TAC Table of Contents
by Mr. X and Jim Nolt
Many times I talk to fans of the Adventures of Superman about what it might have been like to walk the corridors of the Daily Planet. Of course, we know those corridors were in reality few, but in the imaginations of us who grew up watching the series, they were many and fascinating. I know those sets were torn down and presumably thrown away almost half a century ago, but let's take a walk through time and around the corner to Perry White's office.
But be careful, because through six years and 104 episodes, the offices of the Metropolis Daily Planet evolved from season to season, and sometimes from episode to episode.
One thing we saw a lot of in the corridors of the Daily Planet in 1951 were receptionists. Receptionist job security at the Daily Planet seemed very shaky; we never saw the same one twice. Job responsibilities were very light; they seemed to consist of answering Metropolis 6-0500 (in those pre 555 days) and keeping people out of Perry White's office. In "Superman on Earth (1951) we see a receptionist played by Dani Nolan seated outside Perry White's office.
The offices of a newspaper as large as the Daily Planet required more than one floor, however, and occasionally we caught a glimpse of the city room where Jimmy Olsen apparently spent much of his time catching up on the news of the day. (It's good he's not reading The Daily Blade or a Jimmy Olsen comic book.)
From "The Case of the Talkative Dummy"
Kid Collins threw caution to the wind, however, when he took Jimmy's place in "Jimmy The Kid." Here we see him reading the racing form and smoking a good Havana!
Office space, even in the 1950s, was expensive, and to save money, Clark Kent's office was redressed for Lois Lane. Here we see Superman who entered Clark's office from the window in "Night of Terror" (1951). "Clark Kent" is lettered directly onto the door.
When it's Lois' turn to write a story, the furniture is rearranged and a name plate is hung on the office door (to cover Kent's name). Notice, here too, the reception desk in the background.
Here we see Jimmy exiting Clark's office and heading straight for Miss Bachrach in "Night of Terror" (1951). Notice that there are no elevator doors in the corridor. To my knowledge, we never saw elevators in the 1951 season.
Ah, he found her! Here's Jimmy, a moment later, having a chat with the ever-lovely and efficient Miss Bachrach. (I wonder what her first name was.)
If we had visited on another day in 1951, we might have been greeted by a different receptionist. In "The Mind Machine" we see someone who looks somewhat more congenial than Miss Bachrach parked outside Perry's office. By the way, note the handles on Perry's office door.
In "The Monkey Mystery" the handles were replaced with round door knobs. I wonder why.
Obviously, Lois prefers to use the handles as we see in "The Birthday Letter." I guess she needs something to hold onto. I wonder what gave her the right to come busting into Perry's office without knocking. No wait, that was Jimmy who did that.
All that door knob switching had even Perry confounded. Here, in "Drums of Death," we see him trying to figure out what happened to the handles and why he's left with only one knob. Great Caesar's Ghost! Locksmiths must have a tight union.
I liked Perry's office best. In fact, I always wished I had one like it. He had lots of phones on his desk, and that intercom system always intrigued me. Of interest to many others is the large painting of the Brooklyn Bridge that covered a generous portion of the wall behind the former mayor's desk. Perry must have liked that painting. It was with him in 1951, seen here in a scene from "Crime Wave"...
in 1953's "Man In The Lead Mask"...
in 1954's "Olsen's Millions" (note that the painting is in black and white)...
and again in 1955's "Jimmy the Kid." But here we see it in full color! Perhaps on one of those days after Jimmy cleaned up the spilled glue, Perry allowed him to use his crayons to brighten up his office.
And no study of the Daily Planet offices would be complete without a shot of the magnificent recreation of Perry White's office made for "Hollywoodland".
Through the years there were also several subtle changes to the decor. In 1953, for instance, the name plates on the doors changed. The early episodes used plaques with very little contrast, making them difficult to read. The following picture is from "Panic in the Sky". Sadly, this episode also marked the last of the the receptionists until "The Perils of Superman" in 1957. Seems to me they could have made an episode called "Disappearing Receptionist."
Contrast the name plate above with the new improved model seen later that season in "Shot In The Dark."
"Shot in the Dark" also marks the debut of the Daily Planet elevators. Superman can fly in the window, and everyone else can take the elevator. Life is getting better for the employees of the Daily Planet.
And now if you'll step this way please... we'll go into the basement. There are two items of interest here. The first is the furnace where Oscar burns the trash. Until it's burned, he keeps the trash neatly stored in numbered bags. Clark's trash is in Bag #28.
Move along please... and be careful of the low ductwork. Watch your heads! Notice the one Superman is pointing out. That's a very special one. Perry's feet get cold when he works late, so he needs an entire furnace devoted to just his office.
And that concludes our tour except for... one more stop. If you'll please walk single file up the stairs to the first floor we'll then take the elevator to the twenty-eighth. I'll meet you there.
In almost every episode we encounter a door marked "STOREROOM". Let's take a peek inside.
Why it's Superman! Now why do you suppose he's typing up an article for the afternoon edition of the Daily Planet? Could it be that... nah, it just couldn't be.
Jim and X