Adventures of Superman

Adventures of SupermanNetwork: first-run syndication
Episodes: 104 (half-hour)
Seasons: Six

TV show dates: September 19, 1952 — April 28, 1958
Series status: Cancelled/ended

Performers include: George Reeves, Jack Larson, Noel Neill, Phyllis Coates, John Hamilton, Robert Shayne, Bill Kennedy, Stephen Carr, Phillips Tead, and Sterling Holloway.

TV show description:      
Following the success of Superman movie serials, radio programs, and comic books, the man of steel was brought to the small-screen for the first time in this live-action adventure series.

Rocketed to Earth as a small child from the planet Krypton, Kal-El was raised by a kindly farmer couple and given the name of Clark Kent. He soon begins to exhibit extraordinary powers and learns to control them as he grows older.

As an adult, Clark (George Reeves) becomes a reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, The Daily Planet, and keeps his superpowers a secret from the world.

At the paper, Clark works for the blustering editor and publisher, Perry White (John Hamilton). His friends on the job are fellow reporter Lois Lane (Phyllis Coates, then Noel Neill) and young cub reporter and photographer Jimmy Olsen (Jack Larson).

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When danger arises, Clark removes his street clothes and becomes Superman, the defender of truth, justice, and the American way. He’s frequently called upon to stop criminals or to save his friends from peril. Despite the fact that, as Clark, he acts very mild-mannered, Lois suspects that he and Superman are one and the same person. Fortunately, she’s never able to prove it.

The reporters and man of steel work closely with Inspector Henderson (Robert Shayne) of the Metropolis Police. Though he often ends up coming to their rescue, Superman can also depend on help from eccentric inventors like Professor Pepperwinkle (Phillips Tead) and Uncle Oscar (Sterling Holloway).

Series Finale:     
Episode 104 — All That Glitters
Professor Pepperwinkle discovers a way to make gold out of ordinary materials. Two criminals learn of the invention and want to force him into making them rich.

The Professor tells Lois and Jimmy about the plot and how he’s set up a trap for the thugs. Jimmy is accidentally hit on the head by the trap and, when he comes to, the Professor tells them he’s also invented pills that will give super powers to regular humans. Lois and Jimmy take the pills, track down the villains, and knock them out.

The super-reporters fly back to the professor’s lab, just as he’s reset his trap and Jimmy is hit again. Unfortunately, it turns out that the superpills were all part of Jimmy’s dream. The criminals return to Pepperwinkle’s lab and are not please to learn that the gold transformation also requires a bar of expensive platinum. In the end, it costs $10,000 worth of platinum to make $5,000 worth of gold.

Angry, they tie Lois, Jimmy, and the Professor to his invention and set a bomb. Fortunately, Superman arrives in time to save the day.

Back in Perry White’s office, Jimmy describes his dream and tells Clark, “Golly, Mr. Kent, you’ll never know what it’s like to be like Superman” Clark replies, “No, Jimmy, I guess I never will.”
First aired: April 28, 1958.


What happened next?   
Though the characters have continued on in various live-action and animated series, this particular version was never revived.


Behind the Scenes

The series finale was directed by Reeves. The actor also directed two other episodes in the final season.
The last episode was presumed to be the series finale at the time of filming. However, by 1959, producers were making plans to revive the series. Hamilton died in 1958 so he would have been replaced by Pierre Watkin as Perry White’s brother. Watkin had previously played Perry White in two Superman movie serials for Columbia.
The series revival plans were thrown into disarray with the untimely death of Reeves on June 16, 1959. Larson has said that the producers later proposed that the show could continue as Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen. The focus would shift to Jimmy and would incorporate stock footage of Reeves and a lookalike stunt double. Larson rejected the concept.
Coates, Larson, and Neill have made appearances in many other Superman projects over the years.

Canceled and renewed TV show

9 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. steve rudnick says

    heard the show will be on me tv in the fall i have the first season on dvd bought it cheap on ebay

  2. Tony G says

    You can purchase the complete series of ALL the episodes, on DVD, at many retailers, or on the web. Good luck, and ENJOY – George Reeves was, and always will be my favorite Superman!

  3. says

    i have been watching superman ,george reeves, for a long time.
    i wish they would put him back on tv.
    because i miss watching him.
    it will always be my favorite series.
    please put superman back on,
    thank you

    • Mike says

      You want a 53 year old skeleton flying around with a bullet hole in his skull? I don’t think they’d call that Superman! lol

    • steve rudnick says

      i heard me tv is going to start showing the adventures of superman in the fall do not know if you get this station or not i bought season 1 on dvd cheap on ebay

      • Ed Osler says

        George Reeves and the Adventures of Superman have been on the air-waves since 1951. That’s 64 years. Far longer than any other television show, including I Love Lucy. The first season of The Adventures of Superman were filmed as adult film noir small movies not aimed at children but more for their parents. Season 2 was probably the last quasi-adult script presentation. Seasons 3,4,5 and 6 were aimed at children as well as being filmed in color. The special effects were spectacular by 1950’s standards. To a novice, the show could be considered cheesy. But to Baby Boomers such as myself, George “Superman” Reeves was the first and the last Superman. Although Kirk Alyn played Superman in two serials, George played The Man of Steel for 104 episodes. We believed that a man could fly. We believed that Clark Kent and Superman could be two separate people. We believed because we wanted to believe. Jack Larson, Noel Neill and Phyllis Coates are still alive. They are in their 80s and 90s and doing OK. Noel broke her hip a few years back, but she still appears at Superman Conventions. TAOS is now airing on ME TV in South Florida, two episodes daily during the day. New generations can see the specialness of the show as we sat in front of the TV back in 1951-1958. George Reeves recently turned 100 years old. It’s too bad that he did not live to see how many adult fans he had. He thought he was a failure as an actor because his career didn’t turn out as he would have liked it to. But to the generations that grew up on George and his portrayal of Superman, he was the best actor of them all.

        • Danny Sordello says

          I was born 12-31-46 and was just the right age to grow up with Superman as a role model. My friends and I, at that time, thought Superman was the top TV show of it’s era. The times have surely changed but I will be forever grateful to have experienced the Superman days as I fell into the scheme of things in life. The fact is that many morals and values were learned because of the Superman influence.

          • steve rudnick says

            me tv is running the adventures of superman every saturday i have watched all 104 episodes all over again and i have enjoyed them again

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