TAC Table of Contents
But I'm not the only one who's been touched by that series that is now almost fifty years old. Each and every day I receive mail from you... mail filled with questions, comments, and words of praise and thanks for the Adventures of Superman. Here's an example:
I sincerely hope that I can tell you how much I share your love and admiration for the only true man of steel, George Reeves. It is so sad to think that I was but a lad of seven when George was gone from this world. He is so marvelous... his portrayal of Superman so genuine, honest, kind, masculine, straightforward, so true to itself that it will always stand the test of time. The scene that ends "The Dog That Knew Superman" is a prime example. I could not imagine Christopher Reeve emoting so as, with the heaviest of hearts, Clark Kent bids goodbye to a dog that truly knows him for who he is and loves him for having saved him from death in a well. The pained expression upon George's face: yes, George could act! I hope to hear from you. I love him too and always will.
Several of you wrote to me questioning the article about Jack Larson that recently appeared in The Star. I've not seen that article, but apparently its purpose was to "expose" Jack as being gay and was prompted by a previous article that appeared in the September 12 issue of the gay newsmagazine, The Advocate. Such an expose was not necessary, however, as Jack never tried to hide his long-time relationship with writer/director Jim Bridges. But for those of you who don't know, Jack and Jim were together for more than thirty years... until Bridges' death in 1993. The article in The Advocate announced the release of a CD entitled More Than A Day featuring some of the poems Jack wrote to Bridges which have been set to music by composer Ned Rorem.
A few days later I received this letter from Mark Morey:
I remember when Mr. Bridges passed away, and wished at the time that I could send some sort of best wishes/thoughts/thanks for the many gifts both men brought to the world of the arts. Like many people, I learned of Mr. Larson's and Mr. Bridges' partnership through the sad vehicle of an obituary. I wish that a connection such as The Adventures Continue had been available to me at the time, but I was ignorant of these things, and the TV show was sort of buried in fond, but ancient recollection. Like many people of my generation, I came of age thinking of journalism as a worthy and exciting profession. Jack Larson, Noel Neill, Phyllis Coates, John Hamilton and, of course, George Reeves had a great deal to do with that. It would be hard to imagine the Daily Planet trying to make a thirty-year relationship (how many people get to have that?) into the subject for an "expose." Great Caesar's Ghost!
But in the past not everyone liked Superman. In fact, last week I talked by phone with Tyler McDuff, "The Boy Who Hated Superman."
Born in 1925, McDuff began his show business career as a tap dancer, but a WWII injury prevented him from continuing in that direction. So in the latter part of the 1940s he studied at the Pasadena Playhouse... under the direction of one Mr. Dabbs Greer. In 1951, Tyler, or Ted as he's known to his friends, joined the Screen Actors Guild and appeared in many televisions shows of that decade, including Annie Oakley, Tales of Wells Fargo, Death Valley Days, You Are There, The Lone Ranger, Gene Autry, and of course, the Adventures of Superman. "Because I looked younger than my age, I was always playing somebody's son. In an episode of Fireside Theater I played Audrey Totter's son, even though we were only a few years apart in age."
When he filmed his first episode of Superman he and Jack Larson were already good friends, having worked together in a stage production of Our Town in the late 40s. Although his acting career kept him busy, he was not able to raise a family on his earnings, and he quit acting in 1961.
Like so many others, Ted doesn't recall many specific events that took place on the couple days he spent on the Superman more than 45 years ago, but he does remember George being "one heck of a nice guy... a man who was always smiling and enjoyed life." The only other interesting piece of trivia from "The Boy Who Hated Superman" concerns the press card Frankie takes from Clark's desk so he can forge Kent's signature. "The reason my version of Clark Kent so closely matches the one on the press card is that I wrote both of them! They gave me a card and told me to write "Clark Kent" on it. A few minutes later they filmed me copying that "signature" onto a piece of paper. I think that's funny."
It was fun spending a few minutes on the phone with Tyler McDuff and sharing those moments with you, but I got an even greater thrill when I discovered McDuff had lost contact with Jack Larson and I was able to put them in touch with each other. Who'd a thought when I first watched "The Boy Who Hated Superman" in 1954 that I'd be reuniting "Frankie" and "Jimmy" these many years later? Yep, I love this job... even if it doesn't pay well.
"Like The Only Real Magic -- The Magic Of Knowledge"