Asking The Tough Questions About The Incredible Hulk
Who or What was
The Hulk? He is a fictional superhero seen in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Stan Lee, writer, created The Hulk partnering with artist Jack Kirby. Hulk made his first debuted in the issue of The Incredible Hulk (May 1962). Hulk's comic book life has the character as both the Hulk, a green-skinned, hulking and muscular humanoid with a vast degree of physical strength, and his alter ego Bruce Banner, a physically weak, socially withdrawn, and emotionally reserved physicist, the two exist as personalities independent and resenting of the other.
I am telling you that the Hulk is not to be messed with. When CBS' Television ran "The Incredible Hulk," Bill Bixby was the odds-on favorite to play "David Banner," physician, scientist as the voice-over said every Friday night when this hit show was airing. The reason? Some sources say that CBS advised Bixby to be "David Banner," for fear that some might show their resentent toward MARVEL COMICS and their character as "Bruce Banner."
But Bixby was a very well-known actor with series ranging from: "My Favorite Martian," with also starred Ray Walston and also on CBS; NBC's "The Magician," who Bixby used his flair for magic to help solve crimes and arguably his best effort: "The Courtship of Eddie's Father," with then-cute and lovable, Brandon Cruz. Depending on who you believe, some of Hollywood's top sources argue that Bill Bixby was the industry's most intense perfectionist more than Michael "Little Joe Cartwright" Landon.
That was Then-This is
not what this piece is really about. This segment deals with how "I" feel in an honest light about watching "The Incredible Hulk," both on television and in the comic book that helped me to cope with being a pre-teenage guy having to stay with his grandparents when his parents worked. And if I were hard-pressed to tell you the truth, at that time I always dreamed of being as tough and strong as The Hulk. My life (then) was tough, I tell you.
Now that I take time to look back at the long, satisfying film career of Bill Bixby, I give him a lot of credit not only for being so naturally talent in acting, but the producers of The Incredible Hulk gave him a bevy of hot women to make the show more interesting. Victoria Carroll starred on the 1978 Hulk episode where he (Bixby, "David Banner" get married to Mariette Hartley as "Dr. Carolyn Fields." What a great time for an American actor to go to work everyday.
Be Honest. Of The Following, Which one was Your Favorite?
Hulk Note of Interest
Lou Ferrigno, bodybuilder, actor, was a terrific Hulk. No question about that. But did you also know that when "The King of Queens" was popular, Lou Ferrigno was one of "Doug and Carrie Heffernan's" neighbor and had many scenes on this show as Lou, not The Hulk.
I think that the producer of "King of Queens" did a phenomenal job of creating a role for this show that fit Ferrigno perfectly.
I also wish that now n 2017, Ferrigo might have a sitcom of his own no matter the network. Oh, and one question with Kevin James who was "Doug Heffernan,"--in James' and Adam Sandler's film about "Grown Up's," why didn't Kevin James lobby for Lou Ferrigno to make a cameo appearance?
I mean, former ESPN celeb, Dan Patrick (now has his own sports talk show), was on most of Sandler's "Grown Up's" films. Do I smell someone being slighted?
But Now With My Tough Questions
about The Incredible Hulk both in MARVEL comics and on CBS Television's show by the same name. And if you are were a serious television viewer as I was (and am today) then you will appreciate my straight-forward manner in which I pose my more-thought-provoking questions about The Incredible Hulk.
- "David Banner," (Bill Bixby) was not only a physician, but scientist. Did you ever notice that each time trouble reared its ugly face and some pretty girl was in jeopardy and felt a bit shaken after a bad guy or two let off a few close calls with their bullets, "David Banner's" trademark suggestion was: "You better go and lay down." Uh, say, Bill, "David?" Did you discover some secret potion or chemical mixture to make every troublesome situation all go away? Seemingly you did for you said this very same thing on almost every Hulk show on CBS TV. And over the course of my 63 years, no one, not even my wife has ever said to me, "Ken, hadn't you better lay down?" I feel cheated.
- Each time where "Dr. David Banner," would get into a certain town, fix the problem, soothe whatever pretty girl was in trouble and we would see him walking at the end of each show, well, I always wondered what "Banner" used for money? I mean you got to eat, "David." And we all just watched you as "David Banner" turn into Lou "Hulk" Ferrigno and squash out the troublemakers and then turn back to "David Banner," but no one ever handed you a hefty stash of cash in some envelope or credit card. "David," did you just live on air or maybe the bugs or roots you found by the roadside?
- Jack Colvin starred as "Jack McGee," a newspaper reporter who would have loved nothing better than to catch "David Banner," turn into The Hulk when he was provoked, was either stupid or did not know how to connect the dots to find out why "Banner" was always seen and heard as a timid, weak-mouthed wandering citizen. "McGee," would not have worked with me in my newspaper career for if a real-life reporter tries and tries and never succeeds, well, the paycheck stops.
- Lou Ferrigno was a fantastic "body of work," (pun intended), and was perfect for the role of The Incredible Hulk. But did you also notice that in no time did we hear Hulk speak with any intelligence, just grunts and moans. Did the producers think that Ferrigno's voice was not soft enough for the female viewers. But if I had been one of those guys, Ferrigno would have a lot of talks--with "McGee," who tells him, "Grunt, Groan! Do not bother me. I cannot help being green and I highly resent you looking at me. This is pure racial discrimination."
- Why didn't The Hulk ever have a love interest? Maybe a female Hulkress? This question always burned me for the show did not provide for Lou Ferrigno/The Hulk's love interest. This is just wrong and I said it. So did comedian, Ron White, who was not even near the fame that Lou and Bill enjoyed.
- Once in a show or two, couldn't "David" and "Dr. Carolyn Fields," be romantically involved to the point that Bixby whips out his acoustic guitar and sings her a loving love song that he learned while he was traveling in Spain. What a mix. This girl would have went wild, but CBS and the sensors had an ironclad agreement to not show such sexual-related innuendos.
- "Jack McGee," (played by Jack Colvin) would have made a good dramatic scene when a gangster shot him in the stomach sending him to surgery then to a lengthy hospital stay. But "David Banner," a compassionate soul, thought it good to visit "McGee" in the hospital to "mend fences" between the two, but no. CBS producers would not turn loose of "McGee's" sour attitude and verbally attacked "David" who, as you now know, started the transformation to The Hulk beginning with those green eyes. Of course, Hulk traumatized "McGee" so much that he had to go on medical leave at his newspaper. But Hulk had nothing to worry about for when he growled at "McGee," he bailed through his hospital room and what was strange was that "McGee" was on the 22nd floor. Now strength is strength, but Hulk was no Superman.
- "David Banner" was not given a social life to speak of. I do not see why Hulk producers/writers did not allow him to be a looser, laid-back "David Banner," even attend a few nightclubs, met a few hot girls and dance once in awhile. Was this too much of a stretch to have "Banner" have the image of a real life?
- And just once, I would have loved, pretty much adored "David Banner" not have to get angry enough to become The Hulk but go one-on-one with a thug who was about to cause a girlfriend some unwanted attention. That would have solidified "Banner's" human side.
- I wonder (now) why producers of The Incredible Hulk did not have any scenes with "David Banner" with a girl in some small town whom he helped from a perilous situation and we see the two now on a beach somewhere doing some horseback riding with fitting background music? Sure, Hulk, I bet, would have made a good equestrian now that I think of it. Naahhhh, the horse would have been terrified. I know that I would. What horse is not going to balk at the sight of a huge green monster?
- And now I have saved my last question for last.
- Take a good, close look at when "David Banner" would get upset and the turn into The Hulk. Then the green man with huge muscles destroyed cars, buildings, even trees (knowing that this was not good for the ozone) and in the next scene, we see "David Banner," suddenly back to his old, timid self as "Banner." I said all of this to ask you, "where did Hulk get those purple pants that were cut-off at the knees?" If you recall, "David Banner" was wearing a nice sport shirt and trousers when he became The Hulk. Did The Hulk go from door to door (in the nude) asking for purple jeans? I mean, who would be fool enough to say no to this behemouth? Or did "Banner" have a few spare pair of purple jeans stashed in his carry-on bag? I mean really. The Hulk had to have purple jeans from somewhere.
- This among all of my Hulk questions have never been addressed. Oh, and if you want to get nasty and criticize me for this hub remember, "don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me if I were angry."
And as my favorite comic book writer/publisher emeritus Marvel Comics, Stan Lee said, "Nuff said."
© 2017 Kenneth Avery