The Adventures Continue

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Roy Stuts of Westchester County, NY

What was your first reaction to George Reeves and/or the Superman series?
Well, like most of your visitors to your web site, I must have been about five or six years old when I first saw Superman. We only had a black and white TV at the time, so I thought all the shows were in black and white. When we did get a color television, it made the color episodes stand out from anything else in film or television of that era. It still amazes me that the series creators had enough pride in their work to think that it would appeal to many generations and that color television would be something real and last. The color film used in the 1950's was so bright and this was enhanced by many bright colors in the scenes, such as George's Superman outfit and all the beautiful 50's cars with their large fins (rear fenders). Even though I like the color shows, I feel the quality of the story did suffer when the series went to color. Most of the color shows were, at times silly and the villains were too stupid to be scary. I really love the black and white episodes the best. I remember as a little kid that these black and white shows really scared me, but I loved that feeling and to see Superman fly in out of nowhere and put the crooks where they belong. The music in the series was especially well edited and you could tell something was going to happen when the music changed.

George Reeves was so good at playing his part as Kent/Superman. If you notice throughout the series, he does not use the words "I don't know," or "I am not sure" very much. He was that certain, serious, and knowledgeable. It is just a terrible shame he did not live many years after the series to really see the effect he had on people and the series had on the world.

What are your ten favorite episodes?

Wow. Only pick ten episodes? Well here are mine:

  • The Stolen Costume
  • The Perils of Superman
  • The Mystery of the Broken Statues
  • The Wedding of Superman
  • Mystery in Wax
  • The Machine That Could Plot Crimes
  • Shot in the Dark
  • Around The World With Superman
  • Panic in the Sky
  • The Man Who Could Read Minds

What are some of you favorite scenes from the series?

  • "Panic In The Sky" when Kent tries on the Superman outfit with his Clark Kent glasses, finally regains his memory, and rushes out to the observatory.
  • "The Stolen Costume" when the crooks mistake Candy as Kent and take him to their apartment. Kent begins to loosen his tie and take off his hat and coat ready to change into Superman when he realizes the crooks have his costume. Then running up the stairs through the door and punching Candy out to talk to the crooks.
  • "Shot In The Dark" when the woman comes into Kent's office claiming he is Superman. He is so embarrassed and ready to prove he is not Superman. Also Jimmy Olsen's interest really peaks to see Kent prove he is not Superman.
  • "Around The World With Superman" -- the scene inside the apartment when Kent takes off his glasses and tells the blind girl that he is Superman. He looks into her eyes to see that a piece of glass from the car accident is blocking her vision. He first has to convince her that he is Superman. He does so in a very touching manner, showing love for the girl and trying not to scare her. A very touching scene.
  • "The Case of the Talkative Dummy" at the performance when Kent leaves to listen in on the phone call about the next armored car robbery. Both Lois and Henderson get up. Lois says, "Inspector, where does he disappear to all the time?" and Henderson replies, "I don't know. Maybe he runs into an alley, takes of his glasses, and turns into Superman."
  • "The Human Bomb" when Superman arrives on the window ledge and walks along the edge to go into the window. "Where are you going?" Superman replies, "Inside. It makes me nervous to see Miss Lane out here!" Lois exclaims,"It makes you nervous!"
  • "Beware the Wrecker" at the amusement park when Kent uses the sledgehammer to hit the bell and knocks it right off the tower. He is so embarrassed and tried to downplay it.
  • "The Golden Vulture" when Kent boards the ship and begins asking questions. Soon the whole crew is out to stop Kent, and he does not have enough time alone to change into Superman. As he is being chased, Kent says "Superman, where are ya?"
  • "Lady In Black" -- the second to last time Superman arrives at the house where Jimmy is staying to help calm him down. As he is leaving, he tells Jimmy he must get back to the office. Jimmy says,"The office?" and Superman replies, "Yes. Kent needs me and he can't start without me!"

What interesting mistakes or inside jokes have you detected?

In "No Holds Barred" as the crooks head back to Mortimer Murray's place their we see an overhead shot of the car pulling up to the curb. If you look closely, you'll see that the film was reversed -- the steering wheel is on the right hand side! Also just before the scene ends, this car with the steering wheel on the wrong side, begins to roll backwards! The parking brake was not set!

Another early show has one of the first flying scenes. The copy that Nick At Nite ran shows Superman as he jumps out the window. We see over George's body and the background of Metropolis as he flies. Look closely, the cape is over his head flapping in the breeze! Maybe they weren't sure the shot would work or look good.

On "The Mind Machine" watch the outside shots when Superman takes off as he tries to stop the bus with the mad man driving it with school children inside. You can plainly see George being pulled up with a pulley and his legs hang as the pulley first lifts him.

Now my favorite "mistake." On "The Big Squeeze" when Dan Grayson is locked in the fur vault, Superman appears through the window in the room. When Superman pulls the vault door off and places it on the floor, he has to hold the door up against the wall so it does not fall. He tries to let go of the door, and it starts to fall, so he holds it in place. He finishes his lines and as Superman leaves the scene, the door begins to fall to the floor. The scene cuts to show Superman leaping out of a window. When the scene returns to the vault door and Dan Grayson, it is up against the wall, but this time leaning at a steeper angle so it stays there.

Aside from Superman/Clark Kent, who was your favorite character on the show, and why?

My favorite character would have to be Jimmy Olsen (Jack Larson). I love his young attitude. He's eager to learn and jumps right in there with the veterans to get the bad guys or write the story. I like both his naivete and frustration when he is left at the office to answer the phones or some other menial task. It reminds me of almost anyone I see fresh out of school on their first job or at a first internship eager to prove they have what it takes to get the job done. He has great chemistry with Perry White (John Hamilton) but also has great chemistry with any of the characters, even the bad guys.

How do you view the series today, as an adult, differently from when you were a child?

I feel the shows have stood the test of time and have not aged at all. They are not topical like "All In The Family" or "Laugh In" which rely on then current issues for their humor. Superman relies on some of the basics of story telling: good versus evil, heroism, some romance, some thrills and mystery. I also see the clothes fashions of the fifties and the beautiful cars from that era which seem so simple compared to living today with our sophisticated electronic communications and gadgets. We are better equipped today, but our lives are much more complicated than in the 1950's.

Why have you continued to watch the series and why do you consider yourself a George Reeves fan?

Viewing the series today has still given me many surprises. For many years I thought I had seen all the shows. It wasn't until Nick At Nite ran the series that I realized at least half the black and white episodes were held out of syndication. I work in the television business, so I know first hand that a few Perry Mason episodes were held out of syndication (including the only episode in which he lost a case). Knowing this and viewing the shows that I had never seen before, I realized why they might have been held back. Some of these shows are very intense for young children to see, and some episodes don't feature all the characters, or some of the special effects don't come off looking too good.

I consider myself a George Reeves fan because of how he handled that part. He really commanded that dual role, which is difficult to do. It is almost like getting two actors for the price of one. I hope they paid him for two roles because he certainly deserved it! Any modern attempt at Superman has been no comparison to George Reeves. I had high hopes for Christopher Reeve -- having a similar name was a good omen I thought. But I now know that no one can do what George Reeves could do. He was, and still is, Superman as far as I am concerned.

If you could meet George Reeves today, what would you most want to say to him?

If I could meet George Reeves, I don't think I could speak, but I would hope to tell him how much I admired him. I think you pick up life influences early in life. It was about this same time I found out about the Beatles music group and I really enjoy their music to this day. George Reeves was an early influence on me to be honest and truthful. I was brought up this way, and I feel it really uncomplicates my life. I don't have to lie and cheat to get what I want. A lot of times if I can't get it fairly and honestly, I don't want to have it after all. I would tell him that he influenced me in this way helped me to learn that telling the truth and fighting for what is right is the only way to live. How wonderful it would be to let him know.

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