The Incredible Hulk, My Friday Night Staple

“The Incredible Hulk” was one of my favorite shows growing up. It just wasn’t Friday night without it. No matter where I was, I never missed an episode. I even remember watching one time from the Greyhound bus station, when Mom and I were on our way to visit my Grandparents. In those days, small black and white TV sets were attached to most of the chairs. One quarter would pay for 30 minutes of TV time. Of course, you didn’t have to be a kid to be a fan of the show. Even my Grandfather, who didn’t watch very much TV, liked it. Actually, I don’t remember anyone who didn’t like “The Incredible Hulk”. It was wildly popular, and spoofed once on “Saturday Night Live” in 1979, with John Belushi dressed up in green, and ripped clothes.

“The Incredible Hulk” ran on CBS from March, 1978, to May, 1982, with two movies of the week having been shown in Nov. 1977. The show was a constant in my life, week after week. David Banner’s white eyes, the eerie music, the ripping of the clothes, the Hulks’ roars, and massive destruction he did to buildings and the like, the sad piano music as David Banner leaves again, searching for a new town and a cure… It was part of that golden CBS Friday night lineup, which also included “The Dukes of Hazzard” and “Dallas”.
I did my research online, and the first episode I saw was “747”, which originally aired on April 7, 1978. This was the episode when David Banner turns into the Hulk while trying to land a plane. From that night, I was hooked. I remember not liking my feet to touch the floor when he’s changing into the Hulk. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know. I’m just a little bit weird. 🙂 I also found out the network’s original choice for the role of David Banner was Larry Hagman. Major Nelson/J.R. Ewing turning into the Hulk??? I still haven’t been able to wrap my head around the possibility of that! Hagman had already signed on to do “Dallas”, so he was unavailable. Well, then who would have been J.R. Ewing? Makes you wonder… Also, the narration at the beginning of each episode was done by Ted Cassidy, “Lurch” from “The Addams Family”. He also did the growls and roars of the Hulk for a while, until his passing in 1979. The Hulk himself was to have been played by Arnold Schwarzneggar, but producers said he wasn’t tall enough. Lou Ferrrigno got the part because he was 6’5″.
No matter what, no one will ever be able to duplicate, let alone replace, the late Bill Bixby. I don’t think anyone could have portrayed Dr. David Banner with the feeling and emotion he possessed. You just could not help but like him. You found yourself in his corner, on his side. You wanted him to find a cure, so he could resume living a normal life. You empathized with him. There was something about his portrayal that was so very genuine, which brought a mature and realistic nature to the show. He was like the “guy next door”. On a personal note, I was so in love with him. When I found out he was terminally ill with prostate cancer in 1993, I secretly sent him a card, telling him how much he had always meant to me. About 6 weeks later, he passed away at the age of 59. His death hit me very hard, harder than I thought it would. I grieved deeply, and privately. I felt as though I had lost a close, friend. I guess in a way, I did. To this day, his death still has a profound affect upon me.
Lou Ferrigno is alive and well, very proud to have been the original Hulk so many of us watched growing up. As for Jack Colvin, who played the nosy reporter Jack McGee, who followed Banner and the Hulk from town to town in the hopes of getting his really big story, he passed away in December, 2005, due to complications following a stroke. He was 71.
I plan to get the entire series on DVD. The time has come. That way, I can keep my feet up all I want!

~ by kmnnz on September 7, 2011.

2 Responses to “The Incredible Hulk, My Friday Night Staple”

  1. yee hawwww –

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