I’m doing something a bit new with this particular post. Over on Twitter, I’ve been in pretty active conversations with many fellow bloggers who focus on pop culture and the whole 80’s phenomenon. Well, the owner and admin over at Cool & Collected has started a neat initiative, entitled the “League of Extraordinary Bloggers” where several folks invested in pop culture would tackle a similar topic, and all of us would cross-link to each other in an attempt to create cool community atmosphere. I know not nearly all of my readers are on Twitter and can appreciate the great interactive atmosphere we form there, so I thought if I took part in some of these posts it would be a cool way to give my readers access to some other pop culture blogs apart from the same G.I. Joe wordsmithing you get here.
A word of warning…because these are pop culture topics and 80’s topics, it won’t necessarily have a G.I. Joe focus. This one doesn’t necessarily, though you will see a G.I. Joe cameo later on, I promise you.
The first topic the League is tackling involves my favorite “Saturday Matinee” or go-to comfort movie, specifically the following:
“What movie is, or was, your “go to” Saturday matinee — the comfort movie you always popped into the VCR on a rainy Saturday afternoon, the movie you watched over and over again, driving your parents crazy while you recited the lines along with the characters on the screen?”
As a boy growing up in rural New England, I had to kind of take what I could get when it came to on screen entertainment. We only had a handful of channels through basic cable and in the pre-internet days, if I didn’t find it on those five channels, it didn’t get watched. Thankfully, one of those channels was WLVI, Channel 56 out of Boston, and throughout my impressionable youth I lived and died by Channel 56.
Of course primarily it was the source of my G.I. Joe and Transformers cartoon fixation (not to mention Thundercats, MASK, and others) but there were also smatterings of live action fare that always caught my eye like Three’s Company and others. When it came to the weekends, however, I always had to try and catch the Creature Double Feature, which was a weekly movie segment on Channel 56. Granted, for the most part these Creature Features were your typical Godzilla movies, or the Creature from the Black Lagoon, but on those rare Saturdays, when I was lucky, they would show Amazing Spider-Man. Keep in mind, I was a big comic book geek back then, but living in relative isolation, I never knew about the Amazing Spider-Man live action series in the 70’s, and to me, every time Channel 56 showed one of these films, I was in absolute 10-year old nerd nirvana.
Whenever I turned on that old color TV and that rocking theme song came on, I knew it was going to be a great Saturday afternoon.
That music was simply the lifeblood of my young existence…as ridiculous as it sounds now, it gave me goose bumps back then, even on my 10th or 12th watching of any particular episode. Of course, as we now know, the 70’s Amazing Spider-Man series was corny, silly, and bordering on satire, with hokey rope-webbing, no super-powered enemies, and a strangely silent hero based on one of the most vocal comic characters of the era. There was nothing here that made this “Spider-Man” with the exception of the costume and the limited 70’s budget special effects.
I was ten. I didn’t care. It was Spider-Man, it was on my television screen, and I was hooked.
Throughout the lifetime of the Creature Double Feature, Channel 56 rotated through several different episodes of the Spider-Man series, but by far my favorite one was definitely “The Chinese Web” which was, in actuality, the series finale of the television series. I didn’t realize that at the time….all I knew was it was a great action-packed movie length adventure, and Peter Parker’s love interest actually found out he was Spider-Man! To my 10 year old brain, that was some captivating Saturday afternoon television.
Strangely enough through that entire episode, Spider-Man spent most of his time getting shot.
I love it. Dude jumps down, punches two guys, and then his brilliant escape plan is to run away until he gets shot in the back. Uhh…Spidey? You can stick to freaking WALLS. Why don’t you web them up? No, I’ll just whack two guys and run fast down an enclosed tunnel.
Some of my favorite parts of the series were the clunky martial arts maneuvers he used to perform, which I guess was the television producer’s way of showing his “agility” and “strength”.
Dude got shot again. Spidey apparently got his ass kicked a lot in the 70’s.
But as a 10 year old kid, I didn’t care. This was Spider-Man. These were episodes of my comic book hero acted out on screen in live action. How could it get any better? I think if I had been 10 years old when Sam Raimi unleased his vision of Spider-Man on me, my head would have exploded.
So yes, as many Saturdays as humanly possible, I would waste no time in flipping on the Creature Double Feature, just hoping that these awesome 70’s guitar riffs would assault my ears. And if they did, my Mom immediately knew trying to get me to do anything else that day was totally helpless. The best part was, typically the Creature Double Feature was just that… a “Double” feature. And if they showed one Spider-Man movie, there would be another one hot on its heels.
Back on those days, too, there were no good Spider-Man toys on store shelves, so my trusty ’83 swivel-armed Snake Eyes served as my Spider-Man action figure, a string tied to his wrist, and being swung around like a madman, kicking over empty tape cases and kicking some bad guy ass. And no, my Spider-Man toy NEVER got shot.
To check out what other members of the League of Extraordinary Bloggers is talking about, check out some of the links below!
- Christopher Tupa is an awesome artist and a big fan of The Goonies
- As Geek Show Ink realizes, you can never go wrong with Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
- One of my favorite horror movies as a kid, and Sideshow Cinema agrees with me on Fright Night
- Over at Calvacade of Awesome, the choice was Back to The Future
And of course if you like these, keep checking up on the League of Extraordinary Bloggers, where new topics will come up every week!