Superman on Television
Adventures of Superman: Episode Reviews
Season 5 - Episode 10: "The Prince Albert Coat"Reviewed by: James Lantz
Original Broadcast Date: May 10, 1957
Writer: Leroy H. Zehren
Director: Harry Gerstad
Raymond Hatton as Great-Grandfather Jackson
Stephen Wootton as Bobby Jackson
Phil Arnold as Cueball
Dan White as Mike
Frank Fenton as Mortimer Vanderlip
Ken Christy as Mister McCoy
Claire Du Brey as Mrs. Craig
Jack Finch as Thomas Summerfield
"The Prince Albert Coat"
Levee City has suffered severe flooding recently. A clothing drive has been set up in Metropolis to help those in need. Young Bobby Jackson has gotten permission from his great-grandfather to donate items. Bobby has bundled some things together, and two men named Cueball and Mike pick them up. While Mike and Cueball do drop the material off at the various relief organizations, they are using this tragedy to cover the fact that they also steal from the charitable people. In the meantime, Bobby is overjoyed that he was able to do a good deed. Grandpa Jackson is not so happy, for Bobby has given away his Prince Albert coat, which had the old man's life savings of ten thousand dollars in cash hidden in the lining. The funds were for Bobby's education. Mister Jackson placed them in the clothing because he never trusted banks. If Cueball and Mike find the currency, it could be used to finance something evil.
Believing Superman can help, Bobby Jackson has gone to the Daily Planet in hopes of contacting him. Lois Lane has written an article about the missing coat that is accompanied by a photo of Bobby taken by Jimmy Olsen. The next day, Clark Kent learns that the Jacksons' clothing was taken to Levee City. Lois, Jimmy and Bobby head there to get Great-Grandfather Jackson's savings back. Unfortunately, Cueball and Mike also know of the money thanks to Lois' piece in the Planet. The thieves intend to take the cash by any means necessary. Should Superman not be able to reach them in time, Bobby, Lois and Jimmy could meet grave peril at the hands of these vicious thieves.
It seems like everyone is searching for great-grandpa's Prince Albert coat. Lois, Jimmy and Bobby are desperate to get the savings money to granddad. At the same time, stage actor Mortimer Vanderlip needs it for a performance because he lost all of his other costumes in the flood. Worse yet, Mike and Cueball want to take the cash for their own purposes. Which party will find the Prince Albert coat, and will Mister Jackson see his ten thousand dollars ever again?
Mortimer Vanderlip has the Prince Albert coat for his show in Ivesville tonight. Lois, Jimmy and Bobby are about to go there when they meet up with Cueball and Mike at a relief clothing depot. The pair of criminals agree to drive them to Ivesville. However, they really lock the trio in a smokehouse that belonged to Cueball's brother in-law. The walls are concrete, the door is solid steel, and the chimney is too small for even Bobby to escape. Having learned from Metropolis Police Inspector Bill Henderson of Mike and Cueball's prison records, Clark Kent has set out to look for Lois, Jimmy and Bobby. Mister McCoy of the aforementioned clothing depot tells Kent of Ivesville and of an urgent emergency. The Levee City Dam is about to give way. Now, there are two jobs for Superman. It looks like the Man of Steel will need every power and ability at his disposal if he is to prevent another flood from ravaging Levee City, rescue Bobby, Jimmy and Lois and stop Mike and Cueball from stealing the money from the Prince Albert coat.
As Superman stops water from breaking the Levee City Dam with some support girders, Bobby blows the whistle he uses to call his dog Butch. It emits a sound that only Butch can hear. The Metropolis Marvel's keen ears also pick up the noise as he searches for his friends. He crashes through the wall to rescue them. Now that Bobby, Lois and Jimmy are free, there is only the matter of finding the Prince Albert coat before Cueball and Mike can get their hands on the ten thousand dollars within it. Should the thieves succeed in their heist, poor Great-Grandfather Jackson may not have any means of providing for Bobby's future.
Mike and Cueball have been forced to take drastic action in Mortimer Vanderlip's dressing room. However, before they can harm the actor and take the coat, Superman arrives. Mike knocks out Cueball before fainting. With the villains defeated without any effort on his part, Superman asks Vanderlip to borrow the Prince Albert coat. It is returned to Grandpa Jackson long enough for him to take the ten thousand dollars out of the lining. Unfortunately, it turns out to be Confederate money from the American Civil War, which is utterly worthless. The Jacksons are disappointed. At that moment, Thomas Summerfield, president of the Kerryville, Alabama National Bank, arrives. The local newspaper there carried Lois' story about the Prince Albert coat. This enabled Summerfield to find Mister Jackson after years of searching for him. Jackson's father, before enlisting in the military, had deposited gold into Kerryville's financial institution. The end result, due to years of interest, is five thousand dollars and sixty-two cents. It looks like Bobby Jackson's good deed has given his grandfather the hope for his education after all. Now, Superman must return the Prince Albert coat to Mortimer Vanderlip, and, in the process, our hero may even stay to see his one man show.
Rating - 1 (out of 5): No stranger to comic book characters, Raymond Hatton played the Mole in the 1950 Dick Tracy television series.
Stephen Wootton can be spotted in episodes of Leave It to Beaver and The Jack Benny Program.
Phil Arnold had bit parts in the Don Knotts films The Incredible Mister Limpet and The Shakiest Gun in the West.
Dan White can be seen in such cult films as Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter and Attack of the Giant Leeches.
Frank Fenton was Murdo Carvell in 1944's Buffalo Bill.
Ken Christy played a slave in The Ten Commandments and the second police sergeant in Tarzan's New York Adventure.
Claire Du Brey played Mrs. Grimsby in Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff.
Jack Finch portrayed Wilber Finch in The Andy Griffith Show episode "Those Gossipin' Men".
The radio announcement about the clothing drive for Levee City at this episode's beginning is done by Robert Shayne.
As Superman flies in search of Lois, Jimmy and Bobby after fixing the dam, his S shield is backwards.
In the right hands, this could have been like the "Operation: Tolerance" years of the radio program. The problem is that "The Prince Albert Coat" does the exact opposite of those audio adventures from roughly a decade before the episode's original broadcast date. The end result is a ham fisted, irritating mess. The cast and crew's hearts were in the right place, but the execution of the material was not.
Bobby and his grandfather were, quite frankly, irritating and incompetent. The same could be said about Cueball and Mike, but we'll get to them later. Bobby and Gramps are just two of the many problems with "The Prince Albert Coat". Firstly, there is no communication between the two. Had there been at least a few conversations, perhaps Bobby would have not given away his Granddad's coat. Plus, the old coot seems way too senile to take care of himself, let alone a boy who looks like a Bizarro version of Ron Howard. A checker game seems more important to him than his and the child's welfare. Perhaps, that was the point of this episode, but that is overshadowed by the actors' ridiculously overblown and poor performances of their characters. In the end, Butch the dog seems to be the most intelligent member of the Jackson family.
"The Prince Albert Coat" features a character that appears near the end of the story, but he shows off his stupidity just the same. Thomas Summerfield arrives. Superman answers the door at the Jackson home. Summerfield sees him and asks, "Mister Jackson?" Okay, I'm sure that in Alabama in 1957 they know of Superman and have seen photos of him. Now, if a man in a red cape and blue tights with an S shield on his chest greets a person after he or she knocks, one would rightly assume that either it's Superman or an insane person (That's what you'd get if I was in Superman's place) if they have an iota of intelligence. Mister Summerfield looks like an idiot as a result of the poor writing of this entry. Plus, he seems to not have a reaction to Superman. One would think Ellsworth and company would pay more attention to details like that. It feels like they really didn't care when it came to working on "Coat".
Like much of what we've seen in the rest of this season, "The Prince Albert Coat" gives us an episode of Metropolis' Dumbest Criminals. Cueball and Mike are the underworld's Abbott and Costello, and they seem to want to try be the next Happy King. They fail miserably. In fact, they tend to bog down an already tedious episode with their utterly insipid behavior. They are officially among my least favorite villains in the entire series.
I said last time that it goes downhill from here. I'm no psychic, but it looks like my prediction came true. The story this week is weak with characters that just aren't too bright about even the most basic things. This causes credibility to suffer greatly. In other words, "The Prince Albert Coat" has given us some of the worst moments in the history of The Adventures of Superman.
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