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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
CREATING a change of pace for the Superman crowd, the production crew
could always count on doing something involving his friends and
co-workers at The Planet. Before long it was discovered that those that
involved Cub Reporter, young Jimmy Olsen were usually the best. It
seems that Jimmy's youthful exuberance when mixed with his natural
tendency to bungle things left him as the "go to guy" whenever an
episode needed to be a pick me up.
OF all the existing plots (and it has been said that there only a small number of them on which to pull variations) they chose "The Boy Who Cried Wolf"! The manner in which it is incorporated into the storyline is pulled off in a very smooth manner.
OUR STORY Our buddy, Jimmy Olsen is being a "good scout" by doing some apartment watching for friends who would be out of town. Suddenly he begins to hear strange noises in the building late at night. He also reports to Mr. Kent that it appears that the paintings on the wall seem to be changing.
HE also reports strange occurrences outside the apartments, such as knife wielding thugs and a mysteriously veiled Lady in Black, who speaks to him in cryptic language, seemingly warning him of unknown danger.
NEEDLESS to say, Jimmy is strictly on pins and needles. It doesn't help him that no one believes him, writing it off as being a figment of an overactive imagination or a product of mixing pickles and ice cream as a late night snack.
FINALLY with aid of Superman's keen super hearing and the Ameche (the telephone), the mystery is cleared up as being a burglary ring, specializing in precious artwork. (Not the sort from those "Starving Artists" Sales, either).
THIS episode had Mr. Reeves (Kent/Superman), Noel Neill (Miss Lois Lane) along with Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen); but it gave both John Hamilton (Perry White) and Robert Shayne (Inspector Henderson) the week off. But it apparently paid off in some Big Dividend$ for SUPERMAN'S publishers, National Comics.
THEY were quickly discovering that Jimmy had fast become the favourite supporting character on the series. Hence, his appearances were given more on screen time and there were more Olsen centered stories on the way.
AND as one might guess, the effect was felt on the Comic Books for beginning with the Sep/Oct. 1954 issue, a new comic book title was added to the National Comics DC Line. The new title published 6 times yearly (later boosted up to 8 times) was titled: SUPERMAN'S PAL JIMMY OLSEN.
GETTING back to this "Lady in Black' episode, we find that the producers managed to assemble their usual fine supporting cast. Leading off the guest players is Frank Ferguson (a pal of George Reeves ever since they both trained at the Pasadena Playhouse), Virginia Christine (she was that busy-body Mrs. Olsen for Folger's Coffee), John Doucette (back for a second season's appearance), Rudolph Anders (perennial film Nazi Officer), Holly Bane and Frank Marlowe.
'LADY IN BLACK' is another variation in the series' favourite topic; that being the Man of Steel's war on the forces of the Metropolis Underworld.
This episode features Jimmy Olsen. I have come to realize what a major figure he was in these shows (more than I remembered). In this one, he is house sitting for a friend of his mother, and after eating pickles, ice cream, hot dogs, and reading a trashy mystery book, he starts to hear sounds. He calls Kent at the Planet and is assured it is all in his head (or his stomach). He continues with a book called "The Lady in Black" and soon the old plot begins to develop. He even gets the guy across the hall involved in his fears. When he leaves in the morning, he bumps into an ugly thug with a big scar. This guy is really threatening. When he gets to the bus stop, he meets "the woman in black." In the process of dealing with suspicions he causes Superman to come twice. He is accused of having an overactive imagination. Meanwhile, some crooks in the basement have been entering an art gallery and replacing the masterpieces with high quality fakes. They have knocked down a subterranean wall to accomplish this. Of course, as is usually the case, Jimmy is in over his head and he has become undependable in the eyes of his peers. How will Superman get involved ultimately. This is a reasonably good offering.
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