With the opening of "The Avengers" being today it seems like a good time to reflect on the one member of the Avengers team that I spent the most time with as a kid--The Incredible Hulk. As was the case with the other members, I didn't really read Hulk comics as a kid, but I did watch the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno series "The Incredible Hulk" on CBS pretty regularly (in fact, probably just short of "religiously") on Friday nights back then.
|2003 Hulk CGI|
|2008 Hulk CGI|
|1970s Non-CGI Hulk played by Lou Ferrigno|
Coincidently, I just recently (within the last week or so) started watching the old "The Incredible Hulk" show again through Netflix streaming. I've only seen the pilot movie and part of the first episode so far, but am already enjoying this trip back in time. I saw a few episodes over the past couple of years on the RTV (Retro Television) network when they had them on weeknights, but they stopped showing them in my area a while ago. It was nice to be able to start at the very beginning with Netflix. I've always been familiar with the story of how Dr. David Banner was exposed to an accidental overdose of gamma radiation and turned into The Hulk when angered or outraged--by seeing the opening credit sequence for the show week after week.
I was originally going to look for the ads and listings of the pilot movie and early episodes of "The Incredible Hulk" in my TV Guide collection and post this entry in my TV Guide Time Machine blog instead of here, but it turns out that I don't have the issues from November 1977, when the show premiered, in my collection. The pilot aired on Friday, November 4, 1977 and the first regular episode was on a few weeks later on Sunday, November 27th.
I don't know exactly when I started watching "The Incredible Hulk" (I was only 8 when it first aired), but I know that once I did it was a staple of my Friday nights for what seemed like a long time. I had a nephew who slept over most Friday nights for a while and we'd always watch "Doctor Who" (the Tom Baker era) at 7:00 PM on PBS and then "The Incredible Hulk" at 8:00 and "The Dukes of Hazzard" at 9:00. Around the time of the whole "Who shot J.R.?" phenomenon we also started watching "Dallas" at 10:00 too. The TV schedules changed from year to year of course, but that's the lineup which I remember best.
I've introduced my older daughter (The Little Monster) to a lot of the stuff I lived watching and reading about as a kid. We even watched a few episodes of "The Incredible Hulk" on RTV when the show was broadcast there. But I started my recent re-watching of the show by myself. At least I intended to watch it by myself anyway. Interestingly enough, my younger daughter (The Insane Beast) started watching it with me. She's about to turn three and I was a little surprised to find her so interested in the show. She seems to understand that David Banner and The Hulk are the same person. She refers to the show as either "David" or "Scary" (meaning David Banner and The Hulk), or "David and Scary". She will say "I wanna watch Scary" or "I wanna watch David" when she wants to see the show. It's amazing that something so old and not-really-for-kids-that-young like "The Incredible Hulk" would hold her interest so well. I also started showing Tom Baker "Doctor Who" episodes to The Little Monster a few months ago and was surprised that they both really enjoy watching that show too. I guess good entertainment is good entertainment--regardless of how old it is and whether it was shown on TV 30-35 years ago or whether it was just on Nickelodeon or The Disney Channel today! Since we don't have cable, my Little Monsters seem very susceptible to the charms of old cartoons and TV shows I enjoyed when I was a tyke. Now I feel a little guilty about not having The Little Monster watch "The Incredible Hulk" with The Insane Beast and myself. But in a way it does seem appropriate for the little one to be watching the show--as she tends to be a pretty destructive creature who can get pretty danged Hulk-like at times.
*Oh, and by the way...