Shows : Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 1, Episode 15

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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...

Given the recent accident on the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform which caused the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, this cartoon seems to be oddly appropriate. In this episode, we have an evil scientist in a purple scuba suit stealing oil to help his plans for global domination.

I would like to emphasize that my comment is directed at the event itself, not the party or parties that may have caused it. I find it interesting that a cartoon that was produced over 42 years ago (as of this writing) - or anything topical for that matter - can be somewhat relevant to the modern day.

In Detail...

"The Slippery Dr. Von Schlick"
Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 1, Episode 15 (Story 2)
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While on patrol, Spider-Man hears an explosion originating from the oil storage docks. When he arrives, he sees the firefighters desperately trying to put out the flames.

Amid all the chaos, Spider-Man sees a suspicious characters in a purple scuba suit [See, told you.] near the storage tank controls on a catwalk. When he arrives, he finds that person - who identifies himself as Dr. Von Schlick - is stealing the oil. Spider-Man soon learns that Von Schlick's suit is covered in a special substance that prevents his webs from sticking. His other oil-based liquids that come from his gauntlets prove to be more than Spider-Man can handle and he escapes - with the oil.

Von Schlick continues to strike and more oil disappears causing a city-wide panic. [I can't continue to call him Von Schlick, it's too corny even for me. I will refer to him as 'Purple Froggy'.] This is all part of Purple Froggy's plan to transform the oil into a new element that he has named "thenium 007". [Why? To give it that 'James Bond' feeling of course] This will somehow help him rise to power. [Wouldn't just hording the world's oil supply do that? Plus your new element looks like an oil-based suppository. See screen cap #4]

A tanker arrives bringing some much needed oil to the city. Spider-Man takes it upon himself to ensure that it arrives safely. He soon discovers a hole in the hull of the ship and oil spilling from it. He notices that the oil is being pulled away from the ship in a single direction. He follows the oil and finds Purple Froggy collecting the oil through the power of his magnetic oil-o-scope [I wish I was kidding. They seem to think that anything can be manipulated by magnetism. I'm waiting for the pet-o-scope.]

Spider-Man is unable to overpower Purple Froggy and finds himself encased in an airtight plastic bubble (from his array of oil-based weapons). Purple Froggy then pushes Spider-Man into the river. Have no fear, our resourceful hero forms a shuriken out of his webbing, rips open the bag and returns to the surface. [Spider-ninja anyone?] Purple Froggy has once again disappeared with the oil.

Spider-Man returns home to work on a special web-formula to compensate for Purple Froggy's suit as well as a special mask to help him breather underwater [Or under oil in this case?] Betty calls him from the Daily Bugle to tell him that Jonah wants pictures of the next target: the military's oil reserves.

Spider-Man sneaks onto the nearest army base and finds Purple Froggy [Through a trail of oily flipper prints that even Mr. Magoo could follow.] Purple Froggy escapes through the oil pipeline back to his secret "Oil-cave" in the sewers.

Spider-Man follows and soon captures him with his new webbing formula. He then opens the water valve and short-circuits the equipment, causing a massive explosion that destroys the lab and blows them through the nearest manhole cover [Much like the blowhole of a whale.]

Spider-Man then takes Purple Froggy to the police and the episode ends without any mention of what happened to the stolen oil.

In General...

I just have to wonder why they decided to have an evil scientist in complete scuba gear - with flippers. He wore flippers in every scene. In a world of animal-based weirdos, the second you add frog feet you lose credibility. He reminds me of Leapfrog from the Daredevil series. This is why Leapfrog is considered a joke villain in many circles.

I'm just putting this out there: Dr. Von Schlick is the predecessor of the teflon-based character Slyde, but without the charisma.

Overall Rating...

1 web. A decent idea with very poor execution. Nothing that I would brag about.