TAC Table of Contents
I don't think there are many of us reading The Adventures Continue who didn't at one time or another act out scenes from the Adventures of Superman. I (Jim Nolt) remember vividly chasing the bus with the faulty brakes, writhing in agony re-enacting the "electric scene" from "Crime Wave," and leaping into the air after regaining my memory after a serious bout with an asteroid.
Despite Jimmy's little speech to the contrary, all this could not have been possible without the aid of some kind of Superman costume. Some of us, like Jack Branson here, were fortunate enough to have the official version direct from Kellogg's of Battle Creek. In the photo below, it looks like young Mr. Branson might have been doing his version of "Shot In The Dark" as this clearly shows him changing to Superman... unless, of course, someone took a picture of Superman and then took a picture of Jack at exactly the same spot... but forgot to wind the film!
If others reading this have "Superman" photos from their past, please let me know, and we'll post them here.
From SUPERMAN Issue No. 101 - November 1955
What's in your closet?
From Kirk Hastings
I don't know which I discovered first -- the Superman comic books or the Superman TV show. I discovered both pretty much around the same time -- around 1957, when I was 5 years old. At the time I lived in a small town called Severna Park, just south of Baltimore. My older brother had a box of Superman and Batman comic books which I discovered one day, and I was fascinated by them, basically learning to read out of them even before going to school. I discovered the Superman TV show during its final first-run season; I think "The Mysterious Cube" was the first episode I ever saw. We got the show on one of the Baltimore TV channels. I was instantly mesmerized by this guy that wore a cape and could fly through the air and crash through walls. I loved the comics, but the guy on TV made the character real for me.
That was it for me. As soon as I was old enough to go out trick-or-treating I knew what outfit I wanted to wear: Superman! I wore the same costume year after year after that. I never wanted to be anything else. I wore that same outfit every year until I was too big to fit in it anymore! I remember when I was in the third grade we were allowed to wear our Halloween costumes to school for our Halloween Party, and at one point during the day every kid in the school (it wasn't a large school) paraded across the stage in the school auditorium to show their costumes off. When I paraded across, I remember hearing someone in the audience shout "Look! It's Superman!" Boy, was I proud of that!
I was almost never allowed to wear the costume to play in (I think because my mother wanted it to last more than just a few weeks). But, shortly thereafter, I decided that I wanted to put the Superman outfit on under my clothes and wear it to school on a regular school day, so I would be ready for any Super-emergency that might turn up. However, my mother caught me at the very last minute when I was ready to leave, and made me take the outfit off. The pants I wore that day had a small hole in the knee, and my mother caught on to what I was doing because she could see the costume showing through the hole!
So much for my short-lived "secret identity"!
From Jay Pearlman
When I was little, my hero was, naturally, Superman. I
loved the TV show, I loved the comics, you name it - if
it had anything to do with the Man of Steel, I was
fascinated. This photo was taken in the late fall
(judging by the leaves on the ground) of 1959, when I was
four. It was a Ben Cooper Halloween costume, and I
remember that I eventually wore it out as I ran back and
forth on the sidewalk in front of our house, arms
outstretched, imagining that I was flying over Metropolis
about to rescue someone (Lois Lane?) from the clutches of
an Evildoer. I was determined to fly, but common sense
(and my parents' warnings) always prevailed and my little
feet remained solidly earthbound.
November 29, 2011
From Steven Shapllo
August 10, 2011
From Eric J. Roberts, Liverpool, NY
On Christmas 1959, this snapshot captured the imagination of my brother Mark and I -- fueled by that black & white TV set shown in the background (as you can see, there's also a manger display plopped on top of our "record player" that temporarily disabled the full use of our state-of-art home entertainment center). My brother was big into the Cowboys & Indians programs and - as you can see - I was a total Superman freak! I think my smile says it all: I actually felt I could bust through the living room wall and fly into the winter sky! Heck, if I had just had the costume the night before, I could have caught up with Santa and his sleigh! Great memories for a 6 year old, about to turn 7! 10/30/2010
I hope the magazine Reminisce doesn't mind us adding this very appropriate image. If they should we'll remove this. In the meantime, if you've not subscribed to this magazine and you enjoy seeing American life and family photos of yesteryear then this magazine is a must have subscription. Here is a link for more information to the gem of a magazine.
From Mike Clark:
I was 'Zorro' in 1958 but the following year I wanted a more
contemporary look and that resulted in the purchase of a Ben
Cooper 'Superman' costume! The Cooper costumes were made of a
flimsy synthetic material that looked highly flammable. The
material was so thin you could see my underwear through them.
Instead of creating the streamlined effect achieved on Kirk Alyn
and George Reeves, the Cooper 'Superman' costume hung on my frame
like a set of ill-fitting loose pajamas. The costume was
tightened by a drawstring around the neck that left a large,
drafty gap down my back. Fortunately the cape kept me from
looking like a gowned hospital patient. This being a
3rd-generation costume it no longer had the "Only Superman
Can Fly" warning.
Of course I'd get a new costume every year, usually several
weeks before Halloween and I couldn't resist wearing it often
before the big night. The photo is from 1960 and was taken in St.
Petersburg, Florida, in front of our 1959 Dodge (its swept-wing
design also gave the illusion of flight).
From Dennis Hays:
I don't remember saying what I wanted for Christmas, but on Christmas morning 1959 there was a knock at the door. We opened it to find Santa and one of his elfs standing there with a big bag of gifts. I now know it was Mr. Jones a fireman that lived at the end of our block and his daughter Vicky.
Well anyway Santa comes in and says to my brother and I "What do you want for Christmas?" and we both answer right away. I say I want a "Superman suit" and my brother Brad says "A Zorro suit" I remember that we did not refer to them as costumes. Santa pulls two packages out of his bag and we both got what we asked for. Santa then went on to visit all the rest of the kids on the block. One of the best memories of Christmas ever.
From Ron Gross:
Please read Ron's story
From Jack Branson:
And who, disguised as Jack Branson, mild-mannered backyard reporter, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way.
From Charles Glynn
This photo was taken in the early 1950's. I wore my Superman costume with pride because of my admiration of George Reeves and the Superman character. My mother must have bought it for Halloween; I can remember selecting it from the department store. He was All-American and represented the strength and power of America. His costume shared some of the colors of our flag. He was as powerful as the eagle that represents the seal of our country.
Even at that young age I knew that I was not quite Superman and therefore did not attempt to fly through the air or do anything that would do me bodily harm. However in my imagination and in many dreams I was doing just that. The costume is long gone. I wish that I saved it but that feeling that I got when watching George Reeves still happens when ever I look at the Adventures of Superman.
As a child growing up in the 50s the Adventures of Superman and George Reeves had a significant positive influence on my development and the forming of my personality. All this becomes quite clear now that I am in my 50s and have the benefit of retrospection. There were two great roll models in my life. One was my Father and the other was George Reeves. It is necessary to clarify that I am referring to the character that he portrayed, as I had no knowledge of his private life. The TV character that he portrayed was always a gentleman who showed kindness for the weak and respect for animals yet was firm with those who broke the rules. Respect for the law and authority was central to his character. Event though he himself had power far beyond that of the authorities he would allow himself to be placed in prison. When offered an alcoholic beverage he would accept only "ginger ale or milk". He told Jimmy to "get there as fast as you can" but cautioned "don't break any speed laws". I think that the most important message that I got from this as a child is that crime does not pay. I can still remember how I was frightened by the electric chair and had nightmares over it. Once there was the story of an execution in the news (I assume it was Ethel and Julius Rosenberg) and my mother explained that the electric char turned your body into a toaster. That fear of punishment was a good thing, it keep me law abiding all my life. There will be consequences if you get out of line and punishment will ensue. Even Superman respected and was an ally to authority.
Now that I have a one-year old child (yes, I'm starting late) I have recorded many of the old programs in hopes that it will influence her in the same way that it did for me when I was so impressionable. I must say that even though I have viewed them countless times over the years I never loose the desire to watch the programs. If I were on an island and had one request it would be to watch those old Superman programs. Not only are they entertaining but the latter ones have developed a great sense of humor. One of my favorite lines is when the professor stated that the only disadvantage to his gold making machine is that it cost more money to make the gold than it is worth. What a valuable lesson as those crooks always find out crime does not pay.
From Bruce Dettman
Read Bruce's In Retrospect: The Stolen Costume
From John Rodgers:
Just like White Christmas, or It's a Wonderful Life, here is what has become an annual traditon:
The Stolen Costume (the title to an episode of the old Superman TV show) Happens in Real Life!
I believe this would have been Christmas 1961. I was 5. I wanted nothing more that year than a "real" Superman suit. Santa delivered! I must have been "gooder" than I had realized!
Before I received my costume, my mom, wonderful woman that she is, noticed that the dinky cape that came with the outfit probably wouldn't flutter properly when I "flew". She bought a yard of red material and made a much more impressive cape. AND she even sewed it onto the shoulders of the shirt, instead of using that silly yellow string the "real" cape came with. How she did this between the time Santa delivered it and I woke up to find it was a mystery.
It wasn't until much later, when I found the "real" cape, that I realized what a wonderful thing my mom had done for me in making my Superman suit look more like George Reeves's.
I'll never forget Christmas morning when I put the outfit on, Mom taking time to read the advisement printed on the bottom hem of the shirt: "Remember, this suit will not make you fly. Only Superman can fly." And the picture of Superman with his hand on a kid's shoulder. I thought Superman himself wrote me that note!
I wore my Superman suit constantly, even under my everyday clothes, just like Clark. How Mom ever got the thing into the wash is another mystery.
However, unlike Superman's, my suit was not indestructible. The knees gave way, and the patches on the knees followed. Finally the pants were retired altogether.
But that tunic, with its wonderful sewn-on cape, stayed with me for a long time. I didn't care that the silk-screened emblem had started peeling, or that the cape, once a brilliant scarlet, was turning pinkish.
Then, one day, it happened. I awoke and could not find my beloved Superman shirt. I had it on when I went to bed.
Some evil-doer must have stripped me of my uniform, so that he could impersonate Superman and commit some foul crime! The Stolen Costume and maybe even The Face and the Voice were occurring in real life!
Or just maybe, my wonderful Mom gently relieved me of the eyesore so I wouldn't have to bear painful witness to seeing the ragged material taken away with the garbage.
It's a mystery I wonder if even Superman will ever solve. 12/25/2009.
From Tim James:
Jim, after my Mom died recently, we were going through some old family photo albums and came across this picture from 1961. I was an avid fan of the show by then and my Mom had searched the stores for the Superman costume I had to have. I guess since George had died so recently, there were no costumes to be found. So, like Mrs Kent, my Mom took some red and blue material and made my costume on the old Singer sewing machine. (The pants and trunks must have been in the wash when this snapshot was taken.) Several days after she completed the suit, I donned the 'blue and red' under the white shirt and tie of my parochial school uniform and headed out the door for school.
I'm not sure how Clark kept his secret all of those years,
because Mom busted me on the way out the door that morning.
Cultivating my vivid imagination was one thing, but she marched
me back upstairs to change before Mass. (Note my brother Mark and
sister Maureen in the Jimmy and Lois roles.)
From Richard "Dicky" Stammer:
After all these years, I can't believe I was there at the beginning. I was a child of the 50's, fortunate to be the only child in a blue collar family that was able to make it because of a hard-working salesman father and a stay-at-home mother. And fortunate to have access to that new-fangled contraption, the television, and to that icon of icons, SUPERMAN. Of course, I had THE SUIT. I even remember fantasizing about flying off the roof of the garage, but remembering that only Superman could fly, just as Superman had told me. I even remember Jimmy telling me that Superman's costume didn't give him super powers, only
super things. But that didn't stop me from running around making believe. It also didn't stop me from realizing that the costume we wear in public is the one that people see and respect - or don't respect. The costume that George Reeves wore, the wonderful man in it who obviously loved and respected children, and my parents gave me the ideals and truths to live by. I will be forever grateful that I was one of the lucky ones to have such Heroes."
February 5, 2005
From Ben Burgraff
We were a Navy family, living on the second floor of a multi-family complex, with a hallway and long flight of steps leading down to the front door, and, one day in early 1958, in the midst of a fantasy 'adventure', I ran down the hallway and did the Reeves' 'hop' from the top step, my arms flung out...I think I made it halfway down, before I hit a step, head first! I was lucky I only gashed my forehead and knocked myself silly, but I do recall bouncing a couple more times, and winding up on my butt, at the door...not even realizing I was bleeding until everybody ran out to see what the racket was all about! I guess I should have gotten stitches, but didn't, so I have a nice little notch a couple of inches above my right eye...and I made such a fuss that Mom let me keep the suit, with a promise to NEVER try to fly, again!
Here is a link to my website where I illustrate caricatures: http://www.cariart.com/
[You're mother was right, Ben. That costume doesn't have any particular powers. Only Superman can do super things. Nobody else... nobody. Jim]
August 29, 2009
"Like The Only Real Magic -- The Magic Of Knowledge"