dodging the armed guards. He finds the Maharajah sitting in his room perfectly still and snaps a picture. Spider-Man notices that he's wearing the missing ruby, but it doesn't seem right. At this point he's spotted by the guards and is ultimately captured. He escapes and overhears Fahkir's plan to steal the "Star of Jhin Jamir" from Mrs. Van Mere's collection.

At home Peter wonders why the Maharajah would steal an item that he owns. He then decides to pay a visit to Mrs. Van Meer and plant a spider-tracer in the star before it is stolen. Once this is done, he waits for the theft to occur. When it does, he appears and advised Van Mere to call the police and send them to the Maharajah's yacht. [If he knew where they were going why does he need to plant a tracer? Oh right, to reuse some animation. Carry on.]

As he walks out of the Van Mere mansion, he steps onto a bed of hot coals that miraculously appear. After grabbing a low-lying tree branch, he uses his webbing to activate the sprinkler system to put out the coals. [That wasn't totally random or anything. We're to assume that Fahkir used the flute to create them? But how did Spider-Man miss this on his way in?]

Spider-Man makes his way back aboard the yacht and discovers that the Maharajah has both the ruby and the sapphire. Upon closer examination, Spider-Man learns that the "Maharajah" is a very life-like dummy. Fahkir reveals himself and explains that the real Maharajah was delayed by some "engine trouble" and will arrive tomorrow. Long after they have left the country with the precious jewels.

Spider-Man quickly separates Fahkir from his flute and webs him up for the police.

In General...

One of the biggest problems that I had with the episode is the mystic flute that Fahkir used was capable of too many things. Levitation. Animating statues. Controlling crocodiles (not mentioned in the review but it happened). Turning the ground into something painful (a bed of coals or nails). Pet peeve of mine, but that's just lazy writing.

They decided to allow the voice actor to use an accent for the part of the Fahkir. Not a bad idea, but to me it sounds like Lew Zealand, the Muppet with boomerang fish. For the record, I found a video on YouTube of Leslie Uggams singing "Here You Come Again" while Lew demonstrates his claim to fame. Boomerang fish. "Here You Come Again". That's a joke, son!

Overall Rating...

1.5 webs. Another filler episode is done. It was just different enough to say "it's different", but really it's the same approach. That approach is barrel through the story like a freight train.