The Superman television series.
104 episodes of the iconic 1950's series had been filmed.
(Two episodes were created from
the movie 'Superman and the Molemen').
The 26 new episodes.
In 1959, the word went out that National Comics wanted to film an additional 26 episodes of the series.
However, there is some serious controversy about just when this would happen.
The plan was to film the new episodes of the Superman series over 13 weeks.
They had found that it was relatively easy to shoot two episodes per week.
It was felt that the original episodes were showing their age, and of course, they were in black and white.
The last 52 episodes had been filmed in color.
Superman was one of the very first TV series to be looking to the future.
Even back in the 1950's,
everyone knew that eventually people would have color televisions.
It has been reported that filming was scheduled to start in September, 1959.
George would also be directing a number of the new episodes.
I believe that this projected new filming was bringing George out of his funk.
This would get him out of the
house and back to working.
He may have been on a natural high.
He was going to make an absolute bundle, and have great residual checks coming in for many years.
He had a cash cow coming his way. All he had to do was get out of bed six days a week,
(for thirteen weeks), drive to the studio, and do some acting and directing.
This guy must have been on air; everything was about to start paying off.
He was about to find himself in a situation where he could almost retire.
He wanted to get
away from acting and get into directing.
This was his ticket out.
Photo courtesy of Jim Nolt.
However, there is some controversy about the plan to film 26 more episodes.
Some people think that there was never a firm plan to definitely do it.
Noel Neill and Robert Shayne both have said that more filming was coming up.
The last time Noel saw George he was at ZIV TV studios (where the last two seasons were filmed),
playing cards and in a good frame of mind, as he prepared to return to the filming of the series.
Jack Larson was in Europe traveling around when he received a telegram from National Comics.
They were exercising his option and they were going to film an additional 26 episodes.
UPI reporter Henry Gris was told by George that he had been approached about doing 26 new episodes.
Personal Manager Art Weissman said that Reeves had planned to do another season.
Leonore, however, denied that filming was going to start up again. "He was at a complete standstill."
Jim Nolt was told by Whitney Ellsworth's daughter, Pat,
that she heard about George's death on the radio
on her way to work.
As soon as she got to her office she called her father.
His reaction was
something about George had just signed on (possibly verbally) to the new filming.
In August, 2014, Jim Nolt and Jack Larson rode together following the dedication of a Superman plaque.
Jim asked Jack about the controversy surrounding the proposed filming of 26 new episodes.
Jack confirmed that he knew about the new filming.
But Jack was in Europe with James Bridges, looking for work.
He didn't appear to be getting ready to return to the States for the new filming.
Of course, there was the proposed Australian tour.
This was in the planning stages
for late summer or early fall,
which would preclude a September shooting date.
So it would appear that there was definitely talk of new filming
but perhaps it wasn't going to take
place as early as some of the cast thought.
The cast were probably told to be ready for action,
they jumped to the conclusion that it was going to happen in a month or so.
It appears to me that no actual timeline for filming was actually set.
I believe the September date
wasn't as firm as it might sound.
While everybody heard that there would be more filming,
none of the
actors seem to have heard of a shooting date.
In conclusion, I believe that yes, they were definitely (at some point) going to film an additional 26 episodes.
This, with the other 52 episodes already filmed in color
would make the syndication package
much more desirable and more profitable.
Color televisions were in existence in the 1950's
but because of limited color programing there
was not a great demand for them.
Within six years of the planned filming of new episodes,
millions of color TVs were being sold.
Programs that were in color
were all watched by the
owners of these expensive televisions.
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