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Awfully Good: The Amazing Spider-Man (1977)

04.30.2014by:

The Amazing Spider-Man (1977)

Director: E.W. Swackhamer
Stars: Nicholas Hammond, David White, Lisa Eilbacher

When white people begin committing robberies and other crimes, it's obvious that they're simply under mind control and Spider-Man needs to find the true criminal responsible.

Long before there was Andrew Garfield, way past Tobey McCryFace Maguire, and even pre-dating the animated 90s cartoon… there was 1977's THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. This hour and a half movie also served as the pilot to a TV series that ran for two short seasons on CBS. You can imagine what a Spiderman TV show looked like in the 70s.


The utility belt and web-shooter bracelet were both functional AND fashionable!

To be fair, given the time and circumstances, it's not that bad for what it is. It's just inherently goofy and cheesy at every turn, and proof that you can't really bring a super-powered character to life while pinching pennies. (The groovy 70s soundtrack that makes you think Spidey is going to join forces with Shaft definitely helps.) Due to budget constraints, the series never saw any of Spider-Man's classic villains realized. Instead, the wallcrawler would take on more average bad guys, like corrupt politicians, Chinese businessmen, and paranormal investigators.


Much like Superman in SUPERMAN RETURNS, Spider-Man also enjoyed creeping outside of people's houses.

While some adjustments are understandable, the show does make some bizarre changes for no apparent reason. There's no Mary Jane or Gwen Stacey—Peter Parker's love interest is a reporter named Julie. There's no Uncle Ben to teach our hero about great power and great responsibility and Aunt May is essentially relegated to a cameo. Peter Parker is a student (despite looking like he's in his mid-30s) trying to land a job at the Daily Bugle. They did get that part right. However, this version of J. Jonah Jameson, while gruff, actually likes Peter and remarks how he reminds him of his younger self. No! Wrong! Shenanigans!


This version of Peter Parker had clearly been held back a few years in high school.

When it comes to Spidey's famous super powers and the show's actual action, that's what garners THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN's biggest laughs. Most of the time, they employ god-awful greenscreen for the wall crawling, where the title character sort of just glides across buildings no matter the shape or architecture. Once in a while they tie a stunt person to a wire and pull him up the side of a building unconvincingly. Yet you can tell the filmmakers are so proud of what they accomplished because they insist on dragging out each crawling sequence for five, fast forward-worthy minutes. The superhero's web shooters and Spidey Sense don't fare much better. The mechanical shooters are truly pathetic, revealing a thin rope that can barely hold his weight when he swings from small branches. And his special sensory warning system only seems to work with obvious danger, like when he gets chased by a car going literally 2 miles an hour.


"Oh, no. Ninjas! What do I do?..."

In the pilot movie, Spider-Man faces his most potent adversary—a self-help guru! (Okay, a self-help guru with a mind control device.) When a Caucasian lawyer and a doctor team up to rob a bank, the police are thoroughly confused. But soon a mysterious criminal comes forward and admits that they were actually under his mind control and that he'll make 10 more helpless people kill themselves unless he gets some money. It's essentially the same plot as THE NAKED GUN, even down to the little device the villain makes them wear to do his evil bidding, in this case a mind-scrambling lapel pin.


*jazz hands*

As ridiculous as the plot is, I do applaud this film's realism. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN does a great job reminding you of real-life reactions and issues facing superheroes. Like Peter leaving an obvious pile of clothes behind whenever he changes in to his costume in public, or having trouble hailing a cab while in full costume, or having to ask his new date for $46 to buy science equipment. At one point, Spider-Man even fights a group of random middle-aged ninjas and when he defeats them, they immediately go and get flame throwers to up the ante. That is 100% the correct reaction to that situation and I don't understand why more henchman don't do that.


"Jazz hands! Run away!"

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN only got 12 episodes before it was cancelled. (You can watch them all here.) There are definitely some Awfully Good contenders throughout, including Spidey taking on fascist Latin American rebels, an evil Spider-Man clone and more mind control, this time in the form of gas. However, the most ridiculous, perhaps, is the one where Peter's college brings a bunch of plutonium on campus for show and tell and some kids get so angry they steal the radioactive element and use it to build a nuclear bomb—just to teach the faculty how dangerous it is. Of course, the next day terrorists steal the bomb and Spider-Man has to save the day yet again.

This may be ridiculous but, hey, at least it was better than Japanese Spider-Man:

Peter explains what Spider-Man is to J. Jonah James and other memorable one-liners.

Some wall crawling, some webslinging and some ninja fighting!

Despite what the porno-sounding music would suggest, everyone keeps it clean.


This was directed by a guy named E.W. Swackhamer! Watch it here!

Take a shot or drink every time:
  • The music sounds like a porno
  • Spider-Man's Spidey Sense tingles
  • The show re-uses the same footage more than once
  • A shot is from Spiderman's POV
  • Spiderman gets attacked by ninjas
Double shot if:
  • The ninjas have flamethrowers!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: JoBlo.com

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4:20AM on 05/04/2014
His friend who works with him in the lab wears a blue shirt with a white star and is called Steve. Coincidence?
His friend who works with him in the lab wears a blue shirt with a white star and is called Steve. Coincidence?
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+0
4:40PM on 04/30/2014
F**k the hell outta here. I loved this as a kid. That fight with the three middle-aged ninjas was awesome. It's a shame the series entire budget was probably spent on hiring a fight choreographer just for that scene. All three theme tunes the series had was awesome...the best being the one used when Spider-Man goes to Hong Kong [link]. The tune here was great too.... [link] By the way, I recall JJ being pretty hard on Parker in this series and what about a double shot whenever Spidey
F**k the hell outta here. I loved this as a kid. That fight with the three middle-aged ninjas was awesome. It's a shame the series entire budget was probably spent on hiring a fight choreographer just for that scene. All three theme tunes the series had was awesome...the best being the one used when Spider-Man goes to Hong Kong [link]. The tune here was great too.... [link] By the way, I recall JJ being pretty hard on Parker in this series and what about a double shot whenever Spidey looked retarded with his head angled in a certain way, saying nothing.
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2:40PM on 04/30/2014

Did... did his hand just cum??

I remember watching this a long time ago when I was a kid. But wow, seeing it as an adult I can clearly see how this was probably a porn film idea at one point. His hand just blew a giant load all over ninjas. I can officially cross that off my list of things I wish I could type and have it be relevant.
I remember watching this a long time ago when I was a kid. But wow, seeing it as an adult I can clearly see how this was probably a porn film idea at one point. His hand just blew a giant load all over ninjas. I can officially cross that off my list of things I wish I could type and have it be relevant.
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1:51PM on 04/30/2014
I used to watch this non-stop as a kid.
I used to watch this non-stop as a kid.
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1:36PM on 04/30/2014

Loved it

I was 5 or 6 when this was on TV and i absolutley loved it. This was before the days of CGI and it was fantastic to see a live action Spidey.
I was 5 or 6 when this was on TV and i absolutley loved it. This was before the days of CGI and it was fantastic to see a live action Spidey.
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1:19PM on 04/30/2014

HO... MY... GOD

Those SFX are barely worst than the finale Mecha Rhino showdown in ASM2
Hehehe
Those SFX are barely worst than the finale Mecha Rhino showdown in ASM2
Hehehe
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2:42PM on 04/30/2014
Haha yeah, I agree. At least we only had to deal with Rhino for a couple of minutes and Spidey took him out with ease. Then again crappy CG Dane DeHaan on the glider was just as bad... Well, tbh, the new movies effects just kind of sucked all around. Waay too much CGI that was rushed.

Spideys webs stick to nothing a lot (bell tower scene) and it just wasn't a good movie.
Haha yeah, I agree. At least we only had to deal with Rhino for a couple of minutes and Spidey took him out with ease. Then again crappy CG Dane DeHaan on the glider was just as bad... Well, tbh, the new movies effects just kind of sucked all around. Waay too much CGI that was rushed.

Spideys webs stick to nothing a lot (bell tower scene) and it just wasn't a good movie.
+0
12:21PM on 04/30/2014

I actually

enjoyed this as a child. Not in a cheesy way, but i thought it was great. Its a lot of fun even today! I mean Spiderman is cloned in one episode! And JJ was GREAT! I actually bought all the Rhino vhs editions that came out and still have them. I ended up getting them on burned dvds from ebay anyway tho.

The Japanese Spiderman is great too!
enjoyed this as a child. Not in a cheesy way, but i thought it was great. Its a lot of fun even today! I mean Spiderman is cloned in one episode! And JJ was GREAT! I actually bought all the Rhino vhs editions that came out and still have them. I ended up getting them on burned dvds from ebay anyway tho.

The Japanese Spiderman is great too!
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12:11PM on 04/30/2014

Rented this from the library years ago...

Loved it. It was Spider-Man. It was live action. It was amazing. It was also probably the most terrible thing I've ever seen in my life. So I can't for the life of me understand why the hell there is so much hate for Amazing Spider-Man 2. Haters gonna hate, I guess.
Loved it. It was Spider-Man. It was live action. It was amazing. It was also probably the most terrible thing I've ever seen in my life. So I can't for the life of me understand why the hell there is so much hate for Amazing Spider-Man 2. Haters gonna hate, I guess.
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11:30AM on 04/30/2014
Would love to watch and own this. Looks awfully terrific.
Would love to watch and own this. Looks awfully terrific.
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11:25AM on 04/30/2014
Would love to watch and own this. Looks awfully terrific.
Would love to watch and own this. Looks awfully terrific.
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11:24AM on 04/30/2014

Good lord

I used to watch this when I was a kid. I never realized how awful the effects we when I was 5. Von Trapp parker used to freak me out with his serial killer eyes. Perfect find for this column.
I used to watch this when I was a kid. I never realized how awful the effects we when I was 5. Von Trapp parker used to freak me out with his serial killer eyes. Perfect find for this column.
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10:37AM on 04/30/2014
This Spider-Man is one of the Von Trapp kids from The Sound of Music.
This Spider-Man is one of the Von Trapp kids from The Sound of Music.
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10:29AM on 04/30/2014
As goofy as this movie sounds, I'd totally watch this!!
As goofy as this movie sounds, I'd totally watch this!!
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10:18AM on 04/30/2014
I haven't watched this in a LONG time and it really is silly. Like, 70s silly. And yes, that Spider-Man from Japan is even sillier. Who knows Spider-Man has his own robot arsenal?
I haven't watched this in a LONG time and it really is silly. Like, 70s silly. And yes, that Spider-Man from Japan is even sillier. Who knows Spider-Man has his own robot arsenal?
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10:17AM on 04/30/2014

Is it findable on dvd ?????????????

I love to Watch awfullygood movies, really, and, many times, I like them... but there many movies on my " to Watch list " that are almost impossible to find on dvd, less on Blu-ray...
[link]
[link]
[link]
I love to Watch awfullygood movies, really, and, many times, I like them... but there many movies on my " to Watch list " that are almost impossible to find on dvd, less on Blu-ray...
[link]
[link]
[link]
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12:09PM on 04/30/2014
You can get them on ebay from people who burn vhs onto dvds, but there has never been an official release. If you are interested, I have a column at Photon City News where I'm currently reviewing the whole series
You can get them on ebay from people who burn vhs onto dvds, but there has never been an official release. If you are interested, I have a column at Photon City News where I'm currently reviewing the whole series
12:19PM on 04/30/2014
i burned my own dvds from the vhs ones I bought from Rhino - one episode was never released, but you can get them all from ebay on dvd.
i burned my own dvds from the vhs ones I bought from Rhino - one episode was never released, but you can get them all from ebay on dvd.
12:48PM on 04/30/2014
oh thanks guys, I rarely try ebay because of some bad quality movies I have gotten there, but I will give another shot for Spider-Man !
oh thanks guys, I rarely try ebay because of some bad quality movies I have gotten there, but I will give another shot for Spider-Man !
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