- The Comic Completist -The Comic Completist: 1953 & 'Adventures Of Superman'
Joe Heath is a big fan of comic books and watching things in order. So he made this spreadsheet containing every serial, short, film, television episode, commercial, motion comic, and web series based on a comic book. Now he’s watching them all. Previously, Joe started the first ever comic book television show. This time, he finishes the first season.
I finished the first season of the first ever comic book television series, Adventures of Superman! If you'd like to watch along with me, here are the videos:
Now let's dive in deeper for more details.
Adventures of Superman: S01E16: "Double Trouble" (January 2nd, 1953) - 25:25
"Double Trouble" is the second episode of Adventures of Superman written by Eugene Solow. It is the tenth episode directed by Thomas Carr.
Onboard a ship, a health officer (Howland Chamberlain) barges in on a guy with a gun (Steve Carr).
The health officer is actually a guy named Fischer and the guy with the gun is named Otto Von Klaben, but he got on board the ship pretending to be a woman named Madame Charpentier. They talk about sneaking something past customs, then Klaben hits Fischer over the head with a gun, stuffs him under a bed, and puts on a wig.
In order to get past some sketchy ambulance guys, Madame Charpentier (complete with a French accent) flirts heavily with a nearby Jimmy Olsen and asks him to give the ambulance guys a box that holds some kind of cure.
Jimmy does so and is immediately kidnapped.
Jimmy is taken to a Dr. Albrecht (Rudolph Anders).
Rudolph Anders previously appeared in Spy Smasher and will make one more appearance on Adventures of Superman as a different character.
Jimmy gives Albrecht the box with the cure, but there's nothing inside it. So they stuff Jimmy in a secret closet. Albrecht then gets a call saying that Fischer was found dead on the boat.
Inspector Henderson is also investigating this murder and talks it over with Clark. Henderson mentions that there were fingerprints all over Madame Charpentier's room, but they couldn't be hers, because the fingerprints were male. Which... I don't think you can tell that from a fingerprint.
Okay, maybe you can, but we only figured out how to do that in 2015.
Henderson hints that Superman could help, which makes me feel like he knows that Clark and Superman are the same guy.
In a very confusing scene, Clark talks to the fingerprint scientist (Jimmie Dodd) who says he will get him a copy of the fingerprints. When he leaves the room, Clark changes into Superman and flies off. The fingerprint guy returns and is confused as to where Clark went. Turns out, he flew to Germany to talk to Colonel Redding (Selmer Jackson). Clark shows him the fingerprints and asks if he can find out who they belong to. BUT HE NEVER GOT THE FINGERPRINTS IN THE FIRST PLACE. There was a whole comedy scene about it!
Selmer Jackson would return two more times as different characters, whereas Jimmie Dodd went on to become the host of The Mickey Mouse Club as well as making that show's memorable theme song.
After they figure out that the fingerprints belonged to Von Klaben, a Dr. Schumann enters and he looks exactly like the dead Fischer.
Clark and the Colonel question Schumann, but it doesn't really go anywhere. So Clark and the Colonel go to question a different guy instead, Major Lee (Richard Powers). They all somehow wind up locked in a safe by Schumann. Trapped in the dark, the rest of the scene looks like the cover of a Spinal Tap album. You know the one.
Clark does a sneaky Superman thing in the dark and they get out. I'm not entirely sure what he did, because the screen was completely black the entire time.
Clark flies back to Metropolis where Henderson tells him that Von Kebel recently boarded a train and is smuggling stuff in his earrings.
Superman lands on a train in some reused footage from episode 5 "The Monkey Mystery."
Superman knocks out Von Kebel and gets the earrings. He takes them to Albrecht and saves Jimmy. Jimmy explains how he was supposed to interview a movie star, but got caught up in all of this. Superman says it's a shame he missed out on the interview, because he heard the actress was very pretty. Jimmy says Superman is prettier than any actor in the world.
New ship: acquired.
Should you watch it, though? This episode is surprisingly boring and disjointed. There's incredibly confusing plotholes, the trip to Germany accomplishes next to nothing, and the twin brother plot went nowhere. The only way it was used was that Clark figured Schumann was a spy because Fischer was a spy. Which is boring. Also the Von Kleben/Madame Charpentier idea was mildly interesting, but immediately dropped. Everything just sputters out.
Adventures of Superman: S01E17: "The Runaway Robot" (January 9th, 1953) - 25:31
"The Runaway Robot" is the second episode of Adventures of Superman written by Dick Hamilton. It is the eleventh episode directed by Thomas Carr.
A pair of jewel thieves are confronted by a robot.
I immediately know I'm going to love this episode.
However, the robot's operator, Horatio Hinkle (Lucien Littlefield), is unable to control the mechanical creature and the thieves flee as the robot begins stomping on the jewels as well as the store owner's head.
Hinkle manages to power the robot down before it kills a man, but Hinkle is arrested anyway.
In jail, as he rants about his innocence to a nearby guard, we learn he works for the Daily Planet. Clark, Lois, and Jimmy arrive to take him into their custody. They fill him in that the diamonds from the store are missing and the police think he did it. Hinkle is confused because he thought his robot, Hero, stopped them. He then learned that Hero was also stolen.
The jewel thieves bring the robot to their boss, Chopper (Russell Johnson).
We'll see Russell Johnson again in an episode of Wonder Woman, but what you probably know him best as is the Professor from Gilligan's Island.
Chopper's less than impressed with the robot, which makes me instantly dislike him. Hero is doing their best!
Chopper is told that the robot's owner, Hinkle, is staying at the Standish Apartments (which we know is where Clark lives), so Chopper calls Hinkle and says he'll give him the robot back for money. Hinkle agrees, but has to ditch his bodyguard, Jimmy. So he gasses him.
At the Daily Planet, Perry and Henderson are complaining about Hinkle. Clark tries to stand up for him, saying that he wouldn't do anything bad. Then Jimmy runs in and says Hinkle knocked him out and got away. Perry yells at everyone to do their job, including Henderson.
Once Hinkle gets to Chopper's, they kidnap him and tell him they want his help breaking into a vault. They lock him in a room with Hero. Hinkle removes a key from the heel of his shoe.
Hinkle pulls out a radio from the robot and calls a goofball named Marvin (Robert Easton).
Robert Easton acted in many television shows and films, but also made a living as a dialect coach for tons of famous actors like Robert Duvall, Forest Whitaker, Ben Kingsley, and Liam Neeson.
Hinkle gives Marvin the address and tells him to get in touch with the Daily Planet. Before he can say more, one of Chopper's henchmen stops him and takes the robot away.
Marvin calls Lois and gives her the address. Lois asks how Hinkle sounded on the phone and since Marvin is a completely oblivious idiot, he says that Hinkle sounded happy.
Lois heads to the address and is immediately grabbed by the bad guys. They threaten to hurt her to try and get Hinkle to work on the robot. Lois gets into an argument with them and they tell her to shut up. A completely frustrated Lois says "I will not shut up!" and then yells as loud as she can.
Normally, I hate the "damsel in distress screams" trope, but Lois is not screaming in terror here. She's screaming to piss them off and I just love her so damn much.
Hinkle does agree to help them use the robot to break into the vault. He remotely controls the robot and the remote also includes a screen so he can see what he's doing. Can you spot the problem here?
That's right! Just like the remote-controlled truck in Captain America, I have no idea where the camera is supposed to be for this robot. Is it just hovering behind them?
Hinkle "accidentally" guides Hero into bumping into a fire alarm, which triggers stock footage of fire trucks.
Hero gets back to Chopper's and he decides to use the robot to kill Horatio and Lois. Fortunately for them, Superman arrives and tears the robot apart.
Rest in pieces, Hero. My beautiful robot friend.
Nah, only joking. This doesn't count for the kill count as it technically is just a machine and they can probably rebuild it anyway.
Later at Clark's apartment, he finds the stolen diamonds inside the robot pieces. Henderson digs around for more and sets fire to his ass.
The end. (Get it?)
Should you watch it, though? Great episode. Absolutely love it. A big silly robot, wonderfully weird side characters, and Lois being awesome. Check it out!
Adventures of Superman: S01E18: "Drums of Death" (January 16th, 1953) - 24:56
"Drums of Death" is the third episode of Adventures of Superman written by Dick Hamilton. It is the seventh episode directed by Lee Sholem.
Perry White receives some tribal footage from Perry's sister. He hasn't heard from her or Jimmy since. So Clark and Perry fly to Haiti. There they meet government official Mr. Bergeret (Milton Wood).
We'll see Milton Wood again in Sheena: Queen of the Jungle.
Perry tells Bergeret that he's worried that a voodoo doctor has his sister. Meanwhile, Clark keeps trying to leave to check it out as Superman, but Perry keeps getting in the way.
Bergeret introduces them to a jungle guide, William Johnson (Henry Corden).
Henry Corden was in many television shows and movies, but is probably best remembered as the voice of Fred Flintstone, replacing the original actor Alan Reed when he passed away in 1979. We'll hear Corden's voice again in 1967's Fantastic Four, Scooby-Doo Meets Batman, Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space, Challenge of the Superfriends, Fred and Barney Meet the Thing, 1979's Plastic Man, and 1981's Spider-Man.
Johnson overheard a drum message about their situation, but tries to steer them away from dealing with voodoo cultists.
After Johnson leaves, Clark catches an eavesdropper, anthropologist Leland Masters (Leonard Mudie).
We'll see Leonard Mudie in three more episodes of The Adventures of Superman as different characters.
Dr. Masters doubles down on what Johnson said, but agrees to guide them through the jungle the following morning to find Perry's sister.
Clark wants to get plenty of rest and goes to bed at 8. Which means he finally gets a chance to slip away as Superman. He finds the voodoo doctor Legbo's hideout and x-rays inside to see Perry's sister Kate (Mabel Albertson) and Legbo (Henry Corden again, but unfortunately in blackface).
I didn't realize this was the same actor as Johnson, but if I had I would have guessed the twist, I suppose. Which I didn't. I did worry that the character was in blackface. And I was sadly right about that.
That's not the only suspect thing going on in this scene. Kate is wearing chains made of paper, but she's been hypnotized to think they are real. Superman tries to help her out, but she's too heavily hypnotized.
Superman explores some more and finds Jimmy Olsen digging in a mine. He tells Superman that Kate drank a tea that he didn't, which must have put her in her hypnotic spell.
Superman leaves as Legbo enters and questions Jimmy. Jimmy pretends to be hypnotized.
The next morning, Dr. Masters and an impatient Perry head out into the jungle without Clark. They are almost immediately grabbed by Legbo's men.
Meanwhile, Clark gets a handkerchief examined. The result of this is that Clark learns that Johnson and Legbo are the same man, but honestly, he could have just stopped Legbo without knowing this. Especially considering the fact that Perry, Kate, and Jimmy are all currently being smooshed to death by a wall.
Of course Superman shows up and saves them, then reveals that Legbo is Johnson.
Remember, kids. Superman says "Just say no to blackface. I feel like this is a no-brainer. Come on."
Should you watch it, though? Not really. First off, it has blackface. Secondly, it doesn't have Lois (who she seems to have been replaced by Perry's sister for this episode). And lastly, it's just kind of boring.
Adventures of Superman: S01E19: "The Evil Three" (January 23rd, 1953) - 25:47
"The Evil Three" is the sixth episode of Adventures of Superman written by Ben Peter Freeman. It is the twelfth episode directed by Thomas Carr.
Perry White and Jimmy Olsen have been fishing. Jimmy has been enjoying it about as much as I enjoy fishing (none at all). I am however enjoying the fact that these two hang out in their downtime. They've caught zero fish and Jimmy wants to go home, but Perry says he's gonna get some fish on this trip, so they're going to stay the night at a hotel and fish more in the morning.
Meanwhile, shenanigans are afoot at the rundown Hotel Bayou.
A guy with a sword (Jonathan Hale) sneaks up on a guy in a rocking chair (Rhys Williams) but is caught in a mirror reflection.
Hale will show up again in this show as another character.
The two begin to fight as they are watched by a cackling woman in a wheelchair (Cecil Elliott). They all stop when they hear a car pull up.
Perry and Jimmy enter and meet the guy who didn't have a sword, Macey Taylor. He says the hotel basically closed down when his uncle George drowned. He tries to redirect them to another hotel, but Perry is a bit of a Karen about it and refuses to stay anywhere else. As Perry goes to get his bags from the car, Macey tries to convince Jimmy that the hotel is haunted.
In the car, Perry radios out to Daily Planet and asks Clark to get info on George Taylor.
As Perry and Jimmy unpack their backs, Perry says he thinks there's a story here while Jimmy sees a ghost in the window.
Perry convinces Jimmy to calm down and go to bed. Where he is slapped by a ghost.
You can tell he's a ghost because he's wearing a sheet.
Perry and Jimmy begin looking around the hotel and find a secret door that leads into a dug out basement, complete with the standard chained-up skeleton.
You can tell it's a skeleton because of the bones.
Perry and Jimmy are caught by Macey and the sword guy (whose name is Colonel Brand). They are knocked unconscious. The woman in the wheelchair, Elsa, begs Macey and Brand not to kill them.
Brand disposes of Perry's car by dropping it into a quarry.
You can tell it's Perry's car because it's exploding.
Jimmy and Perry wake up, make their way back upstairs, and begin to pack their things. However, they are stopped by Elsa who tells them there's money hidden in the basement and she's the only one who knows where it is. She offers them half if they'll get it for her. She also explains that the skeleton is uncle George and that Macey and Brand are in shaky cahoots.
Superman arrives looking for Perry and Jimmy, but Brand says he sent them to another hotel, so Superman leaves.
Perry and Jimmy head downstairs and find the money. Elsa cheers from the top of the stairs until Macey shoves her down them.
Superman finally catches on that he had been misled and flies back to save everyone.
Later, as police escort Macey, Brand, and Elsa out, Elsa cackles because none of them wound up with the money.
Superman offers to fly them back, but Perry declines for both of them. Jimmy is sad because he wanted to fly with Superman. He asks for a raincheck and Superman agrees.
I think Jimmy has a crush on Superman.
You can tell it's a crush because of the look on his face.
Should you watch it, though? With a spooky opening that mostly pays off and some delightful banter between Jimmy and Perry, this episode is pretty fun! Though I'm starting to miss Lois. This is the second episode in a row she hasn't appeared in!
Adventures of Superman: S01E20: "Riddle of the Chinese Jade" (January 30th, 1953) - 25:27
"The Riddle of the Chinese Jade" is the second episode of Adventures of Superman written by Whitney Ellsworth and Robert Maxwell and the seventh episode written by Ben Peter Freeman. It is the thirteenth episode directed by Thomas Carr.
Harry Wong (Victor Sen Yung) meets up with John Greer (James Craven) to discuss shady business.
Victor Sen Yung is mostly known for his role as Jimmy (or Tommy) Chan in the Charlie Chan films as well as his role as the cook Hop Sing on the popular western Bonanza. In 1972, a plane he was on was hijacked and he wound up getting shot in the back by FBI agents. Luckily, he survived and turned the story into an appearance on the game show To Tell the Truth.
We previously saw James Craven as Norwood in Batman and Robin.
Wong and Greer discuss a heist they are planning. They even have a very detailed and complex map to help them visualize their mission.
They are planning to steal a jade statue belonging to Lu Song (Paul Burns), who is planning to show it to a pair of reporters before sending it to a museum. Wong seems uncomfortable about the heist, but is going through with it, so that he can use the money from selling it to help him and his girlfriend (and Song's niece), Lilly (Gloria Saunders).
As far as I can tell, Paul Burns and Gloria Saunders are not Asian which is unfortunate, especially considering the story itself is not as problematic as I worried it would be from the title. We'll see Burns again as a different character later in this series.
Later, Lu Song shows Lois and Clark the jade statue.
Wong and Greer throw a bomb into Song's shop. Clark, Lois, and Song go to investigate. While they are out, Wong and Greer slip into Song's apartment. Unfortunately, they are seen by Lilly. Much to Wong's displeasure, Greer grabs Lilly along with the statue.
Wong ditches Greer and heads into Song's exploded shot so he can pretend to be innocent. However, Clark notices some dust on his shirt and sneakily takes some.
It's bamboo dust from the jade case. Clark explains this to Inspector Henderson and they think Wong might be involved in the robbery.
Wong goes to Greer and tries to get him to call the whole thing off, but they wind up in a fight. Lily grabs the jade statue and tries to leave, but Greer knocks her and Wong unconscious. He takes them both into the secret tunnel beneath Wong's house and begins to flood it.
Greer makes his way to Lu Song, knocks him out, and kidnaps Lois.
Meanwhile, Clark sees the flooding with his x-ray vision and leaves to become Superman. When he returns, he begins tearing the street apart to get to Wong and Lilly.
Not sure why he didn't just use the secret tunnel entrance instead of tearing apart a busy street. Seems like that would have been faster and less of a headache for whoever has to fix this mess. Thanks, Superman.
Wong and Lilly are pulled out of the tunnel and Superman knocks out Greer and saves Lois.
Later, Henderson questions Wong. Wong agrees to testify against Greer and Henderson says he will not arrest him. Lois and Lily take turns kissing Henderson for his generosity.
Clark then asks Henderson if he's trying to become a Superman. Then winks right at the camera.
No thank you.
Should you watch it, though? The episode started solidly enough but then got messier as it went. Henderson's double kiss reward seems a little gross and Clark's fourth wall-breaking joke makes very little sense. But overall, it's enjoyable enough.
Adventures of Superman: S01E21: "The Human Bomb" (February 6th, 1953) - 25:49
"The Human Bomb" is the third episode of Adventures of Superman written by Whitney Ellsworth and Robert Maxwell under the pseudonym Richard Fielding and the eighth episode directed by Lee Sholem.
Two men, Butler (Trevor Bardette) and Conway (Lou Krugman), talk about how Superman has been shutting down gambling places lately.
Both will appear again as different characters in this show, while Lou Krugman will also voice various characters in the 1979 show Spider-Woman.
Butler says he'd love to have Superman's powers. Or at the very least control him for 30 minutes. Then he bets Conway $100,000 that he can, in fact, do just that.
Butler strolls into Lois's office and introduces himself as Bomb. She says "B-A-U-M?" And he says, "No. Bomb. First name: Human." Then he takes off his coat to reveal he's strapped with explosives.
Butler handcuffs himself to Lois and tells Jimmy that he wants Superman. Then he goes out on the ledge.
Clark arrives and, after examining the situation, gets mad and says that this is some kind of publicity stunt and chastises them for faking the news. Then he leaves to change into Superman.
Superman returns and learns that the bet Butler made is that a robbery will happen but Superman will do nothing to prevent it. Because Superman has a crush on Lois, obviously. Superman agrees to do nothing for the 3o-minute time limit.
Superman teams up with Inspector Hill (Marshall Reed) and sets up a recording device.
The Amazon trivia says that Inspector Hill replaces Henderson in this episode due to actor Robert Shayne not being available to film while he was testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Marshall Reed previously played a henchman in Blackhawk and we'll see him again as a different character in this show.
Superman records himself saying "No comment until the time limit is up." He then projects his shadow on a wall that Butler can see from the ledge. Once he's established the ruse, he switches out with Hill for the shadow.
Jimmy plays the recording any time Butler asks anything. Perry says he should take over and almost immediately screws it up. Luckily, Jimmy fixes it before Butler catches on.
Then Jimmy calls his girlfriend Miriam before he prepares to do something incredibly foolish. He grabs a golf club and goes out on the ledge.
Meanwhile, Superman holds a car bumper to keep the bank robbers from driving off.
I'm glad this love for bumper holding has carried over from the Superman serials.
Jimmy threatens Butler and says that the Superman shadow is a ploy. He gets Butler to take off the handcuffs and Lois goes back inside. Then Jimmy and Butler get into a fight and Jimmy falls off the ledge.
Superman catches Jimmy and asks what the hell he was doing. He says he knew the dynamite was fake because the company name on it wasn't in the phone book. Everyone tells him this is stupid reasoning because the dynamite might have come from outside of Metropolis. Then he faints.
The police bring Butler inside so Lois can give him a good slap.
After everything settles down, Clark drops in and says he's glad they quit with the publicity stunt. When asked where he was, he says he went fishing. Caught a big one, too.
Should you watch it, though? I enjoyed the premise a lot, even though Butler probably should have seen through the shadow ploy. Butler's opening scene is supervillain monologue-worthy and I loved it. However, Jimmy was incredibly stupid.
Adventures of Superman: S01E22: "Czar of the Underworld" (February 13th, 1953) - 25:13
"Czar of the Underworld" is the third and final episode of Adventures of Superman written by Eugene Solow and the fourteenth episode directed by Thomas Carr.
A couple of henchmen watch Clark's office at the Planet from across the street. They are planning on shooting Clark and a perfect shot lines up when he goes to answer the phone. However, Inspector Henderson unknowningly steps in front of the window and blocks their shot.
On the phone is Luigi Dinelli (Tony Caruso) who informs Clark that he's not too happy that a movie is being made based on derogatory articles written about him by Clark.
We'll see Tony Caruso again in a 1981 episode of The Incredible Hulk.
The henchmen finally get a shot off, but everyone is fine. So Clark and Henderson board a plane for California.
Clark and Henderson are picked up by a National Studios car and taken to a garage that turns out to be a trap sprung by Dinelli's henchmen.
Clark sneaks out in the darkness of the locked garage, changes into Superman, and knocks out the henchmen. He changes back into Clark and breaks Henderson free. When Henderson asks how he did it, Clark says he learned a trick from Superman. Henderson says he's starting to think Clark is Superman. No matter how many times they fall back on this joke, I still politely chuckle.
They finally make it to the studio and we are soon treated to a montage of terrible things befalling the studio. This culminates in the lead actor being murdered when blanks are swapped out for live rounds.
Also, that guy on the left is the film director, Mr. Carr (Steve Carr). This episode is directed by Thomas Carr and his brother Steve is playing a director named Carr. Look at Superman getting all meta! I love it!
Jimmy brings the news of the dead actor to Perry. Perry calls up Henderson and yells at him for a very long time about how he should be getting this from Clark not from a press report. He rants for so long that Henderson eventually hangs up on him.
Clark says he wants to sleep in the dead actor's trailer, which is the creepiest form of parasocial relationship I've ever heard of.
Dinelli is told that the lead actor has been replaced and filming will continue in the morning. He's also told where Clark is sleeping.
Meanwhile, a police officer fills Clark in about Dinelli. While they are talking, they hear someone outside the trailer. They continue to talk as if they heard nothing, but pass notes back and forth. They go to grab the sneaky individual, but it turns out it's just Carr preparing for the next day's filming.
Clark ditches everyone and changes into Superman. He crashes through Dinelli's window and fights a couple of henchmen. Dinelli unloads his gun at Superman, but it does nothing. Out of options, he chucks the empty gun at him.
Yeah. That'll do it.
Superman knocks Dinelli out and flies him to the studio, stuffing him in the dead actor's trailer. He then flies off to get Henderson. Meanwhile, a henchman runs a car exhaust to the trailer, thinking he's killing Kent. Superman and Henderson show up just in time to stop it. Superman says "That little carbon monoxide deal was meant for me. I mean... Kent." Real smooth.
Superman catches the escaping henchman but Dinelli shoots him before he can say anything. But that just gives Henderson the excuse to arrest him for murder.
Henderson says "It's too bad Clark isn't here."
Superman replies "Oh, he's here. In a way." What the hell, Superman? You're so bad at this secret identity thing.
Should you watch it, though? It was decent enough, but dragged in a few places. Especially the incredibly long and pointless scene with Perry. I did enjoy the meta touch of casting Steve Carr as what is basically his own brother.
Adventures of Superman: S01E23: "Ghost Wolf" (February 20th, 1953) - 25:02
"Ghost Wolf" is the fourth and final episode of Adventures of Superman written by Dick Hamilton and the ninth (and sort of last) episode directed by Lee Sholem.
The episode begins with lumberjacks doing what lumberjacks do. They work for the Lone Pine Timber Company.
This must mean we're in the universe where Marty McFly knocked down that second pine tree.
The owner, Sam Garvin (Stanley Andrews) calls Perry White. Perry complains that they aren't getting their supply of paper. Garvin tries to explain that a lot of his men are quitting, but Perry doesn't want excuses, just paper.
We saw Stanley Andrews previously as the sheriff in Superman and the Mole Men, which means we're gonna see him again in a couple of episodes.
What exactly could be driving Garvin's men away?
This terrifying... wolf?
Show, you're drunk. That's a good good doggo.
Garvin's last employee, Jacques Olivier (Lou Krugman), quits and says it's because of this werewolf. Jacques knows its a werewolf because he tracked the wolf down and its tracks turned into those of a woman's. Garvin calls Perry back and says that everyone quit because of the werewolf. Perry suspects dirty work and sends Clark, Lois, and Jimmy to investigate.
On the train ride over, Clark notices that a part of a bridge up ahead is damaged. He Supermans over and lifts the tracks back up.
They finally get to the lumber company and Garvin shows them to their quarters for the night. He tries to clean up the old employee's pinups, but Lois says he doesn't need to, stating that the next employee might enjoy the art gallery.
I think Lois enjoys the art gallery herself. New head canon!
Later that night, a woman (Jane Adams) wanders through the forest and is heavily implied to be the werewolf everyone is raving about.
Jane Adams previously played Bruce Wayne's love interest Vicki Vale in 1949's Batman and Robin. Her role here as Babette DuLoque in Adventures of Superman would be her last as she retired from acting afterwards.
The "wolf" gets into Lois's room and she screams. Later, when Lois tells everyone there was a wolf in her room, no one believes her for some reason. Maybe it's because that wolf is clearly a dog. Either way, Lois moves into Clark and Jimmy's bunk, potential scandal be damned.
The following morning, Lois cleans up at a spring and finds an earring.
Lois also finds the "wolf" and faints.
Meanwhile, former employee Jacques Olivier starts a forest fire.
Superman saves an animal I don't recognize from the forest fire.
I don't know. Maybe it's a wolf.
Then Superman saves Lois and Jimmy from the fire as well.
While all of this fire is happening, Jacques takes the opportunity to attack Garvin. He tries to get Babette to sic her "wolf" on Garvin but she refuses. When Garvin asks why they are attacking him, Jacques says that Garvin killed Babette's father and stole all the timberland from her. Garvin says that's bullshit, her father died of pneumonia and she does own all of the timberland. Jacques admits he knew this and was just trying to screw over Babette who had promised to marry him.
The "wolf" attacks him.
After they fight a little, Jacques gets the upper hand and is about to shoot the "wolf" but Superman shows up, bends his rifle, and knocks him out.
Superman has a plan to put out the fires and grabs a spool of telephone wire.
Superman flies the wire above the clouds into some lightning and this... somehow... makes it rain? I'm sure this is science.
Back at the cabins, everyone gives the "wolf" some much deserved pets while they talk about how much he's like a dog.
I mean... that's because he is a dog.
Then Clark comes in and complains about the rain.
Should you watch it, though? This one has the feel of the other episodes that start kind of spooky, then kind of fall apart at the end. Except this one doesn't quite nail the spooky part. The end feels very rushed and the wolf is a dog. He's a dog!
Adventures of Superman: S01E24: "Crime Wave" (February 27th, 1953) - 25:02
"Crime Wave" is the eighth and final episode written by Ben Peter Freeman and the fifteenth episode directed by Thomas Carr.
This episode is as close as you can get to doing a clip show without actually doing a clip show. A narrator tells us about a 72 hour crime wave, back by an incredible amount of reused footage from the other episodes. Just when you think the episode is going to stop using reused footage, it uses even more reused footage. Try to guess right now how much reused footage they used and guess what? You're not even close. It's just... way more than you'd expect.
Anyway, over loads of reused footage of Perry White, the narrator just casually reveals that Perry used to be mayor. Huh. Neat!
Finally, in a new piece of footage, Perry announces that the police and Superman are really going to crack down on this crime wave. We even get a brief cutaway to a man selling newspapers saying the same thing.
He also appears to be selling Superman comics, which is a nice touch.
Then there's a montage of Superman addressing crowds.
He explains that he's going to take down all of the public enemies and even has a handy dandy chart to keep track. As a man who keeps extensive spreadsheets, I respect this.
Tag yourself. I'm Phil 'Shortcake' Mitchell.
Then there's more montages of clips from previous episodes and stock footage as Superman crosses names off of his handy dandy chart.
Nick Marone (Philip Van Zandt) and Big Ed Bullock (Al Eben) get nervous and ask their boss (who is presumably the "?" at the top of the chart) what they should do.
We'll see Philip Van Zandt in two more episodes of this show as different characters.
They decide to double down on doing crimes, which means... you guessed it! More montages of previously used footage! It really makes you appreciate just how many times Superman grabbed two bad guys and clonked their heads together. Someone should really give him a medal.
Oh yeah. They do.
There's a brief update by a news announcer, who is played by Bill Kennedy. Kennedy also does the opening narration of every episode of this show!
He actually appears earlier in the episode, but with his back turned towards the camera and someone else dubbing over him to give the illusion that it was a different newscaster and this episode wasn't cheap as hell.
Finally, Superman gets all but that elusive question mark.
It's nice that he went in order like that.
Then there's yet another montage of Superman and the police interrogating all of the captured bad guys, trying to figure out the identity of Number One.
Meanwhile, Number One tells his worried henchmen not to worry. He's going to kill Superman.
Oh boy! I can't wait until they reveal who Number One is! I bet it's going to be mind-blowing!
Number One sends Sally (Barbra Fuller) to do some snooping.
We get a montage of Sally snooping, then she shows the footage of her snoops to the other bad guys. The snooping footage is all clips from previous episodes of Jimmy, Lois, Perry, Henderson, and Clark. The last piece of footage is Clark running into an alleyway to change into Superman. One of the bad guys asks her to play it again, so we watch the entire clip in reverse and then forwards again. Now the show is reusing their reused footage!
Number One calls Clark and says he'll turn himself in and to meet him at some cliffs at 11pm. That doesn't sound like a trap at all!
At the cliffs, a professor (Joe Mell) and some henchmen wait for Superman.
They're gonna lure Superman into a cool deathtrap room.
After they wait for what feels like forever, Superman finally arrives.
He walks right into the deathtrap and is locked inside. They hit him with a bunch of special effects.
And just like that... Superman is dead.
This is, of course, an adaptation of the 1992-1993 crossover story event in DC Comics known as "The Death of Superman." It's really impressive how the television show managed to adapt the story 40 years before it was written, but that's comics for you.
Finally, the identity of Number One is revealed.
I have no idea who this is. But he's played by John Eldredge who we'll see as three more characters in later episodes of this show.
Turns out Superman was faking. He jumps up, knocks everyone out, and flies off with Number One.
He drops Number One off at the Planet (instead of with the police for... reasons?), then explains that he's Walter Canby, an attorney and the head of some sort of clean government committee that I'm sure was introduced at the beginning of the episode, but I've forgotten because I was bombarded by reused footage.
Should you watch it, though? A truly awful and mind-numbing amount of reused clips and stock footage made this an absolute chore to get through. It's marginally interesting that they tried to make a new episode instead of just doing a clip show, but the story isn't good enough to overcome the repetitiveness. Once the repeat footage settled down towards the end, it became marginally more enjoyable, but then it was over. What's worse is this is basically the last new episode, because the next two are just re-edits of the 1951 film Superman and the Molemen. Frankly, 85% of this episode is just re-edits of the rest of the series. On top of that, it's definitely the last episode with new footage of Phyllis Coates as Lois and she barely gets anything to do in it, which is a shame. It's a good thing Superman and the Molemen was a good movie, because this would have been a disappointing ending to the first season.
Adventures of Superman: S01E25: "The Unknown People - Part One" (August 10th, 1953) - 25:43
"The Unknown People - Part One" is the fourth(ish) episode of Adventures of Superman written by Whitney Ellsworth and Robert Maxwell under the pseudonym Richard Fielding and the tenth(ish) episode directed by Lee Sholem.
This episode is just the first half of the 1951 film Superman and the Mole-Men which can read my recap of here. The only difference is that the music cues have been swapped out with the ones used for the television series and some of the chase sequences have been shortened.
The episode ends with the Mole-Men trapped on the dam.
Should you watch it, though? If you've already seen the movie, then no. If you haven't, just watch the movie!
Adventures of Superman: S01E26: "The Unknown People - Part Two" (August 10th, 1953) - 25:50
"The Unknown People - Part Two" is the fifth(ish) episode of Adventures of Superman written by Whitney Ellsworth and Robert Maxwell under the pseudonym Richard Fielding and the eleventh(ish) episode directed by Lee Sholem. It would be the final writing and directing credits for both Fielding and Sholem on the show, though Ellsworth would write more episodes in the final season.
Again, other than a brief recap at the beginning and a few shortened scenes, this is just the latter half of the 1951 film Superman and the Mole-Men which you can again read my recap of here.
Should you watch it, though? Sure, why not? I can't stop you. But really, just check out the movie.
And that's it for the first season of Adventures of Superman! There were mysteries, robots, and three episodes primarily composed of previously used footage!
Let's do a ranking, shall we? Here are the 26 episodes of the first season of Adventures of Superman ranked from worst to best.
25. Episode 18: Drums of Death - Incredibly racist and extremely boring.
24. Episode 16: Double Trouble - Very sloppy with a lot of missed potential.
23. Episode 24: Crime Wave - Boring cobbled together clip show.
22. Episode 3: The Case of the Talkative Dummy - Terrible plot!
21. Episode 11: No Holds Barred - Lightly racist and mildly boring.
20. Episode 15: Treasure of the Incas - Pretty boring, actually.
19. Episode 23: Ghost Wolf - It has a dog in it, but that's not enough to recommend it.
18. Episode 9: Rescue - An okay episode, but built around Lois doing something stupid.
17. Episode 20: Riddle of the Chinese Jade - Starts strong, falls apart at the end, mildly racist.
16. Episode 4: Mystery of the Broken Statues - Starts strong, falls apart at the end, enjoyably goofy.
15. Episode 12: The Deserted Village - Starts strong, falls apart at the end, entertainingly spooky.
14. Episode 8: The Mind Machine - Fun, though a little ridiculous at times.
13. Episode 22: Czar of the Underworld - Fun and lightly meta, but drags a little.
12. Episode 25 & 26: The Unknown People - Part One & Two - It's good, but it's also just a slightly shorter version of a more complete movie.
11. Episode 14: Mystery in Wax - A little slow, but the villain is wonderful.
10. Episode 21: The Human Bomb - Great villain, but Jimmy is too stupid.
9. Episode 5: The Monkey Mystery - There's a monkey in it!
8. Episode 7: The Birthday Letter - Cute!
7. Episode 2: The Haunted Lighthouse - The first horror episode. Fun!
6. Episode 19: The Evil Three - Spooky and fun!
5. Episode 1: Superman on Earth - Great origin story!
4. Episode 17: The Runaway Robot - There's a robot in it!
3. Episode 6: Night of Terror - Fantastic opening, tense episode!
2. Episode 10: The Secret of Superman - Features one of the best scenes in the entire season. A truly great episode!
1. Episode 13: The Stolen Costume - Absolutely bonkers in the best and worst ways. I absolutely love it.
Tune in next time for the first half of Season Two of the Adventures of Superman as I finish off 1953!