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It Ain’t Me Babe – Dr. Kildare


This is feature is based on a running gag Stan Lee used to do in Amazing Spider-Man where Spider-Man would burst into a room, someone would say something like “Spider-Man!” and he would say some variation of “Well, it isn’t _____ ____.” So in this feature (which will go in chronological order), I’ll explain who Spider-Man is saying he WASN’T back during the 1960s.

We continue with Amazing Spider-Man #4 and Dr. Kildare…

Dr. Kildare was a fascinating creation, with the way that writer Frederick Schiller Faust used modern ideas of cross-marketing to make the character so famous. You see, Faust created the character for Paramount Pictures with the 1937 film, Internes Can’t Take Money, where Joel McCrea plays Kildare when he is just a medical intern.

The following year, MGM picked up the series, with Lew Ayres now taking over the series as the now DOCTOR Kildare, as the young doctor is paired with his mentor, Dr. Gillespie, played by Lionel Barrymore…

Faust, a popular novelist, then had Kildare star in a number of novels, written under the pen name of Max Brand…

Ayres did nine Kildare films before leaving the series, which continued as a Barrymoore starring vehicle (he gained new doctors to mentor).

Years later, the character made his return in 1961 with a TV series, with Richard Chamberlain playing Kildare and Raymond Massey playing Gillespie…

That series was still quite famous when Amazing Spider-Man #4 came out in 1963, even having its own comic book series contemporaneous with Amazing Spider-Man #4…

So the reference was a very topical one for the time…



i like that thug can just lift those hoops of web off him no problem

Perhaps Spidey was still working the kinks out of his web formula. Or perhaps the crook is a mutant we’ve just never heard of.

Get this guy a mini-series STAT!

There was also a Dr Kildare comic strip, drawn by Ken Bald, which ran from 1962 to 1984.

Some nice examples of the strip can be seen at https://comicskingdom.com/blog/2012/10/24/ask-the-archivist-calling-dr-kildare

It’s obviously the first appearance of Slyde.

In fact, the white dude in the cap was actually brought back in a story in the adjectiveless Spider-Man book of the 1990s, where he turned out to be the same guy in the various issues where Steve Ditko drew a thug in that outfit. His futile plot to avenge himself on Spider-Man was used as a counterpart to Electro’s story about semi-reforming and trying to die in a blaze of glory. I think the arc was called “Light the Night” or something.

For all that we mock the Silver Age Superman for being overwritten — even his baby clothes had a super-power related origin story! — we’ve seen a pretty staggering number of extremely minor elements from the Lee-Ditko days get expanded or brought back in various ways. I’m not sure there’s an unnamed background character left in some of those old stories if we take all the little “man on the street” retrofits into account.

Was Faust the same Max Brand who wrote Westerns, and created the character of Destry?

Yes, that’s the same Max Brand. (Although Destry only appears in one book and the movies are nothing like the novel.)

Faust created numerous western heroes in the pulps, the one fantasy fans might be interested in is Whistlin’ Dan Barry, who started his adventures in Faust’s first novel, The Untamed. He is apparently not quite human, and may be a demi-god, the son of Pan.

By coincidence, just last week I read his one, posthumous, non-fiction book, Fighter Squadron at Guadalcanal . He died in action in Italy in WWII serving as a war correspondent.

“Feels like pieces of WEB being dropped on us…but…WHO?!”

I love that the thug thinks there is more than one possible answer to that question. How many people besides Spider-Man are there dropping webs on people?

“I love that the thug thinks there is more than one possible answer to that question. How many people besides Spider-Man are there dropping webs on people?”

Maybe that is the evil Earth 3-like Roy Thomas. “…but…WHO?!…Tarantula?…the Spiderman form Journey into Mystery?…did Superman or Batman turn into spiders?…”

Funny, I just listened to a radio podcast which featured an episode of Dr. Kildare from 1950: “The Case of Barbara Lane, Dope Addict”! It was pretty good. Not sure who played Kildare but the old mentor doctor was Lionel Barrymore. I like to think that later in the series, the doctor bursts into a room and the patient says “Dr. Kildare!”, to which he calmly replies “Well, it ain’t Spider-Man!”

I’m a bit late to the game on this, but has anyone pointed out that Fred Allen did the same thing every week during the intro to his radio show? As in, “It ain’t Ish Kabibble, kiddies”.

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