Greg Cox wrote:
The problem I had with them was that, even as a kid, it seemed to me that the filmmakers were embarrassed by the character's comic-book roots and seemed to determined to minimize the comic-booky elements as much as possible. Hence, no costume, no Red Skull, no Hordes of Hydra, etc. As I recall, they generally avoided calling "Steve" Captain America wherever possible, and only did so sheepishly at best. "Maybe you can be some sort of, er, 'Captain America' or something." That kind of thing.
And how many times did they call Selina Kyle "Catwoman" in that obscure little movie you just novelized...?
Really, it was par for the course back then. The Incredible Hulk
had no Betty, no Rick, no Thunderbolt, no "Hulk smash," no supervillains -- it didn't even keep Bruce Banner's first name. Kenneth Johnson didn't even want the Hulk to be green, but Marvel put their collective foot down (because there was no way Marvel was going to stand for a red Hulk!). And it's still going on today -- the upcoming (Green) Arrow
series is avoiding as much of the comic-booky stuff as possible.
By contrast, the DR. STRANGE pilot, despite its limitations, embraced the wilder aspects of the original comics: you had astral travel, visits to strange Ditko-esque dimensions (as much as a limited tv-movie budget would allow), demons being summoned, ageless sorcerers throwing spells at each other, even a fairly accurate recreation of Strange's Sanctum. As opposed to all the other CBS productions of the time, which sometime seemed determined to cram larger-than-life comic book characters into "Barnaby Jones"-sized plots, DR. STRANGE at least tried to capture the feel of the comic book . . . .
It's interesting how the DC-based live-action shows of the era, Batman
and Wonder Woman
, were pretty faithful to the comics of the time or earlier decades, embracing the comic-booky aspects (Shazam!
somewhat less so), while the Marvel-based shows (except for the Dr. Strange
pilot) tended to be radical departures that kept only the most basic elements. In addition to those mentioned above, the Nicholas Hammond Spider-Man
was a huge departure, with no Uncle Ben backstory and none of the comic villains, and no familiar supporting characters except Jameson (and Aunt May in the pilot only) -- and a Jameson that was changed into a far more avuncular Lou Grant type. Plus they changed the spider-sense from a heightened awareness of imminent danger to Peter himself into a psychic ability to detect any plot-relevant criminal activity within a several-block radius. They did a pretty good job making the costume authentic, though, aside from there being only one webshooter (and it and the utility belt were worn outside the costume, but that actually makes more functional sense).