10 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘The Incredible Hulk’
One of the great TV shows of the 70s and 80s was “The Incredible Hulk.” For some reason, it took decades before the green monster made it to the big screen.
Bill Bixby starred as Dr. David Banner and actor Lou Ferrigno, who never spoke on the show, appeared as the Hulk in the television series based on the comic book character.
Here are 10 things you didn’t know about “The Incredible Hulk”, which ran on CBS from 1978-1982.
The Hulk’s Birthday
1) Lou Ferrigno was born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 9, 1951 and as a child suffered from an ear infection that resulted in permanent partial hearing loss. He stated that his father was very critical of and negative towards him when he was growing up due to his hearing disability. Though Lou respected his father, he was very hurt when his father expressed his belief that Lou would never achieve success.
Ferrigno or Schwarzenegger
2) Richard Kiel was originally chosen to play The Hulk. However, as the pilot began filming, the producers felt that he wasn’t bulky enough. Although his scenes were re-shot with Lou Ferrigno, one scene with Kiel as the Hulk in the pilot remains intact, a brief high-angle shot of the Hulk looking up at a tree. Ferrigno beat out Arnold Schwarzenegger for the role of the Hulk reportedly because Arnold, at 6′ 2″, was deemed not tall enough, while Lou was 6′ 5″.
3) Although Lou played “The Hulk” in the TV series, the growls and snarls heard in it aren’t his. They were made by actor Ted Cassidy (Lurch in”The Addams Family”) during the first two seasons. Then, after Cassidy’s death in that year, the Hulk was voiced by actor Charles Napier for the remaining three seasons and the three movies made in later years. Dubbed animal growls were used, in addition to growls by Charles Napier. Cassidy was also the narrator of the show’s opening credits.
You Wouldn’t Like Him Angry
4) The word “Anger” is the first thing seen onscreen in every episode. The camera pulls out to reveal that it is the word “danger” on the gamma ray device.
A Cool Place to Chill
5) To avoid sweating (which caused his green makeup to come off,) Lou Ferrigno spent much of his time on the set in a refrigerated motor home.
6) Lou Ferrigno was the only actor to appear in every episode. Bill Bixby was forced to miss one episode due to court hearings relating to a messy divorce he was going through. The character David Banner appeared very briefly with no dialogue in the episode and was portrayed by Bixby’s stunt double.
I Don’t Remember
7) Because David Banner never has any recollection of his actions as the Hulk, Bill Bixby did not watch Lou Ferrigno perform on set, and Ferrigno was never present for Bixby’s scenes.
8) When the TV series was on the air, Bill Bixby was very careful never to be photographed with Lou Ferrigno in his Hulk makeup because he felt if photos were to get out of the two of them together, it would destroy the illusion to children and fans of the show that they were not the same person. The tabloids of that era were always trying to get a picture of David Banner and the Hulk creature together but were unable to do so.
Inspiration Behind the Hulk
9) This series actually draws inspiration from three works of classic literature. Stan Lee says the Hulk himself was inspired by Frankenstein’s monster, while the alter ego of Dr. Banner was inspired by Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. Kenneth Johnston added the element of Jack McGee pursuing the creature, so that the series was not unlike The Fugitive with Gerard pursuing Kimble each week. That element of the previous series was inspired by Les Miserables.
No Shoes Required
10) The Hulk is always barefoot, but in outdoor scenes Lou Ferrigno often wore Hulk-green slippers to protect his feet. These are most noticeable in “Terror in Times Square”, as the Hulk storms through the streets of New York — Ferrigno once joked that even the mighty Hulk wouldn’t want to go barefoot in Times Square in the 1970s.