"Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound!" Mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet is really the greatest superhero of them all who "fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way!" Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
The Superman costume was padded to make it appear that George Reeves had greater bulk. However, Reeves himself did most of the stunts, which required impressive athletic ability including jumping from substantial heights (to simulate Superman landing in the frame), hitting a springboard with sufficient force to propel him out of frame (to simulate Superman taking off in flight), swinging through windows, and hours spent doing wire work and being in a body support platform to create the scenes of Superman flying. See more »
With the switch to more expensive color film in 1954, there was a mandate to shoot no more new effects scenes than absolutely necessary. Most Superman-in-flight footage was filmed right-to-left. When the plot unavoidably required Superman to fly in the opposite direction, the footage was "flipped," as can be detected by the reversal of the "S" chest emblem. Another explanation is that George Reeves' "body pan' was attached to a pole that was blocked from view by his body. Unfortunately it was attached on only on his right side. If he had to be shown flying in the opposite direction the film had to be reversed. This not only occurred in the colour episodes, but the black and white ones as well. See more »
Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!
Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!
Yes, it's Superman, strange visitor from another planet, who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper,...
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(Initial comments) My son gave me a copy of Season One of "The Adventures of Superman" for Christmas, and I must say it was the best present I've received in a long while. We had such a good time watching favorite episodes. I am a child of the 50's and grew up with Superman while it was still fairly new. My son experienced it on Nick at Nite re-runs, a special time for us both.
Now I have purchased the Season Two set, and the episodes here may be in many ways better than those in the first. A particular favorite is "Panic in the Sky," where our hero has to deflect a meteor as it hurtles towards Earth. Special flying sequences were filmed for this episode that were not used in any other.
A special treat is "Stamp Day for Superman," a special episode that I never saw as a child. While it is a quickie "freebie" made to support the U.S. Treasury Dept., this episode stands up pretty well with the "regular" episodes.
The featurette "First Lady of Metropolis" is a wonderful tribute to Noel Neill, who took over the role of Lois when Phyllis Coates was unable to continue. It is so nice to see Ms. Neill still looking lovely. She still has the "sparkle" in her eyes that made her Lois so enjoyable to watch.
Another favorite episode is "Around the World with Superman." Anyone who is not moved by this story of a blind girl's attempt to re-unite her troubled family just doesn't have a heart.
Thanks to Warners and to my son for helping me capture a sense of my own youth.
(June 20, 2006) I just got my copy of Seasons 3 & 4 of Adventures of Superman. Special features include a piece entitled "Adventures of Superman: The Color Era" and another called "Faster Than a Speeding Bullet: The Special Effects of The Adventures Of Superman."
The former, about the series being filmed in color features interviews with Jack Larsen, Noel Neill, Gary Grossman (author of "Superman: Serial to Cereal") and a television historian whose name escapes me. All pretty much agree that it was a shrewd move of the producers to start filming the show in color, and saving the negatives until color television was common a decade later. In the words of Larsen, "Those guys were pretty smart."
The one about the sfx was mainly a profile and interview with Thol Simonson, along with Larsen and Neill. Both cast members were effusive with praise for Simonson, saying they always felt safe, no matter how risky the effect looked on screen. Something I had not seen before is a diagram of the "pan" apparatus and counterbalance that replaced the wires that had earlier suspended Reeves.
Episodes I have watched so far are "The Wedding of Superman," "The Big Freeze," and "Through the Time Barrier." As has been noted elsewhere, these stories are much less heavily dramatic as the nourish early episodes. However, the light comedy is not really campy, just good-natured. Also, Neill as Lois looks quite fetching in her cave-girl outfit in the time-travel story.
In fact, Ms. Neill still looks quite lovely in the new interview footage. She still has those same sparkling eyes and the lovely smile that gave me that first crush on Lois all those years ago.
(Update: December 3, 2006: Initial impressions of Seasons 5 & 6:)
"Superman's Wife" is not as hokey as many of the other episodes in the final season. Joi Lansing is a knockout, and John Eldredge, as usual, makes one of the more interesting, intelligent villains.
"The Perils of Superman" is pure FUN.
Noel makes for some NICE cheesecake in that proto-Jeannie outfit in "The Tomb of Zaharan." The story was pure cheese, though. (In "Foghorn Leghorn" voice: hey, I made a funny. Cheese--Cheesecake.)
"The Big Forget" contains the greatest tease in the entire series: Clark changing into Supes in full view of all the series regulars!
The final shot of "All That Glitters" is really poignant, considering how things turned out for George.
The featurette about Jack Larsen is a nice little tribute.
A fun time with old friends that I now share with my grandkids. (All warm and fuzzy.)
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