Network: first-run syndication
Episodes: 104 (half-hour)
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).
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).
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.
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.|