TAC Table of Contents
2010, A Year In Review
By Lou Koza
What would a review be without a George Reeves - Superman photo to kick it off? This rare ( Huh? ) photo contribution comes from our good friend Mike Goldman.
It's Labor Day weekend and I thought I'd get an early start on this year's A Year In Review. Traditionally, it isn't until after Thanksgiving Day that I begin working the year's review page, putting in a couple of hours each night until the page is set to go by year's end. An early going will allow me to be ready for any spontaneous family shopping that arises once the holiday season starts. And so, welcome to another year end wrap-up as Jim and I take the time to thank our contributors and provide some surprises along the way. The Adventures Continue reflects on 2010 with it's Year In Review.
Before forging ahead, I want to mention the passing of several very special individuals who gave us...
First is our dear friend Bette Shayne, wife of Robert Shayne. Nothing short of the word "wonderful" can be described about this genuine lady.
I had to only meet her once, along with her daughter Stephanie, for an afternoon, to know I was in true excellent company. Together we came to celebrate 50 years of TV's Superman. Our famed encounter took place on July 10, 2001. For Bette and Stephanie to attend this rather small gathering at the Kenneth Hahn Hall in downtown LA and later at the Cafe Pinot restaurant made me feel our little event was really far more than that and solidified just how important the show was to them. Bette's husband, of course, played the role of Inspector Bill Henderson. While Marshall Reed filled in adequately for the inspector for one episode in The Human Bomb, we fans took a sigh of relief when Robert Shayne returned. The loving woman who stood with Robert Shayne is Bette. Be sure to watch the touching tribute to Bette Shayne shown on YouTube. Thank you "Steb" for your wonderful tribute. Click Here to watch.
Jackson Gillis wrote numerous TAoS episode. Of these, Around the World with Superman is the standout among the many greats. Both Jim Nolt and I have claimed this to be our favorite episode. I never really followed the careers of television writers, but one must recognize how important they are to a show. It is their talents and creativity that is the heartbeat of any film. When I refer to my Top Ten list I found to my surprise only one Jackson Gillis episode. Then I think, how valid can my list be if it doesn't include the likes of: Defeat Of Superman, Superman In Exile, A Ghost For Scotland Yard, The Face And The Voice, Panic In The Sky, The Golden Vulture, The Machine That Could Plot Crimes, Lady In Black, The Lucky Cat, Great Caesar's Ghost, The Magic Necklace, The Seven Souvenirs, The Deadly Rock and The Wedding Of Superman? These are outstanding episodes in every way and I'm positively certain, without a shadow, of a doubt that many of these episodes can be found on most anyone's favorite Top Ten. If you read Jim Nolt's interview with Mr. Gillis, you will find that he had fond memories of TAoS. That's comforting for us fans to know our favorite series had a lasting impression on someone with a long career in television writing that included: I Spy, The Man From U.N.C.L.E, Columbo, Perry Mason, The Fugitive, Lost In Space, The Wild, Wild West, Mission Impossible, Medical Center, Mannix, Bonanza, Ironside, Land of the Giants, Hawaii 5-0, Murder She Wrote, all iconic shows of their time. We had a legend in our midst folks and his name was Mr. Jackson Gillis.
Late last year, Jim and I learned that our good friend Janeen Christensen of Milwaukee was ill with cancer. In the early days of TAC, when it was published in the readers-digest-size magazine format, Janeen was a contributor. During those years, I always took a great interest in what interested others and what was the foundation of their admiration for George. Randy Garrett had this amazing artwork where he channeled his TV Superman interest. Because I immediately admired his talent, I contacted Randy and we've been great friends ever since. Through TAC, it became obvious to me there are many sides to George Reeves to explore. That's were Janeen came in. To the best of my knowledge, Janeen was the first to review the films of George Reeves beyond his Superman work. Up to that point, his work except for Gone With the Wind, was a mystery to me and to many others. Janeen sparked that interest for me with her reviews. After all, while exciting and thrilling it is to watch Truth, Justice and the American Way, however the Superman fraction is just a portion of what we've come to learn who George Reeves was.
With each Janeen Christensen review, I would write her to express my thanks. Janeen always wrote back with wonderful letters. Once in a while I would receive a spontaneous, casual hello letter with off-topic subjects from her. And wow, the lady had a really great sense of humor. Janeen didn't own a computer, so once in a while I would print and send her Internet - TAC features. This past January, I spoke to Janeen for the first time on the phone. It was a real delight. She was upbeat while discussing her condition and seemed to know her life in this world was short. She must have taken a cue from George to be brave, as he would tell the children he visited in hospitals. What a brave woman she was, pausing a number of times because of her condition and then continue on with her grand sense of humor and wealth of television history knowledge. Boy wouldn't it been incredible if George were around today to pay her a visit? She had most of the Superman episodes on VHS to watch as often as she desired. Janeen passed away just two weeks after my call. I had a package filled with TAC feature stuff to send her which was all ready to go when Jim told me of the sad news. Like George, I know there is far more to this lady than meets the eye. Unfortunately, her life was cut short before we could realize how far more splendid she was.
TAC no. 6: So Proudly We Hail TAC no. 11: Jungle Goddess
TAC no. 7: Rancho Notorious TAC no. 12: Father is a Prince
TAC no. 8: Jungle Jim TAC no 14: Man At Large
TAC no. 9: Lydia TAC no. 16: Forever Female
In the months to follow we will occasionally post Janeen's George Reeves film review individually. In closing this year, we kick off with an early peak at Janeen's 1991 review of So Proudly We Hail. I hope you enjoy these as we remember Janeen for her genuine spirit, along with the love and appreciation for George Reeves.
Also this year we felt the loss of Tom Bosley, famous for his role as "Howard Cunningham" of the iconic 70's classic television show Happy Day's. Fans of 50's Superman will recall Mr. Bosley hosting a late 70's television special titled Superman Super-Star, with guest appearances by Noel Neill (Lois Lane) , Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen) and Thol "Si" Simonson (special effects). Noel and Jack would recall a number of behind the scenes anecdotes and sentimental memories of George Reeves. Generous time was spent with Si Simonson and how he achieved the amazing special effects on a limited budget. George Fisher, a stuntman sporting an original GR Superman costume, was on hand to recreate the stunts. Mr. Bosley treated the subject with respect and presented an extremely fun and memorable show. BTW, am I the only one who thought during the Happy Day's run that a Superman appearance would have been cool! Imagine, Superman and Fonzie side by side. Aye!!
On October 25, rumors were circulating on the Internet that Thol "Si" Simonson had passed away. Michael J. Hayde confirmed the reports through connections with the Hollywood Yacht Club, an organization where Mr. Simonson was a member and previously president. In addition to the Adventures of Superman, Mr. Simonson worked on the classic television series The Fugitive starring David Janssen. Most notable of the series was the final two part episode titled The Judgment. This episode held the record at the time for the highest viewing share of American homes with television sets.
When the producers of Superman: The Movie contacted Jack Larson asking him for a cameo appearance, he suggested they get Si Simonson for the special effects. Jack turned down the request and Mr. Simonson was not asked to work on S:TM. One has to wonder how Mr. Simonson would have handled the more physical aspects of the effects requirements. For example, would Chris Reeve's Superman have floated gently into the air when leaping for the skies? As is, the results were far less impressive than Simonson having George run and jump onto a springboard for his takeoffs. He did more, with less. Si Simonson was an important figure in the Adventures of Superman, no less than any of the individuals cast in front of the camera. He was vital in making TV's Superman a success. Today's films are filled with digital computer graphics. Simonson incorporated ingenuity, combined with simple solutions to solve difficult problems. How do you make it appear that Clark is crushing a piece of coal into a diamond? Well, as Si Simonson did, run a concealed thin tube up the sleeve, to the fist and blow smoke through it. The effect is very convincing.
Legend has it George wouldn't appear on the I Love Lucy episode Lucy Meets Superman unless Si was there to supervise the stunts. This speaks volumes for Thol "Si" Simonson. Jack mentioned that Si was a wonderful person. He greatly admired him and had complete trust when it came to the effects. Jack didn't realize how spoiled he was working with Si when he realized not all stunt coordinators knew what they are doing. Jack recalled working with a crew which had a war scene with numerous explosives which he was required to navigate though. Jack learned a hard lesson.
Years later after Superman, Jack and Si worked together on the Barbara Hershey film, The Babymaker. This film also includes Phyllis Coates.
Notable mentions: Fess Parker and Art Linkletter
Yes, life is a fleeting and a precious commodity. We should all give thanks to the gods that we have had the privilege to share this earthly existence with each other - and that we are bonded together by certain precious elements of multimedia, including TAOS and George Reeves. - Jody McGee- 2010
Look up in the skies. There you will see several wonderful people.
By now you should have noticed the TAC Front Page has a slight facelift. Jim took the reins and moved things around after he created a library for the recommended book release notices. For details click here . A huge THANKS goes out to Jim Nolt for stepping in to eleviate some of the clutter.
If you have the Turner Classics Movies ( TCM ) channel and watch it often, then most likely you come across a number of TAoS character actors through the many vintage films shown. This theme became the backbone for a feature I started back in 2006. Click Here for details. On the morning of Sunday, September 5, I heard to my surprise the name "Mrs. Eleanor Reeves." With my eyes wide opened, I spring to my feet, zipped over to the television and there I beheld Ellanora's name being read during a scene on the jury selection process. The film is Perfect Strangers (1950) starring Ginger Rogers. "Huh?" I thought. I watched the film further to see if Ellanora is among the jury. She is not. Wondering if there is some connection to why Ellanora's name is used as a prop, I review the films IMBM.com entry. I don't see a link, but I'm sure there must be. I decide to order the DVD from the TCM website and have now presented the images below. I wanted to share this because it seems to be a unique way to be part of a film.
If you ever happen to watch this film, you will find TAoS character actor George Chandler in the jury box. Also shown early in the film is a wonderful top to bottom scan of LA City Hall, A.K.A. our The Daily Planet building.
For those curious, the address listed in the image above is just few blocks away from LA City Hall. A view of Google Maps seems to indicate the address is more of a business district rather than private one. So I highly doubt this would have been the Reeves' actual address at any time. In addition, the film was released in 1950 and by 1949 the Reeves couple had proceeded with a separation and divorce. Ellanora at times used Sarah Spencer or Shelly Spencer as a working name.
BTW, notice above how her name is spelled. Over the years I've seen Ellanora's name spelled in various ways. Refer to December's 2009 Photo of the Month. There you will find a Los Angeles Newspaper clipping of George and Ellanora's marriage taken on Sept. 22, 1940. The caption below the news photo reads "Eleanora." The Post-Cresent dated Sept. 26, 1940 does the same. Most recently in Greg McCullom's article George Reeves: The Real Man of Steel has it spelled "Ellenora." The Winged Victory programs spells it "Ellanora." This is consistent with a 1995 reply-letter I received from Deborah, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Edward Rose.
This is not the first time I've stumbled upon Ellanora's name. While on vacation in November 2009 in Los Angeles, my wife and I had dinner at Malibu's famous Paradise Cove. There I was stunned to find this (see below) hanging on the wall among hundreds of photos of fishing piers & boats and celebrities. Again, note the spelling is "Eleanor."
When I pointed it out to the young lady who greets people at the door, she looked at me like I was indeed bizarre. I tried to explain to her who Ellanora Reeves was, "George Reeves' wife? Superman on TV!" But it was totally lost on her. All she had to say was, "Yes, we have a lot of celebrities on the wall." "But, but...." I replied, pointing upward to the signature. Sheesh, some people just don't get it. LOL. I'd be better off trying to bend steel with my bare hands. I walked back to my table, borrowed my wife's camera and captured another unique, spontaneous find. Something of George always seems to turn up to elevate my vacations into a Superman Field Trip.
It Takes Characters of all Kinds
I think what makes TAC a special place is that we are not only paying respect to the memory of George Reeves and his work, but also those who worked beside him on the Adventures of Superman. In 2006, Jan Alan Henderson gave us an extensive feature on Cecil Elliot. An actress that if it wasn't for her part on Superman, would most likely be sadly forgotten. For the past 5 years Bruce Dettman has done many wonderful character actor mini-bio's. Thus, TAC has become a place were we simply don't forget the many familiar faces that have proven iconic figures with entries into the GR Hall of Fame. It gives us an opportunity to ensure these individuals won't be forgotten any time soon.
2010 started off with an extraordinary character actor presentation by Colete Morlock. Colete really has become a shining star for TAC these past couple of years. Look no further to the past A Year In Review's and you'll see for yourself. Among Colete's work she helped kick-start this year off with an extensive feature titled John Doucette: A Fine Character Actor along with the Gallery Page with personal artifacts provided by Mr. Doucette's son John Jr. Colete was fortunate to have the younger John lend support. As a result TAC benefitted from one of 2010's best additions. Colete received quite a bit of well deserved attention when her feature was released. One notable posting came from Gary Grossman, author of Superman: Serial to Cereal.
Colete, Thank you for all the work and affection you put into your writing about John Doucette. You certainly constructed a warm and loving portrait of a face so familiar to us through "The Adventures of Superman" and hundreds of other appearances. I never met John, but now I feel the next best thing thanks to you. Gary Grossman - author Superman: Serial to Cereal
How true are Gary's words. Thank you Gary. I know this meant a lot to Colete. I'm certain she felt like she could leap tall buildings in a single bound when she read your note.
Colete is no stranger among the community as she continues to forge friendships at the George Reeves related message boards. She also is a major contributor for Carl and Leslie's outstanding website Glass House Presents. I also thank her for last year's proof reading of the 2009's Year In Review.
The IRON HORSE has come through again this year. This year we had the privilege to read about Myron Healey, Anthony Caruso, Robert Wilke, Marshal Reed and Arthur Space. The write-ups seem to come once every three months. Other than the IMDB.com that lists the films of actors, I don't know how Bruce comes up with all his information. It can't be an easy task. If I could, I'd award him a doctor's degree in American Pop-Culture for all his research and writing. The important thing is, we hope you "the readers" are enjoying these mini-bio's since Bruce doesn't seem to be cooling off any time soon. Bruce had this to say on his future:
Looper, Hey, by my count, with the latest mini-bio on Marshall Reed, I've done 25 profiles for you. Get ready for the next 25. - Bruce
Bruce is correct by his count. Dettman Documents has become a nice corner stone for TAC. Thank you Bruce for all you do and not only for TAC, but at GHP with all those wonderful features as well.
Another fine addition to TAC this year, was the Malcolm Mealey Interview by Doug Switz and Malcolm Mealey: As Told by His Step-Son, Chuck Jones, along with a photo gallery. Thanks to our long time friend Bill Kane for helping with this feature. Interesting to note, during Malcolm's interview is that he was involved with Superman radio in Australia prior to his visit to Los Angeles. He arrived in LA with several scripts under his arm and the idea of becoming a writer for the show. It certainly would have been interesting even today if we could read Mal's scripts. In addition, Malcolm's memory of filming No Holds Barred and The Deserted Village was very sharp and we thank him for never losing that. Often as the years go by, actors such as Billy Gray, better known for his Father Knows Best television series and The Day the Earth Stood Still have long lost their memories of working with Superman, Inc. Of course Billy Gray was a much younger individual at the time. But even younger was Keith Thibodeaux, who in his TAC issue number 11 (1994) interview recalled vivid memories of George appearing on the I Love Lucy show. Perhaps if enough TAC readers were to write in asking to reprint this interview here on the Internet, I'm sure we could oblige.
Sadly, Malcolm is no longer with us, but we are fortunate his memories were recorded. Thanks go out to Doug Switz. BTW, if Doug's name sounds familiar, it should. Doug who calls himself "just an average guy," provided the forward for Peter Murano's excellent book, The George Reeves Companion, released in 2007. This book is highly recommended for it's fun approach to watching the Warner Brothers DVD's episodes of our favorite television show, the Adventures of Superman.
In addition to the Malcolm Mealey interview, I added a bonus feature on George Drake. Mr. Drake played one of the henchman employed by Murry (Herb Vigran) to carry out dastardly wrestling manuvers that paralyze wrestling opponents. Mr. Drake is most visible in the episode No Holds Barred closing "All right boys, the party's over!" battle scene to save Swami Ramm (Tito Renaldo). Over the years I've been aware of quest made by individuals seeking the truth to the supposed Archie Moore Vs. George Reeves exhibition boxing match. Their efforts led them to San Diego, Ca. libraries, delving into newspapers archives to find whether or not this event was to have taken place. The efforts of those individuals came up empty. I thought I would turn to 1959/60 Archie Moore articles in Boxing magazines with the hope of finding something that would substantiate either the bout as an upcoming event or an event that didn't happen due to George's death. This road also proved to be a dead-end. Anyway, while going through the vintage boxing magazines I purchased in 2007, I found the George Drake article with its mention of he appearing on TV's Superman. This year I appropriately included it with Doug Switz's Malcolm feature. - (this paragraph added Dec. 31, 2010)
Just As Strange As Norma Herself
Here's an oddity. In 2008, TAC released a feature titled Mad About the Boy. In this feature I reflected on the similarities between the characters in the film Sunset Boulevard and the relationships between George Reeves, Toni and Eddie Mannix. The film starred Gloria Swanson.
Earlier this year, I purchased a photo of George from eBay and on the back of the photo I found a small news clip taped to it. I'm not really sure why it compares George's performances like a combination of the two listed. It's a strange coincidence is all that I can say!
Stories that go Up, Up and Never Put Away
TAC did very well this year with four playsuit entries from Mike Clark, Dennis Hays, Eric J. Roberts along with a very special father feature from Ron Gross. Thank you, gentlemen for sharing your wonderful childhood stories with us.
BTW, there is an image posted of an unknown person. I hope this person writes in to let us know who he is so we can give credit.
Also, we hope we can add more in 2011. I'm sure there's got to be a good one from Mike Curtis' childhood.
BTW, for anyone who would believe George would drink alcoholic beverages while doing personal appearances with children only need to look at the image below to realize how ridiculous that notion is. For more images see link above.
Look what George is handing out.
Image above from The Adventures of Superman Collecting by Harry Matesky and Danny Fuchs
....And Who Disguised ?
Well folks, we've often watched the episode Panic in the Sky where Jimmy Olsen explain to an amnesiac Clark Kent that the costume holds no special powers and doesn't make Superman super. By the time the playsuits were being sold, Whit Ellsworth and George Reeves thought a message needed to be told to keep children from endangering themselves when wearing the play suit. It is in The Unlucky Number where Superman explains to Bobby Exbrook that it's not the costume that gives Superman his ability to fly or powers of strength.
A costume isn't going to give you super strength. Nor will it mean you can substitute as George Reeves. I wish someone would have told that to John Wilcoxen. See The Man Who Filled in For The Man of Steel. I'm still laughing. Thanks go out to the reader responses. Enough said on the subject.
Still a Jet Ace In Our Book
Late last year / early this year the George Reeves community was overwhelmed by the news Jack Larson, our favorite James Bartholomew Olsen would be appearing on NBC's Law & Order: Special Victim's Unit. It was hopeful Jack's performance would earn him an Emmy Award. Fans across the country were waiting anxiously knowing the producer of the show had entered Jack's name into the nomination request arena. Jack received rave reviews from the GR community, but unfortunately it was not to be. Jack was not considered for a nomination. But that doesn't mean Jack didn't win - at least to his many admiring fans. Jack has always been in our favor since we recognize his talents will always deliver wonderful performances. Gary Grossman wrote to Jim and I and here is his e-mail:
Hi, Jim and Lou,
All the best for the New Year. And what better way to celebrate
than with a remarkable, Emmy nomination-worthy performance by
Jack Larson on "Law & Order."
Many of TAC's readers sent in e-mails which were forwarded to Jack. Jack expressed his gratitude and appreciates all the support. BTW, just in case there is more to report on Jack we created a page called Jack Larson's Landing.
On the evening of September 20th, I spoke with Jack over the phone and he informed me he was not disappointed at all by not being nominated for the Emmy. He mentioned the rules changed this year with the entries for the actors who must now have a bridge of episodes to qualify. No single episode performances were being accepted. Just as well, Jack noted that if he been nominated he would have felt a bit chagrin towards Brian Geraghty. He felt it was Brian's episode as his performance was exceptional and it would be unfair if Jack was nominated and Brian was not. Leave it to Jack to put someone else before himself! Jack also mentioned Brian was terrific in the 2008 film, The Hurt Locker (Oscar winner for Best Picture).
Jack mentioned that the writer of this episode, titled Quickie, called to express his disappointment that Jack was not nominated. Others connected to the show were hoping Jack would be included for sentimental reasons. Jack informed the writer that there is an upside to not being nominated and that is he didn't have to go to the Emmy Awards show. Jack chuckled when he made this comment. I have an all-time high respect for Mr. Jack Larson.
I look Like Clark Kent, Why Don't I sound Like Clark Kent?
In an unknown dated article titled The Electronic Man of Steel, written by Tom McGeehan I found an interesting tidbit. Before I focus on the subject first let me fill you in on the article's background. I've had this article since 1985, so I suspect it may have been published sometime around the release of 1978's Superman: The Movie. The article gives a brief history of the Adventures of Superman and delves into some of the show's poor plot lines. The writer wonders why Superman didn't use his super speed to grab the crook's guns instead to filling
the Editor's office ventilator system with knockout gas. There are a number of blatant errors the writer commits himself to. For example, it states that George's real name is Bessolo, the Reeves' name was actually his mother's maiden name. As we know, Helen Bessolo's maiden name was Lescher. Also, in the I Love Lucy appearance, Mr. McGeehan claims that Lucy Ricardo fell from the ledge and Superman happened on by and caught her. There are many more mistakes throughout, so I took the following excerpt with a grain of salt.
At the time, they ("they" being Superman, Inc. or National Comics) had a George "Superman" Reeves look-a-like contest, with the prize being able to appear on the Superman TV series with full actor's pay. Julian Upton was the winner of this contest and he played a nameless crook in Peril By Sea and also played Clyde Gains in The Talking Clue, where he was in a police lineup with the runners up in the contest.
One has to be curious where Tom McGeehan obtained this information. The writer didn't pay too close attention to his subjects since he continued with errors. Upton's Talking Clue character is name "Claude James," not "Clyde Gains" and in Perils By Sea, he plays a crook named Barney. Putting all that aside, I've wondered ever since I first read this article if a George Reeves look-a-like contest really did take place. To date, this subject has never before been discussed or brought up elsewhere. In a conversation I had with Jack Larson recently, I decided it was time to ask him if such a contest took place. Because there is a resemblance between Upton and Reeves, I thought that maybe it did happen. But his recall had been taken to task trying to search his memory for confirmation. If anyone out there has any knowledge of this.....please contact us.
Once Upon A Time, There Was a Boy Who Traveled Very Far....
...and found some amazing discoveries. No need to go into any long narratives regarding this year's amazing addition of George Reeves: The Real Man of Steel. I pretty much summed up all I could in my introduction on the feature. Yet still, I marvel at the great lengths Greg went through to find what he could about George Reeves. Making cross country treks from Chattanooga, Tennessee by automobile to Iowa, back home and then to California and back. Also, amazing is the article's original timing, when there was little public knowledge of George's family history. I thank Greg for his tremendous efforts and allowing TAC to reproduce the article here. We received a good many e-mails and in fact here is a little something Randy Garrett wrote:
I read the article straight through and it's almost unbelievable that Greg published so much info on George in 1978. It's just amazing that he never received due credit or any publicity over the years. His writing style is very appealing to me. His focus stays on George and he presents the narrative in a rather matter of fact way in the best tradition of journalism. Great stuff!
Thanks for posting the article for everyone to enjoy, and thanks for using my logo design as a little icing on the cake. I'm sure you remember I created that basic circle design for buttons to be worn at the Metropolis Superman weekend festival in 1996 (How on earth can it be THAT long ago??!!) Randy
Of course I do remember Randy's button logo. I actually lifted the design from TAC issue no. 2's cover and placed it on each page of Greg reproduced article. There is a lot to remember about that weekend, which included a rare Jack Larson appearance. That weekend I met good guys Tom Nagy and Jim Bowers. Tom walked the streets in his really cool looking GR-Superman costume. Jim Bowers was full of enthusiasm, generously offering Christopher Reeve - Superman buttons to just about anyone who he came across. These buttons of course had the Randy Garrett artwork. I want to mention that the weekend in Metropolis was dedicated to Mr. Reeve and an effort was being made through the auction to raise money for the Reeve-Irvine research for a cure for spinal injuries. Jack Larson, who doesn't enjoy traveling over great distances did attend to help in the campaign effort. Of course he was a big draw. He certainly was my reason for attending that year and my one and only time.
When I found Greg's article from 1978, it seemed it had crossed through a time barrier. A couple of months after The Real Man of Steel was released at TAC, Greg followed up with his story behind the story with Mild-Mannered Reporter For A Great Metropolitan Newspaper: My 1970's Search for George Reeves. It was a great way to cap off the vintage article with this ultimate GR-Superman Field Trip. It really is astonishing how George's life, and sad to say, his death had an effect on his fans. It just seems that at no point in time has his persona been lost in yesterday's news, and more important, in the hearts of his fans. Greg did his part in the late 70's when Warner Brothers released Superman: The Movie with hopes to suppress the TV series forever in the minds of the public. Well, that didn't happen did it? I recall at a mid-90's ICON Convention at Stonybrook University walking up to Julius Schwartz, then a top executive at DC Comics. I asked him about the Adventures of Superman. I was stunned when he abruptly said, "Awe, who cares about that old stuff." If he cared to hear the answer and stood for a second longer he would have heard the response from this fan of the show, "I do." However, Paul Levitz more than made up for it on July 10, 2001 by being part of the TV Superman 50th Anniversary celebration in Los Angeles organized by Armand Vaquer and Jim Nolt.
To touch on June 16th, for a moment. 2009 was the 50th anniversary of George's final and very tragic moment. Much of what we did then to recognize the date was to celebrate George's life and career. But our sad thoughts of his death is never far removed. Numerous George Reeves fans wrote in with their sentiments. This past June TAC issued a message from that mild mannered fellow named Jim Nolt. With his Fifty-One Years Later, I think you'll all agree Jim captures the true essence of what it means to admire George for all he did and recognize why he is worth our long lasting attention. Thank you Jim.
Jim also has a tribute video he placed at YouTube. You won't want to miss "My Personal Tribute to George Reeves."
Wouldn't George be Thrilled ?
For 60 years Noel Neill been Lois Lane. One might say all an actress has to do is wear a hat and business suit and you've got a girl reporter for the great Metropolitan newspaper. That may be true, but none have done it better than Noel. For her long term commitment to the character this past June Noel was honored in Metropolis, Illinois.
Five years ago at Noel's 85th birthday party, a group of individuals from the Metropolis, Il Chamber of Commerce made an announcement they would spearhead a campaign to raise money to create a statue of Lois Lane in the likeness of Noel Neill. True to their word they were. Today, a statue in Noel's likeness by Gary Ernest Smith stands tall. In fact, it's a bit taller than Noel by one foot. Noel herself in a way, to many of us, is larger than life.
Our appreciation goes to the organizers for Noel's statue, which will be seen for years to come and for generations to be inspired by. This honor is well deserved and TAC thanks those responsible.
Images above provided by Bill Dillane - THANK YOU. See here for more Bill Dillane images from that weekend.
Jim Bowers of CapedWonder.com produced a wonderful YouTube tribute to Noel at YouTube. Click here to watch and enjoy it.
Seated from left to right is Rev. Gary Motta of the First United Methodist Church, Angie Shelton, Karla Ogle and Lisa Gower.
Yes, indeed. George Reeves would be thrilled for Noel.
Bruce Wayne has Dick Grayson as his ward and Noel Neill has, well...Larry Ward. How can we forget Larry? Simply put....WE CAN"T. Most of all, we wouldn't want to. Why? Because Larry is a great guy.
Larry, I know I can speak for Jim Nolt, Carl Glass, Richard Potter, Mary Spooner and the entire George Reeves Community when I say THANK YOU for all your generosity and kindness towards all the many fans and people in general who've come to meet Noel. More important, thank you FOR ALL YOU DO for Noel.
I've often noticed during Noel's personal appearances that Larry will do his best to blend into the background. To even try and get him into a group photo-op is like changing the course of a mighty river. It's only a humble man who would be sure not to grab some of the lime light. In his little way he had made a long lasting impression and there are many out there who can honestly call him their "Friend."
Here is what Noel had to say about George Reeves
You may have already read this before. It was published in a 1970's DC World Magazine in an article titled Lois Lane Reveals Superman's TV Secret! When interviewed, Noel had these comments:
"George was so nice and gentlemanly. You couldn't have found a nicer person to work with. Here he was playing Superman, but he didn't have any ego problems. He was very helpful in rehearsing or helping other people on the show.
If Noel says George was a good guy. Hey!! That's good enough for us.
We had a great special effect man, so there weren't many slip ups. I do remember one though. We had a big scene in which George was supposed to crash through a wall to rescue somebody. We didn't get finished that day, so we left and came in the next day to wrap up the scene. No one realized that the wall had solidified overnight. George burst into the wall, and only one arm and one leg got through! No one moved. We were all stunned. The camera kept going. Then finally, the director yelled "Cut!" and we pulled George out of the wall."
Where is this blooper film today?
While We're Talking About George....
An unknown writer who interviewed George shortly before his death wrote a letter containing the following to Miss Leonore Silvian of TV STAR PARADE.
Would you be interested in seeing a sympathetic piece on the late George Reeves, TV's Superman who ended his life tragically yesterday? George was one of my first assignments out here when I was a beginning editor and our interview, never fully published, is one which showed the sensitivity of the man, his compassion for the human race, his efforts to help others. I think it might well serve as a final tribute to give him some positive publicity -- even though it comes late.
I have some exclusive pictures to go with the story and would appreciate hearing from you. Thank you so much.
New York's Finest Loves Noel Neill
Thanks go out to Frank Verzyl of Long Island who gave us a glimpse into the past with one of Noel's many personal appearances. See here for Frank's personal color photos of the 1975 New York Telefantasy Convention with Noel Neill.
In the March/April 2010 issue of the NYPD Spring 3100 Noel appears with Officer Paul. Thanks to Eddie Caro who submitted this photo originally taken by this writer on May 30, 2009. The photo was taken outside the Holiday Inn on West 57th Street on May 30th, after her appearance at the Gotham Super Collector's Show in New York City.
Page 18, noted the following: "Noel Neill, The Original Lois Lane who first played her in the movie serial Superman and then later in the television series the Adventures of Superman from 1953-1958, still keeps busy going to various comic book/media conventions. Here she is with Police Officer Paul Their, Midtown North Precinct, in her last New York appearance at the Holiday Inn in Manhattan. Ms. Neill will be turning 90 this year and will limit her shows to the west coast where she resides."
Keeping Up Appearances
Since we are on the subject of personal appearances, we know George did many of his own throughout the mid to late 50's. It seems these days we are finding wonderful newspaper articles. Mike Goldman sent this small article which was originally published in the Indiana Evening Gazzette, dated August 25, 1956. In addition, Randy Garrett found on YouTube live footage of George's appearance. This can be seen from TAC's Front Page. Be sure to catch Michael J. Hayde's (author of Flight's of Fantasy) retrospect at his BETTER LIVING THROUGH TELEVISION Blog site regarding this occasion along with a very unfortunate incident. While there, be sure to read Michael's other subjects. You'll find these to be very interesting. For other appearance articles refer to TAC's Table of Contents.
The average person may wonder what all the fuss is about. But to us who have a great interest in George's personal appearance trail this is like an archeologist discovering a Raptor jaw bone in a Connecticut home backyard.
Also, be sure to refer to Superman in the Backyard.
It was always my hope that when releasing a feature at TAC that it would inspire a round of discussions at the various discussions boards. My thought process is that it would perhaps lead to valued learning of ideas. From time to time this has happened. Other times, that hasn't been the case. Recently, the opposite occurred. A small discussion at the Cave Board initiated a release of images and a news clip of George's appearance in the Pasadena Playhouse program titled Nightshade. See the NIGHTSHADE page for details. It should be noted that there is always an open invitation to all our readers to submit any information they feel is significant to any page released at TAC. Credit will always be given.
"Now Jimmy, I don't Think He Likes You Calling Him Chief"
Great writing creating indelible character moments. "Go ahead, make my day." "Show me the money." "You had me at hello." "Why don't you come up and see me sometime." "I'll be back!" "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." "You talking to me?" "My precious." "May the force be with you." "Why don't you get out of that wet coat and into a dry martini." So familiar are these lines we know the film and who said it. No introductions are required when hearing the words "Great Caesars Ghost," or "Don't call me Chief." If you've never heard these words before, then you don't know who John Hamilton is and never watched an episode of the Adventures of Superman.
For those who recall, last year John "The Rascal" Raspanti contributed a nice feature titled In The Shadows of Panic In the Sky. Rascal's entry this year is John Hamilton: The Distinguished Curmudgeon. Often are fans writing in asking about John Hamilton's background. So when Rascal inquired here at TAC and offered to explore what he could find, I was all too interested to find out what, if anything could be dug up. John did a nice job and hopefully this entry will inspire additional information about "The Chief." Adding to the feature, Michael J. Hayde forwarded from his research archive Mr. Hamilton's World War I Registration Card. The ladies might want to note our distinguished Editor was once a good catch. Described in the Registration Card as "Tall, Eyes: Dark Blue and Hair: Black, Bald: No." In addition, Mike informs us that the middle initial for John R. Hamilton is "Rummel." Thanks Michael.
TAC appreciates John Raspanti for often coming forward during the years and asking what can he do for us. His enthusiasm, like that of Colete, Thom Hamilton, Bruce and Steven Brooks does indeed overwhelm both Jim and myself. To know there are people who want to keep this effort ongoing is exciting and inspirational. Back in 2005, Jim Nolt thought there was nothing left to offer the readership. At the time, I thought how could that be? However, on rare occasions during my time with TAC it has crossed my mind Jim might be right. But then a John, or Colete come along with an idea and there you have it.....The Adventures Continue.
When I first thought to include this image I didn't have anything in particular to write about. Then I remembered a business associate of mine had worked at AURORA in the mid-70's. Those old enough will recall this hobby kit was released in the 1960's with the BATMAN, ROBIN and SUPERBOY model kits. Because the SUPERMAN model is known throughout fandom as the "George Reeves" model, I thought I'd take the opportunity to ask him if AURORA had George Reeves in mind when they fabricated this kit for the market. Tony C. had this to say:
"No, not at all. George's name never came up in the office and was never considered part of the concept. The look of the kit was specifically designed after the comic book of the time."
When this kit was making its way into the young hands of enthusiast the Adventures of Superman show was thriving in
60's television syndication. Therefore it seems only natural to link the two together as the "George Reeves - SUPERMAN Model Kit." Anyone who knows the workmanship style of comic book artist, the obvious illustrator for this accurate rendition of the actual kit is the legendary and fan favorite Mr. Curt Swan. Mr. Swan with subtle hints injected George Reeves into his comic book illustrations of Superman and Clark Kent. See image below for an example:
Left side from: The Super-Powers of Perry White - GIANT SUPERMAN, June-July 1970 no. 227
Right side from: Lady in Black, season 2, episode 23 - 1953
From the Ground Up
The image to the left is a full page ad from Adventure Comics no. 178, dated March 1952.
The below image is from Action Comics No. 166, Dated March 1952.
These comic book issues were most likely released to the store racks in February 1952.
Referring to Michael J. Hayde's Flights of Fantasy, page 159, Superman and the Mole Men was released in theaters on November 23, 1951.
Speaking of Michael J. Hayde's Flights of Fantasy, it's just a year-and-a-half since its release and I'm thoroughly enjoying this book. I'm sure everyone who has purchased it is too.
2010 Photos Of the Month
I hope you all like the assortment of photos provided in this year's Photos of the Month. I'm sure you can pick out some favorites. Here's a bonus image to close out the year.
About the photo provided by Mike Goldman at the top of this page. Of course this is a common photo you'd find in just about any longtime fan's collection. What makes this photo interesting and not so common, is that it's a color version. Mike is certain this is not an altered PhotoShop colorization and I tend to agree with him. If we're wrong, well that's ok. It still makes a splendid opening. Oh, and what's up with Supie standing on the brick?
The Legendary Lydecker Brothers, by Jan Alan Henderson and published by Michael Bifulco.
The Raid and The Raid II, by Stephen Brooks
Doo Wop Motels: Architectural Treasures of the Wildwoods. by Kirk Hastings
There never was a George Reeves Vs. Archie Moore exhibition boxing match. But there was a Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali fight in 1978. It took place in the pages of DC Comics.
This past November, DC released the legendary story in two hardcover formats, a deluxe (7.5 x 11.25 inches) edition and a facsimile (10 x 13.5 inches) format. Click here for details.
Since I have the 1978 oversized original version, I went for the deluxe version for the rare Neal Adams sketches. I wasn't the slightest bit disappointed.
For us TAoS fans, it should be remembered or noted the art team included Noel Neill and Jack Larson in the audience of their original star-studded of the time wrap-around cover. The full illustration wasn't repeated on the outside of the new deluxe version, however it is included as a two page spread inside.
The story was created by the amazing, ultimate team, Denny O'Neil, Neal Adams, the late Dick Giordano and Terry Austin. The match between the two iconic figures was more of a symbol of unity to save the human race and Earth from destructive outer-space aliens. (this item was added on Dec. 29, 2010)
Here is some
interesting information from Jim Burns (James H. Burns): A
relatively unknown, I believe, anecdote, about the DC Comics
press conference for SUPERMAN VS. MUHAMMAD ALI...When the duo
teamed up, of course, to help
Muhammad Ali: Still the Greatest. (this item was added on March 31, 2012)
Richard Potter has developed an iPhone app version of the George Reeves Calendar. GRF is still in the beta testing phase (folks can go to www.iBetaTest.com and register to be a beta tester, if interested). The GRCalendar (as it is called) presents the historical events in George's life on a day to day basis, based on the Chronology at TAC. It also contains lots of pictures, a slideshow, a search mechanism (so you can find, for example, all the events in which Toni Mannix is mentioned). Last but not least, it contains two of Richard's songs, "Oh, George" and "Noel". The calendar is available for free at the Apple iTunes store. Click Here for the link:
Since the app was released at the iTunes store on October 1st, several folks have downloaded it and contacted me to say how happy they are to find that there is an app featuring George Reeves. These contacts have come from all over the world, as far away as Japan, if you can believe it. I don't think they are aware of TAC, GHP or GRF, but they do have fond memories of George and TAOS.
Richard tells us the biggest "coup" at GRF this year was publishing the exchange between Mark Hamill and himself. Mark is an incredibly nice guy and he has tremendous respect for George. Here's the link to the page it's on, in case you missed it.
Finally, it should be known Richard was recently interviewed by Chris Brockow and the interview was published at the Superman Super Site. Here's the link:
George Reeves Forever
For many years we've come to know of several appearances George made in his television career. Unless someone knows otherwise, George's appearances on Masquerade Party, Funny Bones, Romper Room and Super Circus do not exist on film. George's rescue of Mary Hartline in Super Circus has become common knowledge folklore, since it's no more than just a memory to those who where lucky to be in the audience or happened to see it on television 55 years ago. The small news clip you see to the left inspired a request to Mr. Randy Garrett who not so long ago took us along on an amazing journey with the illustrated version of Superman and the Secret Planet. Like the news clip above (with the mention of Gloria Swanson), this item appeared on the backside of the 8 x 10-photo I purchased and it's unfortunate that the continued context was cut away.
Upon my request for an illustration, Randy had this to say:
I wonder how they staged the buzz saw stunt? I really doubt that Si was called in for this gig. I have only vague memories of Super Circus, but I recall it as being a rather cheap production, sort of like the local Bozo shows that used to be in every viewing area. This was probably another appearance that George wasn't thrilled about, but then again, Mary Hartline in her majorette costume probably made the whole thing worth it. - Randy
Randy was more than happy to help us explore what George's appearance on Super Circus might have looked like. For you folks.
Something About Mary
Super Circus was fun to do, though I'm sure my drawing looks nothing like the actual Reeves stunt. While researching, I came across a bunch of SC videos from '54, '55 and '56 posted on YouTube. Do you think it's at all possible that George's appearance on the show exists somewhere? Wow! If that turns up, it WILL be a SUPER Circus!! - Randy
Randy, Many THANKS for bringing to us what George's rescue of Mary might have looked liked. People who have fond memories of the show seem to remember that Mary was the best part of it. You might say there was something about Mary before "Something About Mary" became a film and a popular catch phrase. According to Michael J. Hayde's copy of TV GUIDE, Philadelphia Edition, "Superman Saves the Circus" aired on Sunday, March 13, 1955 at 5pm, over WFIL, Channel 6.
Be sure to visit Randy's Art Site for a look at his diverse range of illustrations.
During a series of e-mails with Michael J. Hayde, I noted to him how amazing I thought it was that George's appeal still exists after all these years. However, I couldn't quite explain the phenomena. Please read what Mike had to say, because I think he captures the raw essence of what George means to his fans.
I can only speak for myself when it comes to George's appeal. He was so good as Superman. He took the character out of the comic book pages with their outlandish situations and - let's face it - awkward corny dialogue (at least in comics of those days), and breathed life into it by bringing himself into the role. He not only leapt out of windows; he leapt out of the screen itself, grabbing our attention. As Kent, he was logical, caring, fatherly... the perfect role model. And who didn't want to be Superman, if we could be one like him? His style was intimate; TV was the most intimate of media; it was a perfect marriage. Consequently, he became MY Superman... mine, and every other kid's for generations. I think that's why those of us who grew up with him fight so fiercely for both the respect we believe is due TAOS as well as his memory. - Michael
Coming in January we will feature an amazing Billy Nelson photo gallery contributed by Mr. Nelson's nephew Jason Michaels. Bruce Dettman has already contributed a mini-bio for Dettman Documents, so we'll reiterate that information appropriately with the gallery. I want to mention the images that showcase some of Billy Nelson's film work was originally submitted to Carl Glass for GlassHouse Presents. Carl, always generous by nature thought TAC would be the best place to present these images and put me in contact with Jason. We of course felt GHP is certainly just as worthy to record its history. But Carl was adamant that Mr. Nelson have a home at TAC. Thanks go out to Jason and Carl. Be sure TAC will make a nice presentation for Mr. Nelson.
In the last couple of months I created a couple of DC comic book / TAoS episode crossover images for the Photos of the Month. Because this appeals to me, I took to Flights of Fantasy to gather all Mike had listed in his book. I've begun to create a more comprehensive approach to this theme. For now we know of 19 crossovers. So if this is something that interests you then be on the lookout for this item in the near future.
Much has been written about Bob Shayne's years with the Adventures of Superman and his very close friendship with George Reeves. Of all the main cast members Mr. Shayne has had the least amount of episode appearances. But hardly is he less important than the others. We can never get enough of Bob Shayne and he has been chronicled in the pages of TAC ever since the magazine days. It is always our delight to be able to bring forth anything relative to our favorite police inspector. Colete Morlock has joined forces with Thom Hamilton with a major assist from a special individual, Ms. Stephanie Shayne-Parkin to bring us another extensive feature on Mr. Robert Shayne. I've read a small portion of the treatment and let me say this,....it's really good.
Finally, I plan to create a Page 3 for the Character Actors feature, which BTW, I've modified recently. I have been picking up vidcaps from The Fugitive series and there I've found Virginia Christine, Dabbs Greer, Peter Brocco, Lane Bradford, Percy Helton, Philip Pine, Herb Vigran and a bunch more. An amazing show, that lasted 120 episodes over 4 years in the early '60's and starred David Janssen as The Fugitive. In addition, I received my first CA-VC submission from a TAC reader. It comes in from "Don the Merman" who sent in a Philips Tead image as the football announcer from "Horsefeathers" (1932) with Groucho Marx by his side. Thanks Don, we'll get it posted at the top of the page.
That's pretty much it for now. Special thanks go to Sue Schnitzer for ALL her proof reading efforts for this page.
In closing, Jim and Lou thank you for tuning in and we hope you all stay well and have the very best year to come. It goes without saying, keep watching those great episodes of the Adventures of Superman.
Let's fight the never ending battle
Please have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season.
This page is dedicated to the memory of
Bette Shayne and Janeen Christensen
Thanks for Watching.
Lou - December 23, 2010
"Like The Only Real Magic -- The Magic Of Knowledge"
The Adventures Continue (TAC) is a website devoted to George Reeves and the Adventures of Superman. All contents copyright© by Jim Nolt unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Nothing from this website may be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part (excpet for brief passaged used solely for review purposes) without the written permission of either Jim Nolt (owner) and/or Lou Koza (editor).
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