spiderpig.jpg spiderpig.jpg
Cartoon Culture

Spider Pig


Sure, The Simpsons Movie made over $70 million this weekend at the box office. But the big winner in all this is the estate of lyricist Paul Francis Webster and composer Bob Harris (anyone know what became of him?).

Webster may have won three Academy Awards for Best Song (including Love Is A Many Splendored Thing), but his lyrics for the 1967 Spider-man TV cartoon theme will apparently live forever. In addition to its inclusion in the three recent Spider-Man live action features, the tune has become one of the most popular gags (re-worked as “Spider Pig”, by Homer) in The Simpsons Movie.

Compared to his other work, Webster must have been slumming when he penned the words for the Saturday morning cartoon show. But like Spider-man and the Simpsons, the song has established itself as a mainstay of popular culture.

  • I finally got around to seeing THE SIMPSONS MOVIE today.

    “Spider-Pig” is definiatally one of the catchier gags in the movie. Its also kept up throughout the movie with the song repeating twice in the movie’s soundtrack, with what sounds like a choir singing it.

    Good movie. It could have been better in certain parts. Maybe riskier. It still works like the TV show.

  • Daniel

    By the way, Bob Harris co-wrote another memorable theme song– that being “Lolita’s Ya-Ya” with Nelson Riddle from Kubrick’s Lolita.

  • “Can he swing/ from a web/ no he can’t/ ’cause he’s a pig!”

  • Those “SPIDERPIG” lyrics sound an awful lot like the handiwork of my pal and SIMPSON MOVIE director, David Silverman, who is a pretty quick wit with absurd musical jokes. Next to Matt Groening and Dan Castelenetta, Mr. Silverman is probably able to channel “Homer” better than anybody who doesn’t have canary yellow skin and a massively protruding upper lip. If he didn’t have at least something to do with that song gag, I’ll eat a Krustyburger!

  • Bill Field

    There is a band that plays all the incidental and soundtrack music from Spiderman. I can’t remember their name. It seems there are a lot of fans of the groovy-funk-jazz music from that show– and the master tapes of those sessions has been missing for decades– they’re like the holy grail of TV cartoon music.

  • Al

    I went to the Simpsons panel at Comic Con and the panelists were asked to sing the Spider Pig song.

    Afterwards they joked about how they just made Harris another $50

  • Steve G

    And don’t forget it’s importance in the great BBC series ‘Coupling’.

  • The Ramones also memorably did a cover-version of Harris’ SPIDER-MAN theme song on their last album, ADIOS (although it’s not listed on the CD; it’s an “invisible” cut.) Well worth seeking out by all “Spider-Pig” fans.

    Too bad that the Ramones never got around to doing their version of another cartoon theme that was absolutely perfect for their unique approach — GO-GO GOPHERS!

  • Wait – I thought Stan Lee wrote the lyrics?

  • Bill Field

    Scott Shaw!— You are demented! Harvey Siegle-Williams, who lives a street over from my folk’s house directed the Go-Go Gophers— Now I’m going to see(and hear— in my mind) the Ramones every time I hear that damn song! Shaw!, you are one of my biggest influences growing up w/ all your great Hanna Barbera Comics you did at Marvel, Captain Carrot, Keeping the F-Stones alive and kicking thru your really great Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles commercials. AND you, like me, loved the IMPOSSIBLES – and when I finally got to meet you- we talked about THAT show for two hours! —-By the way- the song I wish the Ramones had covered was more recent- FREAKAZOID!

  • tom

    That pig is certainly a funny design. I laughed a few times just to see him standing still with that empty walleyed expression. Funny movie!

  • Martin Bell

    Is the dream- and credit-sequence ‘Spiderpig’ music the Danny Elfman score from the films? Sounded liek it, but I haven’t seen the Spider-man films enough (mainly because they’re not very good) to be sure. Seems appropriate, Elfman composed the Simpsons score and all.

  • From memory, the Spiderpig song’s lyrics are credited to all the writers on the movie…

  • Mike Russo

    Elfman didn’t compose the score for the Simpsons movie, Martin. Hans Zimmer did.

  • Andrew

    Never had I seen full grown men recite the lyrics at the moment a character says them in the auditorium, at the same time, out loud around me. :O I have yet to see evidence that it has become catchy enough to be everywhere, however.

  • cooldude

    I don’t know… The Simpson’s wasn’t really anything… I’m not sure you could even call it mediocre. If spider-pigs one of the big laughs… it was wasted on me. Besides not being funny or even interesting it tied rough draft up for the last year… so expect all your favorite cartoons to have pretty bland, rushed, C and D crew quality for the next year as a consequence.

  • I wish they hadn’t used the gag in the trailer. I thought it lost some impact as a joke when, at the opening night screening I went to, virtually the entire theatre started singing along with Homer.

    Also, the Canadian folk-pop band Moxy Fruvous did a cover of the theme on their first album “Bargainville” (1993). It was also a staple of their live shows for years. (I miss those guys…)

  • I think it was the dumbest, stretched out gag of the movie… it was funny once and that was it.

    However, I AM glad the movie didn’t use George Bush as the president, how stretched would THAT gag’ve been? Though, I’m kinda confused that they didn’t just make it Ranier Wolfcastle instead of Wolfcastle as Schwarzenegger.

    I had mixed feelings about the entire movie anyway, though I found a lot of it funny, I felt like they didn’t stretch the limits of the animation. It’s called FEATURE animation for a reason. I could point out a few scenes where they actually used some decent animation acting and movement. The rest kinda fell flat along the lines of the tv show quality. But it was still a decent movie.

  • George

    Cooldude, say it ain’t so! Our favorite television animation will look less than spectacular this coming season? There is no God!

  • So Jerry, could you tell us what was your opinion about the movie?

    I thought it was good, not nearly as good as I wanted it to be, but definitely very funny.

    Yes, it’s a pretty catchy gag in the movie, too bad the pig…well, I will avoid spoilers, but I think it’s the one major plot hole in the flick.

  • Jorge Garrido

    The first time I heard that Spider-Pig theme in the commercial, I knew the movie would suck. And I was right…

    I can’t believe this superficial trash gets so many accolades.

  • c.tower

    The Winnipeg band VOLUME are the guys that put out that funky reworking of the music scores from the original SPIDERMAN cartoon (excellent CD!) Reportedly, they got a copy to Sam Raimi, in hopes of getting on the film soundtrack, and Raimi told them that he loved their music, but since this was his first “blockbuster”-sized movie, the studio insisted he use the songs their marketing department had picked out for the soundtrack album…

  • Rick Farmiloe

    I worked on the movie,so maybe I’m biased. I thought it did EXACTLY what everyone wanted it to…..just bring the Simpson family to the big screen, nothing more, nothing less. If the writers went too ‘big screen’ with the writing, fans would have been upset, big time! When I was hired as an animator, I thought I’d be bringing some ‘Disney quality’ animation to the table. A lot of us ex-Disney guys thought that. Wrong! We soon discovered that what was wanted was just CONSISTENT Simpsons style animation. The scenes were still shipped overseas to Korea to be ‘re-animated’ there. Although I was initially a little disappointed, I soon realized the producers and David were completely RIGHT in their thinking. The Simpsons is it’s own unique language and any deviation from that would be a mistake. I personally thought the movie hit a home run….very funny and fast moving. You may not have loved it, but the box office proves that people got exactly what they wanted. There are certainly things you can criticize, but you have to admit it definitely feels like The Simspsons! I am proud to have worked on it.

  • Lloyd Penney

    Michael Buble recently did a cover of that SpiderMan cartoon song… made it sound a lot better than it needed to be, but still…


  • Ryan Caruthers

    Has Jerry posted his comments yet? Did I miss his review?

  • I Honestly only found the spiderpig thing midly amusing once, after that, it was annoying.

  • harry plopper
  • tom

    It’s hard to say that song isn’t perfect, in my opinion. 40 years later and we all know it and it usually brings a smile. We know most or all of the words, and it’s widely quoted and referenced. I love that song. It’s one of the best cartoon themes for it’s popularity and recognition.

  • Monty Ashley

    Scott Shaw! — the Ramones cover of Spider-Man was originally on “Saturday Morning Cartoons”, a collection of cover versions of cartoon theme songs. The cover version of Hong Kong Phooey (by Sublime) is also excellent.

  • matt

    What is the song called where Homer is dancing with the pig in the meadow when he first sees him?

  • I’m sure most people are done reading this thread for comments, but amazingly, Spider Pig just entered the UK music singles charts at #24 thanks to people downloading it as a individual track- awesome!

  • Matt, the song you’re asking for is Happy Together by The Turtles. It has been used in The Simpsons at least another couple of times.

  • yasmin

    Spider pig/spider pig/does whatever a spider pig does..can he swing/from a web?/no he can’t.. he’s a pig/look out he is a spider pig :D

  • kris

    The Simpsons rules! :)

    Spider pig/spider pig/does whatever a spider pig does..can he swing/from a web?/no he can’t.. he’s a pig/

  • Zoran Taylor

    The Simpsons Movie was the most inspiring testament to the possibilities of animation that I’ve seen in quite some time. Even more so than the show at its peak, the individual expression of the animator’s creativity is front and center all the way through. The only studio I could name that even ALLOWS its animators this much freedom is Spumco, and they haven’t done anything this funny since “Man’s Best Friend” cost John K. his job. These are the only people left who actually know what “movement” and “expression” mean -or care in the least- who aren’t just blogging about it. And now it’s over: back to the show, and back to direction so phoned-in that they might as well be spitting in Lord Silverman’s face.