For decades, Fred Rogers was the icon of children’s programming, thanks to his PBS series Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. But the show’s peak arguably came in the 1970s and ’80s, when the show reached millions of kids all over the country. Fred Rogers explained the world to his very young audience, many of whom were preschool age. And in one 1980 episode, Mister Rogers and his friend Mister McFeely travel to the set of The Incredible Hulk. There, they met the show’s stars Bill Bixby (David Banner) and Lou Ferrigno (the titular Hulk). You can watch this delightful time capsule of a video from 2019 below, via The Evolution of Bodybuilding YouTube channel:
What’s so adorable about this video is how they completely aim it at calming down very young children who are afraid of the Hulk. Back then, many kids thought he was a real monster. Back in the day, The Incredible Hulk was an incredibly popular show, and Marvel’s first true live-action success story. (And frankly, their only live-action success for several years). Millions of children saw the show on TV, and the Jade Giant scared them to death. Look, if you were five years old then, he was legit scary! It’s so charming to see both Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno explain to the Rogers, and the kids that are watching, how it’s all just make-believe.
Here’s another reason it is so fun to watch this video: it’s a nice reminder of an era when low-tech methods were all you needed to create a pop culture phenomenon. These days, we can’t even conceive of making the Hulk with anything but expensive CGI effects. Back then, all they needed was a muscular man, some prosthetics for the forehead, a shake-and-go wig, and lots of green body paint. And for a whole generation of kids, we just bought into it. Here’s to simpler times.