The Superman TV show no one has ever heard of was shopped around to local TV stations in 1961, but there weren’t enough takers to produce anymore episodes. I’m not sure what doomed this venture starring Johnny Rockwell as Superboy and Bunny Henning as Lana Lang. As silly as it was, The Adventures of Superboy was no worse than any of the other children’s shows at the time. Rockwell was clearly cast because he resembled a slightly younger George Reeves. Here is that pilot episode in three parts.
The Superman comic strip ran in as many as 300 papers daily from 1939 to 1966. Readership at the peak of the strip’s popularity was over 20 million. In the early Sixties, storylines ran to about forty 3-panel daily strips. Although some famous comic book characters like Lex Luthor and Mister Mxyzptlk debuted in the strip, by 1961 the strip’s stories were being lifted from 3-year-old Superman comic books. The artwork was new and the scripts were tweaked to fit the storytelling conventions of a daily strip, but the plots were lifted wholesale from the comic book.
The story arc that ran from August 14, 1961 – September 16, 1961, was adapted from a story (“The Super-Luck of Badge 77″) in Superman #133 (Nov. 1959). In that story, Clark Kent’s boss, Perry White sends Clark undercover as a police officer. Otto Binder wrote the original story for the comic book but I don’t know if it was he who adapted it to the strip. I believe the artist is Wayne Boring. If not, I’m sure someone with a better eye will clue me in soon. Here are a few strips from that arc. If you want to know why badge 77 was so lucky, just turn the numbers upside-down to see whose initials are displayed.