I watched the 1978 Dr. Strange movie (so you don’t have to)










     Believe it or not this isn’t Dr. Strange’s first attempt at screentime. In 1978, Marvel produced a TV pilot hoping to ride its success into a full season. The also launched a Spider-man series that had slightly more success than this effort, but the damage was done and we wouldn’t see another attempt on bringing Stephen Strange from page to screen for quite some time after. 


There is a reason for this.


     It’s because despite boasting cutting-edge visuals for that day and age and several important actors, this pilot was grossly over budget and quite frankly was boring compared to other more marketable properties in the Marvel Universe. Kudos to the studio for taking a chance on something as out there as Dr. Strange, but even with a watered down script it still did not manage to capture the essence of a very unique and bizarre comic. 



     For the past two weeks, I’ve been bingeing everything I could involving Dr. Strange; comics, graphic novels, animated adventures, etc. This was a baptism by fire, jumping head first into the foray of The Sorcerer Supreme’s mystical world and to be quite honest, I was nowhere close to being prepared. I had been sitting on this pilot for quite some time, however, with a plan to make Oliver watch it with me basically going in a different direction than what I’m doing now, but that has since never got off the ground. And so, now was the perfect time to circle back to this failed tv pilot, watch it and report on it. 


Report analysis: It’s bad.



So bad, that it is believed not even Gary (from our Gary scale) would watch it, most likely giving an unprecedented negative Gary score. That being said, there are some hilarious and downright corny moments to be mentioned that would leave anyone with even the slightest knowledge of comic book superheroes left scratching their heads and wondering, “What were they thinking?I have included the link for the full length movie below. It’s my suggestion that you skim through the first 40min or so before really settling in and enduring this movie. Once Strange goes to the Dark Dimension for the first time, all bets are off on what comes next as far as acting goes. 


You can watch the full length film HERE.



     Below are some of my random thoughts as I watched this movie (so you wouldn’t have to).



  • Morgan La Fey (Jessica Walter) is the mom from Arrested Development



  • The guy who plays Wong is a famous Asian-American actor




  • The music is straight trippy and sometimes annoying

  • Ancient One was white. Where was the outcry about this casting?





  • Stephen Strange looks like a porn star, but then again, so did almost every male actor in the 70s





  • I thought the Ancient One died from a fall. Movie over. 





  • Strange is a psychiatrist. WHaaaaaa????





  • The beginning drags on really slowly….like skim through the first 30min

  • The mustache game in this movie is PERFECTION

  • Clea makes an appearance in this movie





  • Is the dried turd looking thing supposed to be Dormammu? 





  • The Astral Plane sequence plays like the beginning of a Bond film





  • Dormammu (dried turd) speaks like he’s reading from the King James Bible

  • The word, “THRICE” is mentioned twice. Read that sentence twice.

  • The paging of people in the hospital is waaaay overdone

  • NEVER trust a cat in the rain

  • Wong has powers? Say what?

  • Ancient One has a dumb cloak





  • I like his cardigan better





  • The special FX have not aged well 




  • Black turtlenecks are most assuredly going to get you asked inside after a date

  • Eye of Agamotto makes a semi-appearance as a necklace bought from SEARS





  • Classic costume makes an appearance. 





  • Morgan/Stephen courtship in the Dark Dimension is long and really off-putting

  • Ancient One pulls a Dr. Strange move from the comics (bait & switch) Can’t tell you b/c I want to respect the rule of SPOILERS 

  • Best line: “The Universe is love and that you shall have.”

  • Classic Costume changed. Disappointed.





  • There is an overhead voice in the Sanctum Sanctorum? Who is it and where did it come from?

  • How did Morgan get back on Earth at the end of the movie?

  • Dr. Strange doesn’t like magicians encroaching on his territory

Fingers crossed that the 2016 version can do better than this original. Something tells me that if Benedict Cumberbatch were to grow a mustache like his predecessor, this movie would be on a whole different playing field. I am truly excited for the upcoming Marvel movie, but there’s also something fun in going back and seeing where Marvel’s TV/movie career began and how far they have come.


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