Superman on Television
Exclusive Interview with John FieldDate: July 10, 2003
John Field is an authority on "The Adventures of Superman" TV series. He was good friends with Inspector Henderson, Bob Shayne, and has done lots of film festivals across the country. He is one of the foremost authorities on film (8mm, 16mm and 35mm), and has been described by friends as a walking movie and television database.
The Superman Homepage would like to thank John for agreeing to do this interview, and for fitting it into his busy schedule.
THE INTERVIEWQ: Can you please tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
A: I run a company called Video Rarities. I specialize in buying and restoring old TV shows, cartoons and features and releasing them on video tape and now dvd.
Q: When and How did you become a Superman fan?
A: Growing up in Arcadia California. I used to watch the Superman series and was immediately taken with the show. Its qualities that still make it a favorite of adventure television fans the world over.
Q: When and How did you first start collecting Superman items?
A: I started collecting Superman items with my very first 16mm TV episode back in the 1970s. I have since added posters, stills and anything the least bit rare on George Reeves and the cast of the 50's series.
Q: What is your most prized piece of memorabilia currently in your collection?
A: Without a doubt, my most prized possession is an original print of the made by the government short STAMP DAY FOR SUPERMAN. It was made by Superman Inc. to promote the sale of savings stamps and bonds. Never shown on TV this print was released with my Superman Superstar video.
A: Robert "Pop" Shayne was one of the most "real" people I have ever met. His genuine kindness, deep appreciation of fan affection and great sense of humor made him one of a kind. I met Bob back in the early 80's. He made a rare public appearance at a great show called the 5 FACES OF SUPERMAN. I hosted his visit and he was amazed at the number of people that came to see him. He said he never knew people cared so much about his old show. He told me it was just another job and to have so many people remember his work and want to meet him was a great gift. I hosted Bob and his wife Betty at several conventions right up to his passing in 1992 at the age of 92. He was like a second Dad and I miss him very much to this day.
Q: Can you tell us about the film festivals you've conducted across America?
A: Back in 1977 I put together a 2 hour presentation called SUPERMAN, THE ALL AMERICAN HERO. I showed this presentation first at the San Diego Comic Con and played it to a standing room only crowd. Word had come down on a new Superman Movie in the works and interest was higher then ever. I showed several Fleischer Cartoons, a T.V. Episode, a Kirk Alyn Superman serial chapter and other rarities. I must have shown this presentation over 100 times at various gatherings. It was shown 17 years running at the San Diego show alone until it was decided at the urging of a certain person that collector's prints and collections should not be shown because of the threat of being sued. I explained that since it was shown as an educational forum (As it is. Since I host and tell Superman facts) there was no problem. This person remains at the Comic Con. Turning it from a wonderous fan gathering to the cultural equivelent of a boat show. I had known the current president of Comic Con since I first started going. We projected film together. Now unfortunately he is merely a puppet to a very unliked puppet master. Sorry to have gone off a little here but after 17 years of loyal service, it was un-nerving to have been told that my services were no longer required. I was the film historian for Comic Con and not only supplied my Superman show but 1000's of hours of other films. It is bittersweet to get e-mails from people asking why I'm not there anymore and remembering how much fun the show was with my films. I had been planning for years the 50th anniversary of my favorite show by presenting the top 50 episodes in a non-stop marathon. It was not to be and this person was responsible.
A: Presently I'm doing my best to restore the ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN by making sure that first season shows have first season openings and endings etc. You would be amazed how tinkered with this series has been! Since sindication, the show has been edited and abused more then any other in the history of television.
Q: What is your opinion on the death of George Reeves?
A: I believe that George was slain accidentally in a foolish fight over a hand gun.
Q: Have you had any contact with the makers of the up-coming biopic film on the life and death of George Reeves? If so, are you involved on the project at all?
A: I have supplied clips to almost every show examining the death of George and had a part in the E! entertainment Scandals and Mysteries but not the up-coming project which I hope never gets off the ground. I'm sure instead of focusing on how great a person George Reeves was, they will dip into the swill barell.
Q: Do you personally read the current Superman comics? If so, what do you think of them?
A: My main interst is in the classic TV series only.
Q: As someone who knows the history of Superman so well... Where do you see Superman's future and is that on target with what you'd like to see as Superman's future... in relation to the world at large?
A: I think that Superman should face modern threats we have today. If asked, I would write a movie that would be like a James Bond version of Superman.
A: Of all the latest actors I have seen many that look right but... there was only one Superman.
Thanks for allowing the Superman Homepage to interview you.
A: Thank you Steve. And when you visit Metropolis next year look me up in the film room. I will be the baby boomer sitting next to the projector sharing my love for a great series and great set of actors.
This interview is Copyright © 2003 by Steven Younis. It is not to be reproduced in part or as a whole without the express permission of the author.