The Atom Man Vs. Superman wiki last edited by etragedy on 12/30/13 06:47AM View full history

Production

The first episode contains an excerpt of Leonard Coatsworth's infamous 16mm footage of the destruction of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge representing the Metropolis River Bridge.

Superman's flying sequences were created as animated cartoons as the producers didn't believe the live action effects would look convincing.

Plot Synopsis

Opening Title of Columbia Pictures 'Atom Man vs. Superman'

Episode 1: In the first installment, 'Superman Flies Again', a series of robberies plagues the city. The police believe it's the work of Luthor's gang, but Perry White, editor of the Daily Planet thinks otherwise. In a police band radio broadcast, Luthor takes credit for the crime wave, and demands all the money from the Metropolis Trust Company vault, or he will destroy the Metropolis River Bridge. When the city refuses, Luthor turns an destructive ray on the bridge. Superman arrives on the scene and holds the bridge stable while a policeman rescues a stranded motorist on the bridge. Superman then lets go of the bridge and it collapses. But Superman is able to track down Luthor and bring him to justice. Some time later, a second crime wave grips the city. Luthor is ruled out as a suspect as he is in solitary confinement. Luthor is awaiting a parole deal whereby he will turn over a valuable invention to the U.S. Government in exchange for his freedom. Meanwhile, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, and Clark Kent investigate the latest crime wave.

Atom Man's men bring Jimmy Olsen to him

Episode 2, 'Atom Man Appears!': Jimmy Olsen has been captured by Atom Man's men. While Superman is busy rescuing people from a burning ship, Atom Man's henchmen sneak into the Daily Planet offices to try to retrieve one of the special coins they use to teleport with, and when they learn that Lois Lane has the coin, they plan to kill her.

Episode 3, 'Ablaze in the Sky!: In the third episode, Superman must rescue Lois when she's pushed from a high office window, and he also fights an oil well fire. Luthor is also released from prison and there's an attempt on his life. Perry White sends the Daily Planet reporters on a plane to visit a scientist who's been analyzing the mysterious coin they've found.

Episode 4, 'Superman Meets Atom Man!: When Atom Man captures Lois Lane, Superman devises a plan to trick him into bringing him to his lair so that he can effect a rescue.

Episode 5, 'Atom Man Tricks Superman': After Superman rescues Lois from a car speeding toward a cliff, he plans a trap for Atom Man by placing a false news story about a shipment of plutonium. Luthor, however, is too smart and uses the trap to allow one of his own henchmen to get captured to bait a trap of his own.

Episode 6: 'Atom Man's Challenge' Jimmy tires to rescue Lois from Luthor's henchmen but gets caught and left to die along with her in a barn with a running car. When Luthor's men return with the Plutonium nails, he then lets them know that he's synthesized kryptonite, but needs radium to activate it.

Episode 7: 'At the Mercy of Atom Man!' has Superman rescuing Jimmy Olsen from the bombing range, while Luthor's man gets away with the radium. Lex plans to use the radium to manufacture synthetic kryptonite. Clark scoops Lois on the story and so Perry White sends Clark to cover the Atom Man vs. Superman story. Also, Luthor reveals why he knows so much about Superman and kryptonite.

Episode 8: 'Into the Empty Doom!'; Superman has been captured by Atom Man's men, and is sent into the 'empty doom'. Perry White notices the simultaneous disappearance of Clark Kent, and theorizes that the two men are the same. White orders Lois Lane to print the story, but Lois and Jimmy decide that whether or not Clark was Superman, the story shouldn't be published, and they scheme to prevent it. Meanwhile, Superman has become incorporeal; unable to affect the physical world.

Episode 9: 'Superman Crashes Through' has Superman stuck in the Empty Doom, but he manages to get a message to the Daily Planet via Lois' electric typewriter. By arranging for a TV station to show archive footage of Superman in action, Superman and the Planet staff conspire to convince Atom Man that Superman has escaped from the Empty Doom. When Atom Man beams a henchman there to check on Superman, Superman follows the beam back to Earth.

Episode 10: 'Atom Man's Heat Ray' Superman has to save both Lois and Jimmy from trouble they get themselves into while pursuing hold-up men. Lois reports back to Luthor that the robbers seem to strike wherever their TV truck is distracting people. Luthor plans to deal with the hold-up men to help clear his name. Lois then reports back to Clark and Jimmy that she believes Luthor is on the level, but Clark remains unconvinced.

Episode 11: 'Luthor's Strategy' has Luthor throwing the suspicious off his trail by holding a press conference to announce his plans to stop Atom Man; a conference that is interrupted by threats from Atom Man. Following the press conference, the Daily Planet staff (and Lois, in her role as TV reporter), are sent upstate to cover a flood.

Episode 12: 'Atom Man Strikes!' has Lois Lane taking unnecessary risks in covering the flood, and Superman must rescue her. In so doing, Superman and Lois discover the hidden compartment in Luthor's TV truck. Now that they are onto him, Luthor orders the Daily Planet (and Superman, of course), eliminated.

Episode 13: 'Atom Man's Flying Saucers' begins with Luthor's men attacking The Daily Planet offices. Clark changes to Superman and takes on the heat beam they are using head on. It's almost too much for him but when he falls into an electrical transformer he's revived, though not in enough time to apprehend the perpetrators. Lois, Jimmy and the police tail the truck out of town but again the henchmen escape. Luthor now knowing he's under suspicion reveals his final battle plan.

Episode 14: 'Rocket of Vengeance' opens with Clark and Lois in a small plane about to collide with Luthor's flying saucer. Lois faints, which gives Clark time to change to Superman, fly her down to the ground and change back to Clark. Meanwhile, Luthor makes a radio announcement to the Metropolis Chief of Police, stating that he will destroy the city if the search for him is not called off.

Episode 15: 'Superman Saves the Universe' concludes the series. Superman saves the Daily Planet from a missile strike by Luthor, but Luthor then takes Lois Lane hostage and causes a large earthquake to hit Metropolis' east side. Then he makes his escape from Earth itself, with Lois as hostage, and Superman in hot pursuit.

Reception

The Jim Harman and Donald F. Glut book The Great Movie Serials maintains that despite some improvements, the Superman flight sequences are still the weakest part of the production and accuses Atom Man vs. Superman of being "flawed by the same Katzman cheapness" while additionally being "far more gimmicky and gadget prone" than the first Superman serial.

Trivia

An interesting bit of trivia: 'Henchman Dorr' was played by an actor named Wally West.

This was reportedly the highest grossing Republic serial of all time.

Lyle Talbot's face was the model for Lex Luthor in the comics until the 1960s.

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The Man of Steel - No Reboot Necessary in Atom Man vs. Superman 0

Atom Man vs. Superman was a Columbia serial of 15 installments. It's notable as the second live action version of Superman to hit the big screen. It's penchant for campy sci-fi gadgetry was a precursor to the Silver Age of Superman stories.As with the 1948 Superman serial, the budget is quite low and the special effects have been added in as animation, though some improvements have been made - notably closeups of Superman with his hair and cape blowing while in flight.I like that the first episo...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

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