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"The Monkey Mystery" Mystery

Superman And The Mole Men and the twenty-four initial episodes of the Adventures Of Superman were filmed during the hot summer months and into the fall of 1951 (July 10 to October 13). Then from October to December Maxwell and associates edited and assembled those films into the first season package. But even after all were "in the can," Maxwell had yet to find a sponsor. [For the story behind Kellogg's eventual sponsorship, please read Michael Hayde's Flights of Fantasy: The Unauthorized by True Story of Radio & TV's Adventures of Superman.] Although Kellogg's was impressed by Maxwell's efforts, the company did insist on some changes. Some changes, such as the eliminiation of the scene of Elsa being shoved down the ramp in "The Evil Three" were meant to tone down the violence. Kellogg's also felt that understanding would be improved if certain notes and teletype reports were read aloud instead of simply being shown on the screen (the news of Tony Urmenti's death in "The Monkey Mystery," for example). Still other changes involved the moving "The End" to the end of the credits rather than between the close of the story and the beginning of the credits. [The most obvious differences between the Maxwell and Kellogg's versions can be seen in respective viewings of the "Crime Wave" montage.]

The major change to "The Monkey Mystery" was the elimination of the scene in which Jan Moleska is beaten with whips in the cave just after he encourages his daughter, Maria, to find her way to freedom in the United States.

But... through correspondence with Mike Goldman and Don Holmes in recent months, TAC has been shown that perhaps there is yet another version of this episode Some of you might chalk up the discrepancies shown below to edits made long after the episode's initial release, yet we can't be sure. So... for your consideration, enjoyment, and possible comment... please check out these clips provided by Mike and Don.


 WWOR Broadcast

 WGN Broadcast

Warner Release




The WWOR copy appears to be a "Maxwell" edit. When Lois receives the note from Tony Urmenti, the organ grinder, all we see is the note onscreen.
Lois reads silently. There is no audio. Not what Kellogg's wants.

In the WGN copy, which appears to be a "Kellogg's" edit, the scene plays the same way...but the note is different! It is clearer, and there is a claw on it. The typeface and spacing is slightly different, and more uniform. You do not see any of Lois' thumbs or fingers at the edges the note.

The official Warner's version, is most likely a "Maxwell" edit, but it has the WGN ("Kellogg's") version of the note that Lois receives! [To borrow from "The Deserted Village," Strange... very strange.]


In the WWOR ("Maxwell") version, Jimmy shows Lois' note to Clark and the Chief. Clark reads the note out loud, but the note is not shown onscreen. What's odd about this is that having the note read out loud is not exactly, but is more in line with, what Kellogg's would have wanted. Note also that Clark mentions a date -the 24th, but that date does not appear in the text of either version of the note Lois received.

In the WGN ("Kellogg's") version of this scene, Clark reads the note aloud and the note, with the claw, is shown onscreen. The date (the 24th), however, has been cut from the audio. We see and hear exactly the same words, just as Kellogg's would have wanted.

The official Warner's version has the same video as the WGN ("Kellogg's") version, but the audio used is identical to the WWOR ("Maxwell") version. i.e., the date (the 24th) is spoken. This scene on the Warner's release appears to be a hybrid of the "Maxwell" and "Kellogg's" versions.





In the WWOR version, in true Maxwell form, when Jimmy barges into the Chief's office with the news that Tony Urmenti has been found dead in the Metropolis River, we are only shown the teletype. There is no voiceover. As such, Clark's reaction, asking the Chief what was wrong, is appropriate. After all, he couldn't hear the written dialogue either!

In the WGN version, as Kellogg's would have wanted, the Chief reads the teletype over the phone to Clark. We are also shown the teletype onscreen... as we were in the WWOR version. But now, Clark's reaction -- asking the Chief what was wrong -- is no longer appropriate; the scene should have cut directly to the Chief telling Clark to get back to the office.

The official Warner's ("Maxwell") version, once again uses the same audio as heard in the WGN episode. There is some visual difference with the way the teletype appears onscreen, although this could be due to Warner's stepping up the video resolution. But it seems that this version is looking more and more like a Kellogg's edit!





The WWOR version ends in Maxwell fashion. As Bob Maxwell composed it, there is no musical transition, and the closing begins with "THE END." However...the WWOR closing has been truncated. This seems to suggest there was a PREVIEW, and the credits do end with the words "THE END" (not shown here) at the very end, in the way a Kellogg's edit would. This, then, would appear to be a Kellogg's closing on a Maxwell episode. Odd.

The WGN version ends in the same way visually, and in the Kellogg's style, there is musical transition beginning as Superman points to Pepe and continuing to the fade out... followed by truncated end credits with "THE END" (again, not shown here) at the very end. The WGN copy clearly seems to have been a Kellogg's edit.

The Warners version ends, visually, the same as the WWOR and WGN versions do. In Maxwell fashion, there is no musical transition, and the closing credits start with the words "THE END." In that respect, the Warner's version seems to be a Maxwell edit. Yet those earlier scenes in Perry White's office, involving the note Lois received and the news teletype, utilize the exact changes Kellogg's would have wanted. We also know that these same scenes, as they appear in the WWOR version, are not what Kellogg's would have wanted.

"The Monkey Mystery" is, indeed, filled with mystery, and we will probably never know exactly how this all came about.


 Ah... but that's not all. Check out this ending. There is no cut back to Superman and Jimmy smiling, there is music but it didn't begin when Superman points, and the credits begin with

"The End"


Jim Nolt
August 7, 2011

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