TAC Table of Contents
2012, A Year In Review
By Lou Koza
As of this writing, it's October and as we all know, a major storm devastated the shorelines and some inland areas of New Jersey, Staten Island, Manhattan Island, the Rockaways, and Long Island. Many homes took a huge pounding from what began from the South as Hurricane Sandy caused loss of electrical power and tele-communications. What made the storm more powerful than normal was while it was weakened by the time it reached Long Island, it was met by another storm closing in from the West. In addition, there was a full-Moon which caused high tides,thus allowing water from the Atlantic Ocean to reach further inland. Entire homes were flooded up to four feet. Leaking natural gas lines caused fires that in some places spread up to a hundred adjoining homes. Most notable in Breezy Point, NY. Firefighters was unable to approach the homes because of the flooding. After the storm, I toured an area of South Shore Long Island and it was indeed sad to see furniture, beds, kitchen cabinets, floor boards, toys, and personal belongings gathered at the curb. Homes were being gutted and these objects and personal belongings were destroyed by the floods that tore through it. Even more sad is to read the newspapers and learn a small number of lives were lost because of the storm. Many people by the time you read this will still not have returned to their homes. Long Island is not accostumed to sizable natural disasters and this acts as a grim reminder of what so many other places like New Orleans, Florida and Haiti went through when those areas were devastated by hurricanes in recent past years. Let's not forget what Japan went through when an ocean earthquake caused a sunomi ripple effect. The massive amount of water that destroyed towns was far too incredible to behold. It's safe to say, storms of any intense magnitute is not a welcome site by any means, no matter where they come in contact with life. It's times like this we really need a Superman. But unfortunately, Superman can only exist in comic books and on TV and in Movies. So, it boils down to mere the mortal women and men who place themselves in dangerous situations in order to help and rescue others. These are individuals who make up the police departments, ambulance teams, fire departments, hospitals, coast guard and rescue teams deserve an enormous amount of respect for all they do in a crisis. Most will not take credit and simply say they were doing their job. But we know better. Heroes really do exist, but they don't have superpowers to lift them above the call of duty. What they have is the knowledge to understand situations and are willing to react. God bless them.
OK, we've got a long road ahead of us with 29 subjects. Please forgive me for the abundance of topics and I do try to keep them short and simple. I hope you enjoy the entire page. And so, here we go.........
So You Want to Be Like George Reeves!
In the 40's and 50's there was a series of film shorts featuring George O'Hanlon as the common man, Joe McDoakes, who typically finds himself in disastrous situations. Many of us have a great admiration for George Reeves and as a result, we often wish we could be just like him. Which leads me to say; "So you want to be like George Reeves?" You may ask yourself first if you're tough enough since George had endured a lot of hazards during the filming Superman for television. Well, to be like George, you have wonder if you could endure being dropped 12 feet from a flying rig onto a hard floor. You are already humiliated and your co-star is having a good laugh at your expense.
OK, now. The director yells "Action." Off you go with the confidence that the door you are about to crash through will break apart when you slam into it. The next thing you know, everyone is helping you off the floor because you were knocked unconscious, thanks to the effects guy who forgot to remove the support beams. How about having to wait around in a hot woolly costume under hot stage lights while a scene is being set up and your skin begins forming a rash. Then because the home base bosses won't allow you to work the remaining 39 weeks of the year, you decide to hit the road to make a few extra dollars and keep busy. All because a trusty handshake agreement became non-valid when the opposite hand was shown the door. You get kicked in the shins or jabbed in the rear with a pin by moppets wanting to test your invulnerability. Or was it maybe an excuse to showcase your vulnerability? Then there's the taunts from a smart-alecky heckler or two yelling out, "Let's see you fly ya bum."
These are some of the mishaps George Reeves endured while playing the part of the Man of Steel, creatively known as Superman. It wasn't written in his contract the occupational hazards of the job. And yet, countless times he pressed on with a smile. All the while promoting safety on the neighborhood streets, equality, practicing good hygiene and reinforcing that the police are friends. Back at the studios, he busted through cave walls, leapt off a springboard to clear a camera or jumped off a ladder, landing through a window to make a scene look real and sensational.
Let's take a moment to stand up and applause George for all his efforts and doing all he could to bring us a Superman we would enjoy and truly believe in. In spite of all his setbacks, he could have chose to do a terrible job. But he didn't let us down, did he? So we honor George Reeves with this web-site and it is well deserved. THANK YOU GEORGE FOR ALL YOU DID. KEEP FLYING!
Drums of Death
It's Nice to Be Remembered
This year marks the last of the George Reeves Film Reviews by Janeen Christensen. TAC released Jungle Goddess, Father is a Prince, Man At Large and Forever Female. It does sadden me to know Janeen is no longer with us. As I've mentioned before, I always enjoyed Janeen's reviews. Especially back in the '90's when the films of George Reeves were far less available than they are today. Today, one could easily put together a collection of films by searching the Internet or networking with other George Reeves fans.
I want to especially thank Colete Morlock who has written in with pleasant comments about Janeen's reviews and had also expressed her wish to have gotten to known her.
I hope Janeen is smiling down from her blue skies knowing she is not forgotten and that we took the time to include her here at TAC's Internet site. Right now, she might be thinking it's nice to be remembered, because it certainly applies.
Word Gets Around
Late January, TAC issued an e-mail with several features. Brian McKernan had this to say:
Lou and Jim, In case you haven’t seen it, the TAC news item was posted on the SupermanHomepage sometime last night.
Kudos to you both and your writers for all the great new content, and for locating and sharing amazing rare items.
Jim, Thanks for creating an environment where we can all celebrate our love for TAOS and George Reeves.
Best regards, Brian
Below is Brian's write-up for the SupermanHomepage owned by Steve Younis. We appreciate Brian's kind words since it is rare to find TAC being mentioned elsewhere at other Superman enthusiast sites.
Time Flies Too
The 1st week of February TAC celebrated it's 24th year. Jim Nolt had this to say:
Don published the first issue of TAC twenty-four years ago this week! So very much has been discovered since that first issue was sent out. Shows you what a collaboration of dedicated fans can accomplish.
Next year TAC will celebrate its 25th year. Golly, jeepers!
In case you were not aware, in January two popular TAC pages were updated. Relative Revelations, is a page which explores the "sophisticated relationship" of Eddie Mannix, Toni Lanier-Mannix and George Reeves. I found a couple of new articles on Camille Antoinette Froomess, a.k.a. Toni Lanier Mannix, and as a result I found that she was possibly married to a Jesse Livermore in 1937. Also, proof is found she was friendly with the Mannix's in 1934 having vacationed in New York City with Mrs. Bernice (Fitzmaurice) Mannix. Where is Hedda Hopper when you need a score card. A reference to the feature made it into Larry Tye's book SUPERMAN: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero, page 354 listed under Bibliography - Websites.
In 2008, Bill Dillane provided us an article he found in Hartford, Connecticut. Unfortunately is was not complete. I found another piece of the article and added it to Bill's initial article of George's Hartford Connecticut personal appearance. But yet, there still is a piece missing and hopefully someday we'll find it to complete the piece. George's personal appearances have become a topic of discussion many times at the discussion boards. It's a wonderful article which has George playing the part of reporter Clark Kent writing about non-other than...George Reeves.
Message boards have often talked about why Lex Luthor was never featured in TAoS. One reason was it would have required expensive gadgets the Superman, Inc. budget simply could not afford. I may be in the minority, but I'm glad there were no signs of Luthor. I much prefer the more realistic villians such as Mr. X, Mr. Big and Jonas Rockwell, as played by John Eldredge. The series had a sort of consistency for which was grounded in it's own world, leaving the comic book world to its own dynamics that included The Justice League, a giant gorillas, a super horse, dog and monkey as well as Mr. Myztplik and other villains such as Brainiac. All of which is far more suited for the 4-color pages of comic books. Superman was the only extraordinary element in the TV series for which I much prefer to single out my plausibility. Seems to me if you have more than one element beyond belief, it loses it's significance. Case in point, the recent Smallville series had an abundance of people with extra ordinary powers. In all, it just gets overdone, saturated and quite frankly, Superman just doesn't seem so unique. So I'll leave it at that. But it never occurred to me that a Supergirl might have worked within the celluloid scope of the Adventures of Superman. Of course, to realize the other characters and their extraordinary capabilities would have been budget draining to say the least. Thus the TV show stood on it's own merits. But just the same, since there is no budget required for our reading about a Supergirl, Kirk Hastings conjures up an imaginary story with an imaginary Supergirl for the 50's. I love the idea of Elizabeth Montgomery as the likely choice to play the Woman of Steel. Thanks Kirk for bringing to us The Girl of Steel to inspire our imaginations.
Can We Be Serious For Just 30 Minutes?
Have you ever found yourself in a discussion with someone over great television shows and the subject of the Adventures of Superman comes up. Typically, the younger generation is more familiar with Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and more so with Smallville. These shows are packed with action, but that doesn't always govern the direction of these shows. These shows are heavily injected with developing the characters through friendships and romantic relationships. Conflict brought upon by the evil doers is more secondary within the overall story. Since the 1940's, Hollywood has brought comic book character to the screen. Not until recently has Hollywood taken comic book characters seriously. In doing so, rarely have filmmakers stayed true to the creative essence of the characters. Often, altering the concept and kept their films very much comic-bookish. The 1966 Batman television show is a prime example of success based on silliness. Then there is 2001's The Tick with Patrick Warburton, stayed true to it's creative sillyness. 1978's The Incredible Hulk, starring Bill Billby, Lou Ferrigno appealed to audiences, but had to be altered to be taken serious. In 1989, Tim Burton set a new benchmark for Super-hero movies with BATMAN, starring Michael Keaton. This caped crusader included no visual gimmicks of "POW" and "BAM" to emphasize a fight scene. Marvel seems to have taken a queue from Burton/Keaton Batman approach and have realized X-Men, Iron Man, The Avengers, The Hulk, Thor and Spider-Man will bring in huge rewards if they stick to the creators originality. Most of whom were created by Jack Kirby. But whether it's on the big screen, or the small, the tone is set and Hollywood is taking super-heroes very serious on all fronts and treating the characters dark, grim and realistic. Today, superhero movies have become a huge Hollywood money-maker and is treated the same as when Universal brought classic monsters of the late 1930's and 40's to the screen. Bringing Dracular, The Frankenstein Monster, The Wolfman and The Invisible Man lifted from novels written by Bram Stroker and Mary Shelly to the screen was serious business. Taking the characters serious dignifies the characters where people aren't embarrassed to go see them, or read them in the comic books.
Bruce Kanin completed Superman and the Mob Men which was released during last December and January. The numerous installments created a buzz on Facebook, for which fans continue to enjoyed this feature. If you not seen this, be sure to give it a try. It's quite fascinating to say the least and TAC thanks Bruce for allowing this feature to reside here for us all to enjoy.
Bruce also provides late this year an equally incredible and extravagant story titled, "Mastermind." All I can say is that it's an enormous story, and a credit to Bruce for his efforts to produce over 300 detailed pages.
I'm certain Producer Whitney Ellsworth could have used the services of both Stephen and Kirk.
THANK YOU STEPHEN, KIRK AND BRUCE.
Leaping Out Windows is Strickly Prohibited
To date we have 16 entries in the MAYBE IT'S HIS COSTUMES page. This is far greater than I ever would have expected. In 2012, we were happy to have added Larry James and Gary Grossman as well as update Mike Clark's tale of super junior crime fighting memories. THANK YOU Larry, Mike and Gary. To others, we hope to hear from you if you've got a story and photo to showcase. I wonder if there are any Super-Girls out there?
A Great Combination
This next subject is a slight deviation from our traditional George Reeves theme. Just the same, I'd like to take the opportunity to bring to your attention an illustrator by the name of Des Taylor. At his Facebook page you will find an abundance of Mr. Taylor's work with character's ranging from Dick Tracy, Zorro, Star Wars, Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Batgirl, Spider-Man, Captain America, The Rocketeer. I'm quite partial to his Superman illustrations, which you'll find rendered in the style of the 40's, which when done in the vintage style is far more definitive than modern version styles found with over abundance of muscles and boundless amounts of super-powers. To me there is so much more excitement to the character when set in a more innocent time period and when the hero-character struggles within the nick of time to save the day. Visit Des Taylor at Facebook for not only the mainstream characters, which I believe he does so well, but also what appears to be his own creations. Examples are Vesha Valintine, Katie Rogers, Scarlette Couture and Dirty Martini. There's a bit of Good Girl art style in these illustrations, so I apologize in advance if anyone is offended. But the work deserves recognition and is done with incredibly good taste. I would love to see an animated film rendered with each and any of these characters using Mr. Taylor's extremely talented style. When I see work like this it makes me feel extremely happy to be around to enjoy it.
Ever since Glass House Present transferred several features to TAC, we've had the privilege to add-on more actress profiles thanks to folks like Colete Morlock and Thom Hamilton. This year Colete and Thom joined together their resources and talents to bring us a wonderful and an outstanding bio on Lilyan Chauvin. Ms. Chauvin appeared in the 1957 episode "Peril in Paris." She had an extensive career and was highly respected in the Hollywood community. There's a whole lot to this incredible and talented actresses and Colete and Thom give us a very special feature.
Working on overdrive, which included other personal projects,
Colete worked extensively on another special lady by the name of
Effie Laird. You may remember her from episode number 2, "The
Haunted Lighthouse." While Ms. Laird's scene lasts about 60
seconds, she made a very lasting impression. I'd always wanted to
know more about her, as well as Lilyan Chauvin. When Colete asked
me to select a couple of names, it didn't take me long to come up
with these two individuals because I thought they were long
overdue and might have more underneath the hood than meets the
THANK YOU COLETE & THOM
Accidents Will Happen
In all the many years of studying the life, career and the final ten months leading up to George's death, I've covered a great deal of issues. I guess if a person thinks about this long enough, the misconceptions start to unravel. I've often suggested to readers to explore those or any issues that doesn't make sense and once having sorted out the misleading information, then form an opinion based on reasonable details that are directly related to the case. I decided it was time to give some serious thought into George's car accidents, which has often been told as murder attempts on his life. The Curious Case of the George Reeves Car Accident details two car accidents, often told as three accidents. Writers also misinformed us that these all occurred during the Lenore Lemmon months. One accident actually occurred on March 1, 1956, and the other on April 8, 1959. In addition, the modern telling of these stories escalated into brakes being drained from the car's system, and then it mysteriously being replaced. This seems a bit of a stretch to accept. Anyone who has pressed on the brake pedal with low fluid or a leak knows the pedal goes directly to the floor. I think George would have realized immediately his brakes were not working. The newspapers reported George's car hit an oil patch in the road and the car skidded into an embankment. If the car had no brake fluid, there would be no skidding because it would have kept rolling until it hit the embankment. Unless, George was quick to engage the emergency brake, which uses a cable system. A copy of the police report would be helpful.
In the pages of this TAC feature, I provided an April 1959 news article with innovative information stating it was neighbors near Easton Drive who aided George at the time of the accident and that they called the police department. Also, the names of the responding police officers is now known. A copy of this article is included in The George Reeves Historical News Archives book, published by this writer (See below).
All The News That's Fit To Print
In June this writer published and released The George Reeves Historical News Archives book. The book contains over two-hundred articles and news bits written about George throughout his career. There are tons of new information to learn about George and it can certainly be said that he received a good amount of press. I was pleasantly surprised by the support of those who purchased the book and as a result I donated the profits to the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation. I like to think we are helping George continue his work even though he is not here to do it himself. Thank you to all who purchased the book.
Over the years we have bought many interesting books and magazines related to the subject of George Reeves. What I believe makes this book special and unique is that you the reader learn about George's life and career as it was reported in the newspapers of the time. It all starts with the marriage announcement of Helen Lescher and Don Brewer, giving us for the first time the date. The book spans across time with George's marriage to Ellanora Needles, his film and television career and closes with a 1977 article on the book Superman: Serial to Cereal by Gary Grossman. As modern books and magazines go, this is the only book where this information has been documented in one place. While reading the book, you'll find an article reflecting on George's youth as he attempted to fly by jumping off the roof of his house. You might wonder if he was indeed destined to be Superman. There's tons of new information that I was never aware of until I found them. Special thanks go out to Colete Morlock, Brian McKernan, Bruce Dettman, Kirk Hastings, Randy Garrett Steve B., Keith Howard, Bob W., and Craig M. for their reader response endorsements of this book, which is posted at this link: The George Reeves Historical News Archives
COPIES STILL AVAILABLE FROM LIMITED SUPPLY.
Since 2006, TAC has benefited from the many wonderful stories Bruce Dettman has provided for both BD-Documents and IN RETROSPEC features. To date, he has provided a total of 33 mini-bios of character actors and 66 episode synopsis.
This year we were treated to Robert Rockwell and Russell Johnson. Mr. Rockwell is best known for his role in Our Miss Brooks as the bachelor, Phil Boynton. He will forever be etched into the minds of TAoS fans as Jor-el, the lone scientist who alone believed the planet Krypton was doomed. With the destruction of the planet soon upon him and his wife Lara, Jor-el launches their son in a prototype rocket bound to the safe haven called Earth. Unfortunately, this would be Mr. Rockwell's one and only appearance.
Russell Johnson is another actor with a single appearance on the Adventures of Superman. Mr. Johnson is best known for his Gilligan's Island role as the "The Professor." For the record, an error was spotted in our stating Mr. Johnson and Edward Platt were brothers. This was a copycat mistake taken from the IMDB page on Mr. Russell. A debate was stirred up on Facebook until the truth was learned and as a result we corrected the page accordingly. From time to time, we make a mistake and when it is brought to our attention we are open to resolving the issue in a friendly manner. The important thing is we are taking the time to honor all the TAoS alumni and recognize them with the best intentions, with no personal agenda. To borrow a line from Get Smart, "Sorry about the Chief!" But mistakes happen. Thank you to all who have supported our efforts.
This year Bruce continued his hybrid tales of his youth and television's Adventures of Superman by giving us "Jimmy The Kid," "The Deadly Rock," "Blackmail" and "The Girl Who Hired Superman." Hard to imagine anyone other than Bruce can find commonality with the Superman show and everyday life that includes a school crossing guard, a mother's wedding ring, prank announcements at an airport and a plea to his Dad for an underground bomb shelter. To read it is to believe it.
THANK YOU Bruce for another great year of great stories. I know you truly enjoy sharing these stories with us and we love reading them.
The Luckiest Kids
As most of us know, Don Rhoden published the first 2 issues of The Adventures Continue. Jim Nolt took the helm with issue number 3 (Autumn 1989). This issue included a one-page tribute to George's appearance on the I Love Lucy show which included an impressive Randy Garrett illustration. Upon seeing the illustration below, I thought how wonderful it would be to have such talent. I imagined the ability to illustrate new stories or strike even a single panel featuring the likeness of George Reeves as Superman. Mr. Garrett has created many illustrations for The Adventures Continue, not to mention the 40+ pages he rendered for Superman and the Secret Planet. While Randy reflected on how lucky Little Ricky, respectfully known as Keith Thibodeaux was for being held high on the shoulders of George "Superman" Reeves, I thought how lucky Randy was too.
By 1994, in its seventh year, The Adventures Continue celebrated it's 10th issue. It was always a thrill and exciting to receive any new issue in the mailbox. On December 4, 1994, I had the privilege to interview Keith Thibodeaux. The interview was a wonderful experience and I reflect back on The Adventures Continue, no. 11, released April 1995, as my first bona fide contribution. I think how lucky I was for getting the inside scoop on Keith's experience when George Reeves appeared on the I Love Lucy set.
The subject of George's appearance on the I Love Lucy show is often discussed on message boards. I thought that it was time to revisit the 1994 Keith Thibodeaux interview, Lucy Meets Superman, and The Luckiest Kid in the World and release it on the Internet for those who have not seen this because the TAC hardcopy issues are rarely available.
Below is a retrospect blockbuster image of Randy's work that can be found throughout the pages of this TAC website. To find these extraordinary illustrations, visit the Table of Contents page and scroll down for Randy's name. Randy's work is always so refreshing and continues to be an extension of the Adventures of Superman. I'm sure Mr. Whitney Ellsworth would have greatly approved.
Access to Superman and The Secret Planet can be found at the Contents Page.
"Hi-Yo, Silver... Away!"
Perhaps the most exciting piece of news this year is the following: It is always a great thrill to meet anyone whose ever had a guest appearance on the Adventures of Superman. Jeff Corey, Dabbs Greer, Robert Rockwell, Jeffrey Moffet, Beverley Washburn and Janine Perreau come to mind. Questions to them will always include asking what was their experience with meeting George Reeves. This year both Jim and I had the pleasure to speak to Jeff Silver on the phone. If you've been paying attention to the TAC site then you already aware of the news that it was Jeff Silver who played young Clark Kent in "Superman on Earth," This is contrary to the popular belief it was Joel Nestler.
How did this all come about? Well, Andy Klyde, a long time friend to TAC, did a little research and came up with a process of comparing video captures of Jeff Silver from a 1955 TV episode of Cheyenne starring Clint Walker and Joel Nestler from the 1949 movie Mrs. Mike starring Dick Powell. BTW, Mr. Powell owned the 1953 Nash-Healey we see George drive in several Superman episodes. Jeff and Joel bore some resemblance, so some confusion was in order. But Andy was sharp and convinced enough to realize the two were not the same individual and that it was Jeff, not Joel who appeared in Superman on Earth. This is an outstanding discovery to the credit of Andy Kylde. Andy and Jim Nolt generated a page together to explain the issue, titled The Mystery of Young Clark.
Before going forward, I need to thank Doug Switz for diplomatically searching out Jeff Silver after reading The Mystery of Young Clark. Doug has the unique interest of collecting autographs from people who appeared on the Adventures of Superman. Doug was hot on the trail of Mr. Silver and in doing so made contact, thus extended Mr. Silver's information to me. To tell the truth, I was a bit gun shy to write to Mr. Silver. But no sooner did I work up the gumption; Mr. Silver broke the ice and contacted me. In speaking with Jeff, I found him to be extremely humble regarding his career, sincere and extremely generous about discussing his radio and television work. Jim Nolt also had the priviledge to talk to Mr. Silver and noted to me the same sentiments.
Mr. Silver was especially thrilled he wasn't forgotten by those interested in his work on Superman and extremely appreciative we would help him with correcting the "Superman on Earth" credit. The first known credit for this role went to Joel Nestler as written in Superman: Serial to Cereal, By Gary Grossman. Mr. Silver once contacted IMDB in an effort to correct the credit. But because IMDB didn't respond, he figured no one really cared. But we know different and with the help of Jim Beaver the credit is now respectfully corrected to reflect Jeff Silver. Soon after the correction was made, I called Jeff to let him know his name is now linked to the classic episode. I hope we will be hearing more from Mr. Silver. I sent off several questions that we hope to present at TAC someday. For those curious, Mr. Silver did not meet George Reeves, which he mentioned as a disappointment. He mentioned Francis Morris, who played Sarah Kent was very nice.
Mystery of Topps Card No. 65
Ever since 1965, when Topps released the highly popular and now rare collectable gum cards, fans of the show have wondered about Card no. 65 (Visitor From Space) and the story behind the image. Mysterious it was for about 45 years because the man in the caped alien costume resembles nothing remotely familiar to the Adventures of Superman series. Some fans have wondered if this was perhaps a moment from a lost episode. Some have thought it was more likely a visitor from another film set rather than space. Recently Ted Newsome came up with a bona fide answer at TAC's Facebook Group page.
Ted Newsome: On the right, a publicity still from Captive Women, released Oct. 1952. On the left, a visit to the set by Superman. Ta-daaa! Mystery Photo Solved!
Jim Nolt: Stuart Randall is the actor in Captive Women, and since he worked with George at about the same time, it would made sense that George would visit him on the set.
Tony Bolton: July 10, Superman and the Mole-Men began filming at the RKO-Pathé Studios. On July 11, 1951, Captive Women began Production at the RKO-Pathé Studios
Jim Nolt: According to the cast sheets for "Superman on Earth," the scene with Stuart Randall as Gogan was filmed on Friday, October 12, 1951 (bottom-left)
Ted Newsome: It DID vex me in 8th grade, however. Did I miss an episode somewhere? Oh, boy-- another new episode to see!
Ted's intention is well appreciated and he certainly lit up the The Adventures Continue Facebook Group page with his discovery and is the first to present an image tie-in from Captive Woman. It is however, Richard Potter and Jim Beaver who have already solved the mystery. For more details please visit Richard's website, George Reeves Forever.
BTW, if you are a person who admires Golden Age and Silver Age comic books, then Alter Ego is your kind of magazine. Features include many interviews with people who work in the comic book field as they discuss the industry and the behind the scenes efforts that took place in the 40's, 50's and 60's. There is a wonderful article on Whitney Ellsworth in issue no. 98, dated December 2010. Other magazine titles published by TwoMorrows include Comic Book Artist and Back Issue. For more on what this great publishing company has to offer visit this link, TwoMorrows.
Thank you Mr. Watson, But Mike Goldman is on it.
Thanks to the availability of dated production calls sheets the order of filming the first season of the Adventures of Superman can be easily assembled. However, the same cannot be said about the second season since call sheets for this season are extremely rare. So looking for clues of commonality within the episodes are required in order realize which episodes were filmed the same week. Before you wonder who or why would anyone take the time to rationalize the relationships between episodes, you only need to know that super-sleuthe Mike Goldman took this approach and has come up with groupings that you might find different than expected.
Mike worked with Jim Nolt to bring us the feature The Second Season. Mike has found some very profound and minor details that give clues tthat tie episodes together. Mike's findings excel beyond the commonality of supporting character actors, which as far as I knew was the traditional pattern of knowing which episodes were filmed simultaneous. For example, The Dog Who Knew Superman and The Machine that Could Plot Crimes were linked due the appearances of actors Ben Weldon and Billy Nelson. From Mike's assessment, he would agree with this, however he describes further reasons and why. THANK YOU MIKE for sharing your insights. Sherlock Holmes would be proud.
PHOTOS OF THE MONTH
We at TAC love bringing anything relative to George Reeves and the Adventures of Superman to your attention. With that in mind, we especially enjoy our monthly release of photos which you might not have seen before.
Below is an example of some of the interesting images we posted at TAC this year. My personal favorite is George posing with the five children. This is a wonderful image and only exemplifies George's glorious manner with youngsters and how much he appreciated and respected people of all ages. Second place is the image of Steve Kirk who is holding in his hands the actual script book once owned by George Reeves. Thanks go out to Milt Storey and Steve Maurer for their contributions. Milt provides the colorized version of Art Weissman and George (bottom-right), and Steve provides the reenactment of Clark Kent's office and cast (top-left) image.
I hope we can continue to bring more Photos of the Month for you to enjoy. Visit here for the many years of TAC's Photo of the Month.
Jack and Phyl
In August I received a phone call from Jack Larson. During our conversation he mentioned he would be introducing Phyllis Coates, his co-star from 1951's the Adventures of Superman at the Cinecon 48 Awards Banquet. For more details of this event visit the Cinecon Website. TAC TAC congratulates Phyllis Coates for her recognition in Hollywood films.
At Youtube, you can watch the following:
Bloopers from the Looper Alert
Watchful-eye TAoS fans know all too well the many bloopers caught on camera throughout the series. Even George flubbed when he used the word "rule" instead of "spool" in the episode, "Talking Clue." It rates high among the many catches and is often entered as a prime example. Another is hearing John Hamilton clear his throat prior to entering the doorway of the crooks apartment in "Money to Burn."
Scott Vincent brought to my attention a blooper from "Night of Terror." During the closing of the fight sequence, Baby Face Stevens (Richard Benedict) attacks Superman with a knife. Superman counters with a final knockout punch. As he hits the floor off camera, an unpleasant comment can be heard, which was not in the script. Perhaps Mr. Benedict missed a floor matt meant to break his fall. I'll leave it for your super-hearing to pick up since it's better I not repeat Mr. Benedict's choice of words.
Next on the watchful-eye list I found this scene from "The Lucky Cat," where we find Clark Kent whisking off to perform a rescue as Superman. As you watch the sequence, you'll notice Clark begins his transition to Superman and note that Jimmy is not standing too far away. See details below. Unlike the club members, Jimmy did not move forward into the meeting room. Interesting to note is once the scene plays out, Clark didn't actually have to change into Superman to keep a club member from falling through the floor, since no witness was downstairs to see the heroic moment.
Most Worthy of the Cape
For this writer George Reeves is "The" Superman. For the many Superman fans, George's legacy set the benchmark for how the Superman character should be played. But it would be extremely short-sighted to overlook the other wonderful actors who played the part. Especially that of Christopher Reeve. Mr. Reeve raised the bar and provided many screen thrills. His splitting of the Clark Kent and Superman into two behaviors is a testament to great acting and an understanding of the character. The character was born Kal-el. In the George Reeves television series, his character would never realize his complete origin. A crystal from Krypton accompanied Kal-el on his journey to the planet Earth and it is with this crystal the Christopher Reeve version would learn all he needed to know. On Earth Kal-el grew up with the guidance provided by the Kents. When Clark matured and began using his special powers to fight evil, he realized the world would be curious to know who Superman was. To protect those he cared for from criminal minds, Clark had to alter his personality to appear weak, timid and mild mannered. By doing so, the disguise was created to help avoid anyone from linking Clark to Superman. No one would assume a person with coordination problems could be the mightiest of all men? "And who disguised as Clark Kent, mild mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper..." would define how others would see Clark Kent. When Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created the character, Clark's make-believe act of being timid and weak was based on their own personal struggles while interacting with school mates.
Many believe George's version of Clark Kent and Superman bore no difference. Both were feared in their own right by the underworld. While 50's TV's Lois Lane often thought of Clark so weak he had to escape danger at all times. However it was rarely proven Clark acted accordingly. The only time the disguise was implemented was when it was convenient to break away to be Superman. To some degree it seemed out of character for George's Clark. Chris' Clark Kent never broke character as the less than manly man who no one would ever believe to be Superman. If Chris' Clark Kent took to hiding, it would stand to reason Lois' assessment of Clark was valid. If she made the statement, "there he goes again, hiding like a scared cat," it was a point well made. In playing the part, Chris Reeve took on three personalities as 1) the normal guy Clark Kent, 2) the acting timid and mild mannered, bumbling Clark Kent and 3) the heroic Superman.
Unfortunately, it is extremely rare for Superman fans to embrace a whimpy Clark Kent. It seems Clark's intentional act of being timid and mild mannered is overlooked and unfortunately Chris Reeve is not given the credit that is rightly earned for his acting. However, there is one fan out there who gets it. His name is Jim Bowers. Jim is the ultimate and most devoted of all Christopher "Superman" Reeve fans. Jim has a special place on the Internet called CapedWonder.com. He also created a Facebook page devoted to Chris Reeves and daily he brings unique images to the fans. These include never before seen images from behind the scenes and deleted scenes. Recently he posted images of Chris Reeve meeting President Jimmy Carter. I don't believe any other actor who played Superman has ever met a President of the United States.
Like George Reeves, there is far more to Chris Reeve than Superman. Mr. Reeve was a humanitarian in his own right and has at times brought his celebrity status to the forefront in order to help whatever good cause he believed in. In 1987, a group of actors were under arrest by the Chile Government and were to be executed. The issue was brought to Mr. Reeve's attention. Not having any connection to the situation, he agreed when asked to help these people. Chris flew to Chile to help lead a protest and was able to negotiate a deal thanks to his recognition. This was a situation that he didn't have to get involved in. But being the unselfish individual he couldn't ignore the situation.
As we all know, Mr. Reeve suffered a tragic accident leaving him paralyzed. In the initial days of the accident he wanted to end his life. With the right words from his wife Dana, Chris found a new cause, which was to raise awareness for other spinal accident victims in hopes of a cure. The Reeve-Irvine Spinal Research Foundation was created and Chris was soon demonstrating an eagerness to get well and became an inspiration for others to not give up on their precious lives. Thousands began to have a new hope thanks to Christopher Reeve. Millions of dollars poured into the foundation for research and if Mr. Reeve ever expressed being selfish, it was to be the first to show the way. Sadly, Mr. Reeve did not live long enough to realize his dream to live a normal life again. But his meaning in life continues.
Be sure to visit Caped Wonder and know that Superman has another pal, and his name is Jim Bowers.
Oh NO! Not Another Conspiracy Theory!
Play it again Sam
I don't usually extend movie recommendations as part of the Year In Review, but this year I found some mild similarities to George Reeves and/or the Adventures of Superman. In early 2012, the Oscars presented an amazing assortment of 2011 films nominated for best picture. Coming in as the winner was The Artist. The film is a snapshot of a successful silent screen actor, George Valentin, who finds it difficult to make the transition from one phase of Hollywood to another. The film takes place in 1927, when silent films were beginning to give way to a higher standard of technology, then called "Talkies." The film on it's own merit is extraordinary and in it's own right I believe will be seen as a classic in years to come. It's use of camera technique and modern day digital wizardry completely and seamlessly captured an era of long ago. It is a vision of what many actors in true life went through during this period in time. One can certainly make a case that the idea can be applied to many other professions where people are challenged by the changes brought upon due of technological improvements. We tend to think the Hollywood world as all fame, fortune and glory. But this is an industry no different than any other. It produces products for consumers. The common denominator is that it takes people to produce the making of products. When changes occur, some people will make the adjustment and some don't. Some learn and move forward, some don't. Some survive, some don't. Regardless of a person's profession, our world is rapidly changing in the name of progress, competition and making the world a better place to live. Sometimes when we don't see the big picture we reject the idea of change. But times do change and it is up to the individual to work towards reinventing themselves so not to be left behind.
To some degree, one can watch this film and draw a number of comparisons with the career of George Reeves and what he may have experienced personally due to the Hollywood Motion Pictures machine. I've often written that all actors experience careers with ups and downs and that George Reeves was not immune to this. In comparing George Reeves to George Valentin, you will have to see the film to find and feel the sense of commonality. Which is why I highly recommend The Artist if you've not yet seen it. The acting is superb, especially having to work in the silent film format and it does consist of an outstanding supporting cast. Refer to IMDB.
While there are far many films I could strongly recommend for their own well deserved merits, such as The Help and Hugo being at the top of the list. I list below War Horse and Man on a Ledge. The War Horse is recommended because it is a wonderful movie, produced on the level of The Artist and is certainly Oscar worthy. I had to chuckle when I learned the horse's name being "Joey." Just the same, it's a wonderful and adventurous film with epic proportions. Man on a Ledge, as Gary Grossman pointed out to me with the familiar theme to "The Human Bomb." The film is about a man on a building ledge who causes a film long distraction with the police authorities while his accomplices pull off a bank heist. Even the modest fan of the Adventures of Superman will recognized the borrowed theme from the 1951 season episode.
Finally, I couldn't end this portion of the review without a mention of The Adventures of Tintin. This film takes you on an roller coater ride with Tintin and his loyal dog Snowy that can be compared with the best of the Indiana Jones movies. The Adventures of Tintin is an incredibly detailed CG animated film, staying true to creator Herge's classic comics books in every exciting sense of the word. As soon as I learned that Tintin was a reporter for a newspaper, I couldn't help but imagine what an Adventures of Jimmy Olsen could be like. I can't wait for the sequel. Go Tintin.
COMING JUNE 2013 - MOVIE TRAILER
Superman and the Mole Men, The Sequel
In 1959, the 1951 season episodes were deemed by National Comics to be substandard for syndication. For many fans the ‘51 season is considered the favorite because of its hard edge crime driven stories. Episodes like “Crime Wave” and “Czar of the Underworld” can be compared to the Robert Stack The Untouchables episodes. The 1953 Superman season came with less violence and more human interest stories. This became a trend that more often than not continued throughout the balance of the show. Certainly 1959 would have been no different even though it has been highly speculated the scripts were based on the '51 season episodes, with the violence toned down. In any case, George Reeves was prepared to return to the role of Superman for one more season. Monetarily, George would have collected residuals for the ‘59 season, which is something he hadn't gained with the ‘51 episodes. For obvious reasons the 1959 season never materialized and as a result it has very often inspired many “What If” or imaginary episode discussions among fans. Stephen Brooks, Kirk Hasting, and Bruce Kanin have skillfully created many here at the TAC website. My 1959 imaginary story concept takes place as a flashback to 1953, where Superman returns to the small town of Silsby. Here he once again comes to aid of our little friends whose lives are being threatened. But this time it is not by Luke Benson and his mob, but a force far greater in the form of U.S. Government underground atomic bomb testing.
Once again we close out this year's Year In Review with another Randy Garrett incredible illustration. Originally this image was presented in the Saving George Reeves CD presentation back in 2002. Randy provides a very inspirational image where we have Superman being greeted six miles below the Earth’s surface by a crowd of Mole Men who remember him and are in desperate need of his help again.
What I like most about the illustration is that it is a symbol of of hope that no matter how different people are, we all share a common bond, which is life. No matter how different we all are in any other way, we are alive to co-exist and make the world a better place for each other.
Randy is the definitive George Reeves and 50’s TV Superman illustrator.
BONUS: See the story behind this illustration here.
In closing, Jim and I thank you all for visiting us at TAC and we hope you all stay well and have the very best year to come.
We hope the new year includes your continued watching and enjoyment of those amazing episodes of the Adventures of Superman.
TAC Wishes Everyone a Safe Holiday Season.
Thanks for Watching.
Lou - December 23, 2012
"Like The Only Real Magic -- The Magic Of Knowledge"
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