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Look, up in the sky!
on 20 December 2005
It's not a bird, or a plane, and it seems like a long time coming, as if the locomotive broke down, but finally it is here! The first installment of the seasons of Superman, starring George Reeves.
Yes, purists will say that Reeves was not the first Superman on screen or on television, but the truth is that for a generation of people, Reeves was the image and embodiment of Superman. Whenever others take the screen (the late, great Christopher Reeve - no relation despite the similarity in name) or television (Dean Cain and Tom Welling have done a good job with their modified forms of the Superman legend), it is invariably with George Reeves that the new Supermen are being compared.
Superman comics set the stage, and people filled in the colour as they will from these black-and-white broadcasts. There is something classic about the way they look, including the old placing scenes around the Daily Planet building and Los Angeles rather than New York City being the 'Metropolis' of old.
There are twenty-six episodes, the entirety of the first season, with uncut episodes and extras that include the opening and closing credits in full and other fun things to have. Phyllis Coates play Lois Lane in this series - she is much more tough and no nonsense than will be her replacement for the subsequent shows in the series, Noel Neill. However, the other regulars are already here: Jack Larson as Jimmy Olsen and John Hamilton as 'Great Caesar's Ghost!' and 'Don't call me chief!' Perry White.
I was born a dozen years after this series started, and half a dozen years after the death of George Reeves, but I still remember watching this series religiously as a child growing up in the sixties and seventies. It became an international export, and did a good service for the image of what America hoped to be, with Superman fighting for the underdog and unambiguously always for the right thing - this was an era of truth, justice, and an American way that had a simple integrity about it.
This set also includes the feature film, 'Superman and the Mole Men', an underground adventure starring George Reeves released the season before the television series started. This is an interesting film, intended (as many Superman stories are) to be a film with a message. The DVD set includes extras such as commercials, vignettes and other commentary.
This is a great series, and I am very pleased to have my own copy on DVD. Onward to season two!