Tag Archives: Tommy Bond

Atom Man vs. Superman (1950, Spencer Gordon Bennet), Chapter 7: At the Mercy of Atom Man!

At the Mercy of Atom Man! has one of the serial’s laziest cliffhanger resolutions so far. And Atom Man vs. Superman, now seven chapters in, has had some really lazy resolutions. This one has the added bonus of Kirk Alyn not using his superspeed to catch the bad guy. Because of course not.

Later it has him defying Lyle Talbot’s threat of synthetic Kryptonite–ignoring Noel Neill’s questioning him about it too–only to be downed by the stuff. And kidnapped.

It’s not a terrible ending, actually. At least the kidnapping tries to be grand; Superman’s at the dedication of a new ship–Man of Steel–and the Atom Man’s gang takes him down. There’s stock footage for most of the crowd shots, but there are a handful of real ones. Scale helps Superman quite a bit.

Most of the chapter is actually Talbot telling Don C. Harvey the history of Krypton. Talbot was able to translate Jor-El’s journal transmissions about the planet’s demise. There’s flashback footage (from the first serial) while Talbot and Harvey wait for the Kryptonite to bake.

It’s far from a recovery for the serial, but at least it’s not terrible. And Alyn’s such an overconfident goof as Superman, his terrible planning is more than believable.

Also fun–this time Alyn’s got Lois Lane’s usual desk at the Planet. Sadly none of the shots are wide enough to see who’s name plate is on his regular desk.

CREDITS

Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet; screenplay by George H. Plympton, Joseph F. Poland, and David Matthews, based on characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster; director of photography, Ira H. Morgan; edited by Earl Turner; produced by Sam Katzman; released by Columbia Pictures.

Starring Kirk Alyn (Superman / Clark Kent), Noel Neill (Lois Lane), Lyle Talbot (Luthor), Tommy Bond (Jimmy Olsen), Pierre Watkin (Perry White), Jack Ingram (Foster), Don C. Harvey (Albor), Paul Stader (Lawson), George Robotham (Earl), and Fred Kelsey (Police Chief Forman).


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Atom Man vs. Superman (1950, Spencer Gordon Bennet), Chapter 6: Atom Man’s Challenge

Wait a minute, why does Lex Luthor (Lyle Talbot) still have a secret base? The cops found it last chapter and Talbot and company had cleared out. Does he keep remaking the same evil laboratory in a different cave?

Atom Man’s Challenge does not answer this question. Sadly, I don’t think it’ll ever be addressed.

There’s some more general villainy from Talbot before he cooks up another plan. He needs to steal some radium to make synthetic Kryptonite (with no help from Gus Gorman).

Talbot doesn’t have a tricky plan. He just announces he’s going to steal the radium and the Daily Planet reporters bungle protecting it. Noel Neill, anxious to scoop Kirk Alyn, loses the last batch.

Somehow Tommy Bond gets kidnapped again. Actually, I think the cliffhanger in this chapter is the same as in the first chapter of Atom Man vs. Superman.

Besides Talbot’s generally amusing performance, Challenge is the second weak outing in a row. I’m terrified it’s just going to be more of the goons stealing precious metals and the Planet gang failing to stop them. Or just plain enabling the thefts.

CREDITS

Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet; screenplay by George H. Plympton, Joseph F. Poland, and David Matthews, based on characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster; director of photography, Ira H. Morgan; edited by Earl Turner; produced by Sam Katzman; released by Columbia Pictures.

Starring Kirk Alyn (Superman / Clark Kent), Noel Neill (Lois Lane), Lyle Talbot (Luthor), Tommy Bond (Jimmy Olsen), Pierre Watkin (Perry White), Jack Ingram (Foster), Don C. Harvey (Albor), Paul Stader (Lawson), George Robotham (Earl), and Fred Kelsey (Police Chief Forman).


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Atom Man vs. Superman (1950, Spencer Gordon Bennet), Chapter 5: Atom Man Tricks Superman

Atom Man Tricks Superman disappoints in just about every possible way. It doesn’t have a good cliffhanger resolution–it might even be a cheat from the footage shown last chapter–and no one is at all surprised Kirk Alyn didn’t vaporize. Well, almost no one. Noel Neill is surprised until Alyn gives her his lame explanation. But none of the bad guys. It’s not even clear how Lyle Talbot would know Superman didn’t die. He just knows he didn’t.

Then Alyn comes up with another plan to catch Atom Man, since he doesn’t know it’s Talbot yet. Oddly, given it’s the same trick he played last time–planting a fake story in the Daily Planet–Talbot doesn’t fall for it. Alyn then turns around and falls for Talbot’s counter-trick.

There’s some almost good stuff, like Neill and Alyn (as Clark Kent) on stakeout on a train, but it doesn’t end up going anywhere. Neill gets dropped for more Superman action, which would be fine if it weren’t just Alyn getting duped into something. It’s not like Talbot’s plans are ingenious. Alyn’s just an inexplicably over-confident numb skull.

This chapter’s cliffhanger has goons change their mind about kidnapping Neill; after telling her they’re not going to kill her, they decided they’re going to kill her.

Tommy Bond tries to rescue her but he’s a dope too. Though, arguably, less of one than Alyn.

I really hope this chapter’s not indicative of how Atom Man is going to play out. If so, it’s going to be a very long ten chapters.

CREDITS

Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet; screenplay by George H. Plympton, Joseph F. Poland, and David Matthews, based on characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster; director of photography, Ira H. Morgan; edited by Earl Turner; produced by Sam Katzman; released by Columbia Pictures.

Starring Kirk Alyn (Superman / Clark Kent), Noel Neill (Lois Lane), Lyle Talbot (Luthor), Tommy Bond (Jimmy Olsen), Pierre Watkin (Perry White), Jack Ingram (Foster), Don C. Harvey (Albor), Paul Stader (Lawson), George Robotham (Earl), and Fred Kelsey (Police Chief Forman).


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Atom Man vs. Superman (1950, Spencer Gordon Bennet), Chapter 4: Superman Meets Atom Man!

Superman Meets Atom Man! has what ought to be a big scene–Lyle Talbot’s Lex Luthor (in his Atom Man disguise) vanquishing Kirk Alyn to oblivion. Only it’s not a big scene, not even in the moment. Obviously Superman’s not going to be vanquished in the fourth chapter, but still. They could have at least tried for some drama. Not even damsel in distress Noel Neill seems worried about Alyn’s “death” and Talbot doesn’t allow himself any celebration.

It might be because of the sparkly planter Talbot uses for his Atom Man helmet, but whatever. It should be a much bigger deal. The serial could at least pretend we’re suspending enough disbelief.

Overall, it’s a good chapter. There’s some fine character moments for Neill, who has an office birthday party–which boss Pierre Watkin is a jerk about–leading to her teleportation kidnapping by Talbot. Then she gets to face off against Atom Man. It’s nice for Neill to get some material other than beaming at Alyn.

Speaking of Alyn, he comes up with a complicated plan to track Neill down. He fakes a meteor from Krypton to convince Talbot there’s Kryptonite to be had. Then Alyn lets himself be trapped. Not a planner, not nimble when it comes to plans falling through.

The cliffhanger’s decent as well, though I feel like they used it in the first Superman serial.

CREDITS

Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet; screenplay by George H. Plympton, Joseph F. Poland, and David Matthews, based on characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster; director of photography, Ira H. Morgan; edited by Earl Turner; produced by Sam Katzman; released by Columbia Pictures.

Starring Kirk Alyn (Superman / Clark Kent), Noel Neill (Lois Lane), Lyle Talbot (Luthor), Tommy Bond (Jimmy Olsen), Pierre Watkin (Perry White), Jack Ingram (Foster), Don C. Harvey (Albor), Paul Stader (Lawson), George Robotham (Earl), and Fred Kelsey (Police Chief Forman).


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