The Adventures Continue

Front Cover
TAC Table of Contents
Contact Information



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.

We now live with the constant threat of attacks from terrorists (both foreign and domestic) in our country and abroad.

The landscape of television is now comprised of reality shows, sitcoms about nothing, and up to the minute news, paranoia, and most importantly, sports. Cable Access shows allow all who have a spare hundred bucks to reach for their fifteen minutes of fame.

50s television shows are now labeled Classic TV, and are mass released on an almost daily basis on DVD.

Articles and books, as well as movies, have all been bandied about with regard to George Reeves. Some are better than others. Many are off-kilter, and most are more concerned with the night George died than any of the days he lived. A good many of these projects have been viewed as offensive by George fans. Some have come to fruition, but many have not.

The point being that George Reeves was of his time. The Adventures of Superman was of its time. There will never be another Humphrey Bogart. Has there been another team of comics like the Three Stooges? Is there a crooner out there who will take the place in the collective hearts as Francis Albert Sinatra did? Babe Ruth's home run record may be broken, but his impact won't diminish. Babe, Bogey, the Stooges, and Frank are what legends are made of. So was George.

In the 1954 episode "The Unlucky Number," George states, "No one can do the things Superman does." Well, no one can do the things George Reeves did! No one can live in another's time fully. No one can live in another's mind! With all the ink used to chronicle George's mysterious death, his life and craft have all but been ignored. There seemed to be little left to write about on the subject. The question one has to ask oneself is how does one relate the events of one generation to another? With great difficulty!

In 2000, Steve Randisi suggested that he and I write a book about George Reeves; to which I replied, "What is there to do after Speeding Bullet?" "The films of George Reeves," Steve rebutted. So we began a dialogue which lasted several days on how to do it, and why to do it.

Included in this dialogue was the author/publisher of Superman on Television, Spaceman Lost, and Heroes and Villains, Mike Bifulco. The three of us mulled this around for many months. Steve and I were in constant contact, and soon chapters began to materialize. After five years of this process, we are now proud to announce the publication of Behind the Crimson Cape - The Cinema of George Reeves, a book that was truly five years in the making.

A monumental problem we faced was illustrating this book. After hours and hours that dissolved into years, by meticulously picking at the collectible market we came up with what we consider the best possible graphic representation available to us of George Reeves' life in Hollywood in front of the cameras. Some things came to us on loan, and others were culled from collectors (eBay), bookstores, and paper shows. We have tried to illustrate each and every chapter with a photo of George from the said film. But sometimes George appeared only briefly in the film, ended up on the cutting room floor, or we could find nothing of representation of his contribution to these productions. In these cases we have substituted illustrations from the film, but without George Reeves. In some cases we have used newspaper and press book advertising materials. We hope with you, the reader's, indulgence you can fill in our blanks as you peruse this tome.

This book contains well over 300 illustrations and a critical analysis and synopsis of each of George's sixty-plus films. It is hardback with a dust jacket, and suitable for every George fan's growing library. Also included is a selection of photographs from various phases of George's career. Some are culled from the ill-fated Fair Tour of the summer of 1957. Many of these stills have never been published, most notably a sequence of photographs of actor/stuntman/author and friend of George, Gene LaBell as Mr. Kryptonite wrestling George as the Man of Steel. These photographs have not been seen in 48 years.

I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for us being eight months off our original release date, but we all know as John Lennon said, "Life is truly what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." And with pesky computer problems, each partner with other jobs, and not enough time in the day, time got away from us. For this we are sorry, and hope that Behind the Crimson Cape - The Cinema of George Reeves will more than make up for the time you have had to wait.

Jan Alan Henderson
May 16, 2005

From the back cover...

Jack Larson ~
This is the kind of book George Reeves wished for and would have liked.

Noel Neill ~
A long overdue tribute to a gentle man, whose motion picture career should be taken notice of.

Text from cover of Behind the Crimson Cape

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.

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