The Adventures Continue

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TAC, Jr. #16
From the publisher of The Adventures Continue

Tuesday, February 3, 1998


When George Reeves, as Superman, flew Ann Carson around the world in 1953, I
wonder if he thought about all the fans he has in such places as Paris and
Arabia - and Australia. Today, there are more readers of The Adventures
in Australia than in any other country outside the United States.
Colin Duff, of Glenfield, NSW, is a long-time George Reeves fan and has had
a particular interest in Westward Ho, The Wagons, the 1956 film from the
Walt Disney Studios in which George appeared as James Stephens.

Many of us have seen the film and recognize it as George's final big screen
appearance. Yet there is more to the story. Colin recently viewed a copy of
a rare Disneyland episode from 1956 entitled "Along The Oregon Trail" hosted
by Fess Parker, Jeff York, Sebastian Cabot, and Iron Eyes Cody. This TV
episode is basically a promo for the movie, but it does contain footage not
shown in the film. Unfortunately, none of the additional footage includes
new scenes of George. But... the addition footage does include a three to
four minute scene with Jeff York and Phyllis Coates who plays Miss Martha, a
single woman heading west. Obviously shot after completion of the film, this
scene shows Jeff York giving Miss Martha tips on how to store breakable
items (in a flour barrel) and how to keep matches dry. Phyllis is even
listed in the end credits. Oddly enough, George is not credited.


Well, those tips from Jeff York must have been extremely beneficial to Miss
Martha/Phyllis because she made it all the way to California. I know this
for a fact because just last week she reported from there that your many
birthday cards brightened her day tremendously and that she is touched by
your kindness. Phyllis sends a big "Thank-You" to all who remembered and
took the time and effort to send birthday greetings.


Steve Jensen wants to let you know about some George Reeves movies coming up
in February.

Tuesday 02/10/98 --- 12:30pm (Eastern time) ­ AMC
The Great Lover --- 1949, 1 hr 30 min.
Mishaps occur on a ship bound for France as a Boy Scout leader, a duchess
and a cardsharp resolve their differences.


Friday 02/13/98 --- 8:00 pm (Eastern time) ­ AMC
Jungle Jim --- 1948, 1 hr 30 min.
The African adventurer faces witch doctors, sea serpents and wild animals
while searching for a rare medicinal potion.


Were the episode titles always shown when you first watched the Adventures
of Superman
? Several months ago Bill Kane suggested I ask readers what
titles they might have made up for the episodes which didn't sport titles of
their own. So, if you can remember any of your made-up titles send them to
me, and I'll publish them in TAC, Jr. #17 next month.


In case you didn't see it, Jack Larson made a brief appearance with Jerry
Seinfeld and an animated Superman last month during the NFL playoffs and
again during the Super Bowl. The commercial shows Seinfeld and Superman
chatting as they walk along a Metropolis street. Suddenly they hear a cry of
desperation from Lois who is caught without funds as she attempts to make a
purchase in a nearby store. Both Superman and Seinfeld rush to her rescue,
but because Superman has no pockets (for money) in his costume, it is Jerry
who must save the day with his American Express card. As they leave the
store, however, there are cries of terror from the people in the street who
look up to see a comet hurtling toward the earth. After the people point
heavenward, the camera cuts to a man standing across the street in front of
the Daily Planet Building, seemingly unconcerned about Earth's impending
doom ­ perhaps confident that Superman will come to their rescue. That man
is Jack Larson. He looks up, and the camera cuts back to Superman and
Seinfeld. Jerry says to Superman, "I guess you'd better handle this one."

Now you may have seen Entertainment Tonight's sketchy coverage regarding
this commercial, but only in TAC, Jr. will get the whole story!

In early October Jerry Seinfeld arranged to have lunch with an executive at
Warner Brothers. Seinfeld has an agreement to do a series of commercials for
American Express, and he wanted to talk with a representative from Warners
about working Superman into one of them. He also asked if there was any way
Warners could get Jack Larson to do a cameo. And, Jerry Seinfeld wanted an
autographed photo from Jack!

The executive called Jack, and after some discussion, he agreed to appear.
He told the executive to arrange it through his agent. The only thing that
bothered Jack was that no one was certain exactly what he would do in the

After all arrangements were worked out, Jack was asked to report to the
Warner lot in November to shoot it. Now pay close attention here to what
Jack was supposed to do. As originally envisioned, the commercial would show
Jerry Seinfeld and the animated Superman walking down the street and bumping
into Jack who would look up and say "Hi, Pal" to Superman. Of course both
Jerry Seinfeld and Jack Larson had to make believe that Superman was
actually there. Well, after repeated attempts, it just didn't look right,
and Jack left thinking he would not be in it. Before he left, however, Jack
gave Jerry the autographed photo he had asked for. But here's the part that
really surprised him. Jerry Seinfeld has all the Adventures of Superman
episodes on tape, and he asked Jack to come to his dressing room to watch
one of them with him! Which one? --- "Panic In The Sky." And as they watched,
Jerry asked how they did this and that, and he also wanted to know why
Jimmy, Lois, and Perry didn't recognize Clark Kent as Superman when he lay
in his bed without his glasses. Jack told him that he remembers questioning
that on the Superman set back in 1953. At the time Whit Ellsworth told them
they shouldn't try to open "that can of worms," and should just move forward
with the episode.

Jimmy enters Kent's apartment.
Jimmy: I'm back, Mr. Kent, I got some coffee and sandwiches. I'll put 'em on
the table in the bedroom.

Sound of glass breaking. Jimmy rushes back to the bathroom.
Jimmy: Mr. Kent!

Dissolve to Kent in bed. Jimmy offers drink of water.
Jimmy: Here we are.

Door buzzer sounds.
Jimmy: Wait a minute.

Jimmy goes to door and opens it for Perry White and Lois.
Perry: All right, where is he? What's this all about?
Jimmy: He's in the bedroom.

Jimmy, Perry, and Lois rush into the bedroom. Lois stops by to view the
damage in the bathroom.

Jimmy: I finally got him into bed. He must weigh a ton! Guess he cracked his
head pretty hard when he hit the floor.
Lois: Jimmy, all that glass!
Jimmy: I know. He must be the luckiest guy that ever lived. Not a scratch.
Perry: Probably slipped on a piece of soap. Only why didn't you send for a
doctor instead of us?
Jimmy: Well... I...

Clark begins to come too.
Clark: Please... I... I'm all right. What happened to me?
Lois: Don't you know?
Clark: Uhh no, not since I opened my eyes. I'm sorry.
Jimmy: Are you all right, Mr. Kent?
Clark: What? What did you call me?
Jimmy: Mr. Kent.
Clark: Who? Wh-what's the matter? Don't any of you know me? Please answer
me. Who am I?
Lois: Amnesia. He's lost his memory.
Perry: Oh nonsense. Kent, wake up. You're a reporter. You work for me. Now
come on, stop this!
Clark: Am I? Are you sure? (Turning to Lois) Who are you?
Lois: I'm Lois Lane, reporter on the Planet.
Perry: Kent, I want you to stop this. Now you can't lose your memory. It's
not possible. You know us. I'm White. This is Jimmy. That's Lois. This
is just a joke, isn't it, Clark? Of course, that's all it is. Well let me
tell you one thing, young man, I'm in no mood for jokes. I've had all the
headaches I want from all this asteroid business... Superman missing.
Clark: Please, just a minute. You said Superman? Seem to have heard of him
before somewhere. Who is Superman?
Perry: Great Caesar's Ghost!

(Fade out. We'll return to the Adventures of Superman in just a moment.)

But, boys and girls, that wasn't the final surprise. It was only later that
Jack learned that Jerry Seinfeld was so determined to have him in the
commercial that they took the scene that they had already filmed and altered
it. If you remember, they had filmed Jack standing by the side of the
building and looking up when Jerry [and Superman] walked by. Well, they took
that footage, optically removed Jerry Seinfeld from the scene, added the
shadow of the approaching comet, and tacked it to the end of the commercial
so that it would look like Jack is looking up toward the comet approaching
Earth. Actually, of course he had been looking toward Jerry Seinfeld and the
invisible Superman! Now I wonder where Jerry Seinfeld came up with the
"comet hurtling toward Earth" idea!

Since its first run during the NFL playoffs, this commercial is sometimes
run in its shortened form without the "comet ending." But should you and a
friend ever see the full commercial, you can tell your friend the real story
behind what has become one of the most successful commercials American
Express has run in years.

* * * * * * * * * *

Before I close, I want to include this personal note. This newsletter goes
out to several hundred people. Some of you have known me since I took over
as editor/publisher of The Adventures Continue almost ten years ago, and we
have come to know each other fairly well. In our e-mail or telephone
conversations we've sometimes shared stories of our family and friends.
Whenever an issue of TAC, Jr. goes out I expect and look forward to your
messages of support and encouragement. I hope this newsletter will bring
forth the usual amount. But I may not answer you immediately. Today at noon,
Gail's dad passed away after only a one-day stay in the hospital. He had not
been ill, and his death was totally unexpected. I'm sure Gail would
appreciate your good wishes at this time, and should you care to express
them in e-mail messages, I will surely pass them onto her. When things get
back to normal I will again answer mail. Until then, enjoy this issue of
TAC, Jr. and stay well.

The Adventures Continue . . .
. . .with George Reeves

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