1978’s The Incredible Hulk TV Series Tried To Ditch Stan Lee’s Comic Book Style

In the Guardian story, Johnson recalled the first line of the pilot, which was, “Within each of us, ofttimes there dwells a mighty and raging fury.” Not exactly the “Holy tintinnabulation” sort of line that “Batman” was known for. Johnson explains: 

“I wanted to set a tone. Banner’s quest was to find self-control and not be terrorised by demons. With him it was anger — but it might be obsession, greed, sexuality, drugs. I also gave Banner piercing white eyes like The Hulk’s when he’d been triggered, so the audience knew we were at the point of no return. When we were filming the pilot, Bill Bixby, who played Banner, came back from makeup wearing the contact lenses. I said out loud: ‘Holy s***! This show is a hit.'”

Even Stan Lee loved the series. He told IGN back in 2012, “‘The Hulk’ was done intelligently. It was done by Ken Johnson, who’s a brilliant writer/producer/director, and he made it an intelligent, adult show that kids could enjoy. He took a comic book character and made him somewhat plausible.”

On a personal note, I used to co-host a web series with Lee called “Cocktails with Stan.” Between shoots, he once told me how much he loved not only Lou Ferrigno (who was a guest on an episode) but what a lovely thing it was to see the Hulk on television in live-action that he enjoyed. There is no better endorsement than that. 

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