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Superman - The 1948 & 1950 Theatrical Serials Collection

4.5 out of 5 stars 175 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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

Kirk Alyn sets the heroic standard for generations to come – as Superman, the Man of Steel – in these fun, multichapter cliffhanger adventures. The 15-chapter Superman from 1948 spans our hero's first arrival on Earth to his alter-ego as reporter Clark Kent of The Daily Planet alongside Lois Lane (Noel Neill) through his battle with the sinister Spider Lady and her "relativity reducer ray." Next, while the real world faced the dawn of the nuclear age, Metropolis's caped hero faced that menace and more in the 15-chapter Atom Man vs. Superman. Is archvillain Lex Luthor behind both the UFO and the atomic bomb that threatens to level Metropolis? Of course not. He claims to be a simple television repairman! Before George Reeves starred in the classic 1950s television series, these Superman serials truly started the superhero craze and set the bar for all future portrayals of the Man of Steel.

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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

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.)
  • 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: 4.5 out of 5 stars 175 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000I8OM94
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,730 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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  • Learn more about "Superman - The 1948 & 1950 Theatrical Serials Collection" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robin L. Quinn on October 17, 2006
Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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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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