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Superman - The 1948 & 1950 Theatrical Serials Collection (2006)

Kirk Alyn , Noel Niell  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Kirk Alyn, Noel Niell, Tommy Bond
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Black & White, Dolby
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 28, 2006
  • Run Time: 518 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000I8OM94
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,805 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Superman - The 1948 & 1950 Theatrical Serials Collection" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Includes the 1948 "Superman" serial and the 1950 "Atom Man vs. Superman" serial
  • "Saturdays with Superman" - a look back at the first live-action Superman

Editorial Reviews

Superman Serials: The Complete 1948 & 1950 Collection (DVD)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
167 of 173 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's About Time...What took so long? October 17, 2006
How lucky are we to finally be able to enjoy these two classic Superman serials now available on DVD. These have long been around on bootleg VHS or home-burned dvds, with poor picture quality and sound. The home-burned dvds I got off Ebay did not have the capability to fast forward or rewind, and were not formatted chapter-per-chapter. It's possible that only the die-hard Superman fans and fanboys alike have ever seen Kirk Alyn's portrayal of Superman. Most people think that George Reeves was the first screen Superman not realizing that there were two complete chapter serials starring Alyn as the Man of Steel long before the iconic tv show of the 50s.

That being said, this is a real delight to watch! The fanboys, to this day, continue to cry over the fact that in these serials, Superman's flying sequences were animated. Okay, so it wasn't the high-tech CGI of today's production capabilities. If you're able to get past that, you can enjoy these serials for what they are; pure escapist fun! It's a comic book that's come to life! Kirk Alyn's Superman is not like George Reeves' or Christopher Reeves' or anyone else who ever donned the cape and tights. You've got to see him and judge for yourself. His portrayal of Clark Kent is a little more "mild-mannered" in keeping with the character from the comics, and that's nice to see. Tommy Bond, who played "Butch" in the "Our Gang" and "Little Rascal" shorts is awesome as Jimmy Olson. For me, the real delight was Noel Neill as Lois Lane, the FIRST screen Lois Lane! She was about 27 or 28 when first cast as Lois and she is just too darn cute! She's absolutely adorable with her big hat that she wears in nearly every scene. She's assertive and risk-taking, just like the Lois in the comics of that era, while still remaining feminine.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Up, Up, and Away! April 2, 2007
Well, I was enjoying all 8-plus hours of this set until I got to the short except of an upcoming documentary on the Man of Steel. The documentary, like this disk, was meant to coincide with and complement the release of 2006's `Superman Returns.' All's cool until one of the talking heads - I refuse to watch it again so I'll never know which head - says there "are good Superman movies and bad Superman movies." Clips are played under his voice, and when he says "good Superman movies" we see a clip of a Chris Reeve Superman (appropriately enough) and when he says "bad Superman movies" we see a clip from the 1948 `Superman serial' that we've just finished watching on disks one and two of this set. Boo! Hiss! And what's up with that!?

Poor Kirk Alyn (Clark Kent/Superman) can't get any respect. First, he's unbilled in both the 1948 and 1950 serial (`We couldn't find an actor good enough to play Superman, so Superman's playing himself!' is how that lack-of-credit decision was made.) Then along comes this snotty little documentary clip to sweep his stuff into the dustbin. Yeah, these serial episodes are corny, made on the cheap, and geared towards a late 1940s 12-year-old's sensibilities, but neither were nearly as bad as that Reeve Superman with Richard Pryor was.

Besides, these are serials which, according to reliable sources, were among the most successful serials ever made. Serials are short (15-17 minutes in length) films that were a part of the Saturday matinee tradition from the silent era to the mid-1950s. There were usually about 15 episodes per serial, one played each week - the thought being that the kiddies would return week after week to follow the adventures of their heroes.
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50 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First 'Live' Superman Appearances are Great Fun! November 18, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The 'live' introduction of the Man of Steel, Kirk Alyn's "Superman" serials of 1948 and 1950 are often treated as 'poor relations' to George Reeves' television series, and the many subsequent incarnations of the character, which is unfair; these productions were, in fact, the most successful movie serials, EVER, and hugely popular, when released, which makes this DVD collection a 'must' for every Superman fan!

With the character firmly established in American pop culture (Supes had already been around for a decade in comics, a top-rated radio series, as well as the legendary Fleischer cartoons), audiences had a clear 'image' of what he looked like, and what he could (and couldn't) do. This proved a mixed blessing for Columbia Pictures, which produced the series; while it could pattern the 'look' after the previous versions (with the film serials building on the Bud Collyer radio interpretation of Clark/Superman), the very tight budgets and primitive special effects of the time kept his super powers at a minimum (although, in fact, the rotoscoped, animated 'flying' effects would have been VERY expensive to produce, today!) Fortunately, it was an era when audiences were used to using their imaginations to 'fill in' the gaps (thanks to radio), so what we see today as 'drawbacks' weren't major obstacles, at the time.

Kirk Alyn, 38, slender, mop-headed, and dynamic, offered a more two-dimensional portrayal in the lead than his successors, but had a sheer enthusiasm that is irresistible. He clearly loved his super powers, grinning as villains 'tested' his invulnerability, and handled the 'long-john' uniform with aplomb, even when his cape interfered with his fight scenes!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The over all strategy of the movies was good but the flying scenes...
The over all strategy of the movies was good but the flying scenes left a little to be desired. Kirk Alyn was great as
superman and as low keyed Clark kent. Read more
Published 12 hours ago by Jerry S. Byrd
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Brings back memories of the movie theatres that always had an episode
of a serial each week.
Published 17 hours ago by goofball
5.0 out of 5 stars I just love this!
I just love this!! I have added this to my Superman collection and I plan to get the rest of the series as soon as I can.
Published 9 days ago by Angela Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked the way the special effects were done and the ...
I liked the way the special effects were done and the smooth transition between live action and animation which I thought had only been done by Disney back then. Read more
Published 10 days ago by sadsack
5.0 out of 5 stars Sell excellent in time from order to arrival
1948-50 ingenues use of carton superman for take off but live action movie serials from the Saturday Matinee Movie days. Each week you went to the movies to see the next episode. Read more
Published 11 days ago by SgtSu
4.0 out of 5 stars Clean Entertainment
Enjoying the clean entertainment.
This isn't the superman that I remember, but for some reason I remember this Spider Lady. Why? Read more
Published 23 days ago by myexperience
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 months ago by billy wilfong
5.0 out of 5 stars Kirk Alyn Forever!
The Greatest Columbia serials of all time. Both the 1948 & 1950 Superman serials are Excellent fun. Kirk Alyn is an Awesome Clark Kent/Superman. Read more
Published 3 months ago by superman scott forever
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
nice dvd
Published 3 months ago by Ruth Ruggiero
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
was good, but the flying part was a little cheesey.
Published 3 months ago by owen winkle
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Topic From this Discussion
I noticed this too, it freezes up entirely one one of my DVD players, and skips on another. I hesitate to purchase another copy until I know that this has been fixed.
Aug 9, 2007 by S. Sari |  See all 3 posts
Subtitles ?
Subbies yes (it says so in the product description) audio is only English though
Feb 27, 2009 by Eric Pregosin |  See all 2 posts
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