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Richard Kiel was originally chosen to play the Hulk because of his height being over 7 feet tall and his acting experience. However, as the pilot began filming, the producers felt that he was not buff enough. Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered for the role but, at 6' 2", was reportedly not tall enough (Lou Ferrigno is 6' 5"). Although the scenes with Kiel were re-shot with Ferrigno, one shot with him as the Hulk in the pilot can still be seen; a brief high-angle shot of the Hulk looking up at a tree just before he pushes it over to save a girl from drowning in the lake.
One theory is series creator Kenneth Johnson wanted to make some changes from the comic books in order to attract a broader audience. He did not want the main character to have a "stereotypically comic-booky alliterative name." Though in the series, Bruce is kept as Banner's middle name.The other theory is that CBS executives requested the change because they thought the name Bruce was "gay-ish," as stated by Lou Ferrigno in interviews.
Ted Cassidy, the uncredited narrator of the series' opening credits, was the voice of the Hulk in the first two seasons. After his death in 1979, Charles Napier supplied the vocalizations, along with animal growls dubbed in.
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