My favorite Superman series.
It's a bird, It's a plane.....
How many of you heard those words? Growing up, I would, faithfully, watch the Old Black and White Superman TV series. Action packed, I enjoyed seeing Superman save the day. Superman was so popular in my household, that even my mother would sit down and watch it with us.
Background information on the series!
Superman came to the scene in 1952 through 1958. Lasting 6 years, we would see a few interesting changes. First, many do not know that Kirk Alyn was, first, offered the role of Superman on TV. Alyn played the first Superman in the movie cliffhanger serials back in the 40's. After refusing that role, the TV producers turned to George Reeves. Accepting their offer, Reeves became the first TV Superman and the rest is history.
Phyllis Coates was called to do Lois Lane. Having filmed a movie with Reeves in Superman and the Mole Men back in 1951, Phyllis was spectacular in her role as Lois Lane. Her famous scream and terrified look was a work of art, as far as I'm concerned. She was no-nonsense, tough and strong-willed reporter. A woman ahead of her times.
As a kid, I had a "crush" on her. I was fascinated by her style and good looks. The Mole Man movie was later adapted in the series. If you noticed, George Reeves seemed to have some padding in his Superman uniform. He, also, 'flew' with the help of some wires, until they broke and he fell down. Fed up with this, he would jump with the help of a springboard. Performing some of his stunts, George was very athletic, a martial arts expert and had a well built body.
Phyllis Coates only lasted one season as Lois Lane. With all due respect to Noel Neill, who was another cutie who played Lois, I missed Coates courage to stand up to the bad guys. Noel Neill, to be fair, did a good job, but she lacked what Coates had--Spunk! Phyllis would then go on to star in some B movies, and had a one-time role in the Bowery Boys series. As the 60's moved on, she starred in some TV series such as Perry Mason.
A tough Lois Lane and her famous scream---Phyllis Coates.
Don't call me Chief!
As the series progressed, so did the characters. John Hamilton, an experienced and seasoned actor, played Perry White. His famous line to Jimmy Olsen was ---Don't call me Chief! A tough as nails newspaper editor, White would have a fatherly heart and deep down was not as bad as he sounded. Jack Larson was Jimmy.
Jimmy would get in and out of trouble trying to do good. Thank God, Superman would save the day. My favorite episode was when they had a Jimmy Olsen double. That episode was called--"Jimmy the kid." It was about a gangster who looked like him. In that episode,Clark Kent had the goods on a gangster and they hired a thug who was a dead-ringer for Olsen.
The gangsters kidnapped the real Jimmy Olsen and what follows is a story full of drama and suspense. Jack Larson did a wonderful job playing a duo role and it is a must-see if you are a Superman fan. During the length of the Superman episodes, Larson and Reeves would develop a good friendship.
There was an episode in which Superman married Lois Lane. That was another one of my favorite episodes. It was amazing how Superman revealed to Lois his secret identity. Alas, it was, just, a dream and we see a sad ending. A sad ending because Lois woke up and knew that she was back to reality.
Then color came to the Superman series. The special additions were great and it, greatly, enhanced the series. In 1958, the series ended, but there was still talk for another comeback. John Hamilton, who died in 1958, would not return as Perry White. Pierre Watkins, another veteran actor, would replace him. He played Perry on the cliffhanger series in the '40's. Everything was set, but, alas, it would not be. George Reeves would die as a result of a suicide.
A closing tribute!
George Reeves did not much like his role as Superman, but one thing I'll say. This man was a top notch actor. As you look at the series, you'll have to admit that you are looking at Superman/Clark Kent. Reeves had starred in many movies, but I will remember him as the first and only Superman. Acting like Reeves has been hard to top, even by the new Superman movies in my opinion.
Reeves had brought his Superman character to comedy as well. Starring in the I Love Lucy series, he had a funny moment with Desi and Lucy. He, also, did TV commercials and public presentations. George Reeves was, truly, one of a kind. His wink and smile at the end of a Superman episode assured you that everything was going to be alright and there would be a happy ending. A fitting tribute to the first and only Superman in my book---George Reeves!