When a modest late-night sketch comedy show named NBC Saturday Night made its debut on October 11th, 1975, nobody had the slightest idea it would become one of the longest-lived programs in television history.
Retitled Saturday Night Live in 1976, the irreverent series quickly became a pop cultural phenomenon by appealing to the uniquely twisted sense of humor of young adults. By 1978, many of its cast members (and their characters) had become household names, inspiring fellow New York institution Marvel Comics to create one of the strangest comic books ever published.
Marvel Team-Up #74 (1978) paired Marvel figureheads Spider-Man and Stan (The Man) Lee with NBC's Not Ready For Prime Time Players*, who together battled the menace of The Silver Samurai and his gang. As Spidey and the SNL cast cleaned up the goons, the Silver Samurai pitted his sword against....who else? John Belushi as the Samurai!
As you can see from the panels (click to enlarge), Belushi held his own against the Silver Samurai until Spider-Man took over. A few panels later, the Silver Samurai used the magic ring to disappear from Studio 8H, escaping to fight Spider-Man another day.
With that, Stan and the crime-fighting SNL crew
gathered for the traditional end-of-the-show curtain call...
From left to right (click for a front row view): John Belushi, producer Lorne Michaels, Laraine Newman, Stan Lee, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris (in a Thor costume), and Bill Murray.
* When the '78-'79 season of SNL began just a few months later, the cast
members were no longer referred to as the "Not Ready For Prime Time Players".
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