Marvel Hits Prime Time
A former Hollywood executive named Dan Goodman bought the television rights for Spider-Man in 1976. As the low-budget pilot was prepared for CBS with independent producer Chuck Fries, Stan Lee found that his input was not encouraged. “I was supposedly the consultant,” he said, “but they really didn’t listen to me very much.”
Shortly afterward, Frank Price, the new head of Universal television, asked his son about the green monster on his sweatshirt, and decided that The Incredible Hulk would make good television. For $12,500, he secured the live-action television rights to twelve Marvel characters of his choice; as both Dan Goodman and Chuck Fries had done, Price pitched CBS, preparing life-sized cardboard cutouts of the characters—including Doctor Strange, Captain America, the Human Torch, Ms. Marvel, and the Sub-Mariner—and arranging them around the network’s conference room. CBS agreed to finance two-hour pilots of eight of them, and in a matter of months The Incredible Hulk went into production. For the first time in a decade, Marvel would be transmitted into American living rooms.