Tag Archives: Tommy Bond

Superman (1948, Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr), Chapter 7: Into the Electric Furnace!

Into the Electric Furnace starts with Noel Neill in trouble and ends with Tommy Bond in trouble. In between, Pierre Watkin yells at Neill, Bond, and Kirk Alyn for not working together in their attempts to capture an escaped mad scientist (Charles Quigley) before the cops.

Quigley’s working with Spider Lady Carol Forman. Their acting ability is on about the same level, making Forman’s one scene this chapter rather tedious. At least when George Meeker is condescending to his evil supervillain mastermind boss, he’s giving an adequate performance. Quigley wobbles between a passable bad and an intolerable one.

Bond ends up in trouble because Neill tries again to scoop Alyn. They have a scene together–Neill and Alyn–where they agree not to try to scoop one another a few minutes before. It’s kind of nice for Neill and Alyn to have a scene with Watkin bossing them or Alyn rescuing Neill. In the former, Watkin’s too bombastic for anyone to get any space. The latter, however–the Superman rescues Lois scenes–always have bad post-action scenes. This time Neill doesn’t even wake up for her rescue. She does get her first animated flying stand-in though.

The chapter’s cliffhanger–the one with Bond the damoiseau in distress–is a result of Alyn being really bad at toggling between foolish newspaper reporter and superhero.

Superman’s got no balance. Its cast is mostly wasted; except Watkin. Watkin always gets the good material. Maybe everyone just needs to sit behind a desk and yell.

CREDITS

Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr; screenplay by Arthur Hoerl, Lewis Clay, and Royal K. Cole, based on an adaptation by George H. Plympton and Joseph F. Poland and 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), Pierre Watkin (Perry White), Tommy Bond (Jimmy Olsen), Carol Forman (Spider Lady), Herbert Rawlinson (Dr. Graham), Forrest Taylor (Professor Arnold Leeds), Nelson Leigh (Jor-El), Luana Walters (Lara), Edward Cassidy (Eben Kent), and Virginia Carroll (Martha Kent).


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Superman (1948, Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr), Chapter 6: Superman in Danger

Superman in Danger opens with another fine action sequence from directors Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr with the animated flying Superman. It leads into another really short scene between Noel Neill and Kirk Alyn.

Then there’s another action sequence, involving Alyn and kryptonite, with Alyn’s best acting as Superman so far in the serial. Alyn’s got some decent stuff as Clark Kent this episode, as he tries to steal Neill’s faithful stoolie (Frank Lackteen). Neill catches on to Alyn trying to scoop her and heads out. Unfortunately, the lack of teamwork and communication put them both in danger.

Neill in real danger, Alyn in ostensible danger. Though they do get in trouble, it’s because they’ve been really stupid. In Alyn’s case, the stupid’s sort of permissible (he’s new to the reporting game, after all). Neill’s isn’t permissible. She does get a solid moment a little later when she’s once again abducted; it doesn’t last long, but it’s something.

For whatever reason, Bennet and Carr can manage to do the opening action well for cliffhanger resolution, but never the closing action for the new cliffhanger. The cliffhangers are never good. There should have been at least one by chapter six, but no.

Some rather bad audio dubbing this chapter too.

CREDITS

Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr; screenplay by Arthur Hoerl, Lewis Clay, and Royal K. Cole, based on an adaptation by George H. Plympton and Joseph F. Poland and 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), Pierre Watkin (Perry White), Tommy Bond (Jimmy Olsen), Carol Forman (Spider Lady), Herbert Rawlinson (Dr. Graham), Forrest Taylor (Professor Arnold Leeds), Nelson Leigh (Jor-El), Luana Walters (Lara), Edward Cassidy (Eben Kent), and Virginia Carroll (Martha Kent).


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Superman (1948, Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr), Chapter 5: A Job for Superman

A Job for Superman has the serial’s first enthusiastic use of the cartoon flying Superman. Kirk Alyn has just ditched Tommy Bond with a goofy excuse so he can put on the long-johns (behind rocks this time, not shrubbery) and he’s flying between rock outcrops to get ahead of the bad guys’ car. They’ve kidnapped Noel Neill. Then cartoon Superman flies off the outcrop and lands on the car.

It’s a good action sequence, even if its dramatically pat. Neill’s just survived her first encounter with Spider Lady Carol Forman. Forman’s proving to be a lousy supervillain, with chief henchman George Meeker challenging her every decision. Doesn’t help Forman’s always wrong.

Once Alyn rescues Neill–this time she at least gets one line of dialogue before the scene ends, so far there’s zero Lois and Superman stuff in Superman–the action moves back to the Daily Planet for some lengthy exposition setting up Forman’s next scheme. Threaten Superman publicly and tell him her plans.

Of course, turns out Alyn knowing her plans doesn’t mean he’s not going to screw up stopping them. Worse, the action sequence setting up the cliffhanger is nowhere near as good as the first one.

Alyn and Bond have a good scene together. Still no character development, but a good scene. Neill gets some lines for the Daily Planet scene; when she’s out on assignment, Superman cuts away. To that lame finale action sequence.

A Job for Superman starts iffy, gets better, goes back to iffy. The script’s way too erratic.

CREDITS

Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr; screenplay by Arthur Hoerl, Lewis Clay, and Royal K. Cole, based on an adaptation by George H. Plympton and Joseph F. Poland and 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), Pierre Watkin (Perry White), Tommy Bond (Jimmy Olsen), Carol Forman (Spider Lady), Herbert Rawlinson (Dr. Graham), Forrest Taylor (Professor Arnold Leeds), Nelson Leigh (Jor-El), Luana Walters (Lara), Edward Cassidy (Eben Kent), and Virginia Carroll (Martha Kent).


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Superman (1948, Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr), Chapter 4: Man of Steel

Man of Steel opens with a good scene for Kirk Alyn, as both Clark Kent and Superman, as he has to decide if he’s going to reveal his secret identity. He’s trying to convince scientist Forrest Taylor to destroy kryptonite.

Unfortunately, Taylor’s got an assistant who’s more interested in personal profit than the well-being of the Man of Steel, which brings Carol Forman’s Spider Lady into the mix.

But not for Alyn. After the opening, he gives up the chapter to Noel Neill. For a few minutes, anyway, before she gets kidnapped. She and Tommy Bond do get a good scene together–visiting a stool pigeon, Neill has to school young Bond in proper reporting.

Once she’s kidnapped and off to Forman’s lair, Man of Steel starts to get its familiar drag. Forman’s performance isn’t good; her character is stupid too. Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr have Neill ostensibly in danger the whole time, yet when she gets to have the cliffhanger, it’s like they just remembered to do something with her. Before the cliffhanger, it’s all Forman doing expository.

Bennet and Carr’s lack of urgency hurts Man of Steel. Alyn, Neill, and Bond are all good, but the finale gives none of them anything to do. Just Forman. And she wastes anything she gets to do. It’s not entirely her fault. Spider Lady’s a weak character

CREDITS

Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr; screenplay by Arthur Hoerl, Lewis Clay, and Royal K. Cole, based on an adaptation by George H. Plympton and Joseph F. Poland and 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), Pierre Watkin (Perry White), Tommy Bond (Jimmy Olsen), Carol Forman (Spider Lady), Herbert Rawlinson (Dr. Graham), Forrest Taylor (Professor Arnold Leeds), Nelson Leigh (Jor-El), Luana Walters (Lara), Edward Cassidy (Eben Kent), and Virginia Carroll (Martha Kent).


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