Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Adventures of Superman, The

US syndicated tv series (1953-1957). Superman Inc/Lippert Productions. Pr Whitney Ellsworth, Bernard Lubar, Robert Maxwell. Dir Bob Barnes and many others. Spfx Danny Hayes, Thol Simonson. Writers Robert Leslie Bellem and many others. Based on characters created by Jerry Siegel (1914-1996) and Joe Shuster (1914-1992). Starring Phyllis Coates (Lois Lane 1951), John Hamilton (Perry White), Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen), Noel Neill (Lois Lane 1953-1957), George Reeves (Clark Kent/Superman), Robert Shayne (Inspector Bill Henderson). 104 30min episodes. B/w and colour.

One of the most popular Technofantasy series of all time. Directly based on the star of the Superman series of Comic books, it followed the adventures of Superman, the sole survivor of the planet Krypton. It had its genesis in Superman and the Mole Men (1951) (> Superman Movies), a feature movie which saw the first appearance of George Reeves as the Man of Steel. This served as a pilot for the series, which during the first season featured a number of gritty and menacing episodes. A change of producers led to a more lighthearted approach; as time passed this became almost comedic. While many episodes dealt with the mundane criminal element of Metropolis, others included the use of mind-controlling drugs and devices, Voodoo, a crook who could read minds (> Talents) and a sacred jewel bearing a deadly Curse. Further episodes dealt with sf tropes.

Unfortunately, all ended with the apparent suicide of Reeves. The producers tried their hands at another version, this one for a younger audience. The proposed series, Superpup, featured humans in dog costumes, and would have followed the adventures of one Bark Bent, ace reporter working for editor Terry Bite. A pilot episode was filmed in 1957 on the same sets used for TAOS, but mercifully failed to sell. In 1961 they tried again, this time with Johnny Rockwell in the title role of Superboy. This, too, failed to sell, and it was over 20 years before another version of the Man of Steel appeared on tv (> Superboy [1988-1992]). The Adventures of Lois and Clark (1993-current), continues the tradition today. [BC]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.