The Public Domain Superman Episode
It may surprise many that there is one example of public domain within the Superman franchise. The Adventures of Superman episode "Stamp Day for Superman" was a 1954 black-and-white episode produced by Superman Inc. The reason this particular episode is public domain but no other Adventures of Superman episodes currently are is because this episode was commissioned by the United States Department of the Treasury which makes it a government film not subject to copyright protection under current U.S. law.
This propagan...I mean government film was not broadcasted theatrically back when it was made in 1954. The U.S. Treasury distributed "Stamp Day for Superman" to schools in order to help promote the newly created United States Savings stamps program. After all, learning to save and invest is just as important as knowing that being under a desk will shield you from the ionizing x-rays and gamma radiation from those damn Soviet atomic bombs.
I don't know why but for some reason I have this image in my mind that at one of those schools this episode was distributed to a young boy named Cody hurled a spitball at the projection of Superman (George Reeves) on a screen all the way from the back row. Is that a past life memory? That might be something I'll check out if the Vatican ever loans me the chronovisor they've been hiding.
Now let's review the episode.
O.k. I know I am not the first to bring this up but it has to be said. Is it really that hard to tell the difference between a bird and a plane? I get that if the citizens of Metropolis can't tell a living creature from a man-made invention they won't figure out Superman wearing a pair of glasses is Clark Kent (George Reeves). Technically speaking if there's something in the sky you can't identify then it is an unidentified flying object. You can't correctly state that an alien spaceship is a U.F.O. because the fact it is labeled an alien spaceship means it is an identified object. Were those idiots in Metropolis standing around years earlier watching Kal-El's ship as it passed overhead wondering if they had seen a hot air balloon or a blimp? If they were then subjectively from their point of view Superman arrived on Earth in a U.F.O. and that just doesn't sound right.
Anyway, the episode begins with Clark walking down the street at night with Lois Lane (Noel Neill). Lois is window shopping because it is 1954 and she is a woman. Clark and Lois hear a burglar alarm. Lois runs to an all-night drug store to use the public payphone. Lois wouldn't have had to do that if Superman bothered to fly fast enough to travel to 2018 and get Lois an iPhone X but Superman is too apathetic to even bring a ZTE Blade Spark back to 1954. While Lois was using a landline phone Clark Kent ran into a nearby alley. He took off his clothes relieved to find that he remembered to wear his Superman costume underneath his clothes this time. The last time Clark Kent took off his clothes in an alley and realized he didn't have anything else on underneath isn't canon because that was in San Francisco and not Metropolis.
Superman bends some metal bars to enter the crime scene and confronts a guy whose last acting gig was deer in headlights #3. At first Superman suspects this criminal didn't try to flee the crime scene due to polio. The most inept burglar in Metropolis history then explains he really isn't a bad guy. He was just never any good at saving money so he had to settle for crappy acting roles. Superman then reminds him not to break character.
Why the man felt he had to commit a crime to get money I don't understand. There were plenty of ways to scam people out of money in 1954 and still be within the law. For example he could have been named L. Ron Hubbard and founded a wackadoodle church. He could have been the manager of literally any random black singer. For whatever reason this man could only come up with a plan to break the law and steal money.
After apologizing Metropolis' least wanted then informs Superman there was a second guy involved in the heist but he ran away because his I.Q. was equal to or greater than 70. Superman then begs the criminal not to tell anybody Superman had been there because he sure wishes that was the truth. Then...
I am sorry. I just realized that my brain has been altering my memories of what I just watched because this episode is just terrible. I don't know how the U.S. government did it but they took one of the best TV series of the early to mid-1950s and ruined it. If that guy playing an inept burglar didn't immediately commit suicide after filming and is still alive I am sorry for what you went through. I tried to find out who you are but every source I could find lists the character Jess Dunlap as being played by unknown actor.
Let's wrap this post up. Reviewing this dumpster fire from the end of the McCarthy Era isn't worth the $0.01 I might get on steemit. Ask any retired person how they are economically and I think that will demonstrate what a failure this whole government episode was along with that whole United States Savings stamps program. I am going to build a Fortress of Solitude out of couch cushions and hide until this episode goes far, far away. For anybody who watched the episode on DTube before reading this review I am very sorry and nobody would blame you if you stopped following me. I try to provide quality content but I clearly failed this time.