Remember that one day when you could wake up without an alarm? When you would get your favorite bowl of cereal and sit between the hours of 8 and 12? This is a blog dedicated to the greatest time of our childhood: Saturday mornings. The television programs you watched, the memories attached to them, and maybe introducing you to something you didn't realize existed. Updated every weekend.
Dr. Bruce Banner was
a scientist with a dark secret. While rescuing wayward teenager Rick Jones from
the site where Banner was testing his new gamma bomb, Banner was bombarded by
gamma rays. The result was that every time Banner would grow angry or outraged,
he’d transform into a massively strong green behemoth known as the Hulk.
The origin of the Hulk.
Seeing how popular the Thing was in the then-recently
launched Fantastic Fourseries,
Marvel Comics writer-editor Stan Lee took inspiration from Frankensteinand Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydeto create the Hulk with artist Jack Kirby. The Hulk debuted in
The Incredible Hulk #1, 1962.
Initially gray to avoid portraying any specific ethnic group, problems with the
printer forced his skin color to become green, which it remained for the majority
of the character’s life. The initial series was cancelled with #6, but the Hulk
would go on to guest-star in several other Marvel titles as well as co-found
the Avengers before gaining a permanent feature in Tales to Astonishwith issue #60, where most of his principle
villains would be introduced. The character’s popularity with college-aged
readers led to the book to become retitled The Incredible Hulkwith #102, and the Hulk had a series in one form or another
With Universal Studios’ very successful and popular
live-action The Incredible Hulk starring
Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno winding down, the time had come to return Hulk to
his animated roots for the first time since 1966’s The Marvel Super Heroes. Produced by Marvel Productions, the series
closely followed the comics with Banner (Michael Bell) trying to stay ahead of
the military while finding a cure to free himself of the Hulk (Bob Holt).
However, only Rick Jones (Michael Horton) knew that Banner was actually the
Hulk, in a change from the comics where it is widely known.
The character designs were inspired by the artwork of
Sal Buscema, who had worked on the comic during the 70s and 80s. The fluid
animation was a step-up from the limited movement of the earlier Hulk cartoon,
despite utilizing stock footage whenever Banner Hulked-out. Hulk’s sidekick Rick
Jones was modified slightly by being given blonde hair and always shown wearing
a cowboy hat. Banner’s girlfriend Betty Ross (B.J. Ward) was made a research
scientist who worked alongside Banner. Hulk’s principal antagonist was renamed
Ned Talbot (Pat Fraley) rather than Glenn like in the comics, and was changed
into a cowardly klutz. In order to avoid censorship issues with a younger
audience, many of the weapons featured on the show were donein futuristic sci-fi styles.
Rick Jones and the Hulk.
Other characters to appear on the show from the Hulk
books were his super-smart arch-enemy The Leader (Stan Jones) and General Thunderbolt Ross (Robert Ridgely), who headed up the task force dedicated to
stopping the Hulk. Hulk’s cousin Jennifer Walters made her first animated
appearance as the Savage She-Hulk (Victoria Carroll), the result of needing a
blood transfusion from her cousin when she was injured. The mechanical-limbed Dr.
Octopus (Bell) made an appearance from Spider-Man’s rogue gallery along with
the Fantastic Four’s foe Puppet Master (Holt), who could control anyone by
molding their shape with radioactive clay. New characters introduced in the
series were Rio (Roberto Cruz) and his daughter Rita (Susan Blu), who served as
comic relief and Rick’s girlfriend, respectively. Hulk’s co-creator Stan Lee
served as the series’ narrator.
The show lasted only a single season of 13 episodes.
It was broadcast alongside Spider-Man and
his Amazing Friends in an hour-long block under the blanket title The Incredible Hulk and the Amazing
Spider-Man, and later The Amazing
Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk as reruns. The episode “When Monsters
Meet” was adapted into comic form by Marvel as The Incredible Hulk vs. Quasimodoin 1983, by regular Hulk
contributors Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema. Editor Al Milgrom, dressed as the
Hulk, appeared in a one-page back-up feature explaining the origin of the
This would be the Hulk’s last starring role on
Saturday mornings. He would go on to make appearances on the Sunday MarvelAction Hour block before gaining his own show, also called The Incredible Hulk, from 1996-97 starring Neal McDonough and
Ferrigno. Hulk did make appearances on the Saturday morning programs X-Men: The Animated Series and Wolverine and the X-Men, amongst
countless others across the Marvel animated universe.
“Tomb of the Unknown Hulk” (9/18/82) – Solar radiation is causing Bruce
to randomly change just as Dr. Octopus sets his sights on General Ross’ army
base for their Kerium 99.
“Prisoner of the Monster” (9/25/82) – Rio tells Bruce about an ancient
tribe that may have a cure for him, while Spymaster plans to steal the
experimental Sonar Chrystalizer weapon.
“Origin of the Hulk” (10/2/82) – Bruce saves Rick from his gamma bomb,
resulting in his being bombarded and changed into the Hulk.
“When Monsters Meet” (10/9/82) – In Paris, the descendant of Quasimodo
kidnaps Betty in order to get the key she carries to a secret gold vault.
“The Cyclops Project” (10/16/82) – Dr. Donovan invents Cyclops, a
super computer, that develops artificial sentience and believes it should
control the world.
“Bruce Banner Unmasked” (10/23/82) – General Ross has Bruce and Betty
use a computer to determine Hulk’s identity while Puppet Master uses his
puppets to take over Mesa City.
“The Creature and the Cavegirl” (10/30/82) – Bruce hopes to use the
new Time Projector to go back and stop the Hulk’s creation, but Hulk ends up
sending them back a million years instead.
“It Lives! It Grows! It Destroys!” (11/6/82) – Dr. Proto drains power
from Bruce’s experiments to create a new life form that proves to be
“The Incredible Shrinking Hulk” (11/13/82) – Bruce accidentally
shrinks himself while experimenting with gamma rays, and saboteurs target the
new tank Major Talbot is testing.
“Punks on Wheels” (9/17/83) – Rite is kidnapped by a biker gang who
have been given cybernetic upgrades by the Leader.
“Enter: She-Hulk” (9/24/83) – Bruce and Rick discover Bruce’s cousin became
She-Hulk after a past blood transfusion from him and helps them stop Hydra from
taking over Los Angeles.
“The Boy Who Saw Tomorrow” (10/1/83) – Betty’s nephew can see the
future and sees the Hulk bringing down the NASA shuttle Betty pilots.
“The Hulk Destroys Bruce Banner” (10/8/83) – Betty witnesses an
obscured transformation, and, believing the Hulk killed Bruce, vows to capture