The Amazing Spider-Fan

26Jan07

I love the incidental music from the 1960’s Spider-Man cartoon. I’ve mentioned this before. Stop and listen to it the next time you run across an episode on TV. You do too. Everybody does. Everybody.

Early one Saturday morning a few years ago, I was watching an episode and realized — not for the first time — Holy shit! I love this music! So I scoured the internet to see if any of it was available anywhere, and as it turned out, a Winnipeg-based band named Volume who’d released an album covering this very music happened to be playing in Toronto that very evening as part of the NXNE festival. So I hit the show that evening, making it just in time to catch “Tribute to Spider-Man”, the last and only Spider-Man-related song of their set. In a further coincidence, I ended up talking to a guy in the band named Chris Emery, who happens to be the Chris in Chris and Larry’s Clodhoppers, which are a crunchy, fudge-covered graham cluster snack that had recently been featured in Profit, the magazine for which I had been interning. If memory serves, I may have even previously written a profile on them and interviewed him by phone, but don’t quote me on that. The point is that there basically seems to be about twelve people in Canada, and two of us like the music from the Spider-Man cartoon. Well, five, if you count the other three guys in Volume. And I guess it’s nine if you count the four guys in Mole City, the other Canadian band noted for covering the Spider-Man music. And come to think of it, the cartoon was actually made in Canada, so we can probably assume that whoever made it liked the music too, at least enough to put in the cartoon. So, all of us like the music from Spider-Man, basically.

It is, as per the title of a recent post at WFMU’s Beware of the Blog, “The Music Everybody Loves! Everybody Wants! Nobody Has!” We do love it. And I do want it. And, as it happens, I have a bunch of low-quality snippets ripped right from the episodes, which I got here. But I want more of it, and I want to find out more about who made it. I’m not alone. In fact, there’s a fair amount of Spidey music scholarship on the internet. Check that WFMU post for a great overview of this, but also check the blog Cool Kooky Hip and Groovy for a couple of terrific links to downloadable music files. The first is a compilation of the covers by Volume and Mole City. The second is to a collection of tracks used in the show taken from the KPM library of stock music. It’s great stuff. It sure beats hell out of that overwrought “Hero” song Chad Kroeger and Josey Scott did for the film soundtrack. (By the way, memo to Josey Scott: First, Saliva is a disgusting name for your band. Second, we won’t count The Outlaw Josey Wales, because Clint Eastwood can do whatever he wants, but Josey is a terrible name for a man. It’s only a good name if you’re a redheaded girl wearing fake cat ears and fronting an all-female band.)

Anyway, here’s the unwelcome discovery I made along with the pleasant surprise mentioned above. As I said, the Spider-Man cartoon was made by a Canadian studio, specifically, Grantray-Lawrence, which was located right here in Toronto. Grantray-Lawrence also made Rocket Robin Hood, and in fact, a couple of episodes of that show were recycled wholesale into Spider-Man episodes, including the creepy, psychedelic “Dementia Five”, which became the equally chilling and phantasmagorical “Revolt in the Fifth Dimension”. (I know that thanks to Mister Mxyzptlk and Marilyn McCoo, the Fifth Dimension may seem like a kind of fun dimension, but that’s only true until you meet the ruler of the Fifth Dimension, the skeletal cyclops Infinata. What a piece of work that guy is.)

Anyway, rocket ahead to the astonishing years to come and check out this YouTube clip of Rocket Robin Hood I found. (Sorry, but the embedding is disabled. Just click the link.) Specifically, rocket ahead to the astonishing 0:27 mark or so. Note that phrase: “The interplanetary villains quiver in their spaceboots.”

Now check out this panel from the Superman parody that Jay Pinkerton and I did a while back:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Hmm. Well, that seems uncomfortably familiar. I think I wrote that particular monologue, not Jay, so I guess I’m to blame for the unintentional homage. I think we’d originally planned to have the Kryptonians prefix “space-” to all manner of things, along with making constant and unnecessary references to living under a red sun (the latter idea survives only in the line “Our red sun must make Krypton women stupid!”), and it’s sheer coincidence that “spaceboots” ended up being the only word thus prefixed.

Either that, or our yellow sun made me stupid. It’s probably that, actually.



5 Responses to “The Amazing Spider-Fan”

  1. Can’t you and Jay just do what you usually do and wait until a major news source tells the world that you created Rocket Robin Hood?

  2. venom

  3. 3 brokenhead

    This is bizarre-I heard the Volume tune of the spidey music on a college radio station, and heard the name Chris emery about a year or so ago. I really liked that song, as it just builds and builds-all they need is an “oh my head” bit at the end.
    If you have a link to this song that is active, I would be eternally grateful as this has been haunting me for ages…
    Incidentily, I believe they used some Booker T & the MG’s stuff for music in one episode where Peter goes to a swinging party…

  4. 4 Luke

    The song Green Onions by Booker T and the MG’s was a very cool soundtrack for the Spider Man cartoon. I remember hearing it way back in the early 80’s…and it stuck with me. Every time I hear it now,I think of Spider Man swinging through NYC…lol. It would have been cool if they had made the Spider Man movies setting in the 60’s. Probably way more expensive to make, but they had more style back then, and could have included Green Onions in the soundtrack.

  5. 5 Peter Lynn

    brokenhead: I’ll see what I can dig up. Worst case scenario, maybe I can upload it somewhere.

    Luke: Agreed — “Green Onions” is one cool instrumental. However, it was kind of spoiled for me by some churchy friends I had, who had lyrics to it that went “Jesus is the ro-ock / Jesus is the ro-oll” ad nauseam. But I’m not sure Spider-Man ever used “Green Onions”. As far as I know, they just used cheap stock music. Maybe you remember a similar-sounding but different tune?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: