Superman and Lucy Television 

The Adventures of Superman Closing Ceremonies

By | December 29th, 2020
Posted in Television | % Comments

After two and a half years, we’re finally wrapping up our coverage of Adventures of Superman. Now, last week, we discussed the three final episodes of the series, but this series had a few non-episodes that felt essential to talk about, as well as two attempts at spinoffs. Initially, I was going to catalog the various cameos that the actors made in future Superman media, but that feels less connected than these four half hours did. As places to wrap up go, this feels like a good one.

Stamp Day for Superman

In the nascent days of television, weird shit happened all the time. Things that seem totally bizarre today were either not so poorly received, or since there was no real precedent to buck against, things were just accepted without too much question. And so, when the Department of the Treasury wanted to create, essentially, a commercial for buying stamps in 1954, “Stamp Day for Superman” was created and sent around the country to schools, indoctrinating kids on the value of buying stamp and savings bonds.

The ‘episode’ has not just standard production values, but actually seemed a little more stylized and able to do some interesting things (like an improved flying sequence) due to Uncle Sam’s budget. There is a particular scene of Superman in conversation with a would be crook in a jewelry store that is lit far more cinematically and dramatically than anything we’d ever see on the television series.

The show is also, more or less, a regular episode of Adventures of Superman, with one of the recurring heavies, Billy Nelson, appearing as the villain, with some added hokey dialogue about the benefits of fiduciary responsibility. The crook that is caught laments his life in crime and wishes he had learned to save money better, and then he wouldn’t be in this situation.

I can imagine how happy kids would’ve been to get to watch an episode of a popular TV show in school, even if the ‘buy stamps goddammit’ message is about as heavy handed as you can get.

Lucy and Superman

George Reeves appeared, credited only as Superman, in an episode of I Love Lucy in its sixth season, titled “Lucy and Superman.” In this episode, Ricky has met Superman at some sort of event for entertainers, and they attempt to get Superman to come for Little Ricky’s birthday party. Of course, antics ensue, Fred is a bastard, Ricky butchers English idioms for humor, and Lucy whines.

There are two things of note about this episode. The first is that it is never entirely determined whether in the world of Lucy, Superman is real, or merely a star of a television show. Lucy asks him about flying, but that may simply be her trying to be funny, and he moves a piano with ease, whereas Ricky has trouble with it, but that could again be a dig against Ricky’s strength instead of proof of Superman’s.

The other is that George Reeves smiles more in his five minutes on screen than he did in entire seasons of Adventures of Superman. He looks like he’s having a ball here, both interacting with the kids at the party, and going back and forth with Lucy. Of course, this was 1957, so there has to be some light misogyny to wash down the episode. At the end of the episode, Superman learns that Ricky has been married to Lucy for 15 years, and his response is, “And they call me Superman?” Hilarious Superman, really.

Adventures of Super Pup

In 1956, there was an attempt to make a Superman show that was more targeted to kids, which is bizarre because I would presume that this show was also quite popular with kids. So, instead of doing a cartoon or something of the like, the same sets as were used for Adventures of Superman were repurposed for a show called Adventures of Superpup. The pilot featured actors wearing impressively sculpting, yet vaguely terrifying, giant dog heads and featuring names like Bark Bent (GET IT?) and telling a more childish version of a Superman story.

There are a couple of notable pieces of information about this fever dream of a show, which sadly is pretty hard to track down online right now. I was able to watch about half of it, as well as watch a few discussions/read a few articles about it. It is available on the 14-disc ‘Superman Ultimate Collector’s Edition’ set, along with the four Christopher Reeve films and Superman Returns, oddly enough. But the show features a puppet mouse that pops out of a desk drawer to give the viewer important information throughout the show, which is a bizarre, but very ‘early children’s television.’ There was also a choice to make the Perry White character be portrayed by a little person, and he spends most of his time on screen standing on his desk for…reasons? I don’t know, man. Thankfully, this never became more of a thing after the pilot.

Continued below

Adventures of Superboy

After George Reeves’s tragic death in 1959, there was a proposed Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen show starring Jack Larson discussed, but Larson didn’t want to do it, for good reason, as they were going to repurpose footage of Superman and use stunt doubles for Reeves. While that would’ve been very Plan 9 from Outer Space, it seems like a bad idea in many ways. Instead, there was a 1961 pilot produced for a new series called Adventures of Superboy, this pilot is easy to find on YouTube, and is a surprisingly decent. I mean, it isn’t a revelation or anything, but there are elements of the show that work well.

I really enjoyed the secret wall/lair that the Kents have in their house so Superboy can escape. But since his parents know he is Superboy, this is essentially only for when guests are over, which happens in this episode when Clark comes up with the lamest possible excuse for not doing homework with Lana (“I don’t feel like working right now”). It’s just a fun touch on the classic Superman/Superboy story to give him his own Batcave.

The funniest part of the episode, aside from Superboy looking a lot like Max Casella from Doogie Howser MD and The Sopranos, is that twice when Superboy takes off flying, there is a reaction from a squirrel that is not unlike the surprised hamster meme from a decade ago. It made me legitimately laugh out loud.

A few other notes: Pa Kent’s name is Jonathan, not Eben, unlike the first serials and Adventures of Superman, the old ‘crooks got plastic surgery’ trope is used, and there are way better uses of superpowers here, whether it is making diamonds out of coal, using super hearing, or a more useful version of x-ray vision called ‘Super-vision.’ Sadly, the pilot never went anywhere, and so this is all we’ve got to discuss for this potential show.

Well, that does it for my journey through Adventures of Superman. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see ya next time you’re in Metropolis.

//TAGS | Adventures of Superman

Brian Salvatore

Brian Salvatore is an editor, podcaster, reviewer, writer at large, and general task master at Multiversity. When not writing, he can be found playing music, hanging out with his kids, or playing music with his kids. He also has a dog named Lola, a rowboat, and once met Jimmy Carter. Feel free to email him about good beer, the New York Mets, or the best way to make Chicken Parmagiana (add a thin slice of prosciutto under the cheese).


  • Adventures of Superman Brainy Burro Television
    Six Thoughts on Adventures of Superman‘s “The Brainy Burro,” “The Perils of Superman,” and “All That Glitters”

    By | Dec 22, 2020 | Television

    Well, we’ve come to the end of our time with George Reeves, Noel Neill, Jack Larson, and the rest of the gang. These are the three final episodes of Adventures of Superman. They are also the only three episodes of the run directed by George Reeves, although there’s not really a ‘director’s technique’ you can […]

    MORE »