Thursday, May 17, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Spider-Man On The Electric Company


For more than 50 years, our favorite web-slinger has made countless apperance on the small screen, from his first animated series in 1967, to his latest animated incarnation in 2017.

But did you know that during the 1970s our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man once helped teach children how to read on PBS, and on a show created by the same people who brought us Sesame Street?

To learn more about Spider-Man’s apperance on PBS, click READ MORE:


The Electric Company was an educational children’s television program that aired on PBS between 1971 and 1977 (with a revival series later created in 2009). The show was created by the Children’s Television Workshop, which had also created Sesame Street.

In a sense, the show was a follow-up to Sesame Street, with the aim of teaching literacy to older children who had since grown out of the show. While Sesame Street taught children how to read, write, and pronounce letters, The Electric Company taught them how to put letters together to read, write, and pronounce entire words and sentences.

Just like Sesame Street, The Electric Company was presented in a magazine format with several musical segments and comedic vignettes that taught children various literary skills. The most famous of these segments were the "Soft-Shoe Silhouettes", which had silhouettes of two people each sounding out a part of a word to make a whole sound. (This is the same segment that was parodied by Family Guy.)

The Geek Twins

But perhaps the most famous and popular segment of them all was Spidey’s Super Stories, which, true to its name, starred everybody’s favorite web-slinger, Spider-Man. The sketches played out like live-action comics, with our friendly-neighborhood Spider-Man speaking in word balloons and thwarting bad guys and their evil schemes with the power of words—and his web powers, of course!

Since this was a PBS show, Spider-Man was unable to use violence, instead opting to wrap up bad guys in his web. Also, a lot of the bad guys were as goofy as you’d expect from a little kid’s show, with such "evil" villains as “The Wall” and “The Thumper”, the latter of which was a spoiled girl who dressed up like Napoleon and “thumped” people on the head with a hammer—all because she never received a pony for her birthday!

I’d say that such villains were utterly ridiculous, but considering some of the other villains during the Golden and Silver age of comic books back then, perhaps a living brick wall isn’t the most insane villain that Spider-Man or any Marvel character fought.

Here’s one of the sketches featuring a villain called “The Spoiler” (and judging by his name, he sounds like the type of person who would loiter outside pf movie theaters and tell people standing in line how the movies will end.) If you want to watch more of these sketches, feel free to watch this YouTube playlist.

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