The Adventures of Superboy on WPIX, Circa 1971?

I get a lot of e-mails from people asking me about television shows, made-for-TV movies or miniseries they remember from years or even decades past. I try to answer each question as best I can. Every now and then I like to pull out a few e-mails to answer here at Television Obscurities for everyone to enjoy. Keep reading for today’s questions and answers.

I was wondering if you could help me with a 40-something year old memory of mine. I recall seeing the Filmation “Superboy” shorts from the Sixties on NYC’s WPIX circa 1971 on a weekend afternoon. However, I can’t find anything to corroborate this in the TV listings of that time. Now, it’s possible that I’m actually mixing up WPIX with WCBS, the channel that aired CBS’ “The New Adventures of Superman” on early Sunday afternoons circa 1970, but my memory says otherwise. BTW, WNEW aired the Filmation superhero shorts, as well as Format Films’ “The Lone Ranger” animated shorts, as part of a program called “Super Heroes” starting in 1972. I mention this only because I have no recollection of “The Adventures of Superboy” as part of the show (it was added to it during the late ’70s, however), which reinforces my impression that it did air separately from the other Filmation shorts at that time.
John

Does anyone remember watching The Adventures of Superboy Filmation shorts on WPIX (Channel 11) in New York City on Saturday/Sunday afternoon in 1971? The shorts were originally aired by CBS between 1966 and 1969 as part of a variety of superhero cartoons, including The New Adventures of Superman and The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure . Were they aired by WPIX in 1971? Could they have been part of a WPIX cartoon program, like the one John mentions?


20 Comments

  • pBOB says:

    I used to watch these shorts afterschool on WNEW during the late 70’s. I don’t remember ever seeing the Lone Ranger.

    These were only super heroes like, Superman, Superboy w/Super dog, Green Latern, JLA, The Flash and so on. Each super hero has their own half hour each day of the week.

    I remember watching The Hulk and Spiderman on WPIX and maybe another combo of heroes on WWOR until the early 80’s when all the New York Metro area stations dropped them.

    The Warner Bros cartoons then became popular again until around 1986 when that whole violence on TV and in cartoon thing got really intense and the local stations started censoring the classic shorts.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    I certainly remember WNEW-TV’s daily afternoon “SUPER HEROES” program, featuring the 1966-’68 Filmation superhero cartoons (with “Superman” and “Batman” out front) and Wrather’s animated version of “THE LONE RANGER”..but that premiered locally in the fall of 1969.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    …and, WPIX aired the 17 theatrical Max Fleischer/Famous Studios 1941-’43 theatrical “Superman” cartoons during 1966 on Sunday mornings, albeit in black and white TV prints that eliminated the Paramount logos at the beginning and end of each short.

  • John Murphy says:

    “I used to watch these shorts afterschool on WNEW during the late 70’s. I don’t remember ever seeing the Lone Ranger.”

    The Lone Ranger wasn’t included by that time, pBOB.

    “These were only super heroes like, Superman, Superboy w/Super dog, Green Latern, JLA, The Flash and so on. Each super hero has their own half hour each day of the week. ”

    That’s correct, but it was different during the early ’70s. I believe they would show three different heroes during the half-hour (for example, Batman, Superman and then The Lone Ranger).

    “I remember watching The Hulk and Spiderman on WPIX and maybe another combo of heroes on WWOR until the early 80’s when all the New York Metro area stations dropped them.”

    “The Marvel Superheroes” aired originally on WOR in 1966 and stayed until the late ’60s, then moved to WPIX during the late ’70s (as “The Marvel Men”) and then moved to WNEW during the early ’80s (and back as “The Marvel Superheroes”).

  • John Murphy says:

    “I certainly remember WNEW-TV’s daily afternoon “SUPER HEROES” program, featuring the 1966-’68 Filmation superhero cartoons (with “Superman” and “Batman” out front) and Wrather’s animated version of “THE LONE RANGER”..but that premiered locally in the fall of 1969.”

    So “The Lone Ranger” was seen originally by itself before winding up on “Super Heroes”? Interesting.

    “…and, WPIX aired the 17 theatrical Max Fleischer/Famous Studios 1941-’43 theatrical “Superman” cartoons during 1966 on Sunday mornings, albeit in black and white TV prints that eliminated the Paramount logos at the beginning and end of each short.”

    I believe the first time that I saw those wonderful shorts was on “Matinee at the Bijou” on PBS during the early ’80s (with the original logos).

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    WNEW used to “mix and match” their various cartoon shows in the ’60s and ’70s; “THE LONE RANGER” was a “separate” series, as were Filmation’s “Superman”/”Batman” cartoons. But Channel 5 alternated showing each during the same half-hour (even borrowing a bit of each of their opening title sequences for their “custom” “SUPER HEROES” title, which consisted of the words “flying by” the camera). Another example was their “package” of “CASPER AND COMPANY” cartoons [the syndicated edition of “MATTY’S FUNDAY FUNNIES” after 1962]- they used about half of the main title, and “extended” that with clips from other Casper cartoons, while the end title soundtrack was heard underneath. They also showed at least one of their United Artists pre-1949 Warner Bros. cartoons during every program (at least, they were doing this by 1972). When they acquired “HUCKLEBERRY HOUND” around 1972, they sometimes mixed those with a Warner Bros. cartoon; otherwise, they showed “Yogi Bear” and “Pixie & Dixie” (the original components) with one “Huck” cartoon. But they never used the show’s closing title…

    And I recall when WNEW-TV aired repeats of “THE ALVIN SHOW”, once a week, in 1965-’66, they usually filled the remainder of the half-hour with a “SINBAD, JR.” cartoon (through American-International Television). Vincent Terrace remembered that VERY well, for he mistakently believed “SINBAD” was part of “THE ALVIN SHOW”, and listed it that wasy in his “Encyclopedia of Television” books in the late ’70s.

  • DuMont says:

    I always wondered what might have happened if the 1961 pilot for a syndicated ‘The Adventures of Superboy’ had gotten a pick-up. Starring the young Mr. Johnny Rockwell as Clark Kent/Superboy, the pilot was filmed to pitch a series that would replace ‘The Adventures of Superman’, a series that had ended suddenly a few years earlier with the unexpected, tragic death of its star Mr. George Reeves.

    Confident that this project would go to series, producer-writer Mr. Whitney Ellsworth wrote an additional 12 additional scripts so that production could get underway pronto…Mr. Ellsworth had previously been producer and story editor on ‘The Adventures of Superman’, so he knew the story well.

    In the end, stations were eager to pick up the new series, and even a few sponsors came aboard (including Wheaties, which probably would have put Mr. Rockwell on every box of their cereal), but it was nixed by the continuing sponsor of ‘The Adventures of Superman’ who saw the new series as unwelcome competition to their successful encores of the parent series.

    I also read a few years back that there was some legal snarl concerning a copyright fight between the currently airing ‘Smallville’ production and the family/estate of Superman creator Mr. Jerome Siegel, but I’m not sure how it was resolved. Pending amicable resolution, wouldn’t it be interesting to see the ‘Smallville’ folks pick up one of Mr. Ellsworths unfilmedd scripts for adaptation into their series…the script for “Achilles Was a Heel” looked interesting, at least in overview.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    There was one other factor that contributed to the inability to sell “THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY” as a weekly series: first-run syndicated TV series were no longer popular with local stations by 1961; there was a “glut” of off-network syndicated repeats by then, and very few local outlets were willing to pay for, or schedule, “original” weekly programming [why bother when they could buy the rights to schedule unlimited daily reruns of, say, “DRAGNET” {“BADGE 714”}, “THE LINEUP” {“SAN FRANCISCO BEAT”}, “THE LIFE OF RILEY”, “MY LITTLE MARGIE”, “I MARRIED JOAN”, “TOPPER”, “THE AMOS ‘N’ ANDY SHOW”, “THE ABBOTT & COSTELLO SHOW”, “THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW”, “THE HONEYMOONERS”, and “OUR MISS BROOKS”, to name but a few?]. Even ZIV Television, the granddaddy of generating first-run syndicated series, was having trouble trying to get stations to carry Broderick Crawford’s last ‘syndie’, “KING OF DIAMONDS”, in 1961; that lasted one season {it wasn’t as successful as “HIGHWAY PATROL” had been}. When it ended, ZIV (which had alreday merged with United Artists) was virtually out of business.

  • John Murphy says:

    “I also read a few years back that there was some legal snarl concerning a copyright fight between the currently airing ‘Smallville’ production and the family/estate of Superman creator Mr. Jerome Siegel, but I’m not sure how it was resolved.”

    I believe that it’s still unresolved, DuMont.

  • John Murphy says:

    “But Channel 5 alternated showing each during the same half-hour (even borrowing a bit of each of their opening title sequences for their “custom” “SUPER HEROES” title, which consisted of the words “flying by” the camera).”

    I remember that now, Barry. Forgot all about it until now.

    “Another example was their “package” of “CASPER AND COMPANY” cartoons [the syndicated edition of “MATTY’S FUNDAY FUNNIES” after 1962]- they used about half of the main title, and “extended” that with clips from other Casper cartoons, while the end title soundtrack was heard underneath. They also showed at least one of their United Artists pre-1949 Warner Bros. cartoons during every program (at least, they were doing this by 1972). ”

    That also rings a bell.

    BTW, do you remember if a program called “Wonder Funnies” on WNEW during the early ’70s ran the pre-1949 Bugs cartoons? I can’t find any Bugs Bunny listings during that time until “Bugs Bunny and Friends” shows up circa 1972, so I’m assuming that program was the one I used to see the wascally wabbit on back then.

    “When they acquired “HUCKLEBERRY HOUND” around 1972, they sometimes mixed those with a Warner Bros. cartoon; otherwise, they showed “Yogi Bear” and “Pixie & Dixie” (the original components) with one “Huck” cartoon. But they never used the show’s closing title…”

    “Huckleberry Hound and Friends” could be seen as early as ’71, while “Yogi Bear and Friends” began its WNEW run circa 1970, FWIW.

    I recall the original openings were used for both programs, but I’m not sure about the closing for HH, now that you mention it (the “Yogi Bear” closing definitelly aired, IIRC).

    Didn’t HH have Pixie & Dixie and Hokey Wolf, while “Yogi Bear and Friends” have Yakky Doodle and Snagglepuss? Now that I’m on this subject, didn’t “Quick Draw McGraw” air on WNEW with Auggie Doggie and Super Snooper? It’s so many years ago that I’m not sure anymore.

    “And I recall when WNEW-TV aired repeats of “THE ALVIN SHOW”, once a week, in 1965-’66, they usually filled the remainder of the half-hour with a “SINBAD, JR.” cartoon (through American-International Television). Vincent Terrace remembered that VERY well, for he mistakently believed “SINBAD” was part of “THE ALVIN SHOW”, and listed it that wasy in his “Encyclopedia of Television” books in the late ’70s.”

    I believe the “Sinbad Jr.” shorts used to also air on “Wonderama” back then, though I don’t recall seeing them during the ’70s as a kid

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    WNEW-TV acquired the “QUICK DRAW McGRAW” “package” in the fall of 1966, John, immediately after its seven year run as a nationally syndicated weekly program for Kellogg’s [locally, on WPIX]. In fact, Channel 5 initially presented each of the series’ three “components”- Quick Draw, Snooper & Blabber and Augie Doggie- separately, in their own “series” (they finally showed all three in the same half-hour, without the series’ opening and closing title sequences). In the original “HUCKLEBERRY HOUND” “package”, Pixie & Dixie and Hokey Wolf were part of the series, as Yakky Doodle and Snagglepuss were part of “YOGI BEAR” {probably the reason they didn’t show the closing title credits for Huck was because that featured Hokey AND Yakky, and Yakky was featured on “YOGI”; why confuse the audience?}. By 1973, all of those Hanna-Barbera cartoons were “amalgamated” into one daily series, with Huck and Yogi seen during the same half-hour…and eventually, towards mid-decade, that became the daily “HUCK AND FRIENDS” show, with Warner Bros. cartoons also included in the mix, and a “custom title” consisting of clips from Huck, et. al., accompanied by a speeded-up version of Al Hirt’s “Java”.

    “SINBAD, JR.” originally aired during WNEW’s “THE CHUCK McCANN SHOW” in 1965-’66 (along with Casper and “Space Angel”). Channel 5 eventually dropped it by the early ’70s, when their contract with American-International Television expired.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    I remember seeing Bugs Bunny on Channel 5 as early as 1968 [the pre-’49 AAP/United Artists library as well as several of the 1948-’59 Warner Bros. cartoons], although I’m sure they had it much earlier; I don’t recall the “WONDER FUNNIES” series, though. I also recall they aired the 1957-’58 color edition of “CRUSADER RABBIT”{Metromedia, WNEW’s parent company, got the rights to it when they acquired David L. Wolper’s TV distribution firm, “Wolper Television Sales”- who got it from previous owner Shull Bonsall in 1965} in the mid-’60s, and very briefly during the summer of 1973.

  • John Murphy says:

    “I remember seeing Bugs Bunny on Channel 5 as early as 1968 [the pre-’49 AAP/United Artists library as well as several of the 1948-’59 Warner Bros. cartoons], although I’m sure they had it much earlier;”

    Those cartoons were first seen on WABD in 1955 as part of “The Looney Tunes Show”, Barry. They ran throughout the rest of the Fifties and I believe they also aired continuously throughout the Sixties on WNEW.

    ” I also recall they aired the 1957-’58 color edition of “CRUSADER RABBIT”{Metromedia, WNEW’s parent company, got the rights to it when they acquired David L. Wolper’s TV distribution firm, “Wolper Television Sales”- who got it from previous owner Shull Bonsall in 1965} in the mid-’60s, and very briefly during the summer of 1973.”

    I was only a baby during the mid-’60s, but there’s no excuse as to why I don’t recall seeing it in ’73.

    “I don’t recall the “WONDER FUNNIES” series, though.”

    It pops up in the listings for 1971-72. FWIW, I don’t recall the title myself. I just remember watching Bugs before I went to school during that time, so “Wonder Funnies” has to be the program they showed up on.

  • John Murphy says:

    “WNEW-TV acquired the “QUICK DRAW McGRAW” “package” in the fall of 1966, John, immediately after its seven year run as a nationally syndicated weekly program for Kellogg’s [locally, on WPIX].”

    I didn’t realize that it was on that early on WNEW. So Quick Draw McGraw predates the Yogi and Huck shows on WNEW. Interesting.

    “In fact, Channel 5 initially presented each of the series’ three “components”- Quick Draw, Snooper & Blabber and Augie Doggie- separately, in their own “series” (they finally showed all three in the same half-hour, without the series’ opening and closing title sequences).”

    From my research, I have noticed that “Rocky and His Friends” was also broken up in the same way during the ’60s (by the time that I was watching that program around ’70, it was a complete half-hour show).

    “In the original “HUCKLEBERRY HOUND” “package”, Pixie & Dixie and Hokey Wolf were part of the series, as Yakky Doodle and Snagglepuss were part of “YOGI BEAR” {probably the reason they didn’t show the closing title credits for Huck was because that featured Hokey AND Yakky, and Yakky was featured on “YOGI”; why confuse the audience?}.”

    Makes sense, Barry, though it didn’t stop WNEW from using “The New Casper Cartoon Show” opening and close during the mid-’70s, even though Wendy the Good Little Witch never appeared on Channel 5 to my knowledge. :-)

    “By 1973, all of those Hanna-Barbera cartoons were “amalgamated” into one daily series, with Huck and Yogi seen during the same half-hour…and eventually, towards mid-decade, that became the daily “HUCK AND FRIENDS” show, with Warner Bros. cartoons also included in the mix, and a “custom title” consisting of clips from Huck, et. al., accompanied by a speeded-up version of Al Hirt’s “Java”. ”

    I do recall “Java” being played, now that you mention it.

    Another amalgamation: “Porky, Huck and Yogi” during the mid-’70s.

    Thanks, Barry!

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    Well, ‘John’, there was a 15 minute version of “ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS” syndicated in the early ’60s- “THE ROCKY SHOW”- featuring “circus” titles. I remember repeats of the original half-hour show on WPIX in the mid-’60s on late Saturday afternoons, then weekdays, at lunchtime, in the late ’60s.

    As for WNEW carrying “THE NEW CASPER CARTOON SHOW”, all I ever saw, around 1976, were the titles- they just kept repeating the 1950-’59 theatrical Casper cartoons, and never saw ANY of the 1963-’64 TV-produced cartoons from that show (featuring Wendy)…but I DO remember they aired several of the later Paramount “Noveltoons” and “Modern Madcaps” (1959-’61) that were seen on the show as “Harveytoons”- only these were original theatrical prints!

    Yep, that was the title Channel 5 used around 1974, with their own editing and Al Hirt’s “Java”: “PORKY, HUCK AND YOGI”.

  • John Murphy says:

    “Well, ‘John’, there was a 15 minute version of “ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS” syndicated in the early ’60s- “THE ROCKY SHOW”- featuring “circus” titles. I remember repeats of the original half-hour show on WPIX in the mid-’60s on late Saturday afternoons, then weekdays, at lunchtime, in the late ’60s.”

    So when I see “Rocky and His Friends” in the listings during the early ’60s on WPIX, that really was “The Rocky Show” syndicated package of episodes? I thought it might have been the case, but I’m glad that you confirmed it.

    “As for WNEW carrying “THE NEW CASPER CARTOON SHOW”, all I ever saw, around 1976, were the titles- they just kept repeating the 1950-’59 theatrical Casper cartoons, and never saw ANY of the 1963-’64 TV-produced cartoons from that show (featuring Wendy)…”

    Correct. I never saw those TV-produced cartoons myself until last year on YouTube.

    As for “The New Casper Cartoon Show” open and close, I think WNEW started airing it circa 1974 – posiibly the following year when that station started airing “The Mickey Mouse Club” again. They weren’t the complete open and close from the ABC program, but slightly edited versions. Still, Wendy was seen, even though you and I both never saw any cartoon shorts of her on Channel 5.

    “but I DO remember they aired several of the later Paramount “Noveltoons” and “Modern Madcaps” (1959-’61) that were seen on the show as “Harveytoons”- only these were original theatrical prints!”

    I also recall those shorts, Barry.

    Thanks again! I’m enjoying remembering what I experienced and also learning new things that I wasn’t aware of before.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    If the show lasted 15 minutes, John, it was “THE ROCKY SHOW”. If it lasted a full half-hour, it was “ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS”; those episodes were syndicated after “THE BULLWINKLE SHOW” succeeded it on NBC (and future rebroadcasts on ABC) in 1961.

  • Kevin Madden says:

    The Max Fleischer Superman cartoons (1941-1943) were carried on channel 9 (Wor) in the early 1960’s hosted by ringmaster Claude Kirschner snd his puppet Clownie.

  • W.B. says:

    From what I’ve been gathering from vintage issues of Broadcasting magazine, the initial package of 100 post-1948 Warner Bros. cartoons, first made available to local TV stations in 1964 (and marketed as “WB Cartoons Series ’64”), was first acquired by WNEW-TV in January of 1968 – unless it was at that time they first got color prints; back when this package was first offered in ’64, WNEW was broadcasting entirely in black & white (they were the last New York VHF commercial station to go color, in fall 1965, albeit only via film, slide and tape courtesy RCA TK-27 film chains and slide scanners; live color did not come to Channel 5 until Fall 1966, when the station purchased Norelco PC-70 cameras). (WNEW acquired the subsequent 156-film package of combo post-’48’s and the infamous badly-colorized versions of 1936-43 B&W “Looney Tunes” around 1970 or ’71; that package had been first syndicated in 1969, which explains the initial presence of the 1968 variation of the “Looney Tunes” opens and closes, with the “W7” logo of what was then Warner Bros.-Seven Arts, on those “colorized” shorts.) Also, I read a Broadcasting magazine issue from early 1966 indicating that WPIX had bought the “Adventures of Superman” TV series. Since Channel 11 ran that show since at least the late 1950’s, I can only presume that this “new” purchase included the color prints of the last 52 episodes, after having been sold up to that time entirely in B&W.

    It was around 1971 or 1972 that the famous opening of WNEW’s “Bugs Bunny and Friends” was first created, with a clip from “Show Biz Bugs” (1957) where Bugs and Daffy were soft-shoeing to “Tea for Two” (remember, this was when the revival of “No, No, Nanette” from which this song originated was playing on Broadway), and as the two were exiting the stage, the words “bugs bunny” (set in orange-colored Cooper Black – all lower case) crawled from right to center of the screen, followed by the addition of the “and friends” part on the next-to-last beat of “Tea for Two.” This open was used for showings of both the UA-syndicated pre-’48’s and the WB-syndicated post-’48’s.

    It was around 1987 that the pre-’48 Warners’ toons left what was now WNYW and went across the Hudson to what was now Secaucus, NJ-based WWOR. The two post-’48 packages followed the earlier shorts to Channel 9 1-2 years later.

  • Mike says:

    I happen to have 12 original TV screenplay (Scripts) all of “The Adventures of Superboy” from episode one to episodic 12, which “Achilles was a Heel” is episode number 3 of the series. They are not filmed (Ill-fated).
    All 12 screenplays are dated 1960-1961 all episodes are written by Robert Leslie Bellem and Whitney Ellsworth, Copy righted by “Superman Incorporated”.
    All 12 episode Will be listed on eBay.
    Mike

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