Shows : Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 1, Episode 19

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

This review was first published on: Jun 2010.

Background...

Yes, Virginia, there are two Spider-Men in this episode. Thankfully this doesn't involve clones.

In Detail...

"Double Identity"
Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 1, Episode 19 (Story 2)
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Spider-Man responds to an alarm at the Museum of Rare Books [Does such a thing actually exist?]. He is quite surprised to learn that the thief is Peter Parker. When he tries to capture him, "Peter" uses a special camera that momentarily paralyzes him. When Spider-Man snaps out of it, "Peter" and his chauffeur Brutus are making their getaway. Spider-Man makes one last attempt to stop them, but is batted aside by the powerful driver.

At the Daily Bugle, Captain O'Malley contacts Jonah about the robbery. Over the phone, Jonah defends Peter stating that he doesn't hire thieves. When Betty compliments him on standing up for Peter, Jonah reveals that he doesn't want Parker to drag down the reputation of his newspaper. [Nice.]

The second Parker is in reality Charles Cameo, the ex-actor turned criminal. For his next crime, he decides to impersonate renown abstract artist Salvidore Fricasco, who is conveniently in Europe. Cameo arrives at the exhibit as Fricaso and throws a tantrum because his work is on display upside down. He demands that they be removed and returned to him at once [One, I can totally see this happening. Two, it would be very easy to hang these particular paintings upside down. I give them points for this.]

While on patrol, Spider-Man swings by the exhibit. When he sees Fricaso and the chauffeur loading the paintings into the van, he knows it has to be the imposter. Fricaso is in Europe. When Spider-Man tries to stop them, Cameo covers their escape with high velocity tubes of paint that coat Spider-Man from head to toe. [Lame] Unable to regain his footing, the criminals escape. [On the bright side, he did manage to create an abstract sidewalk painting - with his flailing.]

The next day, Jonah is scheduled to pick up a memorial statue for the police at Bodinsky's Studio. Cameo phones in a fake news story that prevents Jonah from arriving at the studio on time. Jonah is livid when learns the "he" already picked it up and blames Spider-Man for the entire situation.

Jameson's next appointment is to pick up the Bottilini Goblet for an antique show the next day [Why do people keep asking Jonah to transport priceless items? Don't they have an armored car service they can use? ] When Jonah meets with the store manager, Spider-Man webs Jonah up thinking he's the imposter. As it turns out, the store manager was Cameo and he escapes with the goblet.

Jameson is fed up with the string of robberies - especially those that implicate him - and contacts Captain O'Malley demanding that he make capturing Spider-Man his top priority. O'Malley reluctantly agrees to comply. They plant a news item in the Bugle about rare tapestries being moved hoping it will bring out the thief. Jameson believes it to be Spider-Man; O'Malley knows better.

Brutus takes the place of one of the uniformed cops [How this giant fit into the uniform of someone smaller than him is a mystery] and helps load the tapestries into the police van. At this point Spider-Man appears. Then another Spider-Man appears. As they have some confusion as to who the real Spider-Man is, one of them suggests they have a showdown to prove who's the real Spider-Man, the loser is unmasked. O'Malley agrees, but emphasizes "no tricks". [This segment brought to you by the "Might Makes Right" campaign. Raising quality American bullies since 1876.]

After the test of webbing [How the #@&& did Cameo duplicate that?], strength, and wall-climbing ability, one finally defeats the other, wrapping him in webbing. As the loser is lowered to the ground, it becomes clear that Cameo has lost. He calls out for Brutus to assist him, but he is webbed up as well.

In General...

How would a second-rate actor know what a kid photographer sound like? Other local celebrities (like Jonah) I can understand. There would be dozens of soundbites that would allow someone to mimic their voice should they choose. I can't imagine someone of Peter's status being recorded for any reason. This seems to be an odd choice.

The tech that Cameo is packing is quite impressive. A camera that temporarily paralyzes people? Ability to duplicate Spider-Man's powers? How does an actor do this? He impersonates Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four.

The use of the fusion character "Salvadore Fricaso" was amusing. Combining the names of Salvador DalĂ­ and Pablo Picasso and giving him an over-the-top personality was a welcome addition to this episode.

Overall Rating...

2.5 webs. I have a few problems with this episode.

"Charles Cameo" is a lame substitute for the Chameleon, which should have been used. Just drop the foreign spy aspect from the character and it would have worked.

They should have stuck to using high-profile people for Cameo to impersonate. Using Peter allowed for a dramatic opening, but so would Jonah.

Cameo's ability to purchase/make the high-tech devices he needed were a little hard to believe.

With these few problems, I was still impressed with the episode.