Superman on Television
Adventures of Superman: Episode Reviews
Public Service Program: "Stamp Day for Superman"Reviewed by: James Lantz
Original Broadcast Date: 1954
Writer: David Chantler
Director: Thomas Carr
Tristram Coffin as Principal Garwood
Billy Nelson as Blinky
An Unknown Actor as Jess Dunlap
"Stamp Day For Superman"
It is night time in Metropolis. Lois Lane and Clark Kent are window shopping when a burglar alarm goes off. As Lois goes to a drug store to phone the police, Clark changes into Superman. The caped hero is surprised to find one of the thieves still inside the jewelry store. He regrets his decision to be a part of this robbery because he never learned to save money. Now, the reluctant criminal has turned himself in. However, his partner escaped when he heard the sound of the bells. Lois bumps into the thief as he makes his getaway. Superman, now back in his guise of Clark Kent, is very worried that Lois will meet the man again and find herself in grave danger.
As Lois enters Clark's office the next day, cub reporter Jimmy Olsen is showing off the new portable typewriter that he purchased with money he got from cashing in part of the bonds he had saved since they evolved from the stamps he has purchased in school. This gives Clark an idea. The Daily Planet can run a feature article on how students can help the United States government by buying savings stamps. Unfortunately, Lois must meet Metropolis Police Inspector Bill Henderson to identify the man she saw last night via mug shots. Clark and Jimmy will be going to P.S. Number Ten without her and Jimmy's typewriter. Lois is borrowing it for her story on the failed jewel robbery. Little do Clark, Lois and Jimmy realize that their stories may soon coincide with one another.
As Jimmy and Clark speak with school students about Superman visiting for Stamp Day, Lois prepares to leave the Planet Building. She goes into her office when the telephone rings, Blinky, the thief that got away, wants to surrender, but he will only go to the police if Lois is with him. He believes that the authorities will give him a break if he's with Miss Lane. She agrees to meet Blinky and advises Inspector Henderson that she'll be late. Is Blinky sincere, or will Lois be walking into the criminal's deadly trap?
School principal Mister Garwood is trying to get Clark to have Superman speak to the students on Stamp Day. In the meantime, Lois should have come to P.S. Number Ten hours ago. A call to editor Perry White confirms his suspicions. Lois has gone after Blinky. It's possible that she's in danger. This could truly be a job for Superman.
As Clark and Perry try to find Lois, the star reporter is teaching Blinky to type. She's even showing him how to draw pictures with the typewriter. She does a face, which, unknown to Blink, contains the address where she is being held by the would-be thief. Lois has folded it into a paper airplane that has flown out the window. Hopefully, someone will find it and send the police or Superman to help her.
A nervous Clark has returned to his office after speaking with Jess Dunlap. The reformed thief doesn't know where Blinky lives. However, Perry shows Clark something that can help - the paper airplane Lois made. Someone had found it and brought it to the Planet. Now, Superman knows where to find Lois and Blinky. He can only hope that he gets there before it's too late for Miss Lane.
The Man of Steel arrives in time to prevent Blinky from shooting Lois. The criminal's bullets bounce off his chest, and the gun has been crushed. Once a lamp is wrapped around Blinky, Superman leaves, unable to wait for the police. He has to be somewhere very important soon.
Superman has made his speech at P.S. Number Ten's weekly Stamp Day. The children now want to buy more savings stamps for their future. Lois is safe and sound, Blinky will go to prison and Jess Dunlap is on probation. To celebrate the occasion, Clark Kent has bought United States savings stamp books for himself, Lois and Jimmy. Lois notices a fourth one. She asks for whom it was purchased. The name SUPERMAN is written on it.
"Oh, just for a friend of mine," Clark replies to Lois with a smile.
Rating - 3 (out of 5): Tristram Coffin appeared often in season one of The Adventures of Superman. He's also starred in thirty-one episodes of 26 Men as Captain Tom Rynning. Coffin will be back in Metropolis for "Clark Kent, Outlaw".
Billy Nelson will return in season three's "The Talking Clue".
Unfortunately, it seems that there is no information on the actor playing Jess Dunlap beyond the fact that he appears in "Stamp Day For Superman". The book Flights of Fantasy credits him as Jess Dunlap, but that is the character's name, as Lois reveals when she is tied up in Blinky's apartment.
Before Superman leaves Blinky's apartment, George Reeves makes a mistake with his dialogue. He says, "I can't wait for the police. I have an importment date."
"Stamp Day For Superman" was made in 1953 in cooperation with the United States Treasury Department because they felt that an influential character like Superman could help the children of the time to buy savings stamps and ask their parents to purchase savings bonds.
This bonus episode of The Adventures of Superman is the only one considered in the public domain. The main 104 entries and the film Superman and the Mole-Men are still copyrighted material.
Perhaps this would have worked better for the radio shows. The story itself isn't bad, but the cast doesn't try hard enough to get the message across to the youth of the period. This makes their performances slightly less convincing than usual. If voices were only heard, the audience could imagine facial expressions, actions, etc. As it is on film, "Stamp Day For Superman" shows us actors that don't seem to have the right idea of how their respective characters are supposed to behave. This makes suspension of disbelief a little difficult.
"Stamp Day For Superman" doesn't quite shove its message down the viewers' throats, but it also doesn't do well in getting its point across. It tells children and parents to buy bonds and stamps, but when one considers the influence Superman had on the youth of 1953, so much more effort could been put into the film. I got the sensation that everything was rushed together to merely tell kids that, "Superman wants you to help Uncle Sam." It lacks the heart of The Adventures of Superman television series' best episodes.
Even if we don't see George Reeves take off before leaving the school, there are some great visuals and flying sequences in "Stamp Day For Superman". They prevent it from being like one of those shorts shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000 and keep it from getting a lower rating. They just were not sufficient to save the entire effort.
As a whole, "Stamp Day For Superman" tries to put its heart in the right place, but rushed production and mediocre acting overshadow its content and message. Watch this one for historical purposes only. If you want a good story, stick with episodes like "The Face and The Voice".
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