Superman on Television

Adventures of Superman: Episode Reviews

Season 2 - Episode 19: "Perry White's Scoop"

Reviewed by: James Lantz

Original Broadcast Date: January 18, 1954

Writer: Roy Hamilton

Director: George Blair

Guest Cast:
Steve Pendleton as Lynch
Robert J. Wilke as Bingham
Bibs Borman as Maria
Jan Arvan as Max
Tom Monroe as the Diver

"Perry White's Scoop"

A mysterious diver has been shot in front of the Daily Planet building. As the newspaper's doctors try to help him, he utters the word "Quincy" to editor Perry White. However, before he can answer the chief's questions about the significance, the man dies. Now Perry is in the middle of one the greatest mysteries of his illustrious career.

In an effort to prove to reporters Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Clark Kent that he can get a story without the aid of Superman, Perry has written an article on the diver's death. He writes that the man had revealed important information to the editor. While possibly untrue, Perry believes that the murderers will come to him to find out what he knows. A trap has been set, but Perry may soon discover that he could be on the more deadly side of it.

Two pairs of criminals, Lynch and Bingham and Maria and Max, are searching for something that was hidden by John DeVries, who was in love with Maria before his death. Both groups believe that the diver told Perry everything before Max's bullet ended his life. They are particularly suspicious when Perry rents a diving suit from the same place as the man whom the Planet's staff had encountered. It looks like Perry may be neck deep in a dangerous situation from which Superman may not be able to save him.

Try as he might, Perry just can't quite fit into his diving suit. In addition to that, Clark Kent has bent the helmet and taken the gear. He intends to use it as Superman to protect his editor, and he does well to do so. A hired gunman, believing Superman to be White, has opened fire. He didn't count on the iron strength of the Man of Steel to stop him in his tracks. Unfortunately, this proves that Perry White is in the perilous crosshairs of some insidious people who will stop at nothing to get what they want.

In spite of the risks involved, Perry intends to solve the unusual mystery of the diver's murder. Lois, Clark and Jimmy assist the chief in many aspects of his investigation. What the staff of the world's greatest newspaper will soon learn is that there's more to this story than meets the eye.

Lois has guessed that Quincy is part of a telephone exchange like "Quincy 1234", for example. This makes Perry wonder how it's connected to water since it was the diver's last word. After Lois can find nothing related to swimming, lakes, reservoirs, etc., both Perry and Clark deduce that it can mean the Quincy Athletic Club, where they plan to take a reducing course. Clark and Perry want to look over the pool there, but a weighted barbell is blocking the door. The locker room attendant, who is actually Bingham, said it was closed. Clark has discovered otherwise. Bingham is suddenly suspicious of the two men because of their curiosity. Now, both Perry and Clark find themselves at the mercy of Lynch and Bingham. If the editor doesn't tell them everything he knows, he will most definitely perish.

Lynch and Bingham have locked Perry and Clark in two separate steam cabinets with the heat at maximum power. The pair of criminals have realized that Maria and Max might have the information they need. Meanwhile, Perry has lost consciousness. This allows Clark to break out of his box and free the chief. Once he has some water and regains his senses, Perry believes that there is a water tank on the roof that supplies the gymnasium. There could be something hidden inside it. All he and Clark will need is help from Jimmy Olsen to find out more in their investigation.

As Jimmy, Clark and Perry examine the Quincy Athletic Club's water supply tank, Maria and Max, who live nearby, observe them with binoculars when Lynch and Bingham arrive. They want to know where John DeVries placed the object of the Planet reporters' case. DeVries had hidden in the tower shortly before the police closed in on him and shot him dead. Bingham beats Max for the information, making Maria understand that time is of the essence. She agrees to share the information with Lynch. First, however, Perry White, Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen must be taken out of the picture.

Jimmy's search of the water tower has only led to him getting wet, or so he thought until a larger goldfish with a band around it is discovered in the cuffs of his trousers. There is a code written on the small paper that reveals that something is in car 763792 in the east yard of the Metropolis Railroad. Hopefully, Perry can discover what it is before Lynch, Maria, Max and Bingham do.

While Clark is at the office, Perry and Jimmy have arrived at car 763792 to find it loaded with paper used to print currency. John DeVries was part of a counterfeiting operation, and Lynch was his rival. Now, Lynch, Maria and their henchmen have followed Perry and Jimmy to the railroad yard. Lynch, having every intention of keeping the paper for himself, pulls a gun on Maria and the others. He has Bingham set the train compartment on fire to rid him of Maria, Max, Jimmy and Perry. With the flames spreading fast, it looks like there is no way for Perry and Jimmy to escape alive.

Lois Lane and Clark Kent arrive at the railroad yard to find Lynch and Bingham loading the currency paper in their car. Lois goes to get the police while Clark must pretend to be knocked unconscious by Bingham. He rolls under the burning train car to become Superman. He douses the flames with his super breath and removes the compartment's door. The Man of Steel then knocks out Lynch and Bingham before Jimmy punches Max. Maria was overcome by smoke inhalation, but all four counterfeiters will spend a long time in prison thanks to Perry White and Superman.

"Superman, will you do me a great favor?" Perry asks.

"Most certainly," replies the Metropolis Marvel.

"Don't let Clark Kent know I had to depend on you to save us."

"Well, don't worry, Mister White," says Superman. "He'll never learn about it from me."

4Rating - 4 (out of 5): Steve Pendleton has done a lot on both stage and screen. He's played everything from Joe Reynolds in the Broadway romance/tragedy Coquette and Thacker in the television series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. He also had the uncredited role of Gordon Wycott in the Bing Crosby and Bob Hope classic Road to Singapore.

Like most of the guest stars in "Perry White's Scoop", Robert J. Wilke made his only appearance in The Adventures of Superman with this episode. However, Zorro fans will recognize him as Captain Mendoza in four episodes of that series.

Little is known about Bibs Borman beyond her appearance in this episode and the uncredited role of Berta Courtallez in 1953's Paris Model.

Jan Arvan is the only actor in the guest cast to make more than one appearance in The Adventures of Superman. "Perry White's Scoop" was his first episode. He'll return for season three's "King for a Day" and season six's "The Atomic Captive".

Tom Monroe often played parts in westerns. Look for him in episodes of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp and Cowboy G-Men.

I kind of waffled a bit in deciding between a four and a three rating for this episode. It does have some problems, which I'll get to in a moment. Fortunately, the positive aspects prevent it from being just an average episode.

There is a lot of unused, wasted potential with the villains in "Perry White's Scoop". They all could have done so much more. They're all counterfeiters. That much is clear, but it would have been nice to see some scenes where they were passing fake money. Maybe Inspector Henderson could have been put into the story. He was conspicuously absent from it. As they were, the bad guys, especially Maria, didn't seem to be doing much considering the crimes they are supposedly committing.

Normally, I like scenes in which Jack Larson is being comedic, but his falling into the water, much like the entire part involving Jimmy going into the water tank, feels forced into the episode somehow. Was Jimmy really needed in that scene? Clark could have easily gone inside, found the goldfish (like the diamond in "Jungle Devil") and broken the code for Perry. Jimmy could have easily met Perry at the railroad yard after the chief ordered Clark to go back to the Planet. Jimmy really feels unnecessary for the rooftop section of "Perry White's Scoop".

Another comedic bit that wasn't really needed was the scene in which Perry is typing. I find it difficult to believe that the editor of the Daily Planet hunts and pecks to do an article. Doesn't he have to write daily or weekly editorials for the newspaper? Roy Hamilton must have overlooked that when he wrote the script, and Whitney Ellsworth must have had other things on his mind when work started on the episode.

In spite of those flaws, "Perry White's Scoop" does have a lot going for it. For example, it was great to see John Hamilton do something besides yell and sit at a desk. It's a pity that Mister Hamilton's health issues prevented Perry from doing more in the later years of the series.

An area where "Perry White's Scoop" succeeded happens to be where "The Boy Who Hated Superman" failed. "Scoop" seems to have captured the spirit of The Adventures of Superman radio program for me. I missed the sensation that show gave me, and Roy Hamilton seemed to bring it back with this episode.

The scenes in which Clark Kent and Superman saved Perry from danger were spectacularly done considering the budget and time constraints on The Adventures of Superman television series. Also, Superman wasn't the only hero. Jimmy stepped up to the plate, so to speak, to give Max a punch he'll never forget. This just made "Perry White's Scoop" more fun in my opinion.

It's not without its shortcomings, but, all in all, "Perry White's Scoop" does deliver some pure, solid entertainment that any fan of the Man of Steel can enjoy. Watch it on your DVD player or iPod if you get a chance. You'll be glad you did.

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