Monday, March 4, 2013

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet

OK, how sad is it that I can still recite the opening words from TV's The Adventures of Superman!?  To wit, "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!"

I grew up watching The Adventures of Superman just about every day on WPIX-TV Channel 11 out of New York City.  As a kid in New Jersey in those fabled pre-cable days, we got our TV from New York City.  Channel 2 was CBS, channel 4 was NBC, channel 7 was ABC and there were two independent stations that gave us stuff like the Three Stooges, the Little Rascals and Superman.  Those channels were channel 9 WOR and channel 11, WPIX-TV, home of Million Dollar Movie and The Adventures of Superman.  And occasionally, when the wind was right, we could get another independent channel out of Philadelphia, channel 4.  If you didn't mind the snow, you could catch Mike Douglas and his talk show.  Sometimes.

Channel 11 was, by far, my favorite channel and for a while there, Superman was my favorite show.  Now I don't normally like to shill products here, but ... Warner Brothers is doing something pretty great this coming May of 2013:  releasing a DVD box set of the best of Superman on television.  30 lovely discs of Super Goodness, including episodes of Smallville, the old movie serials from the 1940's, a season of Lois and Clark, Superman the Animated Series, The New Adventures of Superman (another animated series), the recent DCU animated feature Superman vs. Doomsday, the incredible Max Fleischer Superman cartoons from the 1930's, the somewhat less amazing Ruby Spears animated Superman cartoons from the 1960's and 1970's, AND THE ENTIRE FIRST SEASON OF THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN!

George Reeves.  Noel Neill.  Jack Larson.  Phyllis Coates. John Hamilton.  Those great black-and-white episodes.  There's a reason why that grey Superman suit is hanging in the Smithsonian, and those first season episodes are that reason.  No word on price, but the box set is scheduled to hit the shelves on May 7, 2013 -- the Tuesday after Free Comic Book Day ("always the first Saturday in May!")  I can't wait.  Then again, I'm one of those guys that can hum every different Superman theme song ... and who loves them all.  Great Caesar's Ghost.

For more details on the DVD set, look here:
(l to r: John Hamilton as Perry White, George Reeves as Superman, Jack Larson as Jimmy Olsen and Noel Neill as Lois Lane)

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