Nearly 40 years before Benedict Cumberbatch became the Sorcerer Supreme in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Peter Hooten was the first actor to play Stephen Strange in a TV movie that aired on CBS in 1978. And with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hitting theaters in two weeks, this is the perfect time to revisit the character’s earliest live-action appearance. Shout Factory has just announced the premiere Blu-ray release for Dr. Strange.
The film famously made a number of changes to its comic book source material. Instead of a surgeon, Hooten’s character worked as a psychiatrist at a mental hospital. When Morgan le Fay (Jessica Walter) possesses one of his patients, Strange must learn the ways of the mystic arts in order to stop an invasion of Earth. The movie’s cast also featured Clyde Kusatsu as Wong, and future Mr. Freeze voice actor Michael Ansara as the disembodied voice of the Ancient One.
Writer/director Philip DeGuere developed the film as a pilot for a TV series to join CBS’ burgeoning slate of Marvel programming. At the time, this also included The Amazing Spider-Man (starring Nicholas Hammond as the webslinger) and the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno-led Incredible Hulk series. Regardless, the network chose not to move forward with the show. Shout Factory previously released the movie on DVD in 2016 to coincide with the premiere of Marvel’s original Doctor Strange film.
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The upcoming Blu-ray features a high-definition transfer and restoration of Dr. Strange. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of bonus content. But viewers can listen to audio commentary from pop culture historian Russell Dyball and Panel Jumper podcast’s Cole Hornaday.
Dr. Strange arrives on Blu-ray next Tuesday, April 26. You can pre-order the film here.
Are you excited to watch the movie in high-definition? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: Doctor Strange Vol. 1: The Way of the Weird
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