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Jim Nolt's tribute to the life and career of George Keefer Brewer Bessolo Reeves

Come with us now on a far journey. . . a journey that takes us millions of miles from the earth. . . where many years ago, the planet Krypton burned like a green star in the distant heavens.

Those words are from "Superman On Earth," the initial installment of the Adventures of Superman, which I first saw way back in 1953.

It was through this series that I came to admire the work of George Reeves. Years later I learned of his many movie roles and life experiences. Now, I'd like to invite you on a far journey. . . a journey that takes us into the past. . . where many years ago, George Reeves worked for a few short years to give us decades of memories and inspiration.

George Keefer Brewer was born on January 5, 1914 in Woolstock, Iowa to Helen Lescher and Don Brewer. After the Brewers divorced, Frank Bessolo married Helen and adopted George as his son. That marriage too was ill-fated, and George was left without a father. In 1939, just before George filmed his role as Stuart Tarlton in Gone With The Wind, his name was changed to Reeves. (By the way, George is incorrectly listed as Brent Tarlton in the opening credits to the film.)


My Personal Introduction to George Reeves . . .

I was only six years old that spring of 1953 when I heard it for the first time --

Kellogg's, the greatest name in cereals, presents... the

Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound. Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!

Yes it's Superman, strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for Truth! Justice! and the American Way!


As I watched my first episode, "The Haunted Lighthouse," I was, of course, fascinated by the character of Superman. After all, he could fly, he was invulnerable,

and he could see through the thickest of fogs surrounding Moose Island off the coast of Maine. But it didn't take me long to realize that it was the charm and personality of George Reeves which prompted me to return week after week. At the end of every episode I read the same credit, starring George Reeves, and I wanted nothing more than to be able to meet this George Reeves and to say "Thank you."

 Of course, there wasn't much I could do at the time, and then, in 1959, he was gone. Through the 1960s and early 1970s I continued to watch the 104 episodes over and over again on many different stations. Other series grew old, but the Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves, remained forever fresh. Every time I watched I noticed something new, and I was absolutely thrilled when I saw the color episodes for the first time. Still, it bothered me terribly that I knew so little about George Reeves and that I was never able to pay him back for all the joy he brought into my life.

My Quest Begins . . .

In October 1976 I happened to notice that Tom Snyder would devote the entire hour of Tomorrow to some very special guests -- Noel Neill, Robert Shayne, and Jack Larson. Since I had not even heard of VCRs yet, I waited by my television with my audio tape recorder. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of a great adventure for me, an adventure that would eventually take me to the very house where George Reeves lived and died.

Another guest on Tomorrow that night was Gary Grossman who had just published a book called Superman: Serial to Cereal. It didn't take me long to find it and devour its pages in one sitting. Although it was chocked full of fascinating information, Grossman's story created many more questions in my mind than it answered, and it wasn't long before I was setting out on an exciting journey -- a journey starring George Reeves.

With your help these pages will change and grow. I invite all of you to submit questions, information, reader profiles, interesting photographs, and comments.

Don't miss the next thrill-packed episode in the amazing
Adventures of Superman. Join with the Man of Steel as he wages war against the forces of evil. Thrilling adventure and tense excitement! Pounding action and spine-tingling mystery! You'll find them all in the next startling episode of the Adventures of Superman. So don't miss it! There's Action! Adventure! and Mystery! (Coming) in the Adventures of Superman -- presented by Kellogg's, the greatest name in cereals.

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