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Old 03-09-2015, 12:03 PM   #1
bugman
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Default the amazing spider-man live-action show starring nicholas hammond, 1977-79

like many of us in our late thirties or, ahem, early to mid-forties, i grew up with cbs' wonderful live-action spider-man show. now, obviously, if compared to the comic or any movie, this show comes up seriously lacking. but in terms of its' portrayal of peter parker, the show is aces. i've been recently re-watching it, and am just in love with it. as great as the movies are, there is something very special in this humble little show.



i just watched the pilot to the amazing spider-man live-action show from 1977. i grew up with this short-lived show, and frankly, it's pretty good. once you adjust what you're looking at, it's sort of like spidey for the real world. each swing feels like a big deal, opening locked doors is an act of herculean strength, and changing into costume takes actual time. spidey/peter parker must figure out why respectable citizens are robbing banks and then crashing their cars into brick walls. guess what? might be a self-help cult involved.

nicholas hammond is the most adult spider-man yet, and he is engaging and capable. what i like about him is he isn't a loser or a nerd, he's unencumbered by any "uncle ben" and even aunt may isn't much of a presence. it's just him and science and photography. he's more or less a grown-up, and he behaves as such. the influence of another late seventies show, the hardy boys, is clearly felt, as peter does lots of sluething in the pilot. david white plays jjj, and he does a pretty good job of it.

there is much to love in this imperfect show. i will be watching the rest of the series in the upcoming weeks. i have a bootleg that's pretty decent quality, but it's clearly made from quality television recordings. why isn't this on dvd?

our survey of the original spider-man live-action show continues with
the deadly dust, parts one and two. totally wonderful. a trio of students, out to prove how easy it is to build a bomb as a means of exposing the military industrial complex and their own university's apathy, swipe some plutonium, build an atom bomb, and promptly have it stolen. everyone suspects peter because, of course, he's the only one anyone believes is actually smart enuf to do the deed. so peter, mr. jameson, and the ridiculously gorgeous joanna cameron of isis fame as miami reporter gayle hoffman, head out to LA to try and save the world.

there are many things that make the deadly dust first rate. the first is we really get a good dose of the brilliant, impassioned scientist that is peter parker. from arguing against the university handling plutonium in the first place, to breaking down the potential ramifications to the police and feds, here we get a legitimate scientist in peter, something the movies really only pay lip service to. i believe that nicholas hammond knows what he's talking about when he says the dust might turn unstable do to collapsing density, and that he really is against nuclear power. and who should know more about the dangers of radiation than peter parker, reluctant, radioactive spider-bite victim?



it is here, while trying to deflect gayle's desire to procure an interview with his alter-ego, that peter launches into a stan lee-esque soliloquy about the moral drive and the loneliness--he imagines--that spider-man feels being a superhero. "do you realize," he asks the rapt gayle, "that he has to lie to everyone he knows? how could anyone ever really get to know him?" gayle gives him a knowing look and says "i doubt spider-man could have said it better himself." nicholas hammond is really good, and i like the exploration of a spider-man who is driven from the get go to use his powers responsibly, not because anyone died due to his inaction to teach him the lesson, but because he already knew it.

the episode ends with a very strong implication that peter is gonna get a little nookie time with gayle, and the two deserve each other: resourceful, tenacious, and caring, these two forgotten teevee characters from the seventies deserve the happiness that they likely bring one another.

another element that can't go unmentioned, it is in the live-action show where spidey actively uses his spider tracers, a nice element of the comic totally left out of the movies. it speaks to peter's scientific intellect, something this show does consistently.

i will post my impressions of other episodes shortly, but, in the meantime, please discuss and share!


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Old 03-09-2015, 02:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: the amazing spider-man live-action show starring nicholas hammond, 1977-79

I think the show look really silly now in a lot of parts. Spider-Man costume look so amateur. The webbing look like rope. I like Hammond as Peter.

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Old 03-12-2015, 06:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: the amazing spider-man live-action show starring nicholas hammond, 1977-79

It's an amusing show.
Something to catch little doses of every now and then.

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Old 03-12-2015, 10:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: the amazing spider-man live-action show starring nicholas hammond, 1977-79

I dig the hair

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Old 03-13-2015, 09:09 AM   #5
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Default Re: the amazing spider-man live-action show starring nicholas hammond, 1977-79

Hammond actually makes a great Peter Parker.

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Old 03-13-2015, 12:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: the amazing spider-man live-action show starring nicholas hammond, 1977-79

I remember I was 23 when this came out and I was reading Spidey for about 15 years at this point... I remember really looking forward to this and tuned it in on it's premiere night and watching it with a feeling of embarrassment at how cheesy my favorite comic character was looking, the bad special effects and the rope 'webbing'... after the show was done, I just said to myself, "jeez, that was REALLY bad"... I kinda liked Nick Hammond as Peter and Robert Simon had that gruffness as Jonah, but everyone and everything else was badbadbad... I tuned in just for snicks to the next ep and it was no better, so I gave up on it... I've watched it here and there over the years and my embarrassment still comes to the surface whenever I happen to tune it to it... nostalgia has nothing to do with watching it... I guess I just wanna go back and see how bad things were back then, LOL... and I remember back then that there weren't many good things said about it... god, that show was BAD...

and on a sidenote, I discovered back then that Nick Hammond was one of the kids in that Lord of the Flies movie back in the early 1960's...

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Old 03-13-2015, 04:10 PM   #7
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Default Re: the amazing spider-man live-action show starring nicholas hammond, 1977-79

When I was little they used to show reruns of this show saturday mornings after the cartoons. I still have most of the episodes on an antique VHS tape.

I've always liked the series,granted it's a product of it's time and should be viewed as such. It's barely possible to get Spidey's foes on TV with today's standard TV budget,so asking for Ock or Gobby in the 70's was completely unreasonable.You also have to remember the historical context.People were still afraid of the "camp" stigma attached to comic shows since "Batman" and shows like The Incredible Hulk and The Amazing Spider-Man reflect that.

The biggest complaint is probably the standard "He's not quippy in costume!",but generally, Hammond was a fine Peter, with the occasional flashes of the comic book Peter's conflicted feelings about his alter ego.

Even Stan Lee has gone on record as to his disappointment with this series,but I'd still love to see it get a proper release on DVD someday.

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Old 04-13-2015, 02:36 PM   #8
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Default Re: the amazing spider-man live-action show starring nicholas hammond, 1977-79

I have always had a soft spot for the 70's series. and actually in the series the effects did get bigger and a bit better. stand out episodes being wolfpack, the con caper the kirkwood haunting and curse of rava. i remember being taken to a double bill with my dad when i was a kid, the thief of bagdad and spiderman strikes back on a snowy saturday afternoon. i had been getting the uk version of spiderman... spiderman comics weekly since i was four in 1972. the guy at the cinema gave me a spare double bill poster that i still have. will dig it out and post a pic. was 1979 i think. we in the uk also had a later comic called spiderman tv comic weekly that coincided with the tv show showing at 8pm on a friday evening. the comic had a a story, and loads of behind the scenes and promo pics and storys about the filming. for its day in all i loved it... still do and have them on disks.

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Old 04-13-2015, 03:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: the amazing spider-man live-action show starring nicholas hammond, 1977-79

It's ok for what it is and the era it was made certaintly doesn't help evidenced by the wardrobe and hairstyles but it's a neat look into what was possible on a TV budget.

I remember USA in the 90's would air episodes as movies on Saturdays.

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Old 04-22-2015, 05:15 PM   #10
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Default Re: the amazing spider-man live-action show starring nicholas hammond, 1977-79

Quote:
Originally Posted by modgoblin View Post
I have always had a soft spot for the 70's series. and actually in the series the effects did get bigger and a bit better. stand out episodes being wolfpack, the con caper the kirkwood haunting and curse of rava. i remember being taken to a double bill with my dad when i was a kid, the thief of bagdad and spiderman strikes back on a snowy saturday afternoon. i had been getting the uk version of spiderman... spiderman comics weekly since i was four in 1972. the guy at the cinema gave me a spare double bill poster that i still have. will dig it out and post a pic. was 1979 i think. we in the uk also had a later comic called spiderman tv comic weekly that coincided with the tv show showing at 8pm on a friday evening. the comic had a a story, and loads of behind the scenes and promo pics and storys about the filming. for its day in all i loved it... still do and have them on disks.
this is incredible. as a kid watching them on teevee, i had no idea that these episodes were being released theatrically overseas. i would have loved to see spider-man strikes back on a big screen; the deadly dust is my favorite episode of this show, and to see nicholas hammond and joanna cameron out of a projector would have been sublime. totally awesome. please share a pic of that poster.

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