TAC Table of Contents
2006, A Year In Review
By Lou Koza
Well, I hope you've enjoyed this year as much as I have. As many of you know it was my first direct year here at TAC. I will admit to being nervous in late 2005 as January 1st approached. But as one year has now passed I'm definitely glad I became involved to help keep TAC the premier home for George Reeves. Thank you to the many out there who welcomed me aboard and felt confident the TAC web-site was being placed in good hands.
As I mentioned in my early January introduction, no one, but no one could accomplish what Jim has done for the last twenty years. For me it was to continue the tradition. In the beginning, Jim had many words of wisdom while providing lessons on how to create the pages. His first rule of thumb was that if I had an idea for a subject and I think it is interesting, chances are someone out there will too. So don't worry and just do it. So I thought that would certainly be something to live by. Jim was very patient with me during those first few weeks. I think he'll agree I caught on fairly quickly to the liaisons of this medium. I learned quickly how much time a web-site can take to maintain. Wow, Jim did this for over ten years? A standing ovation he deserves. Many times throughout this year I've gotten e-mails from many of George's fans telling me what a great site this is and keep up the good work. My response is always to recognize the efforts of Mr. Jim Nolt and what he has established. What was nice about working this site was instead of it being a one man show, both Jim and I shared the activities at TAC. I think he will agree the workload is manageable. And he gets some earned rest and can now concentrate on other interest. I hope we can continue this way, it works well for me.
As we've all come to learn not everything you read on the Internet is reliable in the absolute sense of the word. Everyone with access to a web-site with a few easy lessons can become a writer. Communication is at it's highest level. In a rapid transition the Internet is shaping our daily lives in many ways. On line shopping, on-line auctions, on-line phone services, on-line enrollment, on-line banking and paying bills, music listening, library research, message boards, and on-line gaming are some features the Internet brings to the user. E-mailing alone has taken a large chunk out of the Post Office letter handling. Closer to home, TAC itself was once an annual hardcopy publication. It is now an immediate accessible Internet web-site. So many things have changed because of the Internet. This is not to say the Internet is alone giving unreliable information. A column in a traditional newspaper or magazine doesn't guarantee the public is receiving accurate information. Personally, I feel accuracy and truthfulness is the most important element of communication. Why bother to do so if it isn't? Isn't being accurate and truthful a responsibility to allow the reader to form their own opinion based on facts. How often have we seen the news media twist and turn facts, ideas and meanings around to serve an agenda. One has to just review some of the articles recently written about George Reeves during the September theatrical release of Hollywoodland. Writers have made George's story a bit more spicy in order to sell newspapers. Rex Reed being the most outlandish of all. He characterized George as a person with disloyal qualities, something in complete contrast to Superman. In other articles of sensationalism George was described as a gigolo. I really wonder where do these writers get their information from? Certainly they haven't studied the subject long enough to formulate a correct profile. They'll listen to anyone and/or simply define the situation based on their own assumption. In those weeks of Hollywoodland's release it was basically a media frenzy and in that industry anything goes in the context of Freedom of the Press. They take shots at someone who isn't around to defend himself. So while my higher educational degree is not in journalism it is my best intention to be factual and truthful with all we present here at TAC. I know Jim and I have spent a good part of our lives studying the life of George Reeves and we have done the best we can to provide the most reliable information. That is not to mean we are without ever being wrong and require a correction. We are always open and positive communication is always appreciated.
Recently I experienced a connection with many readers during my detailed essay on the film Hollywoodland. I couldn't have forecasted so many people would take this essay seriously and to heart. If that doesn't make one step back for a minute I don't know what will. Presenting issues that provoke thoughts and discussion is a responsibility and if the readers are to be respected the information must be taken seriously. And so as Perry White stated to Jimmy Olsen in Perils by Sea, the first rule in the newspaper business is be accurate. Then you can't go wrong. I'll take the wisdom of a fictional character like Perry White over some real ones like Rex Reed any day. Jim Nolt himself will agree he has lived by this simple rule. If accuracy or truth is bent for any reason what value does it hold? So we learn a good lesson from the Adventures of Superman. Be accurate. Fiction with the lives of real people can never over-rule truth. Even if the truth hurts. The irony in taking the wisdom of a fictional character like Perry White over some real ones like Rex Reed is not lost on this writer. It's just a shame the real news writers can't seem to take the time to get it right.
As for 2006, another year has passed and this is the time to reflect and thank the many contributors at TAC for a successful and amazing year. Thanks to Rich Taylor who helped me kick off the year with a good start by providing two creative contributions. The Nash-Healey paper cut-out page and the 3D stereoscopic images from the Adventures of Superman. Up, Up and Away it was when later in the year he would also provide an amazing animated clip inspired by the opening song from The Greatest American Hero television series titled Believe it Or Not. I still chuckle along when I think of Seinfeld-Jason Alexander as George Constanza singing his version on his telephone answering machine. Interesting is Rich's N-H inspired another N-H project. If not for it, Jeff Wells of Grand Rapids, Michigan may never have come forward to contact TAC with the knowledge that the N-H once driven by George in the Adventures of Superman is still in existence today. Thanks to years of restoration and dedication of Jeff Wells. As a result, I was able to assemble a life long dream essay This is a car...for Superman. Many thanks to Rich Taylor and Jeff Wells along with his good friend Nash-Healey expert Leonard McGrady for the wonderful contributions to TAC. Thank you also to Randy Garrett for providing an illustration to go with the N-H feature.
Mr. X created lots of video segments that he uploaded to gigasize.com for anyone to download and enjoy. He shared missing scenes from several of the episodes, created a variety of different and unusual alternate introductions to the shows, improved the video quality of several episodes, reviewed the Warner series, and answered more questions than you can shake a stick at regarding the reasons for such things as color variations, fade outs, etc. We at TAC feel fans of the series learned more about the Superman technical aspects from Mr. X than ever before and we thank him for sharing his knowledge and insights.
Jan Alan Henderson dropped in to give us a wonderful profile and insight to Cecil Elliot. Ms Elliot, a wonderful actress was featured in the classic horror episode The Evil Three. Years ago we learned Jan is the Godson of Cecil. A true honor as he would describe. Thanks to Jan we now know why this little lady was such a gem and it is unfortunate she never returned for further Superman TV adventures.
Randy Garrett. We are so fortunate to call him friend. Superman and the Secret Planet is perhaps the highest compliment we could ever have within the web pages of TAC and finally after five years it is now complete. Randy achieved a colossal milestone and finished the story on the high note by including a number of recognizable faces, actors and fans alike. While no power in the world could bring George back to life, Randy provides us with one more adventure. George and Whit Ellsworth would be extremely proud and they are forever smiling down on Randy. Thank you Randy for all the many years of happiness you provided everyone with your dedication and incredible work. Special note, in between Randy's ongoing work with Secret Planet, he also found time to provide illustrations for two other projects. We hope you get the well deserved rest you need after this enormous effort and we look forward to many more contributions. I promise the request will be small. Another artist in his own right provided a wonderful painting. TAC is grateful to Ron Gross a newcomer to our community. He is however no stranger to the Lost in Space fan base. Ron provided a beautiful illustration of George as Superman. In doing so, From the Outer Reaches of Other Universes he provides the various stages of developing this wonderful painting.
Inspirations were contagious at TAC. Thanks to Peter Murano's TAoS companion book and Randy's Secret Planet where they each paid tribute to the many character actors used throughout the TV series. The result was being inspired to create Our Favorite Character Actors from the Adventures of Superman. For many years I would see the familiar faces go by the screen and this was a good time to assemble them. Then along came Bruce Dettman who felt a desire to add his own touch with character actor mini-bio's. While Bruce's home base is Glass House Present (owners: Carl and Leslie Glass), he will always have a permanent key to a door at Dettman Documents. Many thanks to Bruce for joining the TAC family. The faces we've come to know so well, these wonderful actors who passed in and out of TAoS are beginning to be recognized in many ways.
So many people are reaching out to George to show their love and appreciation. The impact of George's death is by no means an easy one for many to accept. Any life cut short is a great loss to someone left behind. George was consider a family member for so many people. Richard Potter provides his own creative expression with a song titled Oh, George. The message is clear, George Reeves is greatly missed.
About two years ago Jim Nolt asked both Mike Curtis and myself to list as many books and magazine articles relative to George. We created I Thought I was the Only One, which is an ongoing work in progress. The list starts in the early 40's and I'm happy to say its latest entry is this past November. Proof the impact of George remains strong still today. In co-creating this list and spending a good deal of time with it, I realized the George Reeves Calendar had no activity when it indeed should have. Basically it was overlooked throughout 2006 with November 2005 being it's last entry. That will change in 2007 when I make an effort to bring it up to date.
Mike Goldman came on board to clear up some confusing issues surrounding the opening credits of the Adventures of Superman. TAC is never short on investigators. Armand Vaquer leads the force with his expertise in finding TAoS camera location. He first found the street locations for The Machine That Could Plot Crimes. This year thanks to Armand we found ourselves in the streets of Wilbur and Linnet where The Man Who Could Read Minds: Then and Now was filmed. We look forward to more of his archeology. Thanks go out to Mike and Armand.
Thanks go to Keith Einmann, Paul Church, James Baker, Milt Storey and John Sheridan for contributing creative and vintage photos from their collections for 2006's Photos of the Month. I always enjoy the variety of material that comes in. We almost use them as quickly as we get them.
It's also time to recognize the events that took place outside the TAC web pages. First to note is Warner Brothers with three recognitions. Together, Warner Brothers and New Wave producer James Brown III produced and completed the entire series run of the Adventures of Superman on DVD. We fans got to enjoy this box-set even more so with the many special guest that include Noel, Jack, Si Simonson, Jan Alan Henderson, Jim Beaver, Jim Nolt, Allan Asherman, Gary Grossman, Chuck Harter and Michael J. Hayde. Throughout the series of box-sets we got to enjoy wonderful documentaries featuring Noel Neill, Jack Larson and special flying effects.
Secondly, another DVD to note is, Look, Up In the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman. This DVD featured the history of Superman on the screen. I make mention of this because this is perhaps the very first time DC (formerly known as National Comics during TAoS filming days) /Warner Brothers has not avoided the controversy of George's death and recognized the sad loss we all feel. For many years it was perceived the company deviated themselves from this subject to protect the Superman image, licensing and merchandising. Could the almighty dollar be worth more than recognizing the loss of a family member? Unfortunately, in the business world the executive decision is no one is above the dollar. But we know George is undeniably a major part of the Superman history and his television show is nothing short of classic pop culture television entertainment and for over fifty years the show has generating millions upon millions of dollars for the corporation. This can be attributed to George's solid performances and dedication to millions of children. It is important to note the positive impact he had on millions of children around the world to become good citizens. It is unfair to ignore a family member. If I where to guess the person behind the recent recognition given to George, I'd look no further than Paul Levitz, President of DC Comics. Thank you Mr. Levitz for restoring George as an important member of the DC/Warner Bros. family. In addition to the recognition of George's work, Internet message-board fans of the show where surprised to see for the very first time short behind the scenes color footage of Superman and the Mole Men. It brought raves at the message-board sites. In addition, other clips showing the clapboards begining the directors call for action were shown to the fans delight. Fans would be overwhelmed by the series of clips, and marveled with wonder and hope if more existed.
Finally, in 2006, a new Superman would return to the big screen, in the form of Brandon Routh and by way of director Bryan Singer. This Superman would be a sort of hybrid to the many versions that preceded it since the early days. A respectful homage in many ways blended with an exciting future. While some dynamic changes to the traditional costume colors were implemented, most welcome is the symmetrical, smaller size version of the "S" shield. Thus paying homage to a similar style worn by Kirk Alyn and George Reeves. Most greatly appreciated is the joining of Noel and Jack to the cast. Both had terrific moments in Superman Returns. In typical fashion most projects containing historical figures were usually seen in token fashion. Not this time. Noel and Jack had terrific roles. In fact, it is Noel's voice that you hear in the opening of Superman Returns. Thank you Warner Brothers for including our dear friends, Noel and Jack in your film. A proud moment it was for me and many fans as we sat in theaters all across the country looking up on the big screen to see our friends continue with the tradition. I still clap my hands with excitement when I see their names fly across the screen in the opening DVD credits. I know I can speak for the TAoS fan base when I say you have gained our most sincere appreciation. Thank you DC/Warner Brothers for making 2006 a super year of enjoyment and we look forward to many more years of Superman entertainment.
On June 16, Woolstock, Iowa recognized and celebrated for the first time the birth place of George Reeves. This event was the brainstorm of Veronica Guyader and Robin Hamer, who together set out to raise awareness and help the small rural town they love so dearly remain on the map. When most people are eager to move away from small town life, Robin confided in me she wouldn't want to live any where else in the world other than Woolstock, Iowa. Who better to call for help? Their very own native born, George Reeves. But this first celebration was not an easy acceptance to many townsfolk. You see, the controversy surrounding George's death left most in the town all these years with doubts of he being a positive role model, someone they could be proud to call their own. Perhaps the doubting folks of Woolstock feel a Will Rogers or Audie Murphy type is a more suited role model. With assistance coming from boundless energies of Chance McFadden, Carl Glass, Steven Kirk, Dennis Lark, Thom Hamilton and Mike Curtis the doubting mind-set is beginning to change. And the campaign continues underway to help restore the now dilapidated home where Helen Lescher-Brewer gave birth to a fine baby blue-eyed boy. Sometime in the future Woolstock, Iowa USA will open this home to the public as a museum celebrating the life of George Reeves. Robin and Veronica will live their dream to preserve their hometown from extinction. Thank you to those involved in this worthwhile cause. For those who've contributed it is greatly appreciated and please continue to do so and just as important...spread the word. You'll find more information contained within the Coming Home to Woolstock: Birthplace of George Reeves DVD.
Kit Parker restored and released two George Reeves films on DVD titled Jungle Goddess and Thunder in the Pines. Thunder in the Pines is a must see just for the sepia tone itself. Both are fun films and joining the DVD features is Jan Alan Henderson, Carl Glass, Steve Kirk, Jim Nolt, Richard Potter and myself. Great going to Kit and all for making this available.
For years the death of George Reeves has been told in books, countless TV tabloid segments, documentaries and now in 2006 the mystery has been raised to a much higher level of communication than ever before with a theatrical film. While the story content of Hollywoodland is not historically accurate (see Flight of the Innocent), the film-makers went to a great deal of effort to be visually detailed oriented and their well intentions lay in hopes fiction will bring viewers closer to the truth. The film is a compelling story which does raise the awareness to those with varied interest that there is far more mystery and open questions than not. I believe Hollywoodland did indeed accomplish this task. As in his real life, George was happy-go-lucky, full of life and adventure. In the end he becomes a sad figure, trapped by an undeserving fate. TAC recognizes Focus Features and Miramax Films did their absolute best to bring the story of George Reeves to global heights.
Arriving this year to the surprise to many is the high quality The George Reeves Adventures of Superman Companion book by Peter Murano. Immediately the book gained rave reviews from fans recognizing it for its in-depth details, insights, humor, character profiles and episode synopsis. Just making it under the wire of closing out 2006, Jan Alan Henderson and Michael Bifulco team up once again to bring readers a second edition to Speeding Bullet: The Life and Bizarre Death of George Reeves. Just last year both Jan and Mike along with co-author Steve Randisi brought us Behind the Crimson Cape: The Cinema of George Reeves in 2005, a book Mr. Reeves would most happily approve above all others about himself. The second edition of Speeding Bullet would be the response to the newly raised public interest caused by the film Hollywoodland. The film earned over fourteen million dollars at the box-office. This isn't breaking any records by any stretch, but there is still going to be a natural runoff of theater goers who are eager to learn more. Speeding Bullet is the book to carry the inquisitive mind across the 95 yard field line.
In November of 2005 it was no surprise when many of the fans traveled to Los Angeles to attend Noel's 85th birthday party. It was the least we could do to let Noel know how much she means to so many of us. It was our turn to travel the great distances for her since she is forever traveling far and wide to see us. Four years ago Noel revitalized her personal appearance tour around the country. Noel's popularity has never been more so than it is today and we take great pride in being able to express our feelings to her in the best possible way, up close and personal. Dear Noel, please continue to tour the country for as long as you are enjoying our company because we certainly do enjoy yours. Special thanks in this category goes out to Larry Ward who is by Noel's side during all her appearances. TAC is always privileged to announce and post Noel's busy schedule. It is with great honor to thank Noel and Larry for all they've done. THANK YOU.
So what's in store for 2007. Well, I've got a couple of new entries in the works that I'm certain will bring added originality to The Adventures Continue and the story of George Reeves. I hope you keep watching and be sure to also visit Mary's Place for more George Reeves interest. I hope you all have a wonderful Happy New Year. May 2007 bring peace to all corners of the world.
Lou (December 31, 2006)
"Like The Only Real Magic -- The Magic Of Knowledge"