The New Adventures of Superpup

Without a doubt, Superman has had more projects based on his comics over the years than any other super hero. From the original radio series and early Fleischer cartoons to the upcoming big budget theatrical film, Krypton's last son has been a consistent money maker in almost every kind of media. With every success, however, there are some failures and no fictional character has had the spectacular kinds of failures that Superman has. Out of those spectacular failures the most fascinating has to be The Adventures of Superpup, an attempt to keep the Superman franchise on television after the mysterious death of actor George Reeves, star of the original Superman TV series.

It was 1958 and the producers of the Superman series were grappling with what to do, now that they had no star. Reeves was so closely associated with the role that re-casting the part was never really a consideration but a new series that had some connection to the original looked like a safe bet. In an attempt to appeal to the younger audience, producer Whitney Ellsworth put together a pilot that put the Superman mythos into a fictional universe populated by dogs. Not real dogs, mind you, but midgets in dog suits.

To say that this thing is bizarre would be a gross understatement. The sight of a guy (actor Billy Curtis) in a dog suit that is also wearing a Superman suit is something that will completely warp your view of reality. Even though it's obvious the pilot was aimed at kids, some of the gags were definitely aimed at the parents, especially naming the villain "Professor Sheepdip".

Superpup's alter ego was reporter Bark Bent who wrote for the Daily Bugle (this is obviously long before Spider-Man got a gig taking photos there and they went to an all-human staff), edited by Perry Bite. The only character out of the main three that got spared a canine version of their name was Lois Lane; in this production she's replaced by investigative reporter Pamela Poodle who seems to get into even more trouble than her human counterpart.

Shot on a budget that wouldn't have paid for the craft services on the original series, the pilot re-used as much as possible from the series. It was too soon after Reeves' death, however and stations weren't interested, making this yet another one of those super hero oddities that wouldn't see the light of day outside of video collections and bootleg dealers at conventions. Whitney Ellsworth would give the Superman franchise another shot a few years later with the first attempt at a Superboy television series - check it out here!