Front Cover
TAC Table of Contents
Contact Information

Ladies of the Adventures Of Superman

By Colete Morlock and Thom Hamilton

Page 1

To Page 2      Return to Introduction


A Tribute to Allene Roberts

By Colete Morlock and Thom Hamilton

Up to now, all of the ladies that Thom and I have presented to you have had one-time guest appearances on the Adventures of Superman. The spotlight is currently on a lady who was the closest thing to a regular on the series of the female guests.

Allene Roberts was born on September 1, 1928 in Birmingham, Alabama. Unlike other women we have profiled, there is very little information on Ms. Roberts’ early life. What we do know is that she was a busy actress, racking up nine movies plus two guest appearances on TV shows that ranged from1947 through 1951.

Her very first film was The Red House back in 1947, a mystery thriller starring Edward G. Robinson, Rory Calhoun, Julie London and TAOS alum, Arthur Space. In 1948, she did two movies, The Sign of the Ram, directed by John Sturges and featuring Peggy Ann Garner, Phyllis Thaxter and Ross Ford. In Michael O’Halloran Allene appeared with TAOS alumni, Tommy Cook and Jonathon Hale. Bomba on Panther Island paired her up with Johnny Sheffield and Lita Baron, who appeared with George Reeves in Champagne for Two. Also that year, Allene was seen in Knock On Any Door, with Humphrey Bogart, John Derek, and TAOS alumni George Chandler, Myron Healy, Sid Melton, Sid Tomack, and Pierre Watkin. This was also the year of her first pre-TAOS television appearances, “The Sire de Maletroit's Door” on Your Show Time. Two more movies followed in 1950 – Union Station and A Wonderful Life, directed by William Beaudine and co-starring our very own Jack Larson and John Hamilton. "The First Hundred Years" from The Silver Theater also came that year. Allene did a western, Santa Fe with Randolph Scott and Jock Mahoney. She also starred in The Hoodlum in 1951. Her two movies in 1952, marks the end of her movie career. Kid Monk Baroni paired her with Leonard Nimoy and our TAOS alumni Jack Larson and Maurice Cass. In Thunderbirds, she is reunited with John Derek, John Drew Barrymore, Gene Evans, Ward Bond, and TAOS alum, Richard Reeves. It is also 1952 that ushers in her first two appearances on The Adventures of Superman, which will be highlighted later on in this review.

Ms. Roberts might not have had any more movies, but she certainly wasn’t idle! Her TV credits include: Dragnet (6 episodes), Schlitz Playhouse of Stars (3), Four Star Playhouse (2), and one episode each of The Christophers, Omnibus, The Public Defender, and City Detective.

Allene is the only female who was cast in three episodes of TAOS. In his introduction of the Third Annual Superman Festival in 1990, Jack Larson refers to “my good friend, Allene Roberts.” Allene’s first appearance is in The Monkey Mystery as the daughter of scientist, Jan Maleska. We see her barefoot, dirty-faced, and speaking with an accent. One thing about Allene is how expressive her eyes are! She shows us the torment of having to leave her beloved father as “The fruit of my life’s work is in your hands.” And with that, she gives her father the last kiss. We see her somber face against the backdrop of a train that is bound for Washington, D.C., following her flight from Eastern Europe. . Of course, she is apprehended, and with her skull fractured, one can only imagine the torture she must have endured. Superman arrives in time to reach both Lois and Ms. Maleska and get them medical attention. That’s the last we see of Allene in this episode, however, she received top billing of the guest stars.

In The Haunted Lighthouse, you’d think that Allene might have had mime lessons. Playing the deaf mute, Alice, she is able to convey her range of emotions without uttering a single sound throughout the episode! Whether it is the look of distress, or the urgency in trying to get Jimmy to follow her, there is no doubt what Allene is trying to tell us.

The Whistling Bird is the most interesting of her three appearances as Allene has a great deal of dialogue in this one. Portraying Nancy Quinn, niece of professor Oscar Quinn (Sterling Holloway), the most obvious difference is that her hair is now shoulder length. . This is also the first time we really see her smiling. Throughout the episode, her glances are given directly to Clark, Jimmy, or her uncle. We do see some of the same concerned eyes that we saw in her two previous episodes, but her presence is much more integral to the episode. Allene also shares a Jack Larson fate in this episode as the sprinkling system does a great job on her as well!

Her 1955 appearance on the series The Christophers is interesting because this was an award-winning series. There were many guest stars over the years, including the Maryknoll priest who founded The Christophers. It showcased people who made a difference in areas from entertainment to social justice and community affairs. After that appearance, we find no other reference to her as an actress. There are references that indicate she currently resides in Huntsville, Alabama, but as of this writing, we have been unable to validate that. Allene will certainly be remembered for her TAOS appearances, but should you see her in one of her movies, look carefully at her eyes. It is there that you will be drawn into the scene with her.

April 2007

Special thanks to both Mr. X and Thom for the photos and technical assistance.


Gloria Talbott

By Colete Morlock and Thom Hamilton

Gloria Talbott was born on February 7, 1931 in Glendale, California. Her great, great grandfather was one of the founders of that city. Her father owned a dry cleaning business while her mother was a Christian Science practitioner. Her older sister, Mary Louise became actress Lori Talbott. Gloria’s career began by winning a high school acting trophy. She was also “Miss Glendale” of 1947, showing she had that pinup girl quality. She participated in school plays and landed small parts in films such as Maytime (1937), Sweet and Lowdown (1943) and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945). After leaving school, she started her own dramatic group and played "arena"-style shows at various clubs.

She appeared in her first film at the ripe old age of 13 in Sweet and Low-Down (1944). A year later, she was in A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (1945). Pegged as one of the glamour girls of the silver screen, this debutante’s first professional stage performance was in an L.A. production of One Fine Day, starring Charles Ruggles and Mary Boland. From the stage she graduated to United Artists westerns: Desert Pursuit with Virginia Grey in 1952; Northern Patrol with Kirby Grant in 1953; and Border City Rustlers with Guy Madison in 1953. Moving into comedy and drama, she starred in All That Heaven Allows with Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson in 1955. Also that year, she did We’re No Angels, portraying Leo G. Carroll’s daughter and also starring Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, and Basil Rathbone. In 1957, she was in The Kettles on Old MacDonald’s Farm, part of the Ma and Pa Kettles series. She co-starred with Marjorie Main, Parker Fennelly, and John Smith, her love interest in the film. That same year she was opposite Joel McCrea in The Oklahoman. She seemed to find her element in the B horror films of The Cyclops (1957), The Daughter of Dr. Jekyll (1957), I Married a Monster From Outer Space (1957), and The Leech Woman (1960). Gloria did reunite with other horror film stars in 1985 for a very tongue-in-cheek thriller Attack of the B-Movie Monsters.

In 1948 she fell in love with an aspiring actor (Parrish) and married him before she turned 18. On April 1, 1950, her son, Mark Charles was born in Los Angeles. After five years of marriage, She divorced Parrish, returning to films. During the 1950’s, Gloria said she kept having problems with Darryl F. Zanuck chasing her around his desk! In August 1956, Gloria, then 25, was involved with Grover “Sandy” Sanders in Las Vegas – enter husband #2. He was 37. In 1960, she was supposed to do a guest appearance on Lloyd Bridges’ Seahunt, but turned it down because her part required diving gear. Gloria had a fear of small, enclosed spaces; she felt that in a prior life she had been buried alive. She and Grover separated in 1963 and were divorced in 1964. Husband #3 was Steve Joseph Capobianco, a physician. Their daughter, Maria was born on April 15, 1967. This marriage ended three years later. In 1977, she was married for the fourth and final time to Patrick Mullally, a dentist, until her death in September 2000.

As of 1961, Ms. Talbott all but retired from making films in order to raise her children, but continued to work on the small screen until 1966 when she was a full time stay-at-home mom. Gloria’s classic patrician features and demeanor suited her well in her many roles. She appeared in the popular Zane Grey Theatre. In the series You Are There, she was Lady Jane Grey in The Last Day of an English Queen. She appeared in single episodes of: The Untouchables, Roaring 20’s, Annie Oakley, Death Valley Days, Dr. Kildare, Hopalong Cassidy, Laramie, Mike Hammer, Mr. And Mrs. North, Surfside 6, The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickock, The Gene Autry Show, and The Rebel. She was in 2 episodes of: West Point Story, based on actual people and events, The Millionaire, The Cisco Kid, Riverboat, General Electric Theater, Fireside Theater and Bat Masterson. She racked up 3 episodes in: Wanted: Dead or Alive as well as Restless Gun, Rawhide and Gunsmoke. And Gloria had 4 Perry Mason’s to add to her collection. Also, in the 1950’s, she had a recurring role as Abbie

Crandall in Wyatt Earp and Moneta Esperon on the Zorro TV series. In short, Gloria Talbott was in just aboutevery major series of the 1950’s and some prominent ones of the early 1960’s. Her last television appearance was on a police drama series entitled 87th Precinct with Robert Lansing, Norman Fell and Gina Rowlands in March of 1962.


Those very glamorous qualities that seemed to set her apart, served Gloria well in this episode. To say she added a touch of class to the set would be more fair. Mara Van Cleaver is the perfect embodiment of the “poor little rich girl” and Gloria portrays this role so well. Her rude, demeaning comments to the Planet employee when placing the ad to hire Superman exemplify this. When Clark tells her that Superman is not for hire, she immediately makes the assumption “He sounds terribly stuffy.” This writer feels that, for such a wealthy heiress, she certainly wasn’t a fashion plate in that scene at the Daily Planet! But I have to say that, at the private party, as Mara, Gloria makes a stunning appearance with her bare shoulders, long arms, and elongated frame. Her black sequined gown certainly fits her like a glove! Here is where Gloria Talbott was truly a fashion diva!

Mara’s request for a “spectacular entrance” is no disappointment as Superman crashes through the picture window. Gloria plays up the fact that Mara Van Cleaver is one spoiled brat. Her disdain for poor Lois is so evident: “A woman reporter – how novel”. When Lois mentions that some people might think that other things are important besides money, Gloria is impeccable with her vocal intonations as she says, “Oh, I do believe we’re having sarcasm”.

Proving that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, she is less than pleased when the Man of Steel pops the diamond from her brooch and then crushes it in his bare hand, leaving it in dusty fragments. It’s a good thing that Superman put it back together again – as Mara’s reaction would dictate. She seems to be in awe of this Superman, unlike Lois and Jimmy, who take the demonstration of his powers in stride. When Jimmy takes a picture of Superman with the ladies, John Eldredge and Maurice Marsac, it is Gloria, as Mara who, with both hands, has attached herself to Superman’s arm.

While she definitely could be considered incorrigible, there is a vulnerability and naiveté to Mara Van Cleaver. She is totally oblivious that her gems are imitations. She is in sheer disbelief when guardian, Jonas, the incomparable John Eldredge, informs her that she is broke. Mara has spent money as if her back yard contained an entire orchard of money trees. It’s never occurred to her that the well might ever run dry. She threatens to have Jonas thrown in jail for embezzling her fortune, but guess again, Mara! Jonas reminds her that she is up to her pretty neck in this plot for “after all, I’m not the one who hired Superman.” We are given a premonition of what is to become of poor Mara when Jonas paints a picture of her as a penniless, working girl. The reality of her plight now sinking in, she ponders how she ever got into this situation. It is more overwhelming when Lois and Jimmy return to the mansion and she tries to buy their silence. For perhaps the first time, she learns an invaluable lesson – that money can’t buy everything, especially where one’s integrity is concerned.

Her conscience taking over, she tries to alert Clark to Lois and Jimmy’s whereabouts, but only ends up in the same fate as they have. Of course, Clark manages to get them out of trouble. What you do see is a genuine concern on Mara’s part for Clark: “We heard a terrible noise. Are you all right?” Once everything returns to normal, we now see Mara working at the Daily Planet as a copy girl. This episode is a great morality play, as Mara now understands and embraces the principle of the work ethic. She insists that the money she used to hire our favorite hero be given to charity as was originally intended.

Gloria and her husband, Patrick were involved in a motorcycle accident in 1993. Gloria’s right elbow was seriously injured, resulting in nerve damage affecting her back and legs. For years afterwards, she received photos in the mail for autographing, but couldn't sign them due to her injury. However, she kept them all in hopes that she would be able to sign and return them someday. In her last years, she began to have more difficulty walking, and was bedridden in the months prior to her death. She developed pneumonia, and was admitted to a hospital, where she became critical. She died very peacefully. According to her husband, having two grandchildren kept her going the last couple years, despite the pain she endured.

Gloria Talbott remains a cult favorite for her portrayals in westerns as well as her sci-fi films. She was one of those stars who provided a touch of class to both the big and little screens.

Photos provided by Thom Hamilton

February 2007


Veda Ann Borg

By Colete Morlock and Thom Hamilton

Virginia Christine was not the only Swedish miss to work on TAOS. Veda Ann Borg was born in Boston, Massachussetts, on January 11, 1915. Her father, Gottfried Borg, a Swedish immigrant, was a painter and decorator. Her mother, Minna Noble Borg had been a secretary before marrying Gottfried. Veda had hopes of becoming a cartoonist, but she established herself as a model in New York in the early 1930s.

Despite having no prior acting experience, Veda was given a secret screen test by Paramount in 1936 and signed on the spot. Her contract was short-lived with only one film, Three Cheers for Love (1936), starring Bob Cummings and William Frawley. Warner Brothers was a better fit. In Kid Galahad (1937), she co-starred with Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, and Wayne Morris. She had the knack of making even the smallest bit parts memorable as evidenced in this performance. The Case of the Stuttering Bishop was a Perry Mason venture. In The Singing Marine with Dick Powell, Veda got billing over Jane Wyman. In Public Wedding, the tables are turned; Jane Wyman gets top billing along with William Hopper. San Quentin (1937) teamed Veda with Pat O’Brien, Humphrey Bogart, and Ann Sheridan. The movie is a commentary on the Depression era and how inmates of the prison are affected by it. In Confession with Kay Francis, Ian Hunter, Basil Rathbone, and Donald Crisp, Veda plays one of Rathbone’s conquests. Kay Francis is on trial for her life, while her defense attorney is none other than a very young, moustached and full head of hair—Ben Welden. While Veda’s part isn’t a large one, the movie is good. In It’s Love I’m After, a comedy, Veda plays a maid. Co-stars included the great talents of Bette Davis, Olivia deHavilland, Spring Byington, and Bonita Granville. Veda’s only movie in 1938, Over the Wall, paired her with two future TAOS alumni, John Hamilton and Jonathon Hale. Her two films of 1939 were The Law Comes to Texas and Miracle on Main Street.

A life-threatening automobile accident in 1939 interrupted Veda’s career. Her face had to be completely reconstructed by plastic surgery. Upon gaining her first major role after the surgery, she said “I felt I had come back from the grave.” Veda emerged from this with a harder, more distinctive countenance than before—it’s no wonder she was so adept being the brassy chorus girl, gun moll and "kept women" that she would portray over the next twenty years. Resuming film work, Veda worked on 10 films in 1940. The first was the serial cliffhanger, The Shadow with Victor Jory and Roger Moore (not 007, but Robert Young’s older brother). During the 1940’s she freelanced at what is referred to as “poverty studios” like Monogram. She was pegged as a “wisecrackin', fast-talking, tough cookie...not the quiet ingénue that was typical of the films of the period.”

In Revenge of the Zombies (sci-fi) she plays John Carradine’s deceased wife, Lila. Also featured was Gale Storm, as part of a series for Monogram pictures (1943). Veda had a part in the Oscar winning film, Mildred Pierce (1945), starring Joan Crawford, Ann Blyth, and Eve Arden. Despite considerable talent, her leading roles usually occurred in B pictures like What a Blonde (1945). Another of her serials, Jungle Raiders, (1945) was a Sam Katzman production. The Corsican Brothers (1941) paired Veda with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., J. Carol Naish, and a future TAOS alumna, Sarah Padden. In 1949, Forbidden Women told the tale of three women hanging out in a bar, trying to gain the sympathy of the bartender as they tell of their marital woes. Veda’s husband in this one was Bill Kennedy, future announcer of the TAOS introduction, Robert Shayne, and one Noel Neill.

She began picking up some impressive "A" credits in the 1950s, notably as Vivian Blaine's showgirl pal in the mammoth musical Guys and Dolls (1955). Veda’a first movie with John Wayne was Big Jim McClain (1952), also with Hans Conreid and James Arness. John Wayne, as an investigator for the House on Un-American Activities gives viewers an inkling of what that era was like in American history. Her last movie appearance was in the John Wayne-directed film, The Alamo (1960). For eleven years, Veda Ann Borg was the wife of director Andrew V. McLaglen. Veda Ann Borg's career lasted approximately 25 years, from the mid 1930s through about 1960. She did roughly 80 films of various types, including a dozen westerns.

Veda’s TAOS Appearance

One of the most memorable episodes,

The Stolen Costume begs the question of how would CK/Superman react to someone actually discovering his secret identity. This is one of the episodes written by Ben Peter Freeman. (Please note: he wrote 7 of the episodes, including The Evil Three, Mystery in Wax, and The Deserted Village). Mr. Freeman’s treatment of female characters as strong-willed women is evident. The Stolen Costume shows us Connie, a woman who really knows how to use her brain. Connie overshadows Ace. It is Connie who knows the value of what T-Ball has brought them. Connie perseveres in her interrogation until told what she want to know. Veda’s brilliant portrayal of Connie shines. Veda’s vocal intonation in the dialogue impacts perfectly. It’s the emphasis on “The bullets bounced right off him!” as Ace shoots Clark. It’s the panic in her voice when she asks, “Is he dead?” after Clark knocks Candy out. It’s the smug attitude she adopts with “Yeah, and that’ll put the whammy on your Superman racket but good!” And you can hear her fright in “You’re not going to leave us here!” when Superman brings them to the cabin on the mountaintop. Veda runs the gamut of emotion.

Other TV Appearances

TAOS only began Veda’s TV career. In 1953, she appeared in The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok as a redheaded sheriff. She had a recurring role as Honeybee Willis in The Life of Riley. She was in The Public Defender (1954), and two episodes of the General Electric Theater (1954). Veda was also in an episode of Stories of the Century (1955). She appeared in three episodes of a WW II series entitled Navy Log (1955-57). There was an Alfred Hitchcock episode (1956), and another recurring role as Polly in the Disney mini-series, Corky and White Shadow series (1956). She appeared in The Thin Man (1957), The State Trooper (1957), Loretta Young Theatre (1958), Sugarfoot (1958), 3 episodes of The Restless Gun, (1958), and Bonanza (1961).

Veda in The Alamo

When I (Thom) first saw John Wayne's version of The Alamo (1960), I had no idea who Veda was; I didn’t know she had been in TAOS. John Wayne handpicked all the cast members for this production; among them was Veda Van Borg who portrayed Nell. Despite her dress in homespun cloth, a frayed straw hat and sun-damaged hair, she makes a striking appearance. Most impressive are her eyes. The makeup department put lenses on Veda eyes to portray her blindness with an almost glass-like appearance. Her final scenes, Veda gives one of her most powerful performances. It is worth watching again and again. Also, the recreation of the Alamo still stands today in Brownsville, Texas.

On a personal note, Veda’s first husband was Paul Herrick, whom she married in 1942. She met her second husband, Andrew V. McLaglen in 1945 while appearing with his father Victor McLaglen in Love, Honor and Goodbye (1945).

Veda had three children: Mary McLaglen, Josh McLaglen, and Victor McLaglen II. All three children would end up working on the production end of the movie business. Mary: unit production manager or assistant director for such films as The Client, One Fine Day, Practical Magic, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and Miss Congenialty 2 (to name a few). Josh: first or second assistant director of such films as Alien 3, Dolores Claiborne, Titanic, The X-Files, The Haunting, Reign of Fire, The Polar Express, Constantine and The Lake House. Victor (Andy McLaglen): directed films such as McClintock, Cahill-US Marshall, and episodes of Gunsmoke,and Have Gun Will Travel, among others.

Veda Ann Borg died of cancer on August 16, 1973 at the age of 58, leaving behind her many unforgettable roles as the woman who didn’t fit into high society, the zany blonde, or one who was flawed. For the TAOS fan, Connie will always be one of the most memorable women in the series.

December 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen,....Veda Ann Borg


Remembering Virginia Christine

By Colete Morlock and Thom Hamilton

Once upon a time, on March 20, 1920, about six years after the birth of George Reeves, there was a Swedish American miss who made her entrance in Stanton, Iowa. Are we beginning to see a pattern here of all the Iowa natives who have been involved with Superman? Her name was Virginia Ricketts, later as Virginia Kraft, when her mother remarried. She became known as Virginia Christine. Her early years were spent in Scandinavian communities in both Iowa and Minnesota. She attended kindergarten and early elementary classes at the Elmwood Elementary School near Drake University in Des Moines. As a student at Mediapolis High School (class of 1937), Virginia dreamed of becoming a concert pianist. During her high school years, she won state honors in both vocal and instrumental music, as well as a National Forensic League Award contest. This brought her to Chicago to work for a radio station. Her family relocated to Los Angeles and it is here that Virginia sought radio work while attending college at UCLA. While there, Warner Bros. studio reps saw her in a play. They signed her up and renamed her. A starlet was born—Virginia Christine. They cast her in Edge of Darkness.

She was trained for a theatrical career by the actor/director, Fritz Feld, who later would become her husband. They had two sons. In 1942, her Warner Brothers contract brought her bit parts in Edge of Darkness (1943), playing a Norwegian peasant girl named “Miss Olson”. Dealing with the Nazi occupation of Norway, the film starred Errol Flynn, Ann Sheridan and Walter Huston. Mission to Moscow (1944) is based on the real Ambassador to Russia, Joseph H. Davies. It features the talents of Walter Huston, Gene Lockhart, Eleanor Parker, Virginia in an uncredited role, and one Robert Shayne. While functioning as a freelance actress, Virginia played the female lead in The Mummy’s Curse (1945). Teamed with Lon Chaney Jr, she portrayed Princess Ananka. Later, she would come to consider this picture “ghastly” in her own words, and definitely not one of her highlights. There was the low budget western serial, The Scarlet Horseman (1946) in which she had a recurring role as Carla Marquette. That same year, she teamed up with Hugh Beaumont in Murder Is My Business in the Michael Shayne series. And in 1949, she appeared with George Reeves in Special Agent.

One high note was the cult film Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), while one of her worst ventures was Billy the Kid Meets Dracula (1978). As Mrs. Simpson, she appeared in High Noon (1952) with Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, and Lloyd Bridges to name a few. She was in the 1952 version of Cyrano de Bergerac with Jose Ferrer. Also that year, Ms. Christine was in Never Wave at a WAC, a war comedy in which Rosalind Russell and Jane Seymour starred with her. Virginia even had a Disney movie in her resume, Johnny Tremain (1957). The notables from this film were Sebastian Cabot and Annette Funicello. In 1963, she appeared in 4 for Texas starring the Rat Pack and Ursula Andress and Anita Ekberg. In 1964, she was cast for a role in The Killers, based on a Hemingway short story. It was originally intended for television; however, it was rejected by the censors because of the violence.

She matured into a character actress who was quite in demand when she appeared in Stanley Kramer films: The Men (1950), Not as a Stranger (1955), Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967). Her last film was Woman of the Year, (1976), a remake of the old Tracy-Hepburn movie.

Although she appeared in many films, here is one actress whose impact was most definitely felt on the small screen rather than the large one. It would seem that Virginia Christine was one of the most sought after actresses to appear in many popular series in the 1950’s and 1960’s. In fact, the busy, 5-foot-4 Iowan racked up more than 150 movies and 300 television shows in her career. Her TV credits are far too numerous to mention. Some of the highlights include multiple episodic appearances in Dragnet, The Ford Television Theatre, Science Fiction Theatre, State Trooper, Trackdown, The Rifleman, The Untouchables, Perry Mason, Bonanza, The Fugitive, Wagon Train, The Virginian, The F.B.I., and Daniel Boone. And those are just the multiples! She had numerous one-time appearances in many of our favorites from the 1950’s and 1960’s. She was also considered a voice artist, and did voice work in Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo.

Another memorable actress, we see her in only one episode, as the famous Lady in Black. Because she was so proficient in doing foreign accents, it’s no wonder that Virginia

was chosen to appear in this episode! I found it most interesting that the character of lady in black would be the central part of this episode, and yet, we only see her in the beginning and at the end.

We are given a glimpse of the lady in black’s secret identity, Mrs. Frank, in a few brief scenes in the middle of the episode. We see Jim Olson on the phone with Clark, telling him that he is apartment sitting, as his mother and her friend are visiting relatives in Michigan. As Jim leaves the building, he has an encounter with a man with the scar on his face—none other than John Doucette. At the bus stop, Jim has his first meeting with the lady in black. “I do not think it will rain today, do you?” she says with her thick foreign accent. Her next line of “He said the clouds are very near” make one wonders what sort of secret message this is. Indeed, poor Jim looks rather baffled himself.

As with a typical spy thriller, the lady in black takes Jim into an alley and persuades him to take a brown paper package from her for safekeeping. He attempts to go after the mysterious lady, but she seemed to have vanished into thin air. He then heads toward the back entrance of the apartment building. Standing at the door, a dagger is thrown, landing in the door molding. Jim hurries inside with a package full of money, dropping it outside in the hallway, and calls Clark, telling him a story that seems unbelievable. Still, being the hero that he is, Superman makes a trip over to make sure everything is all right.

With Superman on the scene, Jim’s story seems to be a tall tale. To make matters worse, Mrs. Frank is first seen in the episode. Virginia, as Mrs. Frank brings in a bag of groceries, and is asked if she found a knife at the back door. She produces a rubber dagger and nonchalantly makes a comment about how the kids are always leaving them there. Once Superman takes off, she remarks “He sure flies pretty” and then goes about her business. Virginia is then discussing with her husband how they are switching expensive paintings with imitations. I must admit I chuckled over her comment on modern art, and then the way she said, “Eyes, eyes, eyes!”

Now toward the end of the episode, the Lady in Black drops in on Jim. She tries to persuade him to hide her, while Superman appears a moment later. With her thick accent, she tries to excuse herself and leave the apartment but Superman will not allow this. Fearful that Superman will take action, she moves backward and says, “You would not touch a lady,” Of course, our superhero, always the gentleman responds with “of course not” but then uses his super breath to strip her of the hat and heavy veil, revealing Mrs. Frank. At this point, Virginia pours on the tears and is led from the apartment by Superman. And that is the last time we see her in the episode.

Despite all of her incredible film and television work, Virginia will most likely be remembered as Mrs. Olson, the friendly, Swedish neighbor of the Folger’s coffee commercials. In each one, she would provide comfort to a young married couple by showing the new wife how to make the perfect cup of coffee. Virginia began filming these commercials in 1965. She became so identified with the Mrs. Olson character, that her hometown erected a water tower shaped like a coffee pot named after her.

Virginia Christine retained her warm feelings for Iowa through the years, and returned there for school reunions. She died July 24, 1996 but left behind a long-standing film and television legacy.

(Special thanks to Thom Hamilton for his assistance with the photos)

November 2006

Tribute to Sarah Padden

By Colete Morlock and Thom Hamilton

We have been blessed to have marvelous male character actors from the TAOS series that have left an indelible mark on those episodes. Names so familiar to us such as Herb Vigran, Ben Welden, and John Doucette were indeed unforgettable. As I watched the series during syndication, I kept asking why the women in the series never had any recurring appearances like the men did. That’s why I decided, with Carl Glass' blessing of course, to call attention to those women, who may have only had one or two appearances, but whom also stand out in their own right.

Many will never remember her real name. Indeed, for TAOS fans, regardless of what other film or television work she has done, she will always be known as Mrs. Carmady in The Haunted Lighthouse episode. The actress, who pretended to be Jimmy Olson’s Aunt Louisa, is really Sarah Padden. She was born on October 16, 1881 in England. I’m not sure at what point she came to the USA, but she spent the majority of her life and career on this side of the Atlantic. Sarah had appeared in more than 169 movies and television episodes during her career.

Sarah Padden’s film and television career spanned the years of 1926-1961. During that time, she had some major, many minor, and some uncredited roles. Like our beloved George Reeves, Sarah had her share of appearances with major movie stars. Sarah appeared in three films in 1931 – Mata Hari, Yellow Ticket, and Bad Girl. Some of her co-stars included Greta Garbo, Lionel Barrymore, Lawrence Olivier, and Boris Karloff. Bad Girl received an Academy Award for Best Director and the film was nominated as best picture. Other films featured Sarah with the likes of Spencer Tracy, Ralph Bellamy, Helen Hayes and Clark Gable. One of her early films, Tomorrow’s Children (1934) dealt with the controversial subject of sterilization of people with physical and mental defects. In this film, Sarah, whose daughter is to be married is to be sterilized so a genetic defect cannot be passed along. One venture, in 1939, cast a young Sarah Padden opposite Mickey Rooney in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

One of Sarah’s films in 1943, Hangmen Also Die, tells the story of a Nazi hangman and how he himself loses his life. While reading up on this movie, I was surprised to see that the summary was written by Jim Beaver. The 1940’s ushered in roles for Sarah in 34 westerns. It is here that I for one have seen her in the majority of her films. This is also where some of her best character acting is seen. Usually seen as the rugged mother figure, head of a ranch, or even as the evil matriarch on the wrong side of the law, Sarah seemed to shine in these roles. She like George Reeves also appeared in a Hoppy movie entitled In Old Colorado 1941), featuring William Boyd and Andy Clyde. Sarah was in Gene Autry’s Heart of the Rio Grande (1942). In Marshal of Laredo (1945), Sarah Padden had a young costar named Robert Blake, later to be known as Baretta.

Due to her versatility for character roles, Miss Padden was also featured in comedies. Reg’lar Fellers (1941) finds an old and mean Sarah about to be robbed when, the group of kids she finds bothersome helps prevent the robbery. She eventually recants her attitude toward children as a result. One of the kids in the group is Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer of the Little Rascals/Our Gang fame. Another comedy from this decade was So This Is Washington, an installment of a seven-part series featuring Abner and Lum, two backwoods grocery proprietors who think they’ve invented a synthetic rubber. Sarah was featured as Aunt Charity Speers in this part. One of her major roles came from comedy. She was Mom Palooka in the 1940’s Joe Palooka prizefighter series featuring Jimmy Durrante and Stu Irwin. The Baby Boomers might not remember this, but their parents might, as this was a very popular series.

In the early 1950’s Sarah appeared in several noteworthy films. In 1950, Sarah starred in a movie entitled The Missourians which happened to be directed by George Blair. He, of course would go on to direct some of the TAOS episodes. Sarah portrays a mother once more, while John Hamilton is the mayor and Lane Bradford (Jet Ace) portrays a

character named Stash. Also in 1950, Sarah, in another western, entitled Gunslingers, portrayed Rawhide Rose Rawlins. Two of her co-stars were Andy Clyde and Bill Kennedy (TAOS announcer and race announcer in Joey). House By The River (1951) was a murder mystery. Sarah appears with Jane Wyatt and Peter Brocco (The Secret of Superman). In 1952, it was Big Jim McLain with John Wayne, James Arness, Hans Conried and Veda Ann Borg (The Stolen Costume).

In addition to those already mentioned, Sarah Padden had appeared with other actors who would later become TAOS alumni: Arthur Space (The Seven Souvenirs), Sterling Holloway (The Machine That Could Plot Crimes, Whistling Bird, Through the Time Barrier), Jonathon Hale (The Evil Three, Panic in the Sky), Maurice Marsac (The Birthday Letter, The Girl Who Hired Superman), and Virginia Christine (Lady in Black).

Once television had become an accepted form of entertainment, Sarah was seen in many series in the 1950’s. She appeared in the very first episode of the first season of Mr. And Mrs. North, entitled Weekend Murder. George Blair was also one of the directors for this episode. Sarah appeared in two Cisco Kid episodes with Jonathon Hale. In addition, she was in Dragnet, Lone Ranger, and Roy Rogers episodes, and The Loretta Young Show.

If anyone could be typecast, it would have been Sarah. She always played the madcap, eccentric heiress, a sympathetic mother of a very misguided son or daughter, or a ruthless matriarch. Admittedly, she was very convincing in these roles. In some films, Sarah was the one who made you chuckle from some of her zany antics. In others, she was the virtual maternal figure. In some, however, she was a fearsome character with cold as steel eyes that would make anyone queasy. Indeed, in many of her roles she portrayed someone you’d love to hate. For most of her film work, Sarah’s hair was pulled back into that tiny bun that seemed to be a signature trait for her.

Here’s a little known fact about Sarah Padden. Did you know that Sarah was one of four actresses being considered for the role of Auntie Em in The Wizard of Oz? Just think of how her career might have gone had she been immortalized in that classic. Although she didn’t land the part, that didn’t stop Sarah from working and her resume proves that.

Her TAOS appearance in The Haunted Lighthouse is one of my favorite episodes. First, I love lighthouses. I used to marvel at how large and small craft would be steered away from dangerous rocks on a shoreline. As a child, I recall my grandmother was into the soaps. One of her favorites was The Guiding Light, which featured a lighthouse. The first time I saw The Haunted Lighthouse, I wondered why the lighthouse was haunted. Clark’s introduction about Aunt Louisa being pleasant enough but still having an underlying tension sets the tone. Sarah Padden’s acting ability is seen first in the warm smile and expressive eyes as she introduces Jim Olson to Alice. When her son, Chris balks at having a visitor, he gets the response in typical Sarah Padden harshness, “You’re lucky I remembered he was coming at all!”

Sarah turns on the charm when Jim Olson has a run in with cousin Chris. Sarah sweetly tells Jimmy that she wants him to forget all the unpleasantness with his cousin Chris and have a real vacation. Then she kisses him and tells him to be a good boy. She sounded so convincing. Another side of Sarah’s Aunt Louisa comes forth as she catches Jim and Alice sneaking out of the house. Her “Where do you two think you’re going?” tone of voice is authoritative, but panicked. After Jim explains they were going to look for her, Sarah the ever charming, sends Jim off to bed with a smile and “Good Night”. Immediately after he is out of sight, Sarah’s smile disappears and her eyes form daggers.

With Superman and the Coast Guard en route to Moose Island, Chris tells his mother to be prepared to blow up the lighthouse to conceal any evidence of the ongoing smuggling. Sarah now shows us worry and concern with her voice and expressive eyes, “Chris! Alice is up there with her!” His total disregard for Alice’s safety is such a counterpoint to Sarah, seated at the kitchen table. Her body language conveys sadness, worry, regret, and resignation. When Alice is tying her up, it’s the look in Sarah Padden’s eyes that makes you feel sympathetic toward her.

Sarah’s last two performances were in a 1957 episode of Crossroads where she played the grandmother of a prison inmate, and in 1958 she was a ranch owner in Girl With an Itch. Sarah Padden died on December 4, 1967. She may be gone but she certainly is not forgotten.

[Many thanks to Thom Hamilton for his assistance with research and photos]


Meeting the First Lady of TAOS

By Colete Morlock and Thom Hamilton

(Wizard World – Chicago, Illinois - August 5, 2006)

This past weekend I happened to be in Chicago for a reunion-related project. That being done, my classmate and I took her kids to the Wizard World Convention. Upon arrival, we went our separate ways for a while, and so I set out on my own quest…strange, that this one took me back to the place of my birth. It was in Chicago that I first discovered the wonderful world of a Superman, along with a man named George Reeves, and his friends, Noel Neill, Jack Larson, John Hamilton, Robert Shayne, and all those famous character actors. Now, I had come back home to complete the pilgrimage and would seek out our original Lois Lane.

I realize that for those like Carl and Leslie, this is more of a common occurrence. But to those of us who have only dreamt of meeting our dear First Lady of TAOS, having the quest become a reality is almost next to impossible to imagine. Yet, here I stood, amidst all the hustle, bustle, and congestion—seeking the one person who has kept our TAOS memories alive all these years, along with Jack Larson.

From the moment I entered that convention center, my mind went into overdrive with questions. I wondered how I would react to The Lady. Would I be able to ask her questions, or would I stand there like a bungling idiot? I realized that it didn’t matter—this was about the mission to find Ms Neill and when I would find her, I prayed that I would be able to speak to her with some level of coherence. Like other conventions I’ve attended over the years, this one was wild, crazy and fun. There were so many displays of comic books, action figures, posters of Brandon Routh and people dressed in costumes. Lou Ferrigno of The Incredible Hulk was there. Dirk Benedict was signing Battlestar Galactica autographs, although I remember him more as “Face” from The A-Team. Then there is Scott L Schwartz, wrestler/actor, who also has a TAOS connection via Gene LeBell (thank you, Larry for letting me in on that one). When I told Scott that I hailed from the Detroit area, he told me that he used to wrestle in Detroit at Cobo Hall. It was like meeting an old friend. But even with all of the other celebrities there, none of them could deter me. I just had to see the one person whom I’ve longed to meet for so many years.

My eyes glanced along the wall, as I knew that’s where SHE would be. Then I saw it…that familiar poster of our favorite hero, George as Superman, with our favorite heroine. I meandered through the crowds and somehow found myself standing behind a group of people. They were huddled around a table so I could not see her. As they began to thin out, I approached with some trepidation. Then I spotted a familiar face from Carl’s web page. “Larry?” I shyly asked. He turned to me, so I said, “I’m Colete…from the Boards. It’s so nice to finally meet you!”

I added how much I’ve enjoyed his latest book on Noel, particularly the early years. Larry was very warm and friendly to me. He brought me over to the table and then introduced me to “The Lady” herself. She flashed one of her famous smiles, and extended her hand to me. I held it with both of mine and told her what a great honor it was to meet her. To say I was a bit shaky would be a masterpiece of understatement. I kept thinking I should pinch myself—Can this really be happening? If it’s a dream, don’t let me wake up! I didn’t know what to call her—Ms Neill? Noel? She told me to call her “Lois”. I just stood there in total awe of her. Our “Lois” may be very petite, but she has the heart of a lion. She has such a presence and aura, and stands tall on her own.

I told her that I had brought her a little present and she seemed very surprised at that. I opened my purse and handed it to her. Her reaction was priceless! She reminded me of someone who had just opened her first Christmas present and discovered it was exactly what she wanted. Her face had a look that told me she was pleased. She thanked me and flashed another of her famous smiles. This was definitely one for the memory books, Folks!

Sensing this was a Kodak moment, Larry asked me if I brought my camera. I immediately handed it to him. He snapped two pictures of “Ms Lois” and me. I wanted to reciprocate so I’d have a picture of the two of them, but he told me that he “isn’t photogenic” (that’s usually my line). Not to worry, determined as I was, I did manage to get one of Larry as well.

With the camera put away, I turned to our First Lady of TAOS and told her that one picture in her book had very special meaning for me. I described it to her and felt myself getting a bit choked up. I took her hand and told her that my mother, who would be 82 if she were alive, had a similar one taken when she was 21. I told her how she reminded me so much of my mom in that one. She was touched by that and gave me a little hug.

What could be more of an honor and privilege than spending some special time with Ms Lois? I was so thrilled just to be in her presence. I am exceptionally proud and pleased to report that she is just as amiable and wonderful as Carl has told us she is. Our Lois puts one at ease immediately and I found myself hanging on her every word. I enjoyed the “girl talk” that we had, but we also spoke a bit about TAOS. I told Ms Lois that The Wedding of Superman was one of my favorite episodes because she finally got the man. At that, she flashed one of her legendary smiles and gave a nod. Although there are probably many things I could have asked her, my mind was a blank. It was wonderful just watching her interact with people. To coin a phrase from George as Superman, “I’m not very good with words”, but just being in her presence was extraordinary!

All good things must come to an end, and my time with the First Lady of TAOS ended all too quickly. She remains a splendid ambassador for TAOS and that entire ensemble cast. She tirelessly greets the fans with great exuberance. She signs their photos and memorabilia, and has her picture taken with them. I spent a few moments with her, but came away feeling I’d known her my entire life. I was deeply touched by her genuine concern for others, and how much she enjoys being close to the fans. I experienced the First Lady of TAOS, and that is one I will cherish and remember always.

I’ve stated before, that even though George never had any children of his own, he has an entire generation of children. And yes, George, we are the adults who do appreciate you. By the same token, our First Lady of TAOS has been like a mother to all the fans who watched her then, and continue to watch her faithfully. For an entire generation of girls such as myself, The Original Lois Lane blazed a trail and showed us how to remain competitive in a man’s world, while still retaining our femininity. The little lady from Minneapolis continues to be an inspiration to all of us. Stay well, “Lois”, for we love you dearly!

August 2006

Thanks for Watching.

Lou (March 12, 2011)   

The Adventures Continue (TAC) is a website devoted to George Reeves and the Adventures of Superman. All contents copyright© by Jim Nolt unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Nothing from this website may be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part (excpet for brief passaged used solely for review purposes) without the written permission of either Jim Nolt (owner) and/or Lou Koza (editor).

The article above titled Ladies of TAOS is the copyright and ownership of Colete Morlock and Thom Hamilton and cannot be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part without Ms. Morlock's and Mr. Hamilton's written permission.

Superman and all related indicia are trademarks of DC Comics, Inc. and are reproduced for historical purposes only. Use of the name of any product or character without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status. Includes the video captures from the Adventures of Superman.

 "Like The Only Real Magic -- The Magic Of Knowledge"