When teenager Rick Jones decided to take a shortcut through the testing grounds of a U.S. Army research facility, he couldn’t foresee the monster his reckless action would create. He was unaware when his truck broke down that he was within the blast radius of a highly dangerous gamma experiment. Dr. Bruce Banner, one of the top physicists at the military base where the experiment was being conducted, spied the teen through his binoculars as the clock to detonate the gamma bomb counted down. Asking another scientist named Dr. Carlston to delay the countdown, Bruce took a jeep to retrieve the stranded youth, little knowing that Carlston was a robot who had been assigned to steal the gamma ray formula Bruce had developed. Carlston had no intention of delaying the countdown as he wanted Bruce out of the picture. Realizing the experiment wasn’t going to be delayed, Bruce reached the teen just in time to throw him into the protective cover of a ditch. Unfortunately, Bruce was exposed to the full bombardment of gamma radiation. From that point forward, whenever Bruce became angry or stressed he transformed into a raging, green, muscle-bound behemoth whose strength surpassed any other creature alive.
Bruce kept his savage alter-ego secret from those he knew and worked with, even his fiancé, fellow scientist Betty Ross. Betty’s father, General Ross, commanded Gamma Base and made capturing the Hulk a priority; a priority he assigned to his semi-competent right-hand man, Major Ned Talbot. Because Rick had seen Bruce transform into the Hulk, only he knew Bruce’s secret, and because he felt guilty for what happened Rick did everything he could to help his friend find a cure. When not assisting Bruce, Rick spent his time at a nearby diner called Rio’s Ranchero, where his romantic interest Rita worked for her father Rio.
Perhaps the show is best remembered for the reverse transformation of the Hulk back into Dr. Banner. Whereas Bruce’s clothes were torn to shreds as he transformed into the much larger Hulk, those same clothes inexplicably reappeared when the Hulk reverted to Banner. Luckily for Bruce, it made keeping his secret a lot easier.
In the show’s first season, episodes of The Incredible Hulk were paired with episodes of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends to form the hour-long program, The Incredible Hulk and the Amazing Spider-Man. In its second season the title of the hour-long show was changed to The Amazing Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk.