Episodes: 14 (hour)
TV show dates: April 19, 1977 — July 6, 1979
Series status: Cancelled/ended
Performers include: Nicholas Hammond, Robert F. Simon, Ellen Bry, Chip Fields, Emil Farkas, Erik Stern, JoAnn Cameron, and Lawrence P. Casey.
TV show description:
A live-action series featuring the famous web-slinging superhero Spider-Man. In the first episode, university student Peter Parker (Nicholas Hammond) is bitten by a radioactive spider and decides to uses his incredible new powers to become Spider-Man.
Peter works as a photographer for the Daily Bugle with grouchy editor J. Jonah Jameson (Robert F. Simon), assistant Rita Conway (Chip Fields), and rival photographer Julie Masters (Ellen Bry).
Typical super-villains are absent from this incarnation as are most of the supporting characters from the Spidey comic books.
Episodes 13 & 14 — The Chinese Web, parts one and two
Min Lo Chan (guest Benson Fong) is the Minster of Industrial Development for China, who has been falsely accused of selling military secrets during World War II. He flees to the United States to locate the three former marines who can clear his name of having been a spy. He comes to his old college friend, Mr. Jameson, for help and is accompanied by his Chinese-American niece, Emily (guest Rosalind Chao). Peter has recently done a story about a marine officer and Jameson asks him to help.
A British-Hong Kong businessman named Zeider (guest Richard Erdman) is behind the false accusations. Zeider will stop at nothing to make certain that Min is found guilty and that his position is filled by his assistant who will ensure a billion dollar defense contract comes his way. Peter begins having a relationship with Emily while he tries to help.
An attempt is made on Min’s life and Spider-Man saves him but the dignitary suffers a near-fatal heart attack. Emily is upset with Peter that he wasn’t around to help. Peter suggests that they pretend that Min’s died. With Jameson’s help, Min is transported to a private hospital after his heart surgery and the news reports his death.
Peter’s investigation leads him to a professor at his University, who is a former marine and the only person that can prove Min’s innocence. When Peter and Emily bring Professor Dent (John Milford) to China to testify on Min’s behalf, the professor is kidnapped by their adversary. Spider-man pursues them but to no avail.
Peter has dropped a transmitter in the professor’s pocket so Emily and he try to pick up the signal via helicopter. The professor is transported to a remote farm so that he can be killed and his body disposed of. His captors become nervous and move him again, in a wooden box. Peter disguises himself as a Chinese field worker and traces the move. Emily and the helicopter follow.
Peter sneaks away to become Spider-Man and battles some of Zeider’s men on a rooftop. He wins but is then shot with a dartgun and falls into the water below. Unconscious, he’s pulled out by some locals and Emily and brought to a doctor’s. To help him, his mask is removed and Emily learns Peter’s secret before he wakes up. She feels badly that she called Peter a coward.
Later, Spider-Man traces the professor to Zeider’s building and quickly takes care of the henchmen. He frees the professor and calls the authorities who arrest Zeider and his men.
At the airport, Emily thanks the professor for testifying and says that her uncle is doing better. She tells Peter that she will keep his secret and has decided to stay in Hong Kong in order to learn more about the culture. The two share one last kiss before saying goodbye.
First aired: July 6, 1979.
The Spider-Man characters have appeared in comics, movies, and animated series but they aren’t directly related to this series.
Interestingly, Hammond has said that their were plans to bring back his version of Spider-Man and do a combined adventure with The Incredible Hulk TV show as a revival of both shows. Had it worked out, Hammond would have worn the black Spider-Man costume that was being used in the comics at the time.
Behind the Scenes
|•||It’s believed that the show was not cancelled due to low ratings. CBS was reportedly leery of becoming known as a “superhero network” with shows like Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk also on its primetime schedule at the same time. The second season episodes were aired sporadically in different timeslots and there were almost five months between the airing of episode 12 and the finale.|
|•||Much of the last episode was filmed on location in Hong Kong.|
|•||Nicholas Hammond is best known for playing young “Friedrich von Trapp” in The Sound of Music movie. Chip Fields is the mother of Kim Fields who is best known for playing “Tootie” on The Facts of Life.|