Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Adventures of Superman: A TVCU Timeline

Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.

Wouldn't you like to log on?

Sometimes you want to go

Where all yours shows coexist,
and there's always something Rob has missed.
You wanna be where you can see,
Dracula meet Buffy
You wanna be where everybody knows

Superman met Lucy.

The original Superman post has been a mess from the very first time I posted it, way back at the beginning of the TVCU in 2011.  I've decided to split it up, much in the way I recently did with the Scooby-Doo posts.

So there are many different versions of Superman, each with crossovers that connect it to the TVCU, despite the fact that the contradictions don't allow all the versions to coexist.

In The Adventures of Superboy, there was a multiverse storyline in which it was revealed that when Kal-El was sent to Earth from Krypton, it created a time portal.  Kal-El was sent through but came out in duplicate, in various timelines, creating numerous alternate timelines.

All of those timelines are the TVCU, but different variations of the TVCU.

For the purposes of the TVCU, I like to assume that the Adventures of Superman series with George Reeves is the main TVCU timeline, because of the crossover with I Love Lucy, and it being a classic TV show.  Other versions of Superman then exist in divergent TVCU timelines.

So today we are covering the Adventures of Superman.  I've recently watched the entire series again on DVD, so I've taken a lot of notes.

Because of recent issues of Batman'66, Wonder Woman'77, and Scooby-Doo Team-Up, it's necessary to revisit Superman in the TVCU.  In-story references always take priority, and on-screen appearances always take precedence (particularly TV, live action then animated), then print adaptations of television and film, and then other print materials last.  Batman'66 featured a cameo of Clark, Lois and Jimmy as depicted in the 1950s Adventures of Superman.  Wonder Woman'77 made a reference to Superman'78 ("that new guy in Metropolis"), and then Batman'66 and Wonder Woman'77 had a crossover.  Clearly Batman'66 and Wonder Woman'77 should be in the TVCU, especially based on the large number of crossovers Batman'66 has had with other TV shows.  Batman'66 and Wonder Woman'77 have also contradicted with Scooby-Doo Team-Up, so I've had to accept that the Super Friends can't be in the TVCU, but must be in the Cartoon Universe that is commonly referred to as Earth-1A.

Since there are two Supermen in the TVCU, we have to look at that.  Superman'51 and Superman'78 in the same timeline.  It's not as big a problem as one would think.  Superman'51 came from a Krypton that was like that seen in a typical 1950s B science fiction setting.  He came to Earth directly from Krypton in 1916 and was raised in Centerville, Iowa by Ebin and Sarah Kent.  He moved to a Metropolis that had architecture later seen in Mayberry, was located near the desert, and where people rooted for the Chicago White Sox and where Chicago type gangs were active.

Sure, it is weird that there's two Clark Kents, two Lois Lanes, two Jimmy Olsens and two Perry Whites, working for the Daily Planet in two different Metropolises decades apart.  But the new Baywatch movie just showed us that it has new actors playing characters with the same names as the characters from the original show, but yet the movie is in the same universe as the original show.  So that's a thing that gives us in-story evidence that the TVCU has some weird coincidences.


This is the universe that wound up with two Supermen The first Superman was that of the Adventures of Superman (TV). The second Superman was that seen in Superman: The Movie (1978) and its sequels. However, note that everything in this timeline prior to Kal-L's arrival in 1917 should exist in every timeline, except for the Cartoon Multiverse, which is a magically created series of tulpa like universes.

Superman I (Kal-El/Clark Kent)--Kal-El came from Krypton. On Krypton, they were ordinary men on their world, but under a yellow sun, and a planet with lighter gravity such as Earth, they become Supermen. Kal-El was rocketed to Earth, and landed on Earth found by Ebin and Sarah Kent. Kal-El was renamed Clark Kent. Clark stayed home until his father’s passing in 1951 prompted him to leave, to become a reporter in Metropolis for the Daily Planet. Clark became the first Superman in 1951. Clark Kent is the Superman seen in the Adventures of Superman television series.

100 B.C. to 44 B.C.--G.I. JOE # 50 & 73/YEARBOOK # 3/SERPENTOR'S FILECARD--"The Battle of Springfield/Divided We Fall/My Dinner with Serpentor"--Life of Julius Caesar, whose DNA will be used to create Serpentor. Julius Caesar has also appeared in THE ABBOTT AND COSTELLO SHOW, ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, BEWITCHED, HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS, RELIC HUNTER, XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS, and CARMEN SANDIEGO'S GREAT CHASE THROUGH TIME.

1931--Birth of Lois Lane. According to the episode "Tomb of Zaharan", Lois is 26 in 1957. That makes her 20 in the pilot!

1936--Birth of Jimmy Olsen. According to the episode "The Brainy Burro", Jimmy is 22 in 1958. That makes him 15 in the pilot!

1939--INDIANA JONES AND THE SARGASSO PIRATES--Indiana comes upon an island where the people stranded there are descendants of pirates, living there their whole life, and only knowing the pirate life. Indy escapes leaving them there. I wonder if these are the same pirates SUPERMAN later discovers.

ADV Title Screen.jpg

1951--Adventures of Superman--Superman on Earth--After Eben's death and now aware of his super powers, Clark Kent moves to Metropolis. Sarah has made a costume for him, and she tells him that he must use his powers for good. Superman makes his debut saving a man falling from a blimp. As Clark, he hustles the man to the Daily Planet, which scores a scoop. This convinces editor Perry White to hire Clark.

I wouldn't be surprised if a comedian has already brought this up, but if Clark Kent had his own private office on THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN show, why was he always ducking into the supply room to change?

1951--SUPERMAN AND THE MOLE MEN--According to Superman and the Mole Men, Metropolis is 2500 miles away from Silsby Texas, which is a few hours drive from Dallas. I checked and no American city is that far away from Dallas. NYC is 1,547.2 mi, L.A. is 1,436.4 mi, Chicago is 967.3 mi and Cleveland is 1,182.6 mi. Toronto is 1452.64157 miles. Kansas City, Kansas is 553.8 mi. Those are all the major suspects for Metropolis, of course, and none of them fit. Metropolis is clearly an American City. We have to assume the public relations guy for the oil rig was not very good at math.

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OCTOBER 3, 1953--SEASON 2 EPISODE 3--"MAN WHO COULD READ MINDS"--Wtaching the Adventures of SuperMan (1952) The Man Who Could Read Minds And The Villains Are Based in Called the Tip-Top Cafe But It's Refered to Several Times has the Tip-Top club. The Tip Top Club is Also Mentioned in the The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Ride Has the Club at the Top of Hollywood Tower Hotel. Assumedly When the Hollywood Tower Hotel Closed Back in 1939 the Owners of the Tip Top Moved the Club to n Metropolis

The Defeat of Superman

OCTOBER 24, 1953--SEASON 2 EPISODE 6--"THE DEFEAT OF SUPERMAN"--I had previously theorized that the Adventures of Superman and the golden age comic adventures could both be the same Superman in the TVCU. George Reeves was actually the same age as the Earth-2 Superman would have been. And though he was introduced to the world in the pilot, by the second episode, everyone pretty much knows and trusts him.
So I'm rewatching the series. In the 6th episode of season 2 (the first Kryptonite episode), Clark and Lois discuss a former criminal that they both used to write stories about "years ago". If the pilot had taken place in real time, and this episode had taken place in real time, Clark would have only started working for the Planet just over a year ago.
So this makes me want to return to my original theory that the pilot takes place in 1938, then the rest of the episodes take place around their air dates.
I wouldn't say that all golden age stories are in the TVCU, but this would help support the inclusion of crossovers that include the Golden Age Superman.
Now if only I could reconcile the Batman'66/Wonder Woman'77 crossover showing Bruce Wayne young in the 1940s with the Golden Age Batman's crossovers. That one is challenging me.

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In Adventures of Superman "Superman in Exile" (1952), Superman is bombarded with gamma radiation and is not turned into the Super-Hulk unfortunately. Another unnamed scientist is also bombarded with the Gamma Rays and we never see what becomes of him. The experiment was a disaster and I suppose they decided not to return to the experiments for another ten years when the military got involved.

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JANUARY 2, 1954--SEASON 2 EPISODE 16--"CLOWN WHO CRIED"--In Adventures of Superman episode "The Clown Who Cried", a clown turns to crime. His partner pleads with him "Don't do it. You'll ruin the name of clowns everywhere!" Apparently they haven't heard of that clown in Gotham City. From a TV perspective, perhaps the Joker hasn't began his career (or at least not in the Joker make-up yet). This episode is in 1952. We know in Batman'66, the Joker is an established criminal by 1966, so the Joker's criminal career would perhaps have started sometime between 1952 and 1966.

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MARCH 6, 1954--SEASON 2 EPISODE 25--"THE WHISTLING BIRD"--Another clue that time passed between the pilot of Adventures of Superman and the following episodes.
In the pilot, Superman makes his public debut, and lands the job at the Daily Planet, meeting Lois, Jimmy and Perry for the first time. He had just arrived in Metropolis from Smallville.
I had previously mentioned that at the beginning of season 2, Lois and Clark talk about a criminal they encountered several years ago, despite it only being the second season. In the second to the last episode of season 2 "The Whistling Bird", Clark talks about a professor he knows through is work as a reporter that he hadn't seen in over two years, which would be prior to season 1. So the pilot must have taken place much earlier. Since George Reeves is the same age nearly that the Golden Age Superman would have been, I think the pilot still took place in 1938 and then the remaining episodes took place in real time, which helps account for Golden Age Superman crossovers that could fit in the TVCU. Not all GA Superman stories can fit in the TVCU though, if the TV series takes precedence. Jimmy would have been too young to be a Planet staffer if we go by Jack Larsen's age. And certain stories, like the Kryptonite stories from comics and radio, can't fit in with the TV introduction of Kryptonite. And the Superman/Batman team-ups from the Golden Age (particularly radio) I'm still working out, since if Batman'66 takes precedence, the GA Batman doesn't work, but there are so many great GA Batman crossovers that I hate to have to ignore.

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MARCH 13, 1954--SEASON 2 EPISODE 26--"AROUND THE WORLD WITH SUPERMAN"--In adventures of Superman episode “around the world with Superman”, metropolis is very definitely on the east coast based on the route superman flies around the world with a young contest winner.

Great Caesar's Ghost Poster

MAY 21, 1955--Adventures of Superman--Great Caesar's Ghost--Everybody knows that the favorite expletive of "Daily Planet" reporter Perry White (John Hamilton is "Great Caesar's Ghost!" With this in mind, imagine White's shock and dismay when he is confronted with the ghost of Julius Caesar (Trevor Bardette). Before long, all of Metropolis is seriously questioning White's sanity--which is precisely the intention of a gang of crooks who hope to discredit Perry's testimony at a criminal trial. Looks like Superman (George Reeves) is going to have to do some ghost-busting in this one!

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APRIL 21, 1956--SEASON 4 EPISODE 5--"TOPSY TURVY"--The Adventures of Superman Episode Topsy Turvy Begins with Superman helping a Flag pole Sitter atop the Acme Building

JUNE 16, 1956--SEASON 4 EPISODE 13--"THE JOLLY ROGER"--The Captain Blood of this episode is allegedly descended from another Captain Blood.…

January 1957--I LOVE LUCY--"Lucy and Superman"--In 1957, famed musician Ricky Ricardo wanted to get George Reeves to appear as Superman for his son's birthday party. Ricky had a lot of Hollywood connections, and it looked like it was going to work. But wait. I said that the show was real. The folks at DC were integral in the writing, and the casting of the show. The folks at DC knew a secret though. While most people thought Superman was a creation of DC Comics, in fact, they were getting their stories from Superman for the most part, though some things they got from the Planet stories and some they did make up. So when they cast Reeves, they found someone who was the spitting image practically of Superman. Now back to the story. Reeves had a scheduling conflict and couldn't come to the party. Ricky's wife Lucy, feeling bad, dressed as Superman. But unexpectedly, Superman showed up with Ricky. Now I say Superman, not Reeves. At first, everyone (except the kids) thinks it's Reeves. Sure he flies in, but it's in a way like seen on TV, where it could have been merely a stunt. But then, when a heavy piano needs to be moved, Ricky with the help of Fred and Ethel Mertz, try to move it, but the combined strength of all three cannot budge it. Then Superman moves it quickly and easily with one hand as if it was light as a feather. And that's how we know. He never breaks character, because he's not acting. It is Superman. (This takes place in the I Love Lucy episode "Lucy and Superman", and even in the credits, he's listed as Superman.) NOTES: THE TVCU'S CONCEPT FOR INCLUSION IS A SIX DEGREES OF LUCY RICARDO. EVERYTHING THAT'S IN SHOULD BE ABLE TO BE TRACED BACK TO LUCY, BECAUSE...WAIT FOR IT...I LOVE LUCY, OF COURSE.

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MARCH 24, 1957--SEASON 5 EPISODE 12--"MR. ZERO"--In Adventures of Superman (Mr. Zero) 1957, Superman meets a Martian who is exiled for being a quarter of an inch shorter than other Martians. The Martian is very different than J'onn J'onnz. This Martin is 4'1 3/4" tall, has green hair, looks like a human little person, and can freeze people (as in making them stop moving like a hypnotic state, not freezing like cold) by pointing at them, even though he was unaware he had that effect on humans.  Once again, in Adventures of Superman "Mr. Zero", there is a desert near Metropolis. For all intents and purposes, Metropolis is New York, despite loving the Chicago White Sox. But there seems to be all sorts of geography surrounding Metropolis. Desert, mountains, caves, and farmland. Metropolis is a bit like Springfield.

The Prince Albert Coat Poster

MAY 10, 1957--SEASON 5 EPISODE 10--"THE PRINCE ALBERT COAT"--In Adventures of Superman "The Royal Albert Coat" from season 5,Superman easily defeats two bumblers, a short fat one, and a tall thin one, with the dumbest of schemes to steal money that isn't even actually real money from a coat that they accidentally gave away to charity.

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MAY 17, 1957--SEASON 5 EPISODE 11--"STOLEN ELEPHANT"--In Adventures of Superman "The Stolen Elephant" from season 5, 1957, an elephant is stolen from Haly's Circus. Haly's Circus is of course the circus that features the Flying Graysons. A young Dick Grayson is probably around 7 years old at this time and part of this travelling circus visiting Metropolis along with his acrobat family.

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March 3, 1958--SEASON 6 EPISODE 5--"THE ATOMIC CAPTIVE"--In Adventures of Superman "The Atomic Captive", there is a beautiful female Russian spy X-29. She was trained to appear and act like the typical All-American girl while also being a deadly assassin and master spy. Though not a crossover in itself, within the context of what we know already exists in the TVCU, it's likely that X-29 is part of the "Black Widow" project.

1969--BEWITCHED--"Samantha's Caesar Salad"--Esmeralda accidentally pulls Julius Caesar from the past. Julius Caesar has also appeared on THE ABBOTT AND COSTELLO SHOW, THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS, RELIC HUNTER, and XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS.

1969--BATMAN'66 # 30--All good things must come to an end, alas, and this week marks the final issue of the regular Batman '66 title. But its a phenomenal way to go out. This issue, written by Lee Allred with art by his brother and sister-in-law Mike and Laura Allred, is everything you'd expect from the wonderful oddness attached to the Allred name, as the story finds a way to put all those random funky images from the opening credits from the TV show and works them into a story. The basic plot is simple: Joker, Penguin, and Catwoman have set up a convention for all of Gotham's villains. All except Riddler, who they're just sick of because he "might as well be working with Batman" giving away their crimes. So, of course, Riddler decides to send clues to the police about the location out of spite, so this might not have been the best villainous plan. Arriving at the movie studio where the convention is taking place, Batman and Robin work their way through a gauntlet of villains, with the different images from the credits representing the defeat of the villains. The Batmobile gets a remote controlled spotlight moment, and Batgirl sweeps in for a last minute save. Pretty much every villain from the series, and most of the new ones introduced in the comic, pop up in the villainous crowd scenes, and some make their first appearance, like King Cobra (who's in the opening credits but never in the show or this comic before) and (despite being unmasked the whole time), the Terrible Trio, If that weren't enough cameos, as Batman and Robin climbing the studio, they find a legitimate meeting going on, and out of the window pop... Perry White, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen right out of the classic George Reeves Superman TV series, and the final press conference also happens to have Clark Kent, Billy Batson, Jack Ryder, Vickie Vale,  Nelli Majors (a reporter from an episode of the TV show), and "Ritt Bried" since they can't use Britt Ried, the Green Hornet, without the license. It's a great send off to a fun series. This isn't the last we'll see of this universe, with Batman '66 Meets the Mn from UNCLE starting this week, and Batman '66 Meets the Avengers (the Steed and Peel ones), already announced, but for now, I'm glad this big, flashy issue is the final on.

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1978--THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN--Not a crossover, but worth noting.
This is from the second episode of The Amazing Spider-Man from 1978:
Jameson: Parker, you're fired!
Peter: Aw, but Chief!
Jameson: Don't call me that! Do I look like Sitting Bull?
A nice little homage to Superman, particularly the old 1950s Adventures of Superman exchanges between Perry White and Jimmy Olsen.
Also of note this episode guest stars Joanna Cameron, better known for playing Isis. (The pilot had David "Larry Tate" White as Jameson but he was recast for the following episodes.)  
In the same episode, Peter foregoes the handy phone booth and instead chooses the restroom next to the phone booth to go into to change into Spider-Man.

c. January 21, 1982-THAT'S OUR RALPH!--"The Big Lie"--Ralph pretends he has to work late in order to go bowling with his friends. In this series, the setting is never named, nor is Ralph's occupation ever stated, but in this episode, Ralph refers to his boss as Mr. White, adding "Boy, does he hate being called Chief." He also says he has to work late because he's the only reliable employee, as Clark, Lois and Jimmy are always leaving the office sticking Ralph with all the work. Clearly, this is a Superman reference, and so the series must take place in Metropolis.

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2009--FINAL CRISIS--According to Grant Morrison the Superman army in Final Crisis includes every Version of Superman not just form comics and every Pastiche/homage/ripoff of him has Well Point being THE TVCU the HCU and the Toobworld Supermen where there

May 2011--COUGAR TOWN--Jules proclaims that Mole People are real, which is true in the TVCU, though most probably consider it urban legend. But they have encountered Superman and later subjegated by the Mole Man, foe of the Fantastic Four.


SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 9--Superman

  • This is classic Pre-Crisis Superman.  Krypto is not from the cartoon but the silver age version.  References to Elastic Lad, signal watch, that pool at the fortress that gives powers, the Fortress itself, the Jimmy Olsen Fan Club etc.
  • No Z in Brazier reference to Margot Kidder’s Lois from the Christopher Reeve movies.
  • Perry White references  the classic George Reeves episode where a crook pretends to be ghost of Caeser to drive Perry crazy.
  • Reference to the previous Super Friends issue.
  • Lois’ costume looked a bit like the one seen in Lois and Clark
  • Lots of classic villains, Professor Pottor, Space Canine Patrol Agency


Earth-TV--Pre-Crisis--Adventures of Superman, Batman, Shazam!, Wonder Woman, Legends of the Superheroes, Superman Kellogg's, Batgirl Equal Pay Public Service Announcement, Superman and the Mole Men, Stamp Day for Superman, Batman: The Movie. According to the DC editorial staff circa the 1970s and early 1980s, usually mentioned in the letters pages and other DC columns, Earth-TV was the world in which television programs based on DC Comics series existed. First appeared in Adventures of Superman.

Thanks to the TVCU Crew for helping me write this timeline.