The Amazing Spider-Man (1977)

Season 1 Episode 1

The Deadly Dust (1)

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Apr 05, 1978 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

Write A Review
out of 10
15 votes
  • Oh, What A Tangled Web We Weave

    In 1977 CBS aired a Spider-Man television movie, which had fairly decent acting and production values (for its time). Outside of the United States it sometimes was given a theatrical release.

    In the pilot (which should be listed on this web page), University student Peter Parker gains his super powers after being bitten by a radioactive spider. With his new found powers he stops a New Age Guru who uses mind control to force honest citizens to commit crimes.

    The pilot was successful enough to launch this series.

    So, 'Deadly Dust' (sometimes given an international theatrical release as 'Spider-man Strikes Back') is the followup to the original pilot.

    For the television series. a new actor is playing Mr. Jamerson, Joe Robinson is not in the series at all and Rita, Mr. Jamerson's secretary, is. Peter Parker is still a University student with a part-time job working for the Daily Bugle.

    'Deadly Dust' is probably one of the most ambitious of these live action Spider-Man television episodes. The topical plot has some of Peter Parker's classmates very upset that a professor has gotten permission to test some plutonium on campus. They are so upset that they steal the plutonium, frame Spider-Man, and build a mock-up the bomb in order to protest nuclear power. The bomb is real enough that it makes one of the students deathly ill.

    When Mr. White, an international arms dealer, gets wind of this, he has his men steal the bomb for his own evil purposes, which apparently includes detonating the bomb in the same city where President Carter is giving a speech.

    Thus Peter Parker (Spider-Man), Mr. Jamerson and a lovely female journalist from a rival paper all travel to LA to locate the bomb.

    Spider-Man battles the arms dealer's minions, a wrestler and a karate expert, in a couple....interesting fight sequences. Spider-Man even jumps out of a helicopter in some stunt that looks silly today, but was probably pretty impressive for its day.

    Naturally, Spider-Man does disarm the bomb and defeat the minions, although Mr. White escapes.

    The stunts and special effects used in 'Deadly Dust' are actually pretty impressive given the fact this is late 1970s network television. Yes, they do look a bit silly today, but I enjoyed watching this two part episode more then the 1977 pilot.

    Likewise the writing is sometimes a bit campy, this was the late 1970s, but it does seem somewhat credible (for a comic book based story) that students who are militantly opposed to nuclear power would break the law to make a protest statement and that (given the lax security on campus) terrorists might steal the material to make a bomb.

    Mr. White and his minions are probably the closest thing that the television series ever got to credible villains. It is set-up for Spider-Man to battle Mr. White again, but the series was cancelled before that could happen.

    I wish that this series was given a proper DVD release. It actually generated solid ratings when it originally aired, but the CBS network was getting tired of being associated with comic books.

    If you can find a decent copy of this two-part episode (and can forgive the late 1970s technical limitations and sensibility) then its actually an enjoyable comic book adventure ride.