Monday, April 1, 2013

"Never Fear, the Blue Beetle is here!!!"

Today, in honor of the upcoming April Fool’s Day, we take a short weird trip down Memory Lane, or Sidetrack Street as some may know it. Yes, today we talk briefly about the PBS show “The Electric Company” and it’s role in Blue Beetle’s history. “The Electric Company” was a PBS kid’s show that ran from 1971-1977, and then thru the mid-80’s in reruns, similar in some ways to “Sesame Street” but aimed at slightly older kids. And what it lacked in memorable puppets, it made up for in talent. Among the regulars were Mel Brooks (“Blazing Saddles”, “Young Frankenstein“), Rita Moreno (“Westside Story”, “Oz”), Morgan Freeman (“Shawshank Redemption”, “Se7en”), Bill Cosby (“FatAlbert”, Jell-O pudding), Spider-Man and the Blue Beetle. Wait, what? Yes, you read correctly, two comic book heroes appeared on the show... sort of. Now, that’s an oddity worth taking a quick look at.

The Blue Beetle (played by series regular Jim Boyd) was…well, he was a goof! In a costume that featured a mask, antennae, a t-shirt with his name printed on it, and sock garters. You read that right, sock garters! He tended to make matters worse instead of better, even when he had the best intentions.He also crossed paths with Spider-Man from time to time. The show’s Spider-Man (played by Danny Seagren) never spoke, instead he communicated with word balloons that appeared on screen so the audience could read them...after all this was an educational PBS show. Let me clarify, though, this was a version of a Beetle, not “the” Beetle. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence aside from his name, and blue costume, that this Beetle has anything to do with our hero…thank Kaji Dha!

Just to prove this isn't an April Fool's prank, here's a clip for the curious… click me
Just think, with a little effort (and a better costume) this could have been a first! A live-action intercompany Marvel/Charlton* crossover…but it wasn’t. Still, like I said it was an oddity worth taking a quick look at.

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See you next week!
*I say Charlton because DC hadn't yet begun publishing their version of BB at this point

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