The Adventures of Superman
music CD is available
On March 14, the music
from the Adventures
of Superman starring George Reeves was released on CD. Produced
by Paul Mandell, it features the music used for the first season
shows in 1951. Because several readers of The Adventures
Continue asked that I post reviews for products such as this,
I've printed some letters below. Additional comments are welcome.
Hmmm, not bad . . . I'll write a
review for Jim as soon as I save Lois and Jimmy.
I got the Superman recording you mentioned in one of
your most recent e-mails. It is terrific. Not only am I one of
those kids who was raised in the 50s but I also teach a class
in high school which makes passing mention of music scored for
movies and television. This CD provides an interesting write
up on canned background music -- plus lots of terrific and memorable
examples. Thanks for the suggestion to buy this. It's a delight.
I remember once in 1968, during my first year of teaching,
a fellow teacher came over to our home and I played him background
music which I had audio taped from a Lone Ranger episode.
My friend was the same age as myself and he was also in his first
year of teaching. He found my recording to be an
uncanny experience. The strangest feeling came over him -- wiping
out the years since he was little and sitting before the television
watching that show. "I feel like I'm wearing short pants
and about race to the sand box and play as soon as this show
is over. It's like being young all over again." Funny, isn't
it, how music can be such a transporting vehicle! Sometimes sounds
bring back more memories than even the sights themselves.
Dear Mr. Nolt,
I would like to submit a review, or rather, comment about
the new Superman music CD, mainly because it seems that no one
else has realized, including the producers of the CD, that it
contains some serious flaws.
I'll preface this with a little background on my familiarity
to the music. I am 48 years old and can remember seeing the Adventures
of Superman first run. I also watched it avidly during its
first wave of syndication in the sixties, recording my favorite
episodes on 5" reel audiotapes. From the beginning I had
always loved the music. In the mid 70's, I recorded the audio
from all of the first and second season episodes onto 7"
reel audiotapes and edited the music tracks onto cassette tapes,
in as complete form as possible with the least amount of dialogue
and sound effects. When Nickelodeon reran Superman in
the 90's, I did the same thing on videotape (except of course
the audio is slightly speeded up, since they time compressed
as well as edited their video transfers for broadcast). Except
for a few instances in the first season's music, I know how the
tracks should play.
The CD is only missing a handful of the tracks that were used
in the first season. Most notable are two. First is the piece
that plays during the scene where Walter Reed explains to Kent
why his drilling operation was shut down in "The Unknown
People." This scene is represented by the only photograph
from the show in the CD's liner notes booklet, not counting the
reproduction of Superman from the cover of the CBS library tapes.
Second is the piece that plays under Benson's men and dogs chasing
the Mole Men in part two. This piece also occurs in "Superman
On Earth" when Dabbs Greer is rescued from the dirigible.
Funny that this one was omitted when both titles are advertised
on the CD cover (although Superman and the Mole Men should
be "The Unknown People" as the former used music from
an entirely different source). Also sorely missing is the Superman
theme music (Main Title) minus the narration and effects. There
are also 2 or 3 alternate flying themes not included.
The biggest problem with the CD is that several of the "300
series" tracks are in edited form. Many of them start, repeat
the beginning, go a little farther, then repeat the new section,
or start about 30 seconds into the track, go to the end and completely
repeat, etc. These tracks are #4, 9, 16, 18, 19 and 20. Using
Sound Forge software, I was able to reedit them back to their
original structure. Some of the "300 series" tracks
follow the same structure; a theme is introduced, it is developed
til it builds to a climax, the theme is repeated with a different
arrangement (reprise), followed by a conclusion. Those on the
CD are tracks 8, 18, 20, and 33. To get an idea of how track
18 should sound structurally, check it against #33. Track 18
is quite frankly a mess. It starts with the conclusion, cuts
to the build to a climax, cuts to the end of track 4, then the
beginning occurs, a section in the middle repeats, then it goes
all the way to the climax where the end of Track 4 repeats again.
The reprise that goes between the climax and the conclusion is
missing. One example where you can hear this missing section
is in "The Monkey Mystery" where Lois gets knocked
out on the Washington Limited and the mugger makes his getaway
down the train corridor.
Extensive research appears to have been done in order to find
this music and attribute the correct composers and origins to
them, but apparently the producers did not really know what they
had. Someone in charge definitely did not or we would not have
gotten these chopped up tracks.
So as not to sound completely unappreciative, the sound quality
of all the tracks is excellent and it is better to have them
in this condition than not at all. I hope someone is working
on season two and does a better job of it. I know the music is
out there as I have heard tracks within the last few years on
Late Night with Conan O'Brien and in ads on American Movie
A bit of trivia about the music tracks is that #4, 9, 19,
21, and 34, the energetic flamboyant pieces from the "300
series", have alternate downbeat endings.
Examples of where they can be heard are:
Track 4 - after Superman stops the school bus in "The Mind
Track 9 - after the trucker gets crushed at the end of "Crime
Wave"'s opening montage
Track 19 - after Superman removes the boulder in "The Evil
Track 21 - after the mole man escapes the burning shed in "The
Unknown People II"
Track 34 - in "Czar of the Underworld," from the shot
where Frank Dinelli falls from the catwalk through his dialogue,
"Yes, Chief to you and all the-" .
June 10, 2000
I just received the Superman music soundtrack CD, and it is fantastic.
The sound is great and each cut evokes memories and stirs the
emotions of all George Reeves' Superman fans. Thank you, Jim,
for mentioning the sale of the CD. All fans of George Reeves
must get this CD, and I hope a follow up is issued.
I bought the Superman TV soundtrack CD yesterday, and I love
it. The quality is wonderful. Thanks to Paul Mandell and everyone
involved for their efforts.
I did notice something that I interpreted as a technical flaw,
however. The fidelity at the very start of the Superman main
title (for about one second or so) is noticeably inferior to
the rest of the piece, then improves drastically, as though audio
processing was suddenly switched in. Are you aware of this, and
do you have an answer? (An article on the production process
for this CD would be almost as interesting as the CD itself!)
But that is a small point. It's a great CD for all George
Reeves and Superman fans to own. I'm very happy to have this
in my collection. Please feel free to post this with the other
reviews on your site, if you wish.
(Randy, I'm printing out this page to send to Paul Mandell
and will send along your suggestion for an article on the production
process. Thanks for the suggestion. Jim)
I just wanted you to know that I have listened to the Superman
CD many, many times, and I think it is the best thing on CD.
Thank you for informing me about it. You are a true friend of
mine, and I thank you for sharing your knowledge of George Reeves
I just received the brand new Superman CD courtesy of Amazon.com.
Boy, does it evoke memories of all those great first season episodes.
My only disappointments were the omissions of two tracks from
the first season that I am particularly fond of. The first one
that I would like to have heard is the theme music cue that is
played over the episode title card and that is also heard over
the closing dialogue of some of the Kellogg's episodes.
The second track that I miss is the cue played during the
fight scene between Macy Taylor and the Colonel in "The
Evil Three" which is also repeated in the episode, "The
Human Bomb", when Jimmy Olsen grabs the golf club and climbs
out on the ledge of the Daily Planet building to rescue Lois.
This music was also used on some first season opening titles
of "Ramar of the Jungle". If that music is indeed on
the CD, I must have missed it.
Otherwise, it is an excellent CD and I recommend it very highly
to any true fan of the Adventures of Superman..
Thanks again, Jim, and take care,
Just want to tell you that I ordered the CD mentioned on your
website and it was fantastic. I love the theme song and backround
tracks and I would recommend this item to any serious fan of
the show. I
guarantee that if you are a true fan, you will immediately recognize
this music and the quality of the recording is excellent. Seldom
does a CD live up to it's expectations but this one really delivers.
Just got the CD. WOW!!!!! I hope another or sequal will come
soon. "Panic in the Sky" with the strings, and "The
Dog Who Knew Superman" is another good one I hope will be
included. I was astonished to see Herchel Burke Gilbert wrote
much of the music. You may recall he wrote music for
Gilligan's Island, The Plainsman, Dick Powell
Theater and more. Words simply can't describe
my excitement with this CD. The Adventures Continue
Thanks for the update on the TV LAND Superman Marathon. Also,
here is another vote for the tremendous CD. This is just plain
awesome! I've wished for this music for over twenty years and
here it is! Let's hope there is a sequel with season two on it.
Hope you are well. It has been a long time since i've written
you, but I see how busy you are and enjoy every issue of Tac,
Jr. I got my copy of the CD today, and it's great. My one
(small) disappointment was that there was not the harp rift when
Superman is going to fly. There is a small amount in the opening
of the main title, but that's all. One of my favorite segments
in the series is, coincidentally, the scene you have on the CD
link page from "Superman In Exile" where George is
listening to the radio, realizes the lightning is the answer
to his problem, the harps start, he walks outside, and, well,
I don't have to tell you the rest! I even taped that onto a cassette
to play in the car! I look forward to any future volumes of this
series. I will email a cc of this to the producers for future
input. Thank you for all the time and effort you exert to remember
a great man. I wish I could have met him. Had the opportunity
in 1958, when i was six. He came to an appearance in Chicago,
but I had the chicken pox, and had to stay home while some of
my friends went. They wondered why he wouldn't fly!
Take care and best wishes.
I see I'm not the first and I'm sure I wont be the last, but
I wanted to thank you for telling me about the
soundtrack. I listen to it often and it always makes me smile.
As avid fans of TAC, my son and I want to again thank you for
your efforts. They are truly appreciated. My son secreted a copy
of the Superman sound track CD into the house and was
going to give it to me as a birthday present. I'm extremely gratified
that he didn't wait. Back in the days of LPs, "playing the
grooves off it" was a reference to a popular album. I am
playing the grooves off my CD and have dubbed a copy onto cassette
which I constantly play in the car. This is fantastic! I have
always been a great fan of the haunting background music, especially
in the 1951 episodes. Being able to hear unadulterated master
copies is beyond description. I sincerely hope that the producers
of this CD add an addition for the episodes of 1953, '55, and
'57. 1954 and '56 episodes did not have the same crispness in
background music (although one note of one of the 1951 gems appears
in "The Tomb of Zaharan"). Please continue to inform
us of future releases and other fascinating information on George
Reeves and the series.
Your devoted fans,
Herb and Dave Gerstenfeld
I received the new Adventures of Superman music CD last
week. It's sensational, but I have one pet peeve -- nothing from
the second season! Wish they had included music from episodes
such as "Panic in the Sky" -- that's memorable stuff.
Maybe a second CD is on the horizon!
I may be the first one on my block to receive the CD! Thanks
for informing everyone. It is quite a complete collection, with
an extensive jacket liner. You do lose a little without the visuals
of the show, but its a great accompaniment to your web site!
A challenge for you - Identify which of the 35 (plus 1 surprise)
themes go with which episode. #1 and #35 don't count. If anyone
is up to the task, its you.
Regards, Steve Sackstein
Steve, I'm not sure I could match
up every track, but I did find myself waiting for particular
dialogue after certain tracks. For instance, I could hear Madam
Selena calling for Andrew after one of them. Jim
I'm new to all of this, but I appreciate
the newsletters and such. I, too, purchased the CD of the television
music and found it quite nostalgic. Being only a little boy when
I watched the TV series in the 50s, it really brought back memories.
I especially remember always waiting for the "Superman on
Earth" episode to come on because it was always my favorite.
Now I close my eyes, listen to the soundtrack, and it just takes
me back to a simpler time where "heroes" really had
the qualities one wanted to emulate. For any fan of the TV series,
I would recommend the CD.
I, too, just received the Superman CD and thought it marvelous.
I had expected it to be a re-recording by a current orchestra
of the cue music from the series. I was delighted to hear the
original material as originally recorded. A number of years ago
I ordered this same music on cassette from Vintage Soundtrak
in Brooklyn, but having it on CD is fantastic. Paul Mandell did
a fine job producing and editing the CD. There are a few pieces
not on the CD, but I understand there may be a follow-up in the
near future. Please note that although the playlist lists 35
segments, there is a number 36, which is the audio portion of
a Kelloggs cereal commercial with George and John Hamilton. Any
fan of the series can't go wrong with this collection. It's very
I am sitting here listening to this new CD and WOW! The crew
that restored and produced this has got to get some kind of award.
To listen to these tracks today, all remastered and through a
decent stereo system instead of a scratchy little television
speaker is, well, a spiritual experience for those of us who
have these eerie little tunes etched deeply into our fondest
memories of childhood. This CD is a must have for all who carry
I ran to my local CD store and lunch today and found the new
Superman CD. In a word, it's
"terrific." Contains the original open and close themes
and the wonderful Mutel library music from the first season in
the best sound I've heard to date. Haven't listened to it all
yet, but enough to know it was worth the trip to get it.
While George's picture does not appear
on the front or back covers he's featured prominently inside,
and CD booklet contains the following dedication, "Dedicated
to the memory of George Reeves, and all the keepers of the flame."
Other positive mentions of George in
the liner notes by Paul Mandell include:
"By the end of that wonder year
(1953), George Reeves as the Man of Steel had fueled the corpuscles
of every apple-cheeked kid in the 48 states."
"Adventures of Superman
... gave us a super-hero we could believe in, made possible by
a gifted actor whom many of us felt we actually knew intimately."
All in all, a great job (in my opinion).
Would love to hear yours and others.
I just wanted everyone out there to know, I pick up the CD for
the Adventures of Superman show yesterday. It is so cool,
I can't begin to tell you. You have to get this CD if you love
George Reeves and the show at all.
They gave you a bonus track also, it
shows 35 tracks but it run 36. The bonus track is a bit from
one of the many comercials they did with Kellogg's. I would not
wait too long to get the CD because the music store that I went
to only had one.
Take Care George,
I just received my audio of CD of music from the Superman series.
I have been wanting a copy of this music for a long time on a
CD and never thought I would see the day when someone would actually
produce it. I figured that no company would see it as profitable.
I am very glad that I was wrong. It is an outstanding CD that
I would highly recommend for any George Reeves fan to purchase.
It contains all of the best music from the first season, which
is a fantastic list of music. I hope very much that a second
volume will come out for second season music. This has been a
joy to listen to and is among my favorite Superman CDs that I
own (and my list is growing). Thanks for letting me know about
it, Jim, and feel free to let others know how excited I am about
I'm sure I'm not the only one who has or will e-mail you about
the new CD. I ordered it March 12th for delievery as soon as
it was officially released.
It arrived this afternoon (3/17). If sound ever had pictures,
it is this CD! What an experience! Every note brought back images
of George and Phyllis and Jack and John Hamilton, and Robert
Shayne. Suddenly I was seven years old again . . . watching the
true Man of Steel fight for truth, justice, and the American
way. I could see it all in my mind's eye. I could feel it. It
all came back. The music brought to all back to me.
And the quality of sound is great! It's not the tinny small "peanut
whistle speaker" on Mom's B&W Montgomery Ward portable
TV that I heard so many times, but full rich HI-FI (I haven't
really checked for stereo yet).
This CD contains the music that made me (and a generation) what
I am today. Did we believe that a baby really came to Earth from
the doomed planet Krypton and grew up and became a champion for
good? No, but we wanted to believe, and we were better for it.
We had values . . .we knew right from wrong . . .good from evil
. . .and we were better for it. We had a hero that we believed
in, something today's youth are missing and need.
I know it was just a TV show about a space man played by an actor,
but what a show . . .what a space man . . .what an actor.
This is a great CD, and anyone who wants to believe should own
Thanks for letting me ramble. My best...hoping you are well,
I bought this CD, and it is fantastic!! The old music we grew
up on never sounded better! It's really neat to drive in your
car and hear the 1951 background music coming through the speakers!
It arrived at my door in less than a week after I first e-mailed
them my order. How's that for being faster than a speeding bullet?
Any fan of the Adventures of Superman (especially the
first eason and its 'eerie' music) would do well to get this