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The Adventures of Superman: The Complete Second Season [5 Discs] [DVD]

Release Date:01/17/2006

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    Ratings & Reviews

    Overall Customer Rating:
    98% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (48 out of 49)

    Special Features

    • Documentary "The First Lady of Metropolis" profiling Noel Neill featuring Jack Larson, Leonard Maltin, and others
    • Commentary on two key episodes by Noel Neill and Jack Larson
    • "Stamp Day for Superman": Special episode promoting savings bonds with a new introduction by Jack Larson
    • Closed Captioned


    Filmed nearly two years after production shut down on The Adventures of Superman's first season, the series' second season of 26 episodes was completed in mid-1953, and aired in most TV markets in the fall of that year. Because the series' owner, National Periodicals, was not pleased with the high violence quotient in Season One, producer Robert Maxwell was replaced by Whitney Ellsworth, who considerably toned down the mayhem. Also, whereas the villains in the Maxwell-produced episodes ranged from vicious to downright insane, the bad guys in the Ellsworth-produced installments tend to be Runyonesque buffoons--especially those played by the ubiquitious Ben Welden and Herb Vigran. As a result, the series lost a lot of its adult appeal during its second season, though it picked up a much larger audience of children and teenagers. While many Superman fans bemoaned this perceived "dumbing down" of the concept, the fact is that The Adventures of Superman would grow more and more popular the younger its target audience became. Beyond these cosmetic changes, Season Two also marks a significant cast change. While George Reeves was still in harness in the dual role of Superman and Clark Kent, as were John Hamilton as Perry White, Jack Larson as Jimmy Olsen and Robert Shayne as Inspector Henderson, Phyllis Coates had vacated the role of intrepid girl reporter Lois Lane to pursue other film and TV work. Her replacement is Noel Neill, who'd previously played Lois in a brace of 1ate-1940s Superman theatrical serials starring Kirk Alyn in the title. Compared with Coates' brittle, aggressive portrayal of Lois, Neill came off as more fragile and vulnerable. Though there are some who prefer Phyllis Coates' more self-reliant interpretation of Lois, Noel Neill is the actress who first comes to mind when the character's name is mentioned today; she would remain with the series until its final episode in 1957. Moving production from RKO Pathe to an independent rental outfit called California Studios, The Adventures of Superman was obliged to tighten its budget throughout its second season, meaning fewer location shoots and more interior scenes, recycling furniture, sets and props as often as possible. Credit must go to special-effects wizard Thol "Si" Simonson for doing so much with so little, especially in those scenes wherein Superman was obliged to show off his "powers and abilities beyond those of mortal men." Arguably the season's best episode is "The Face and the Voice", in which George Reeves is seen in three separate characterizations: Clark Kent, Superman, and a doltish Superman lookalike named Boulder. Not actually a part of Season Two, though utilizing the same cast and personnel, is Stamp Day for Superman, a 12-minute public service short subject filmed on behalf of the United States Treasury Department. ~ Hal Erickson

    Cast & Crew

    • George Reeves - Superman/Clark Kent
    • Jack Larson - Jimmy Olsen
    • John Hamilton - Perry White
    • Robert Shayne - Insp. William Henderson
    • Phyllis Coates - Lois Lane

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.