Superman on Television
"Superboy: The Series" Soaring onto DVDBy Barry M. Freiman
The Boy of Steel is coming to DVD.
Fans of the live-action television series, "Superboy", which aired in syndication from 1988-1992, will surely be ecstatic to discover that the series appears headed for a first release on DVD later this year. Ilya Salkind, who co-produced the first three "Superman" films, "Supergirl", and the "Superboy" television series, shared exclusively with the Superman Homepage that he is working together with Time Warner on the series' first season.
"I would say there is a probability of one in a thousand that the show ["Superboy"] will not be released soon, possibly relatively close to another big movie coming out with the blue suit," Salkind said coyly during a recent telephone interview.
"Superboy" broke new ground in syndicated programming. Along with "Star Trek: The Next Generation", it was one of the first original programs created for syndication that was a dramatic big budget series, not a talk show or game show. Although "Superboy" was a Salkind production of a Time Warner property, it was distributed in the United States by Viacom, which merged with Paramount in 1994. It was the first program filmed at the Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida.
Because of the number of different companies involved in "Superboy", and due to legal issues between Salkind and Time Warner that took time to settle, the series has never aired†beyond its initial syndicated run. Though Time Warner owns all the footage to every other Salkind production of a Superman property exclusively, it shares ownership of the "Superboy" footage with Viacom/Paramount and Salkind.
"It took seven years to make that deal work between the three," Salkind recounted. "Imagine how difficult that was." According to Salkind, Time Warner now has all of the distribution rights for the show. "They are the #1 anyway [and] have all the rights to distribute" the series.
Salkind recently reunited with John Haymes Newton, the actor who portrayed Clark Kent and Superboy during the show's first season, to record material for the DVD set. "I saw him [recently.] We just made the thing with him, we made the thing for the first DVD."
Among the planned DVD features are commentary tracks with Haymes Newton. "We have very very funny commentaries with John on the first one," Salkind revealed.
Salkind also met up again with other first season cast members, Stacy Haiduk and Jim Calvert, to record new material for the first season DVD set. Haiduk played Lana Lang, Clark Kent's childhood sweetheart, for the entire run of the series. Calvert was T.J. White, the son of Daily Planet Editor Perry White and Clark Kent's first year roommate. "We all kissed and hugged," Salkind related. "Except Lex, the first Luthor [actor Scott Wells] is in rehab."
In an unprecedented move, Salkind replaced three of the four principals - Haymes Newton, Calvert, and Wells -- after the first season, keeping only Haiduk whom he describes as "dynamite."
Watch the Superman Homepage for our exclusive full length interview with Salkind coming soon. Salkind discusses everything from the inception of the idea to acquire the Superman family of characters, to exclusive recollections of Marlon Brando and Christopher Reeve, to the now infamous difficulties that arose while filming "Superman: The Movie" and "Superman II", plus lots more about "Superboy".