“Faster than a speeding bullet…More powerful than a locomotive…Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.” Everyone knows that was the opening to Adventures of Superman, the TV series that ran from 1952-58. Although Superman came to this planet involuntarily, he clearly belongs on our list for preserving “truth, justice, and the American way.”
Superman made his first comic book appearance in Action Comics #1 in June, 1938. (By the way, if you happen to have an original one up in your attic, I’ll be happy to buy it from you for, oh, say $20. I want to be fair.) The Man of Steel was an instant hit, becoming a daily strip the following year, and a popular radio program the year after that. It was on the radio series that cub reporter Jimmy Olsen and Kryptonite were introduced.
George Reeves portrayed Superman in the TV series, filmed in black and white the first two seasons and in color the final four. The tone of the series seemed to shift with its color, from an almost film noir look with lots of action and violence to a softer series with caricatured villains and an almost campy humor.
After years in the cultural background, Superman came to the fore again thanks to the movies starring Christopher Reeve. Reeve starred in four films about the Kryptonian, the first two of which were quite good.
Since those years, Superman has been featured in another TV series, this one starring Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher. He’s still to be found saving the planet in continuing comic books, as well as in the adventures of others (Supergirl, e.g.).
Will there ever be a better opening to a television series than this: