Lou Koza of W. Babylon, New York
Koza and Jim Nolt
Hello, my name is Louis Koza, and I
have been a Superman fan since childhood, most especially as
portrayed by George Reeves. For the past dozen years, I have
enjoyed the tremendous amount of information uncovered by the
many individuals associated with The Adventures Continues.
Had Jim Nolt asked me to contribute my answers to the
following questions ten years ago, I believe the answers would
be very different in comparison to today. Ten years ago didn't
think I could add anything new that hadn't already been
described in wonderful detail by so many other fans. I've
always enjoyed reading other comments from people, there is
always something new to learn.
Over the past tens years some
interesting things have happened to me because of TAC's
inspiration. I interviewed I Love
Lucy's Keith (Little Ricky)
Thibodeaux, met Mr. Jack Larson in Metropolis, and I actually
walked through the house at 1579 Benedict Canyon Drive (what a
super souvenir that would make). Aside from Jim Nolt, I met some
other terrific people who also have made contributions,
personally or via telephone conversation: Jim Bowers, Randy
Garrett, Janeen Christensen, Tom Nagy, Milton Storey, Steve
Maurer, Danny Fuchs, Chuck Harter, Jan Alan Henderson and Michael
J. Hayde to name a few. Being involved with TAC almost from the
beginning, I now feel I have something to say.
What was your first reaction to George
Reeves and/or the Superman series?
be perfectly honest, I don't recall which I discovered first,
Superman on TV or the Superman in the comic books. I can't even
tell you which episode I saw first. I do know it was around 1960
and it was easy for me to notice the differences. The
illustrations of Superman flying were certainly not as dramatic,
no Lex Luthor and Jimmy Olsen had different color hair. I watched
the show every day, and to me Superman stood out from every thing
else on television. Every time I turned the TV on, every time I
changed the channel, I was motivated by the hope Superman
was on. Watching the shows really captured my attention, I was
glued to the box. What was great, I had brothers and sisters and
when Superman was on we never argued over the TV. I never tired
of the shows and seeing them over and over was and still is just
as exciting as seeing them for the first time.
What are your ten favorite episodes?
have to say, I truly like them all, each one has merit. I
certainly could never list ten least favorites. Ten hours would
be difficult to answer let alone ten episodes.
PS: can anyone identify the power
Superman used to stop the buzz saw from cutting Perry White in
two in "The Perils of Superman?" This has baffled me
What are some of your favorite scenes
from the series?
There are so
many because of the efforts delivered by the supporting cast, so
I will only name three from each.
1) The cave scenes of
Lois trying to save Pop Polgase in "Rescue."
Telephone booth scene in "A Night of Terror."
Lois slapping Bet a Million Butler in the face in "The
1) Firing the crooks
machine gun in "Jimmy Olsen, Boy Editor."
Getting pulled into the water by Clark in "The Golden
3) Lois feeling sad over Superman's marriage
to Sgt. O'Hara in "Superman's Wife."
1) Yelling on the
phone at Inspector Henderson in "Crime Wave."
Yelling "You young whippersnapper" at Jimmy Olsen.
Perry's reaction to the life like figure in "Mystery in
1) Jimmy yanking on a
tide up Hercules whiskers in "The Clown Who Cried."
A terrified Jimmy in the "Haunted Lighthouse" and
equal performance in "The Evil Three."
falling smitten for Steve Carr's Madame Charpentier in "Double
1) Playing darts with
Clark Kent in "The Man in the Lead Mask."
chased around the office by Superman in "The Face and the
3) Eating dinner in the hotel room in "Czar
of the Underworld."
Reeves (as Superman)
Superman flying Ann Carson around the world.
delivering the line "It's more than you deserve" after
saving Luke Benson's life.
3) Superman's fake display of
being hurt in "Crime Wave."
Reeves (as Clark Kent)
Clark Kent pleading with the Silsby townspeople in ""The
2) Clark Kent coming out of the rain at
the end of "Ghost Wolf."
3) Clark Kent in action on
"The Golden Vulture."
1) Dressed up as Madame Charpentine.
2) As Dr. Hadley and
taking it on the chin in "The Mind Machine."
Just about everything he did was terrific.
What interesting mistakes or inside
jokes have you detected?
more than I ever noticed has already been identified. One that
stood out was in the classic "Panic in the Sky." With
Jimmy Olsen behind him, Clark Kent opens his shirt and reveals
the Superman suit with out sleeves. And another, in "The
Jolly Roger." If you watch real close as the pirates attack
Superman, a sword breaks over Superman's chest and is flung
behind at a fairly rapid speed hitting Jack Larson. I guess Jimmy
didn't know how invincible he was also. When I met Jack Larson in
Metropolis a couple of years ago, I asked him if he recalled this
minor moment. I got the impression he didn't, I recall him saying
something like "we were all subject to dangers on the show
all the time, fortunately no one was seriously hurt."
How do you view the series today as an
adult, differently from when you were a child?
to today, we were exposed to so much less back in the early
sixties. So the impressions made were much more amplified. I do
feel there were a lot more quality shows on television than there
are today, and The Adventures of
Superman is a perfect example.
Other examples include the Dick
Van Dyke Show, McHales
Silvers Show and the Andy
Griffith Show. Not to get on a
soapbox here, but the writers had to work with standards designed
for wholesome family entertainment. Now shows have adult position
innuendoes, which I feel doesn't take a lot of talent to write or
exploit. I think it is unfortunate the Superman TV show is not
currently broadcast everyday in the late afternoon for the kids
when they get home from school like it was when I was younger.
The show is very much an American tradition without the
propaganda. I view the show still much as I did at age seven, but
with more appreciation of the time it was made. Knowing so much
more about the show today makes me appreciate it very much. I
remember when we got our RCA color TV in 1965 how rich the
episodes looked. The blues and reds really jumped off the screen.
The colors were extremely brilliant, and the episodes looked like
new productions. I have all the episodes on VHS, I like to turn
the clock back before color and turn the color setting to B&W.
For me it really captures the childhood feel of watching the
shows. Try it and I'm sure you will find the same effect. In the
late 80s, Channel 9 (WOR), televised the episodes on Saturday
mornings, two episodes back to back. There were a couple of
episodes I had never seen before then, so this was an extra
thrill. The first never-before-seen episode was "The Dog Who
Knew Superman." Seeing Clark drive up in his Nash-Healy
sports car and then seeing Superman plunge into the ground was
great. At first I thought that when Clark dropped his glove it
was a blooper, but learned quickly it was part of the story. The
episode ended with Clark having a sincere talk with Corky. It is
a really nice episode. The second, "The Machine That Could
Plot Crimes." Seeing Superman allow the villains to get away
by moving the truck out of the way. I thought, what's going on
here? These scenes were actually shot on the back streets of LA.
Seeing both of these episodes as an adult for the first time, it
brought out that little kid in me. Ah, no I didn't start flying
around the living room with a bath towel wrapped around my neck,
but I wanted to. Another thrill came when WOR broadcast a
Superman coming attraction. Action!
Adventure! and Mystery! and I
got it all on tape, what a catch. In the early 1990's
Nick-at-Nite, broadcast the uncut version of "The Evil
Three." I'm sure they didn't know what they had in their
stockpile, which was an episode not broadcast complete in over
thirty years for very specific reasons. Now watching it uncut,
the show makes complete sense. By the way, I was watching this
episode with my ten year old daughter and I had to peel her off
the ceiling when the ghost of George Taylor appears at the
window. And this is the 90's. How about that, proof the show
still stands the test of time.
Why have you continued to watch the
series and why do you consider yourself a George Reeves fan?
love the show. I still find time to watch the The
Adventures of Superman and
collect articles and memorabilia. I love all the character actors
throughout the series. Whether they appeared once or several
times over the years: Dan Seymore, Ben Weldon, Pierre Watkin,
Lucien Littlefield, Jane Adams, Joi Lansing, Tris Coffin, Judy
Ann Nugent, John Eldredge, Maurice Cass, Jane Frazee, Philips
Tead, Gloria Talbot, Elisha Cook Jr., Frank Jenks, and many
others. By the way, I was disappointed the character "Candy"
played by Frank Jenks never returned. His character in "The
Stolen Costume" seemed to be played as a long time friend of
Clark's. I wonder what the thought process was with this
I cannot conclude without complimenting
the ongoing efforts of Don Rhoden, Jim Nolt, Chuck Harter, Jan
Alan Henderson, Michael J. Hayde and Paul Mandell. These
individuals have devoted a tremendous amount of time to share
accurate information about George Reeves and The Adventures of
Superman. George Reeves lead an interesting life, and I still
hope that evidence will someday prove Mrs. Bessolo's instincts
were right. It is hard to believe any other version of Superman
is the more true to the character than as portrayed by George
Reeves. When the cameras were rolling George Reeves never gave
the character the superficial treatment, he was sincere and
genuine in his performance. What I like most about the George
Reeves' Superman is that the character is somewhat limited in
powers as compared to the most other versions, especially in our
more modern times. An example of this display is during the
airplane scene at the end of "The Mind Machine". He
struggles to get the plane back on course and save Dr. Hadley.
Like you, I admire Mr. Reeves. However I
think he lacked business instinct to protect his career. Many
actors don't give in to studio demands without negotiating a deal
for a project more suitable to showcase their craft. It is a
shortcoming that I feel has been overlooked when dissecting his
career. I'm not an expert on the Hollywood culture during the
50's, so maybe the art of negotiation was more one dimensional at
that time. It was documented in Variety
that George would not return to the role of Superman unless his
salary was increased substantially in 1954. Had he negotiated a
deal for more flexibility, which allowed for other roles in lieu
of immediate monetary returns he may have found a higher gain and
more control of his own destiny. There is a picture of George in
Jan Alan Henderson's Speeding
Bullet, on page 42, top right
side. When I see this picture, George has a look so unlike any
other picture of him. I see a man with deep thoughts and concern
for his destiny.