Sunday, July 26, 2015

Pop Focus: The Electric Company and Spidey Super-Stories

The first live-action Spider-Man series appeared not in the movies, and not on his own TV series, but as a segment on the PBS children's show "The Electric Company" in the mid-1970s.

"The Spidey Super Stories" shorts, like the rest of "Electric Company" were aimed at getting kids reading. Spidey never spoke. Instead, young viewers were prompted by word balloons to figure out what was going on. The shorts were narrated by various "Electric Company" cast members, including the great Morgan Freeman, who starred as the show's character, The Easy Reader."

"Spidey Super Stories" started appearing during the 1974-75 season and were featured on the show for most of the rest of the 1970s. There were various tie-ins, too, including "Spidey Super Stories" records and segments in the "Electric Company" magazine.

Marvel published its own series of "Spidey Super Stories," too. I remember picking several issues, even though they weren't terribly exciting and they were way too easy to read. But it was Spider-Man! Aimed at beginning readers, the series probably helped turn on a new generation of readers to comics, and it lasted a respectable 57 issues, running from 1974 to 1982.

Spidey finally got his own "serious" live-action TV show in 1977.

Here's a look back at Spidey's "Electric Company" years.