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Adventures of Superman - The Complete Fifth and Sixth Seasons
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Adventures of Superman, The Complete 5th & 6th Seasons (DVD) (Multi-Title)
The first super hero created for comic books, Superman leaped from radio to television when Adventures of Superman debuted in 1952. Produced by Robert J. Maxwell (who also produced the radio version) and Bernard Luber (a veteran of Hollywood serials), each episode screens like a classic crime movie, where danger and death lurk in the shadows. Seasons 5 and 6 are the final seasons of this classic TV favorite.]]>
Superman's "never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way" on television actually did come to an end in 1957 with the cancellation of the Adventures of Superman series, but not before it completed its sixth season, which is presented in this five-disc set along with its fifth season from 1956. Story-wise, the fifth and sixth seasons trend a fine line between the "serious" tone of the first three seasons (which saw Superman take on gangsters, corrupt scientists, and other villains with roots largely planted in reality) and the more outlandish escapades of the fourth season; examples of the latter include "The Tomb of Zaharan," in which Lois Lane (Noel Neill) is kidnapped by Middle Eastern dignitaries who believe her to be their reincarnated queen; "Mr. Zero," with Billy Curtis (High Plains Drifter) as an alien pressed into illegal service by crooks; and "The Brainy Burro," which features a mind-reading donkey(!) used by nefarious types to commit crimes (the latter is one of three episodes directed by series lead George Reeves). Fortunately, there are plenty of exciting adventures on hand as well, the best of which might be "The Perils of Superman" (also directed by Reeves), which harkens back to Superman's comic book and radio serial origins in its tale of a gang of lead-masked hooligans who subject the Man of Steel and his pals to a series of cliffhanger-style dangers. It's hard to say if modern young viewers will take to these vintage escapades--the special effects remain decidedly primitive, and some of the plotlines will challenge even the most imaginative kid's suspension of disbelief--but for Superman fans and classic TV aficionados, there's still plenty of fun to be found in the Adventures of Superman.
Supplements include a charming chat with co-star Jack Larson in the featurette "Superman's Pal: Jimmy Olson," in which the still spry actor is joined by Neill, special effects expert Bob Burns, and several Superman experts (including actor Jim Beaver of Deadwood fame). A barrage of trailers for previous Superman-related DVDs, including Superman Returns, rounds out the extras. -- Paul Gaita
- 26 episodes on five discs
- Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen: interviews with Jack Larson, Noel Neill, and others
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Top Customer Reviews
Another recurring character is Professor Pepperwinkle played by Phil Tead who is a loveable absent minded professor. He is also the guest star in the final episode of the series 'All that Glitters'.
Some other highlight episodes are 'The Tomb of Zaharan' where we once more get to see Noel Neil in a great looking Cleopatra type costume showing off her great legs! We also have 'The Last Knight' with the only return of the great director of many of the first season episodes Tommy Carr who makes a real difference in bringing out the best in George Reeves.
There is also a somewhat silly but still entertaining episode 'Divide and Conquer' where Superman visits his friend professor Lacerene who shows him how to split into two persons, each having only half the power of the other. The very next episode 'The Mysterious Cube' has the good professor returning now to teach Superman how to go through a wall! These tricks were never repeated in any other episodes.
Another episode that stands apart from others is 'Superman's Wife' which guest stars the drop-dead gorgeous Joi Lansing who left us far too soon in her life.
The last three episodes were actually directed by George Reeves himself: "The Brainy Burro, The Perils of Superman, and All That Glitters. Unfortunately the first (Brainy Burro) was not very memorable. But it makes up with one of the best episodes of the series 'The Perils of Superman' (arguably, of course) which is much like an old time serial adventure. And the last episode also directed by Reeves is 'All That Glitters' which shows us what may happen if both Jimmy and Lois have the powers of Superman. This final episode of the series also ends with the famous lines that seem to be perfect for the last episode: (Jimmy) Golly Mr. Kent, you'll never know how wonderful it is to be like Superman. This is followed by Clark's response and final line in the series as he touches his glasses, "No, Jimmy, I guess I never will".
As like most series, there are some bad episodes and most fans would say the fifth season episode 'Mr. Zero' is the worst episode of the series. However, I would disagree. Although it is a very, very silly episode it still has its good points. Mr. Zero is played wonderfully by actor Billy Curtis who was also one of the little men in 'Superman and the Mole Men'. I also happen to really like actor Herb Vigran who plays Georgie Gleep. Actually, I would put the episode 'The Stolen Elephant' or 'Close Shave' in that category myself.
Whatever you might think about the series, every season had some episodes that were great entertainment for early television viewers as well as today's viewers. After all, there must be a reason why it's been around for such a long time and shown not only in the US but in many other countries all over the world. Pick it up and find out what you think!
Watching the episodes now, so many years later, it’s easy to spot the cheesy not-so-special effects, often ridiculous “science” in some of the plots, and even cringe at some of those plots (even the comic books often made more sense), not to overlook the fact that no one ever saw the resemblance between Superman and Clark Kent even with his glasses off. But the fact remains, if one doesn’t examine the details too closely, the shows were fun, and everyone on screen took their roles seriously and played them straight, not like the later Batman series. It’s clear from the music and lighting that they were going for a Saturday matinee movie serial experience but in 30-minute segments, and succeeded as well as they could in early television. And in this age where characters cuss a blue streak on TV as well as movies, it’s both funny and refreshing to hear Jimmy Olsen exclaim, “Golly!” and “Jeepers!” or Perry White shout, “Great Caesar’s Ghost!” when exasperated.
There were six seasons. The first season was the best, the most adult. After that, it seemed aimed more at kids. But as nostalgic fun, the whole series is hard to beat.