Faster than a speeding bullet.
More powerful than a locomotive.
Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
Look! Up in the sky!
It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Superman!
Yes, it’s Superman – strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman – who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel with his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights the never ending battle for Truth, Justice and the American Way.
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4/1/1952 – 11/1957 Syndicated 30 minutes
Black and White/Color (1954) – 104 episodes
From the comic created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1938
Don’t Call Me Chief!
George Reeves as Superman
Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane (1951-1953)
Noel Neill as Lois Lane (1953-1957)
Jack Larsen as Jimmy Olsen
John Hamilton as Perry White
Robert Shayne as Inspector William Henderson
Superman Theme Song
“The Adventures of Superman” by Leon Klatzkin
Superman Tidbits – Great Caesar’s Ghost!
Yes, it was low budget. Yes, they used stock footage. But oh, how we loved it!
The storyline of the Man of Steel is known to all. Beginning as a comic written by teens in 1938, through radio in 1940 (Bud Collyer played Superman), as feature length cartoons from 1941 to 1943, to 15 movie serials in 1948 and 1950 (Kirk Alyn as Superman), then to the big screen in 1951 as Superman and the Mole Men with George Reeves in the lead, the Man of Steel grew in popularity.
Television propelled mild-mannered Clark Kent and his alter ego Superman into millions of American homes. After that we all knew that Kryptonite was a really bad thing and that Superman must have had a problem with doors as he usually crashed through a wall to enter a room.
We learned to love the explosive “Chief” Perry White (John Hamilton) of the Daily Planet and chuckled at his interaction with cub reporter Jimmy Olsen (Jack Larsen).
We waited for Lois Lane to figure it out. For a smart woman, she seemed oblivious to the odd coincidence that Clark vanished whenever Superman appeared.
Phyllis Coates left the show. She had always wanted to be a comedienne and did try in a couple of other series, all of which were short-lived. She was ably replaced by Noel Neill.
Superman the character continued on with Christopher Reeve in the feature films role. This piece of casting would present a particularly heart wrenching contrast after Mr. Reeve’s tragic accident.
Dean Cain took over TV duties in “Lois and Clark” (1993-1997) with Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane.
But for Baby Boomers, Superman will always be George Reeves.
Regrettably, in 1959, George Reeves was found in his home, dead from a handgun shot. His death was ruled an apparent suicide caused by his depression over being unable to find suitable work because he had been typecast as Superman. However, the circumstances were conflicting, and many believe, to this day, that he was murdered. The strange case of his death has been a topic for TV’s Unsolved Mysteries.
John Hamilton died in 1958 of a heart attack, as did Robert Shayne in 1992.
Noel Neill and
Phyllis Coates and George Reeves
Jack Larsen and George Reeves