Adventures of Superman: Season 1, Episode 8

The Mind Machine (7 Nov. 1952)

TV Episode  |  TV-G  |   |  Action, Adventure, Crime
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 58 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

A mobster kidnaps a scientist and takes possession of his invention. The crook uses the device to damage the minds of people testifying before an investigative committee. The victims die a ... See full summary »


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Title: The Mind Machine (07 Nov 1952)

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Episode cast overview:
Phyllis Coates ...
John Hamilton ...
Griff Barnett ...
Dan Seymour ...
Ben Welden ...
James Seay ...
Harry Hayden ...
Lester Dorr ...
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A mobster kidnaps a scientist and takes possession of his invention. The crook uses the device to damage the minds of people testifying before an investigative committee. The victims die a short time later. Superman races to find the mobster before Lois Lane testifies before the committee. Written by Bill Koenig

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Release Date:

7 November 1952 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Bad Enough that THE MIND MACHINE fell into Criminal Hands; but what if the Guys on Madison Ave, got it? How about using it on those poor innocent Terrorists in Gitmo?
17 April 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The end of World War II left us with a real sense of aw about Science; both that of today and that on the horizon of a new tomorrow. Small wonder there is that we should be so affected. We had just been introduced to a couple or three of new concepts. These scientific marvels are the following three: Jet Engine Powered Air Craft, Rocketry and Nuclear Power.

This of course fed the 1950's trend toward not as President Dwight David Eisenhower would later warn us about a "Joint Military-Industrial Complex"; but rather a "Joint Science Fiction-Heroic Military Film combination." After all, just how many movies of that period had us all in peril from some thawed-out prehistoric gargantuan specimen or invaders from other worlds? In the end of each, we usually were saved due to one very simple, but ultimately highly successful equation. That little item most certainly would be: Science + the Military = Our World Saved! It seemed to work each and every time, except for THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (20th Century-Fox, 1951); but that's another story, Schultz.

So this was another influence that the ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN (National Comics/Motion Pictures For Television, 1951-58) had to contend with. The first season's shows in particular were especially susceptible. Already steeped in the Film Noir tradition, those episodes from the show's "Shakedown Voyage" were surprisingly violent, cold and really not strictly kiddies' fare. As fantastic as a plot like for example today's title under our literary microscope are; they're really quite "grown up", mature, intelligent and sophisticated, even. And that weekly adventure would be…………….

OUR STORY…………..In THE MIND MACHINE (1952) a benevolent Inventor-Scientist, Dr. Edward Stanton (Griff Barnett) invents a machine that is intended to be an aid for those inflicted with certain types of mental illness. The wonder invention applies some super-intensive electro-magnetic radio waves in carefully measured minor doses applied to the patient via the machine. The inflicted one's mind is given gentle therapeutic suggestion by the M.D. or other Medical Professional who communicates with the deepest parts of ones brain via a microphone attachment. All is fine in these small, controlled and pharmaceutically administered treatments. The deeply planted suggestions act as therapeutic agents to the troubled mind.

But the story about the Mind Control Device is soon found out by Metropolis Underworld Kingpin, Lou Cranek (played by CASABLANCA veteran, Dan Seymour), who has another use for the new technology in mind. Cranek is facing some open Senate type Crime Hearings and the elimination of one witness with particularly damning testimony would most likely get the Crime Boss off, Scott Free. Cranek and his Gang kidnap the Scientist and take his invention along. As the hearings are convening and being broadcast on Metropolis Radio, Boss Cranek himself operates the machine and zeroes in the convenient tele-viewer screen in on the important witness, Carl Wagoner (Harry Hayden). As Mr. Wagoner is asked important question in his testimony against him, Cranek loudly shouts orders countermanding all the good that Mr. Wagoner had intended to impart to the committee.

The sudden turn of events (which was a remarkable precursor to the similarly situated Senate Hearings scene in THE GODFATHER, PART II, Paramount, 1973) startles Daily Planet Reporters, Clark Kent (Our Guy, George Reeves) and Lois Lane (Phyllis Coates –woo, woo, woo, woo!) who are present covering the event. Wagoner, obviously suffering serious brain damage, flees the building and takes a School Bus full of kids on a wild, nearly deadly high speed ride with a bus having bad brakes. Superman shows up to save the children and to discover Mr. Wagoner now slumped over, dead from the experience.

After some scary situations, the Man of Steel eventually catches up with the Cranek Mob and frees the still captive Dr. Stanton. While Superman is putting some king sized dose of whoop-ass on the Cranek Boys (including our favourite, Ben Welden as Curly), the Good Professor destroys the machine of his that has been so hideously misused. Superman, shocked by the Scientist's behaviour, asks him, why? The Doctor replies that the world is better off without his invention. Superman still strongly disagrees, but does so in mild manners; stating that just because Cranek misused it, that it was still a good innovation. Perhaps we were given a little morale here; but in no hard sell or heavy-handed terms.

We can vividly recall seeing this installment, probably on its first showing. It was on ABC's Channel 7, which had the call letters of WENR or WBKB at this time. It's now known as WLS TV and still an ABC owned station.

The story of THE MIND MACHINE is at once horrifying and also at the same time reassuring. It cautions its viewers that there are truly murderous, hateful and truly out and out EVIL. But we also have the majority of our fellow humans are basically good. The trick is to have more of them stand up and be heroic as did our story's hero, Superman.


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