Here they are -- all 52 episodes of Spider-Man's original 1967 classic television series, now completely restored in full color and bursting with spectacular Spidey action! Experience every amazing moment of Spider-Man's f... more »irst appearance on TV in the animated series that electrified Saturday morning audiences from 1967-1970. Featuring the Web-Slinger's greatest foes, including Dr. Octopus, The Green Goblin, Mysterio, The Rhino, Dr. Magneto, and so many more.« less
"Like most of us who grew up watching this series, either in it's original first run on TV from 1967-70 or later in syndication, it left an indelible impact. Remember, this was the very first time Spider-Man had ever been made into a cartoon, and so the idea of actually getting to see him swinging from building to building instead of just looking at freeze-frame shots in a comic strip was really a big deal. The first season of episodes (20 shows, 38 individual stories total), I think, are still the most remembered and most cherished of the series, with Spidey taking on famous villains like The Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus, Electro, The Vulture, ect. While the later seasons, which were exec. produced, directed, as well as story supervised by Ralph "Lord of The Rings - The Animated Motion Picture" Bakshi, are a mixed bag of strange trippy imagery, with some plot points in them that just make you scratch your head in bewilderment. There are some gems in there though. Besides the "Origin" Episode (#21), which is definitely a standout, other highlights by Bakshi include, "Home" (#34), a story about a woman who also has spider powers (no, it's not Spider-Woman), "Criminals In The Clouds" (#24) which involves the kidnapping of a high school student by the villainous Sky Master, "The Madness of Mysterio" (#48), a rare original Season Three episode involving the famous villain, only looking completely different and having green skin. And speaking of green skin, what was Bakshi's fetish with green skinned villains anyway? Just about all of them were green with a few exceptions. And the irony is that he never once used The Green Goblin in any of his episodes. Most of the last season was just a rehash of earlier episodes, remixed and redubbed to seem like new episodes. I guess when you're given no money to work with, you try to be as creative as you possibly can, and Bakshi did his best, like taking the mad scientist from the "Swing City" episode (#23) and turning him into an Atlantian in episode #46 ("Up From Nowhere") by giving him different ears to look like a fish. Then Bakshi would do another episode with the mad scientist again (#50 "Specialists And Slaves"), back to his normal self. You'd think the scientist would learn to stop shooting at Spider-Man while the webslinger is standing in front of that control panel, but nooooo. Seriously, these episodes are still great fun nonetheless. Great nostalgic value. However not every episode was properly remastered. Episodes #40 ("The Winged Thing" & "Connor's Reptiles"), #42 ("Sky Harbor" & The Big Brainwasher"), #43 ("The Vanishing Doctor Vespasian" & "The Scourge Of The Scarf"), #46 ("Up From Nowhere") & #52 ("Trip To Tomorrow") all look terrible. Very blurry and grainy, which is a complete shock, especially when you compare them to a remastered episode which looks crystal clear with bright colors and a crisp clean look on practically each and every frame. Episode #52 actually does look perfect...that is until the "Flying Dutchman" segment comes on, then it reverts back to being blurry and grainy ect. It would seem that perhaps this boxset was rushed by Buena Vista in order to be distributed to the public the same week Spiderman 2 was released in movie theaters, even though it wasn't quite yet finished...just so they could make a bigger profit. There's even a misprint on the lyrics to the Spider-Man theme song in the little booklet that comes with the boxset. They forgot the line "Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man". Just shotty workmanship, due to it being rushed. Obviously if you love this series, you'll pick up this boxset regardless of it's flaws. Some have scoffed that there are no special features included, which is true, but considering you're paying around a dollar per episode, there's not much reason to complain too much about it. But many fans are disappointed that the "Next Week" promos at the end of each episode were not restored, except for one episode. Episode #28 ("Phantom From The Depths Of Time") does include the promo at the end (as well as a shot of Spider-Man crawling down a web in the middle of the episode). But what's humorous is that the promo is for "Revolt In The Fifth Dimension" and that's not the next episode...it's not even on the same disc. Another subtle highlight are the character drawings on all the DVD discs of several bad guys, Spidey, and J.Jonah Jameson, and the fact that there's actually an episode of that character on the disc where he's featured as the cover art on the DVD itself. A nice touch. Despite all the flaws I still enjoy the series and am happy that it has finally been released on DVD. If you're a fan of this series, pick it up. For the most part, this release is the best this show has looked since...ever! Keep Swingin' Spidey!"
Appreciating Old School Spidey, not for Everyone
FrontPage | Baltimore, MD United States | 03/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm old school to the hilt. Spider- Man, the original... I've hunted VHS tapes for years to only find those taped in EP (or SLP) directly from a UHF station in Philadelphia, and I was charged a premium at a comics show years ago. Now, original Spidey's on DVD! All of the original episodes, finally. Several episodes aren't cleaned up as well as others, but after watching the old VHS tape that was probably a 4th generation copy, why be so picky. Spiderman fans from the 60s will love this. Revisit it.
The DVDs are numbered one to 6, and the episodes burned on each disk are in the same order as they were broadcast. Because the first 2 disks and the first half of the third were done by another company, I'm not as fond of the artwork or music that accompanied those episodes as the ones when Ralph Bakshi took over. I understand that he caught some heat from people who felt that he oversaw alot of regurgitating scenes and even whole episodes as the series continued. But he took over when budget cutbacks forced the producers to step away from the previous animation group. Bakshi did what he could with the budget he was given and the time to produce them in. Some even slammed Bakshi for not following the comics for the stories. But to me, Baksi's episodes are the most fun! Look at the color and the types of creatures Krantz animation produced, and how sinister the episodes seemed. Before I knew what other said about these, I felt like I was on some kind of mental trip with the colors and music. All the arch rivals wind up wanting to rule the world (or swamps and even an island) and talk about making slaves of the people. And check how many times Spidey talks about hallucinations in the Bakshi cartoons. Spidey even falls into a bed of mushrooms in at least one toon!
The DVDs are very sparse in any extras, except for the "In Color" lead they played for each episode, but each DVD is around 3 hours, they say. It gets old seeing the lead- in and end credits for each of the -- what -- over 50 episodes? But they are keeping the cartoons in their original content, and not changing voices or other sounds, like the original music.
About the original music... I had thought that the episodes done by Krantz animation were the first ones, probably because one of them was "The Origin of Spider- Man." The artwork seemed so much more involved and in- depth, and the music seemed more expansive. What incredible music, by Ray Ellis and Bob Harris. Everyone knows the theme music, but I want you to try that gorgeous, rich, full background music they jammed, especially in disk 4 and the least half of disk 3, just to get a feel of how they must have loved doing those jam sessions! WOW. The sound is mono (the original sound was), but the music fills your spirit. Try the background jams to Molemen and Neptune's Nose Cone (my favorite) in DVD #4.
The story line seemed so weak by the 6th DVD. I don't remember all these episodes in the reruns I watched. But the decision to release these DVDs is outstanding. I'm happy to have this, finally.
I only wondered, what in the world did my parents ever think about the cartoon series when they walked by the TV set to see all the weird scenes, monsters and green- faced enemies, along with all those comments about hallucinations?!"
"..wherever there's a hang-up, you'll find the Spider-Man.."
Yendor | Gilroy, CA United States | 08/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With all the classic tv shows or movies being digitally restored, who would think that the 1967 SPIDER-MAN cartoon series would get the restoration/DVD treatment. Most people remember the cartoon series based on the theme song alone and some may see this nothing less than nostalgic. Once one sees that the animation is repetitive and at times inconsistant, one might find it hard to watch. However, this is a very minor complaint and the repeat scenes of Spider-Man swinging through the streets of NYC captured the character's essence of his super powers and probably served as the background for what is seen in the Sam Raimi/Tobey Mcguire films. Also,this is is a pretty good DVD package (a 6 volume DVD package of all 52 episodes restored by Buena Vista Television...a Disney Company). Over the years since the show ended its Saturday morning network run on ABC in 1970, it was shown sporadically on syndicated tv markets. Then, bootleg tapes of this series can be bought at various sci-fi and comic book conventions (most likely taped from those syndicated airings). However, only a few shows could only be obtained. Now the complete series is available because of the advent of DVD and the digital restoration craze. The print and sound are extraordinary making up for the limited and repetitive animation. Also, the segments are just plain fun, straight foward, self-contained adventure stories without any melodrama or soap opera-type continuation storylines that bog down so many superhero comics today. The consistant standout characters in these stories are (besides Peter Parker/Spider-Man), the hilarious J Jonah Jameson (who blames everything on Spider-Man in every episode), Miss Brant- Jameson's secretary (and voice of reason) and Spider-Man's staunch supporter, and an array of cool villians Spider-Man has to battle with (Doc Ock, The Green Goblin, The Rhino, The Sandman etc). Some of the later episodes are produced by animating producer Ralph Bakshi (FRITZ THE CAT, AMERICAN POP, LORD OF THE RINGS) and these stories are a little darker in mood and animation style which includes Spider-Man's origin story. These stories seem a little mature for a kiddie cartoon. Lastly, one forgets that besides the memorable theme song, SPIDER-MAN '67 had very excellent jazzy background music to set up the mood of Spider-Man's adventures. As in the animation, this too was repetitive, but very effective because the music is so good and memorable and probably some of the best music ever produced for a so-called Saturday morning cartoon show. Overall SPIDER-MAN '67 stands alone as a classic animation televsion show because of the writing, the music, the amimation style (though limited and repetitive) and of course it's classic theme song which virtually everyone can sing."
I WAITED 36 YEARS FOR THIS DAY.
Jim Loftus | Ashtabula, OH, USA | 05/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're reading this then chances are you spent many hours watching this classic on TV as a kid (yeah, before there was cable). God, this was the one, wasn't it... I mean this was IT! It was one thing to read Amazing Spider-Man for 25 cents during the Gerry Conway/Ross Andru era, but to watch him moving, jumping and swinging while battling his most hated enemies on a cartoon show!!??! Okay, so once Bakshi took over, he did some very acid-trip stuff (very questionable) and there were some obscure villains like "Infintata" from the bizarre but strangely intrgiuing "Revolt in the Fifth Dimension" episode. But still. Cool stories... great music... and my number-one hero. No matter what condition the series ended up as on an artistic level, you cannot question the fact that for a little over $50, you get all 52 EPISODES - - DIGITALLY REMASTERED ON DVD!!! THAT'S LIKE, $1 AN EPISODE!!!! I heard a rumor they were also altering the music and sound effects, but I REALLY HOPE THIS IS NOT THE CASE. A classic is a classic for a reason. Make it clearer, make it more colorful, but don't change the content!! AFTER A 36 YEAR WAIT, I AM VERY MUCH LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS 6-DVD SET! It will provide hours of entertainment to myself and my two sons!!! Gotta buy, buy, BUY!!! Love, Astronut"
Spider Man - The '67' Collection
Hans O. Newton | 09/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an absolute must for any old Spiderman fans like me. I can remember watching these on the TV way back when you had to hop eand pray that the wind was blowing just right so that you could get reception on your TV, so I really appreciate the GREAT digital quality of the DVD box set. Also my three year old thinks it FANTASTIC and I would rather have him watch the older, less violent episodes than the ones that are currently being produced."