Sunday Matinee: Superman

It took Superman a few years to follow in Batman’s live action footsteps. It wasn’t until 1948 that Superman made the leap into live action serial movie format.

Starring an uncredited Kirk Alyn as Superman (he was only credited for playing Clark Kent), this serial was a fairly faithful adaptation of the Superman comic series. Consisting of 15 chapters, the first chapter faithful retold the story of the doomed planet Krypton and the rocket that brought Superman to Earth. Noel Neill starred as Lois Lane and Tommy Bond co-starred as Jimmy Olsen. The plot has Superman fighting against an evil villain known as the Spider Lady. She’s not really a spider but she does have an electrical web that makes an excellent background for her to come out and bark orders at her lackeys.

Unlike The Adventures of Captain Marvel, the flying scenes are hand drawn animation, superimposed into the live action scenes. Some people find it a cheap effect, I don’t mind it but the Captain Marvel flying scenes are better.

The movie has a huge hit and it lead to a 1950 sequel Atom Man vs. Superman where Superman fights against the evil Lex Luthor played brilliantly by Lyle Talbot. The popularity of the sequel lead to the live action TV series starring George Reeves. Kirk Alyn would star in another DC Comic serial Blackhawk: Fearless Champion of Freedom. Noel Neill would later play Lois Lane in the George Reeves Superman TV show from season two till it was cancelled.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka has spent most of his life watching movies and reading comic books. He has decided to use this vast knowledge for evil instead of good.

One thought on “Sunday Matinee: Superman”

  1. Wow. I think I enjoyed that more than the Brandon Routh movie.

    That debate over the fate of Krypton reads like an allegory for global warming.

    After watching this, I’m going to build a rocket in my attic for my kids.

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