Stage name George Reeves (1914- 1959), born George Brewer, later taking his stepfather's name of Bessolo, played 'The Man of Steel' in the Adventures of Superman television series from 1953-1957

Controversy still surrounds the circumstances of his death as to whether is was murder or suicide.

 

 

George Reeves' Superman needed a little boost from an old-fashioned "springboard" to become airborne.

For "sustained" flight shots, Reeves stretched out on a table facing a fan (to animate his cape) in front of a rear-projection screen.

 


In the color episodes they used a form fitted fiberglass piece attached to a boom arm rather like a large spatula and Reeve's legs were fastened to the boom arm covering it. They rotoscoped (traced) the protruding boom arm along the lines of his boots. If the holdout matte (mask used to cover an element in a frame of film) wasn't in sync with the burn-in passes (added composite elements), it created a black ghost of the cape in nearly every shot.

For more information on the evolution of this type of special effects process, click here. Special thanks also to "optical guy" for his invaluable help in explaining the process.

 

 

 

George Reeves rarely received credit for his charming portrayal of Clark Kent, Superman's mild-mannered alter ego. This was no "Casper Milquetoast" depiction. This Clark had a good sense of humor, could hold his own against Lois, liked to tease, and could also be quite bold.

When Perry wouldn't see him for a job   interview, Clark stepped out onto the ledge  of the Daily Planet building and then hopped into Perry's office.

This take on Clark Kent had a lot more in common with Dean Cain's depiction in the 90s than it did with the socially challenged version portrayed by Christopher Reeve in the 70s.

 

The Supporting Cast

 

 

John Hamilton played Perry ("Don't call me chief!") White, Phyllis Coates only played Lois Lane the first season. She made a cameo appearance as Lois Lane's mother on Lois and Clark The New Adventures of Superman. She played the hard-as-nails Lois Lane, more likely to react with anger than fear when placed in jeopardy. However, Coates received an offer for another show and so left the Superman cast.

Robert Shayne played Inspector Henderson, often working alongside Superman solving crime in Metropolis. Jack Larson played Jimmy ("Golly, Mr. Kent") Olsen, and Noel Neill, who played Lois Lane in the Kirk Alyn serial, reprised the role here, but as the "kinder, gentler" Lois Lane.

 

 

 
 

One episode was sponsored by the Treasury Department to promote the use of savings stamps and bonds at schools. It's the only episode where a villain admitted he was robbing a jewelry store because he was never good at saving or handling money!

 


 

The famous Superman "preamble"

 

 
 

Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!

 
 

 

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!



 

Yes, it's Superman. Strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men.

Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great Metropolitan newspaper...

fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way.

 


 

Superman origins from Adventures of Superman

 

 

 

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