CLEVELAND - Superman is celebrating his 75th anniversary of appearing in comics this year.
The “Man of Steel” was created by two young Clevelanders, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, in 1933. But according to “The Encyclopedia of Superheroes on Film and Television”, Superman appeared in his first comic book, Action Comics #1, April 18, 1938.
East side homes where his creators grew up, Siegel on Kimberley Avenue and Shuster, on Amor Avenue at Parkwood Drive, are marked with plaques to commemorate the superhero’s birthplace.
To honor his 50th anniversary in 1988, a Superman convention was held at Cleveland’s Convention Center.
WEWS anchor Wilma Smith interviewed two of the stars of the 1950s Superman TV show, Jack Larson and Noel Neill, who were in Cleveland for the convention.
Larson played Jimmy Olsen, photographer at the paper. Please forgive the TV graphic misspelling during the June 16, 1988 WEWS broadcast of Jimmy Olsen as “Olson”.
Neill played reporter Lois Lane for five seasons.
Before her interview with the two performers, Wilma throws to a clip from the series, but for copyright reasons, I’ve edited the TV show clip out.
Neill tells Wilma she had no idea the show would become as big as it did or last in syndication as long as it did.
Neill said her favorite show, because she says she was, “a ham and did more work in one show,” was the episode when she dreamt she was going to marry Superman.
Both Larson and Neill remember fondly the “Egyptian” episode of the show for the costumes they wore.
Superman/Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent was played in the TV series by George Reeves. On a sad note, Larson talks of the suicide death of Reeves.
When asked to compare the 50s TV series to the movies, Larson reflects on how well Reeves, as Superman, flew.
“I think they were done very well and I think some of the special effects… Are better than the special effects in the films,” Larson, now 85 years old, says. “George was very athletic. We had a diving board in the floor, he would hit the diving board and then do a tuck over camera.”
I’ve added “Mossman”, David Moss, doing his live shot from the Superman event at the convention center later on Live On Five.
Moss did a look back at the Superman movie franchise and was caught with his pants down, literally, as the segment came to an end.
Up, up and away!