Sunday, December 7, 2014


It's aways fun to see "History" captured in old TV shows and movies, but this usually happens with locations - like the slums of "West Side Story", the scaffolding around the Statue of Liberty in the "Remo Williams" movie, and Vienna after war as seen in "The Third Man".
But this time, we get a bit of pop culture history...... 
That comic book in the background is "Amazing Fantasy #15", which came out n August 1962. This episode aired a few months later, so we can place the date of Duncan Kleist's death to happening within the sell-by dates for that comic book.
So why is that comic book historical?
From Wikipedia:
Amazing Adult Fantasy and its retitled final issue, Amazing Fantasy, is an American comic book anthology series published by Marvel Comics from 1961 through 1962, with the latter title revived with superhero features in 1995 and in the 2000s. The final 1960s issue, Amazing Fantasy #15 (cover-dated August 1962), is the title that introduced the popular superhero character Spider-Man. Amazing Adult Fantasy premiered with issue #7, taking over the numbering from Amazing Adventures.
I wonder if some grip on that production dropped the dime (or whatever the issue cost) to buy that comic so that he could have something to read on the subway ride home. And how many viewers to this day see that just hanging there in the background and wish they could reach through the TV screen to pluck it from its video memorial?
And even more enticing - Journey Into Mystery #83 was also on sale at that news stand. This is the comic book which introduced Thor, the Norse god of thunder!
But that's outside the box. Within the reality of Toobworld, that comic book is a headache causing Zonk.
Usually when a comic book about a superhero who is known to exist on Earth Prime-Time comes up in some other TV show, we can fudge the facts as to when it was first published. And the usual claim is that the comic book began after the superhero made his debut. (Preferably after the career of that superhero has finished - as is the case with Batman, Superman, and the Flash. When it comes to Mary Richards' mention of reading Wonder Woman comics as a young girl, this happened during the decades-long hiatus Wonder Woman took before she burst onto the scene again in the 1970s.)

In 1977, 'The Amazing Spiderman' made his debut in Toobworld, but Peter Parker had been operating as the web-slinger for a few years before that. Certainly not going back to 1962, however. Basing the age of Peter Parker on the actor who played him (Nicholas Hammond), Parker/Spiderman was 27 years old when we first saw him catching thieves just like flies. And that means he was only 12 years old when that comic book was published.
Peter was most likely no more than fifteen/sixteen when he first gained his powers as far as his life story in the comic books was concerned. But for Toobworld, we're going to have to say that he was still in grade school when he was bitten by that radioactive spider in order to make this comic book jibe with the rest of Spiderman's timeline.
Still, there is the content as previewed on that cover. Anybody with high-def TV could probably make out the details of that Jack Kirby illustration and the fact that Peter Parker is mentioned by name. And if not, it's easy enough to find it on the internet:
So I think we have to embellish the televised life of Crossover Hall of Fame member Stan Lee...... 
Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider when he was around 11, 12 years of age. Lee was a friend of the Parker family and while the little boy was fighting for his life, he collaborated with Steve Ditko on a short comic book story which imagined young Peter having pulled out of the crisis with new spider-based super-powers.
Perhaps in a way that inspired the boy to get better. And Stan Lee would have had no idea that "real" life would turn out to follow his script to the letter. (I think it would not be until Peter reached puberty that the change in his hormones would interact with the spider venom and give him his powers.)
Once he was about twenty, maybe twenty-one, Peter Parker decided to actually become the Spiderman of the comics. (By that point in time, the character had taken off in popularity.) He kept his identity a secret and even though the comic book existed and was based on a "true" story, no one thought to link one to the other - not even Stan Lee himself. Even close friends would never have believed their friend could be that costumed crime-fighter.
Perhaps in later years (at least after 1979 when 'The Amazing Spiderman' went off the air), Peter Parker did reveal his true identity to the world. I have a feeling his venom-based powers might have faded with time - otherwise, why hasn't he been seen in other TV shows and taking care of crises that arose in other NY-located TV shows? (Not that he could have prevented all of them - Alan Richards was still attacked by a lion in his Manhattan townhouse which was manifested due to an African curse.)
Peter Parker is in his sixties now, and maybe he might still be seen in the main Toobworld, albeit with an alias to protect himself.
So let me know if you think this splainin works to reconcile these two shows.
By the way, something else might be connecting 'The Amazing Spiderman' and 'Naked City': Peter Parker could be related to Lieutenant Mike Parker, who was in charge of the 65th Precinct seen in 'Naked City'......
  • 'Naked City'
  • 'The Amazing Spiderman'
  • 'The Twilight Zone'
 This post is going out to my nephew Thomas, who turns ten today.  Spiderman was his first favorite superhero, but I'm sure he's moved on to Guardians of the Galaxy or whoever is popular these days..... 


ArcLight said...

A first season episode of CSI had Grissom mentioning something about the radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker in the fifties. Perhaps the 70s Spider-Man is one of those weird televisual coincidences where sons fall victim to the same quirks of fate their fathers did? (see also Steve and Michael Austin)

Toby O'B said...

Thanks! I'll look into that....

ArcLight said...

Found my original note....

NICK: What's uranium doing on a murder weapon anyway?

GRISSOM: Well, before Peter Parker was bit by that
radioactive spider and
became Spider-Man back in the '50s, oxidized uranium
flecks were used as color

Season 01, ep 17 "Face Lift"