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SUPERMAN: “live” CBM/TV History

SUPERMAN: “live” CBM/TV History

From the 1948 movie serial to his latest incarnation, a look on Superman’s transition from 2d comic book page to live small and big screen. See all the actors who has don the cape of Krypton’s last son, and find out other comic book characters that made the leap from page to screen.

1.] Superman (1948, 15 part serial)

Stars an uncredited Kirk Alyn and Noel Neill as Lois Lane. It is notable as the first live-action appearance of Superman on film and for the longevity of its distribution. It was originally screened at movie matinées and after the first three scene-setting chapters, every episode ends in a cliffhanger. The Superman-in-flight scenes are animations, in part due to the small production budget.

Plot synopsis:
The story centers upon the hero and the nefarious Spider Lady, who is trying to rule the Earth. If she cannot have complete control, she plans on shrinking it with her powerful reducer ray. Much of the episodes center upon Superman's relationship with Lois Lane and upon his ability to fly.

Comic book character casts:

Kirk Alyn as Superman

Superman, also known as the Man of Steel, is one of the most powerful super-heroes in the DC Universe. His abilities include incredible super-strength, super-speed, invulnerability, flight and heat-vision

Noel Neill as Lois Lane

Lois Lane is an investigative reporter at the Daily Planet in Metropolis, and Superman's main love interest.

Tommy Bond as Jimmy Olsen

Jimmy Olsen is most well recognized as Superman's pal. He is an investigative reporter and photo-journalist, formerly a copy-boy, working at the Daily Planet.

Pierre Watkin as Perry White

Perry White is the editor-in-chief at the Daily Planet and a close friend and ally of Superman.

Nelson Leigh as Jor-El

Jor-El was a Kryptonian scientist, prior to Krypton's destruction. He was a member of the Kryptonian Council, and at one time, was its head.

Luana Walters as Lara

Lara is Superman's mother, from the planet Krypton. Lara Lor-Van was Lara's full maiden name, as "Lor-Van" is the name of Lara's father. Most depictions of Kryptonian culture show that females use their father's full name as their last names before marriage, and then are known simply by their first names after marriage.

Ed Cassidy as Pa Kent

Virginia Carroll as Ma Kent

Martha Kent and Jonathan Kent, also known as Mary and Eben Kent, or as Ma and Pa Kent, are a caring couple in Kansas. The Kents are the adoptive parents ofSuperman. They live in the small town of Smallville, Kansas. The couple is usually portrayed age-wise as either late middle age or elderly.

2.] Atom Man vs. Superman (1950, 15 part serial)

Plot synopsis:
Lex Luthor (the Atom Man), invents a deadly amount of devices to plague the city, including a disintegrating machine which can convert people in to their basic atoms and reassemble them in another place. However Superman manages to thwart each scheme.

Comic book character casts:
+Kirk Alyn as Superman
+Noel Neill as Lois Lane
+Tommy Bond as Jimmy Olsen
+Pierre Watkin as Perry White

Lyle Talbot as Lex Luthor

Lex Luthor is one of the most dangerously intelligent men on the planet, a super-villain, a brilliant scientist, a billionaire industrialist, and one of Superman's greatest enemies.

3.] Superman and the Mole Men (1951, feature film)

Superman and the Mole Men is a 1951 black and white film starring George Reeves as Superman and Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane. It was the first theatrical feature film based on the Superman characters. It was shot in 12 days on a studio backlot. Fifty-eight minutes long, it served as a trial run for the syndicated TV series Adventures of Superman, for which it became a two-part episode titled "The Unknown People".

Plot synopsis:
Reporters Clark Kent and Lois Lane are sent to the small town of Silsby for the inauguration of the world's deepest oil well. Unbeknownst to the drillers, however, the drill shaft has penetrated the underground home of the "Mole Men", a race of small, furry (though bald-headed) beings. The Mole Men come up through the shaft at night to explore the surface.

Comic book character casts:

George Reeves as Superman


Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane


4.] Adventures of Superman (1952-1958, TV series)

The show is the first television series to feature Superman and began filming in 1951 in California. Sponsored by cereal manufacturer Kellogg's, the syndicated show's first, and last, air dates are disputed but generally accepted as September 19, 1952 and April 28, 1958. The show's first two seasons (episodes 1–52, 26 titles per season) were filmed in black-and-white; seasons three through six (episodes 53–104, 13 titles per season) were filmed in color but originally telecast monochromatically both on the ABC network and in first-run syndication. Television viewers would not see Superman in color until the series was syndicated to local stations in 1965.

Comic book character casts:
+George Reeves as Superman
+Phylis Coates as Lois Lane (1st season)
+Noel Neill as Lois Lane (2nd – 6th seasons)

Jack Larson as Jimmy Olsen


John Hamilton as Perry White


Robert Shayne as Inspector William Henderson

Inspector Henderson of the Metropolis Police is a friend of the Daily Planet staff and often works in conjunction with them on crime investigations.

Robert Rockwell as Jor-El


Aline Towne as Lara


Tom Fadden as Pa Kent

Frances Morris as Ma Kent


5.] Adventures of Superboy (1961, unaired pilot)

6.] It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's Superman (1975, Televised production of the Broadway play)

7.] Superman, The Movie (1978)

Marlon Brando as Jor-El


Susannah York as Lara


Glenn Ford as Pa Kent

Phyllis Thaxter as Ma Kent


8.] Superman II (1981)

9.] Superman III (1983)

10.] Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987)

11.] Superboy (1988-1992, TV series)

George Lazenby as Jor-El


Britt Ekland as Lara


12.] Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993-1997, TV series)

David Warner/François Giroday as Jor-El


Eliza Roberts as Lara


13.] Smallville (2001-2011, TV series)
For Smallville comic book casts click [here]

14.] Superman Returns (2006)

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