Once, Spellbinder managed to get one-up on his foe, once turning "Letterman" into a "Wetterman" (switching out the first letter and causing him to fall into a deep swimming pool). Letterman avoided drowning by finding a "b" and turning himself into a "betterman" (a better man than he was before).
In "Small Talk" (probably the best known episode), Spellbinder broke into Letterman's home, hid in the attic and — as Letterman was packing a trunk for a vacation, Spellbinder turned the "trunk" into "junk," then the "junk" into "shrunk." Eventually, the tiny superhero showed resolve and removed the "s" and "r" to turn himself back into a "hunk." Letterman then bends Spellbinder's wand, rendering it useless and causing him to break down in tears.
Yet another time, Letterman declares he feels "good". Spellbinder changes the "g" to a "w" for "wood", turning Letterman into a talking tree. Spellbinder then proceeds to get a drill to try to drill holes in Letterman. Before Spellbinder returns, Letterman is able to convince a small bird to take a "g" from his front and replace the "w", thereby turning him back into the "feeling-good" Letterman, just in time as Spellbinder attempts to drill into him. The drill breaks and engulfs Spellbinder in the twisted metal.
In another, the narrator declares Letterman good as "gold". Spellbinder removes the "g", leaving "old" and turning Letterman into an aged version of himself. Letterman summons what little strength he has and takes a "b" from his sweater to make "bold", restoring him to his youthful condition.
Clark Kenting: Although there is no discernible difference between his "normal" persona and — after his introduction — his heroic Letterman persona. Presumably, he is always Letterman.
Just in Time: Letterman often shows up just before the situation becomes too dire, saving everyone's necks and ruining Spellbinder's criminal activities.
Not Quite the Right Thing: Sometimes, even Letterman whiffed when trying to restore order and foil Spellbinder. Example: "Sticky Finances," where Spellbinder turns a man's "money" into "honey." To de-liquefy the assets, Letterman only has "bal" available, forcing him to turn the "honey" into "baloney." The annoyed man asks, "What am I going to do with all this baloney?" Letterman sheepishly replies, "Open a delicatessen?"
Evil Foreigner: Of the evil Arab variety. That he was from the Middle East led to criticism, including (most notably) from Jack Shaheen, a professor emeritus from Southern Illinois University, who in his essay "The TV Arab" said that the character was a negative stereotype of Arabs and contrary to the Children's Television Workshop's realistic portrayal of minorities.
Evil Laugh: After he changes a key letter to create mayhem and mischief. Often of the rolling-on-the-floor-laughing variety.
A Friend in Need: Literally, the name of one of the shorts, and the only one in which Letterman himself does not appear. It centers around Spellbinder escaping from prison ... with the help of a "friend." Created when Spellbinder unbends his bent wand and turns "fiend" into "friend."
Harmless Villain and Poke the Poodle: Much of Spellbinder's mischief was, in reality, harmless mischief — some uncomfortable situations resulted but not too dangerous, and were done for Spellbinder's own amusement. However, there were times where this was dangerously averted, such as turning a school bus into an octopus (and the annoyed octopus squeezes the children hard), or his most despicable stunts: turning a plane (full of children and other passengers) into a plant and causing it to plummet toward the earth, and nearly causing a passenger train (again, full of children) to plummet into a deep ravine.
A similar situation, in a segment titled "Broken Bridge," involved the destruction of a railroad bridge (by Spellbinder removing the "b" from "bridge"). Again, in a pre-9/11 world, this might have gotten a few laughs from those who didn't know better, particularly in the 1974-1976 era. Today and in the real world (since the situation involves removal of infrastructure by non-natural means and a potentially deadly situation), Spellbinder would be arrested immediately and left to rot in prison. note Unlike the plane/plant episode, this segment was included in an episode aired on Noggin, at least prior to 9/11.
Kryptonite Factor: Spellbinder, by changing a letter in a word to affect Letterman's situation, temporarily rendering Letterman helpless. (See The Bad Guy Wins entry under Letterman for details.)
Obviously Evil: He's an Arab, this is the mid-1970s (when tensions between the United States and Middle Eastern countries hit a new low) ... he's the perfect way to depict the series' antagonist.
Oh Crap!: When he tried to shrink Letterman to six inches tall, but Letterman found a way to turn himself back into the muscular hunk he always was, Spellbinder decides it's time to flee ... but doesn't make it. (His wand pays the price.)
Perspective Magic: Spellbinder literally grabs the sun in "A Rolling Bun Gathers No Seeds" — after turning it into a "bun," of course — and hurls it toward the earth and a beach wherein he had earlier been banned.
Prison Episode: "A Friend in Need," which ends with Spellbinder's escape.
Terrorists Without a Cause: In today's post-9/11 world, several of Spellbinder's actions could easily be classified as terrorism, as they involved potential mass death and destruction of infrastructure and aircraft. He worked alone, and his only goal was to amuse himself.
Tickle Torture: Spellbinder tried to put this onto the CEO of a pickle factory (turning "pickle" into "tickle"). Once Letterman restores order, the superhero turns the tables on Spellbinder by sending the feather onto the very ticklish villain. As the narrator enjoys her pickle, an exhausted Spellbinder — having apparently gotten away from the feather after hours of being tickled non-stop — finally concedes defeat ... this time.
Would Hurt a Child: Not only does Spellbinder have no reservations about putting children in life-threatening situations, he revels in it, finding it to be cute and funny. (And in the real world would have him arrested on sight.) Examples include:
School bus/octopus/platypus (turns a bus into an octopus).
"The Roar of Rage," involving cage/rage, wherein a lion, irate at being caged and now glad to be free, is about to pounce on a group of second graders.
"Broken Bridge," involving bridge/ridge. After removing the "b" to create "ridge," a bridge over a deep ridge is removed from a rail line ... far too late for a train loaded with schoolchildren to stop. Letterman shows up in time and restores the bridge.
Heroic Mime: Danny Seagren played this portrayal of Spiderman to a fault this way.
The Voiceless: His communiation was via speech balloons, which his friends, adversaries — and most importantly, the audience at home — would read.
The (NEW) Electric Company
Almighty Janitor: He remains useful to the Electric Company, even after he starts running the diner at the beginning of Season 3.
Dark and Troubled Past: In one episode, he explains to the rest of the company that he used to be the champion of an annual limerick contest, but was (unfairly) defeated by Manny on one year. He has never entered said contest since.
Series Mascot: She is the favorite Character of the fandom. She also has preformed live with Hector, Manny and Shock, sings the end-of-show rap 90 percent of the time and even interviewed an actor from the original version.
Shout-Out: Was seen wearing a "Zoom" T-shirt at the beginning of Season 2.