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  1. #1
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    Default The Final Adventures of Superman (George Reeves)

    Finally and sadly, I came to the end of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, the TV series. I tried to stretch out my viewing as much as I could, because I never wanted this day to come. But I couldn't put it off forever.

    The intriguing thing about the last three episodes of the series is that George Reeves directed all three. And each episode would have had its challenges for George, given the low budget.

    In George's directorial debut, "The Brainy Burro," which is all set in Mexico, he had to direct a psychic donkey (or burro).

    The penultimate episode, "The Perils of Superman," throws back to old fashioned melodrama (or throws forward to ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE and BATMAN on TV), with Clark, Perry, Lois and Jimmy all abducted and in deathtraps. Each trap would have required some set-up--even given they used stock footage for certain bits.

    And the ultimate episode, "All That Glitters," features the return of Professor Pepperwinkle for the sixth and last time. As played by Phil Tead, I believe Pepperwinkle is the scientist who appears most often on the series--although there are several other scientists that appeared, with Sterling Holloway having appreared three times, but as two different scientists, Professor Twiddle and Professor Quinn. The thing that makes this episode extra special is that Lois and Jimmy both get to fly under their own power. That must have been a real kick for Reeves to film his two pals in flight, when he was the one who always suffered that indignity. But Neill and Larson are in their element, flying with such glee.

    That final espisode also gave an explanation for Superman's powers that may not be true, but it's something to think about. It's said that there are two types of Kryptonite--negative and positive. The negative K is in the rocks but the positive K is in Superman and that's what gives him his powers.

    This final season, season six, expanded on Superman's powers a great deal. In one episode a scientist tells Superman that because he's so dense, he should be able to split his molecules in two--which the Man of Steel does to get out of a jam. However, in his split form he's greatly underpowered and easily defeated. In the following episode, another scientist tells the Man of Tomorrow that he should be able to spread out his molecules so he can walk through walls. And then, in still another episode, Superman can survive an atomic blast and reverse the effects of nuclear radiation (in himself and others) because his molecules generate a counter force that neutralizes the radiation.

  2. #2
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    Those are some of my favorite powers and I really dig the descriptions listed. I'm probably gonna sample some nuclear physics for noobs later at this thought, but it's not like I care how much sense this all makes outside of the show's context.

    It's actually a bit disappointing that such things haven't been imported, to my knowledge.
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  3. #3
    Mighty Member Adekis's Avatar
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    People already say Superman is too powerful, however erroneously, so I don't know how I feel about the new powers. I think I prefer when he's merely the most powerful man in the world with the abilities we traditionally think of him having. That said, a lot of those episodes sound fun, even if I've never seen them, and it's easy to forgive something like that when the episodes were made in an era where that kind of thought, of the show being cheap or whatever because Superman doesn't have a concrete power set, just wasn't a concern at all! The power of splitting into two, weaker Supermen in particular seems like it would be helpful for protecting his secret identity, at least temporarily, which would be very fun to watch. Fun stuff!

    As for All That Glitters, I've got a lot of fondness for that one, as it's actually only the second Adventures of Superman episode I ever watched, the first being Superman on Earth from way back in season one. The library had a tape of those two and the first Fleischer cartoon when I was a kid, and I got it multiple times. Even then, I remember being struck by what a fun and charming episode it was, and the knowledge, helpfully provided by the back of the box, that it was the last episode of the show, gave it a touch of poignancy to even my childhood mind. I have very fond memories of that episode!
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  4. #4
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    There were a few episodes I must have seen on TV a few years back. I know for sure I'd seen the walking through walls episode, because I knew what was going to happen in it. Must've been when I was visiting my Dad, since he had cable and there was a channel that showed AOS, BATMAN and WONDER WOMAN.

    I think if you were going to create a super-hero that could be done with a low budget on 1950s TV, then walking through walls, splitting in two and being impervious to radiation would all be easy powers to pull off. The frustrating thing with the Reeves Superman is that he rarely got to do the kind of feats Superman could do in the comics, because those would be too difficult to realize on screen. So having those other powers made him more of a Superman.

    I quite liked the splitting apart power and that would be one I would give the comic book Superman. It allows him to be in two places at once--as Clark and as Superman--but it makes him less powerful when he's split. So for stories where you want Superman to be in a weakened state, it's a good one to have. He did use the splitting in two power once or twice in the 1940s comics.

  5. #5
    Ultimate Member Digifiend's Avatar
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    When did it first become established that his main powers are flight, strength, super speed, heat vision, X-ray vision, and cold breath? I'm guessing that wouldn't have been until later, long after this show was off the air?

  6. #6
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    I think it was well into the Bronze Age when they were still discovering one-time powers and unique applications or extensions of previous ones. Just look at the Reeve movies with "rebuild a wall vision" or the memory stealing kiss. Lois and Clark had the powers able to be passed on by strong electrical current.

  7. #7
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    In the comics, by 1951, Superman had super-strength, invulnerability, super-speed, flight, super-hearing, telescopic vision and x-ray vision. George Reeves displays all these powers on the TV show--but super-speed is more implied, since he can get from one location to another in record time, but he's not shown running like Grant Gustin. In the comics and on the TV show he can use his x-ray vision as a kind of heat vision--it's only later that these powers are treated as two distinct things.

    In the comics, he had various other powers that would show up, but not consistently. He has super-breathing abilities in the comics and on TV but I'm not sure it's ever described as cold breath until later.

    Another power he displays in the later seasons is the ability to track phone calls and radio signals to their source. Season 6 also does a good job of showing Superman drilling down through the Earth or swimming at record speed underwater.

  8. #8
    Death becomes you Osiris-Rex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    In the comics, by 1951, Superman had super-strength, invulnerability, super-speed, flight, super-hearing, telescopic vision and x-ray vision. George Reeves displays all these powers on the TV show--but super-speed is more implied, since he can get from one location to another in record time, but he's not shown running like Grant Gustin. In the comics and on the TV show he can use his x-ray vision as a kind of heat vision--it's only later that these powers are treated as two distinct things.

    In the comics, he had various other powers that would show up, but not consistently. He has super-breathing abilities in the comics and on TV but I'm not sure it's ever described as cold breath until later.

    Another power he displays in the later seasons is the ability to track phone calls and radio signals to their source. Season 6 also does a good job of showing Superman drilling down through the Earth or swimming at record speed underwater.
    Not only was it explained in one episode that his heat vision was a manifestation of his X-Ray vision, but he had the ability to focus his heat vision such he could burn up something inside a box without harming the box itself.
    Subsequent Supermen seem to have lost that ability to fine tune their heat vision and it blasts through a hole in everything it is aimed at.

  9. #9
    Fantastic Member Jon-El's Avatar
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    I remember being a kid and it was announced the tv show would be playing. My mother came home from work early to watch it with me because she had loved the show as a child. What made it funny was the first episode I saw was in color. My mom was blown away because they didn’t have a color TV set back then. She had no idea Superman was ever in color!! I was also watching Superman when I saw the first commercial for the 1978 movie!!

    I’ve always enjoyed the show. Growing in the 70’s with all the reprints that were published, the tv episodes had a similar feel to the older stories I read. I love the episode with the donkey and the one where Lois & Jimmy have powers. Really showed the wit and charm that was put into many episodes.

  10. #10
    Savior of the Universe Flash Gordon's Avatar
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    My favorite Superman.

    The first season is perfection (Coates is the ideal Lois Lane) but I love it all. I will revisit the episodes you're talking about and freshen my memory.
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  11. #11
    Ultimate Member Digifiend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Clark View Post
    I think it was well into the Bronze Age when they were still discovering one-time powers and unique applications or extensions of previous ones. Just look at the Reeve movies with "rebuild a wall vision" or the memory stealing kiss. Lois and Clark had the powers able to be passed on by strong electrical current.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    In the comics, by 1951, Superman had super-strength, invulnerability, super-speed, flight, super-hearing, telescopic vision and x-ray vision. George Reeves displays all these powers on the TV show--but super-speed is more implied, since he can get from one location to another in record time, but he's not shown running like Grant Gustin. In the comics and on the TV show he can use his x-ray vision as a kind of heat vision--it's only later that these powers are treated as two distinct things.

    In the comics, he had various other powers that would show up, but not consistently. He has super-breathing abilities in the comics and on TV but I'm not sure it's ever described as cold breath until later.

    Another power he displays in the later seasons is the ability to track phone calls and radio signals to their source. Season 6 also does a good job of showing Superman drilling down through the Earth or swimming at record speed underwater.
    So while the core powers had settled to mostly what we know today, they were still doing New Powers As The Plot Demands for a long time afterwards. Thanks you two.

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