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Unknown DC Universe - The Lost Superboy Pilot
by Billy Inram

Unknown DC Universe - The Lost Superboy Pilot

The Adventures of Superman was gearing up to go back into production in 1959 after a 2 year gap. The original cast was reassembled and George Reeves was once again going to portray The Man of Steel. Reeves’ suicide / murder halted those plans. Kids just wouldn’t accept another actor in the role.

After all, Reeves appeared as Superman on an episode of I Love Lucy in 1957 where his character is only referred to as "Superman,” the actor wasn’t even mentioned in the end credits.

What to do? If Superman was no longer viable how about Superboy?

A pilot was filmed in 1961 with Johnny Rockwell as the Boy of Steel, a total of 13 scripts for The Adventures of Superboy were prepared but only this one was filmed.

In the show’s opening, Superboy’s origin is depicted, the narrator was Robert Johnson, that mysterious voice of the IMF on those self-destructing tapes on Mission Impossible.

All of the comic book characters created by Jerry Siegel are here: Police Chief Parker, Lana Lang, Martha Kent, Superboy’s cave he enters and exits from. But it’s easy to see why this show wasn’t greenlit - it’s slow and dreary, depressingly unexciting. Superboy doesn’t show up until 11 minutes in, before that it’s mostly talk. Johnny Rockwell isn’t all that compelling an actor either, he certainly didn’t inhabit the role in the fully committed way George Reeves did.

One effective scene has a car plowing into Superboy at full speed.

Subsequent TV iterations of Superboy were more successful, the 1988–1992 series Superboy ran for four seasons while Smallville lasted ten.

 


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