Scientist David Bruce Banner is recovering from the traumatic loss of his wife in a car accident, while continuing his work into untapping the barely-used potential strength of the human body. As he interviews and runs tests on numerous ordinary individuals who have achieved amazing adrenaline-fueled feats in moments of crisis, Banner is disturbed by the fact that he was unable to save his own wife. When his research leads to what seems like a dead end, a desperate Banner intentionally irradiates himself with gamma radiation. The first noticeable effect is that it leaves Banner impatient and easily angered. But when his frustration peaks and he becomes furious, Banner mutates into an enormous, bemuscled green beast with superhuman strength. Despite this, his instincts to preserve life lead him to try to save a drowning girl, but when her father fires a rifle at Banner, he is powerless to do anything but attack the man. When Banner’s rage subsides, he reverts to normal, with only vague memories of what he did in his altered state.
Banner confides his experiences – as much as he can remember – to his lab associate, and they begin trying to replicate his transformation under controlled laboratory conditions. Reporter Jack McGee, who has been hounding Banner and his staff for a story on their research, is snooping around when Banner transforms into the Hulk yet again during a catastrophic lab accident. Banner, even in his transformed state, is unable to save the life of his lab associate, and goes into hiding; while McGee sees Banner’s mutated form, he believes Banner has also died in the inferno. McGee decides that he will pursue the enormous green creature, which he has dubbed “the incredible hulk” in the resulting front-page story, to chronicle its capture and execution for murder. Banner is forced to let the world think he is dead and goes on the run.
Cast: Bill Bixby (David Bruce Banner), Susan Sullivan (Elaina Marks), Jack Colvin (Jack McGee), Lou Ferrigno (The Hulk), Susan Batson (Mrs. Maier), Mario Ballo (Mr. Bram), Eric Server (Policeman), Charles Siebert (Ben), Terrance Lock (Young Man), June Whitley Taylor (Woman), George Brenlin (Man at Lake), Jake Mitchell (Jerry), William Larsen (Minister), Olivia Barash (Girl at Lake), Eric Deon (B.J.)
Notes: Using only the characters of Bruce Banner and the Hulk from Marvel’s Incredible Hulk comics, the TV incarnation of the character is the creation of Kenneth Johnson, who had created the Six Million Dollar Man spinoff The Bionic Woman, and would go on to create such genre classics as V and Alien Nation. Johnson was not a fan of the original comics, and as such didn’t fight CBS over such requested changes as altering Bruce Banner’s name to David Bruce Banner (on the grounds that network executives felt the name “Bruce” was “too gay-ish”). Johnson wanted a few other changes – such as Banner turning into a red Hulk rather than a green one – that were vetoed by Marvel. Unlike his unsatisfactory experiences with the TV adaptation of Spider-Man, however, Stan Lee was happy with the TV Hulk, feeling that the changes made were necessary to make the character work in a teleivision context. Arnold Schwarzenegger auditioned for the role of the Hulk, but was deemed too short for the role.
LogBook entry by Earl Green