The New Adventures of Superboy (1961)

In 1961 Whitney Ellsworth, editor of the National Periodical Publications (now DC Comics) that made several scripts for 'The Adventures of Superman', tried to capitalize on the success of the series with a new t.v. show entitled 'The Adventures of Superboy'. Unfortunately, of the 13 episodes that were written for television, only the pilot was filmed and not even it was released on television.

The pilot starred 23 year old John Rockwell as Superboy/Clark Kent with 21 year old actress Bunny Henning as Lana Lang. Other actresses in the pilot included Trudy Ellison, Marla Ryan and Mary Ann Roberts.

Entitled 'Raja's Ransom', the pilot had almost the same plot as an adventure published in SUPERBOY NO.88 in April 1961 called 'The Saddest Boy of Smallville'. One day in the Smallville's College where Lana Lang and Clark Kent are studying, the teacher asks the pupils to speak about his/her fathers. A character named Jimmie (Tommy in the comic) is very short in his speaking and is very sad because his father is the porter of a local theatre.

In this theatre there is an exhibition of jewels called 'Raja's Ransom' that some gangsters are planning to steal. While one ganster distracts Superboy, the other two committ the robbery. However, Jimmie's father sees them and, being a very good artist, draws a picture of the gangsters for the police. With the aid of the drawing and Superboy's help, the gangsters are arrested. The following day, the teacher asks Jimmie to speak about his father. This time he is very proud because thanks to his father, the police could arrest the gansters.

Even though the series never made it to television, Superman fans can still see the long lost pilot on a special video available through The Superman Super Store. Included on the video are the pilot episodes of 'Superboy' and another failed series called 'Superpup'; a Superman parody with short people disguised like animals. There are also four interviews by Whitney Ellsworth to cast an actress for the roll of Lana Lang.

In addition to the video, a book on the series is also available. Written by Chuck Harter, 'Superboy and Superpup: The Lost Pilots' contains the scripts of the first 13 episodes of 'Superboy' including dialogs and many pictures from the pilot. Also included are sections dedicated to the failed 'Superpup' series and Whitney Ellsworth, interviewing his family.