TAC Table of Contents
It's hard to believe that a decade has passed since the Cult
Movies edition of "Speeding Bullet" was released.
In that decade, our world has changed so much, that some aspects
of our lives are unrecognizable; yet some remain the same.
Jan Alan Henderson
From the back cover...
Jack Larson ~
Noel Neill ~
It's amazing that George Reeves, forty-six years after his death, elicits so much interest. Mention his name, and people have varying reactions: "Wasn't he the guy who jumped out the window?" or "the guy who played Hercules in the late 1950s?" Others confuse him with Christopher Reeve.
Over the years, a mountain of print has been fed to the public, some credible, some not so credible. One thing is certain: George Reeves kept his private life private. In the glare of his television stardom, Reeves could have taken full advantage of celebrity; yet he opted for modesty. Instead of basking in the limelight, every time he turned that light on, he used it for the benefit of others, not himself. There were no tabloid headlines reporting George's wild weekends with a bevy of booze and babes.
To the audience of the 1950s, George Reeves was Superman. To the kids of the 50s, there was a Superman, and possibly a Santa Claus. There seemed to be a new Superman episode every week, as a generation lived out its endless summer before the waves of reality smashed down on the beach of youthful optimism. June of 1959 brought the big snap, when we found out that heroes don't last forever.
A generation that once believed, couldn't anymore It wasn't possible for Superman to die, but it happened. A preview of how a nation would feel some four years later, when a United States president was shot down in front of a crowd in Texas. The nation's youth got the same shock treatment when George Reeves opened the doors of eternity which presidents, paupers, and kings have passed through, into the great unknown. With Superman alive, there was a true hero to shed light on the blackness of the unknown; a hero who consistently made things right! But now there was a void. Suddenly, the unknown was all around, and there was no escape. Childhood's end.
One has to wonder what effect all this adoration had on George Reeves. How does one live a life with that pressure? The assumption could be that one becomes a millionaire, and can isolate one's self. Not true with George Reeves or any of the other cast members. The Adventures of Superman cast missed the television residual bonanza by mere years, and all of them went on to different things, in and out of show business. The life of show people is never secure, never stable; yet some do quite well in the real world, and others go off the rails. Some have trouble with drugs, alcohol, and the law. Some avoid the pitfalls that consume others; others use the press to air their grievances, real or imagined.
One thing is certain, George Reeves never bellyached about whatever fate befell him. He never moaned, complained, or bitched about his work, stardom, or his fellow players. He never found himself being awakened by the police in a strange bed, in an innocent stranger's house. No, George was a gentleman - to the tragic end.
How would George like to be remembered? Probably not as Superman; although had he lived, he may have warmed up to it as he grew older, but most likely not. We believe George would have wanted to have been remembered as an actor.
This book is about life and art, not death and suspicion. This book is about the part of George's life that we hope he would have wanted his fans to know about, not scandal and death.
In this volume, we try to bring attention to the film career Reeves had prior to, during, and unfortunately, not after, Superman - a career which formed every nuance and characteristic of his portrayal of Krypton's mighty Man of Steel.
Some of these films are classic, some are not. Some are from major studies, others are not. Some feature George as the star, and some merely offer him a supporting role. Sometimes George is on window dressing in these productions (an extra player), and in some he's almost invisible.
In any event, George Reeves enjoyed a career in film More often than not, he found himself before the camera (in either black & white or Technicolor) in very good company. We sincerely hope you will come away with that impression after thumbing through the pages of this book. With that said, you are invited to settle back, put some popcorn in the microwave, and maybe for a third and final time, we may learn a little more about an actor named George Reeves.