At TIAH Blog, we’ve never written about the great “Golden Age TV series” THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, starring the equally great George Reeves in the title role. …And, it’s high time we do so.
Because it occurs so rarely, we also like to mention any discernible appearance of a COMIC BOOK on a TV program, as HERE with WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES # 177 (June, 1955), as seen on ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS.
Fittingly, if also incongruously, placed in “The Birthday Letter” (1952), episode 7 of the first season of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, is a copy of SUPERMAN # 72 (September-October, 1951). Hopefully, the image, taken from the DVD, allows you to see this clearly. As usual, with our “special images”, you may click to enlarge.
In the episode, “Kathy Williams”, a handicapped little girl, writes a letter to the Daily Planet, asking that Superman fly her to the County Fair. Needless to say, she inadvertently gets involved with the typical petty-crooks and gangsters that George Reeves’ Man of Steel used to routinely tangle with, because there was no way to do greater menaces on a ‘50s TV budget.
ABOVE: Kathy is seen reading a copy of SUPERMAN # 72, followed by a scan of the cover of the comic.
BELOW: "Petty Crooks and Gangsters" invade the comics!
|Petty crooks and gangsters have feelings too... usually HARD feelings!|
|Shoot the guy, but don't shoot the COMICS!|
|You don't have to be a reporter for a "Great Metropolitan Newspaper" to get THIS scoop!|
|Could George Reeves have imagined THIS?|
Digression: I’ve always wondered what THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN would have been like if it had been produced about 15 years later. That Superman could easily have faced Luthor, Brainiac, and Mr. Mxyzptlk – and even teamed up with Adam West’s Batman, licensing permitting, of course.
|Imagine WORLD'S FINEST: 1966!|
|Yes... Imagine! (Wink!)|
That window of the 1950s where the Golden Age comic-book superheroes had pretty much “gone away”, save for Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, and before the re-imagining of comic heroes with the coming of the Silver Age in 1956. A period where, despite there being various DC comic books for sale at the corner store, there was no such thing as a DC Comics “Universe”.
THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN straddled that gap perfectly, keeping the character of Superman (and the comic book superhero in general) alive when little or nothing else did. For that alone, much less its indelible effect on our overall pop culture, THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN should always be remembered as a special show, inhabiting a unique period of time.