Superman in Scotland Yard (1954)

Article 3142 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-14-2010
Posting Date: 3-22-2010
Directed by George Blair and Thomas Carr
Featuring George Reeves, Noel Neill, Jack Larson
Country: USA
What it is: Classic superhero TV show episodes strung together

Superman must contend with several problems. First, there are reports of the ghost of a magician appearing five years after the man’s death. Then he looks into Jimmy Olson’s story about strange sounds in an apartment. Then he must contend with a meteor that threatens to destroy the Earth.

If a movie that consists of episodes of a TV show edited together ends up on my hunt list and stays there long enough to be shuttled off to my lost list, I’ve decided to, as a last resort, try emulating the experience by watching the TV episodes involved. This is for the most part safe; in my experience, the editing of these types of movies usually consist of replacing the credits sequences and running the episodes straight, possibly with some voice-overs added. I don’t do the same with feature versions of serials because the editing there is much more extensive.

This is my way of saying, of course, that technically, I have not seen this movie, but rather, the three episodes that made it up. The three episodes all hail from the second season of “Adventures of Superman”, and the episodes are “A Ghost for Scotland Yard”, “Lady in Black”, and “Panic in the Sky”. It’s an interesting combination; the first two both feature elements of horror, in that the one involves a ghost and the other involves strange happenings in an apartment (loud noises, paintings changing, etc.), though both have non-supernatural explanations. These two episodes are rather odd ones, in that they don’t seem to really require Superman’s superpowers, though he does use them on occasion; they could have easily been adapted to a non-superhero storyline. The third is far and away the best, and, if the ratings on IMDB are any indication, it may be the best episode from the whole series; in this one, Superman’s attempt to keep a meteor from colliding with the earth results in his amnesia.

Actually, this really marks the first time I’ve seen episodes from the series, and my main impression was that the real attraction here is the easy charm of George Reeves in the Superman/Clark Kent role; he is immensely likable. There were four other movies culled from the series (all from season two episodes, incidentally), and, unless the other three manifest themselves as individual entities, I’ll probably have to take the same strategy in watching them as well. I may be cheating, but I think, under these circumstances, it’s not cheating a whole lot.


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