Comic Book Legends Revealed #460
COMIC LEGEND: Jack Larson almost starred in a Jimmy Olsen spin-off from The Adventures of Superman
Jack Larson starred as Jimmy Olsen on the Adventures of Superman from 1951-1958…
The character, who was Superman’s friend on the show….
proved so popular that DC eventually gave the comic book version of Jimmy his own title!
In 1959, after taking a year off from shooting, National Comics planned on returning to filming new episodes of the Adventures of Superman in September of that year (in the gap between new episodes of the series, National Comics tried a new show using the Superman sets called Superpup, which I detailed here – it’s as insane as it sounds!).
Well, the problem was that George Reeves died before the new episodes could begin filming.
Here’s where it gets weird, though, Mort Weisinger came up with an idea – why not keep going with the show, only now have it star Jimmy Olsen!
In Jake Rossen’s book, Superman vs. Hollywood, the set-up was detailed:
Armed with funds from Kellogg’s, he coerced Larson into his office one day to propose a spin-off series featuring Jimmy Olsen. “I was stunned and upset,” Larseon remembered. “I was not going to do it, but there was some question as to whether I was contractually obligated to do it.”
The idea would be that the series would star Jimmy and occasionally would use a mixture of stock footage and stunt men filmed from behind to act as if Superman would occasionally show up to save Jimmy (if he needed saving).
Despite threats to sue Larson for contract breach, Larson refused to do the series (even temporarily retiring from acting so that they couldn’t use any other acting job he would possibly take as a breach of contract) and eventually it never came to pass.
Imagine, though, what kind of spin-off series THAT would have been!
DC tried again with a Superboy series a couple of years later (as detailed in this old Comic Book Legends Revealed) but that didn’t go any further than Superpup.
Thanks to Jake Rossen for the information!
On the next page, check out John Byrne poking a little fun at a famous Marvel artist in an issue of She-Hulk!