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Book Review – You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry: A Hulk Companion

Namtar here with my first book review…

Author Patrick A. Jankiewicz from Nuke the Fridge, has followed up his first book Just When You Thought It Was Safe: A JAWS Companion with an amazing and intricate historical look at the fan favorite television series, “The Incredible Hulk” with You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry! (A Hulk Companion.)  Published by BearManor Media, the book take its title from the famous line quoted in the first episode, which has become ingrained in the American lexicon.  The author delivers behind-the-scenes accounts, interviews with the cast and crew, and photos that have never been published before.

Jankiewicz meticulously works his way through every season and show of the series, the three made for TV Hulk movies, the animated series, and the two feature films directed by Ang Lee and Louis Leterrier.  He writes a synopsis of each episode plus any behind the scenes coverage of events that occurred for that particular show.  Audiences may not realize that there is a story behind every scene and/or every camera angle in an entertainment production.  However, Patrick A. Jankiewicz illuminates these events for “The Incredible Hulk,” which adds depth and thought to any television program’s superficiality.  Highlights of the book include Bill Bixby’s giving nature, the death of his son and ex-wife, his struggle with prostate cancer, Hulk Facts, and Hulk Highlights.  Also, interviews and profiles of producers, actors, and crew members such as Kenneth Johnson, Ric Drasin, Richard Kiel, John Goodwin, Dick Durock, Edie McClurg, Peter Mark Richman, Wendy Girard, Xander Berkeley, Eric Allan Kramer, Lee Purcell, Tim Thomerson, Jill Sherman Donner, Charles Napier, Lee Meriwether, Venita Ozuls, and Mickey Jones (one hell of an actor,) give dimensions to a hit show that may have been taken for granted.

The show based its premise on a man who is on the run much like David Janssen’s “The Fugitive” television series of the sixties, but with one twist.  While running from a murder he did not commit, David Banner (Bill Bixby) is in search for a cure from his darker half (The Hulk) that manifests itself when he is angry or under great stress.  The creature was created when Banner accidentally exposed himself to a high dose of gamma radiation during an experiment.  Each episode is a morality play, which even in the mid-to-late seventies was becoming something of a rarity.  Banner becomes involved in events of happenstance, and is forced to help a person or persons in need.  In the process, the Hulk intercedes in some way to make good of a bad situation.  In the end, Banner must move from one place to another to stay ahead of an investigative reporter in pursuit of “The Hulk.”  Well cast and acted, the show had its highs and lows, but delivered despite being made on a television budget.  Jankiewicz reveals secrets, comedic anecdotes, and faux pas in the making of the show.  His writing is honest and compelling and will satisfy any casual or hardcore Hulk fan.  No doubt there is a wealth of information that is still in the wings waiting for a potential sequel to this delightful homage of a terrific television series.  I’m voting for the title Mean and Green and What Was In-Between (The Second Hulk Companion.) Until then, I am content in rereading Jankiewicz’s book You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry! (A Hulk Companion.)

With a foreword by Lou Ferrigno, the 524-page book is available at Amazon.com and well worth the read and price of $32.95.