The Adventures of Superman

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Look! Up In the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman! The classic "Adventures of Superman" episodes from the 1950s starring George Reeves set the tone for how many people still think of Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. Mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent works for the Metropolis Daily Planet. But with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, he also battles for truth and justice as Superman.
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DramaAction
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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  1. 1. Superman on Earth
    September 18, 1952
    26min
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    English [CC]
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    English
    An infant boy from a race of supermen on another planet, Clark Kent, is rocketed to earth and reared by a kindly couple in opening scenes of the Superman drama, "Superman on Earth."
  2. 2. The Haunted Lighthouse
    September 25, 1952
    26min
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    Jimmy Olsen, cub reporter on the Daily Planet, visits his aunt on an island off the coast of Maine and stumbles on smugglers operating in a supposedly deserted lighthouse.
  3. 3. The Case of the Talkative Dummy
    October 2, 1952
    26min
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    Perplexed by the baffling mystery of armored car robberies in which the entire car disappears, Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen solve the case.
  4. 4. The Mystery of the Broken Statues
    October 9, 1952
    25min
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    Two elderly men, one of them a suave gentleman sporting a cane, are discovered buying and then destroying small plaster statuettes from art shops all over Metropolis.
  5. 5. The Monkey Mystery
    October 16, 1952
    25min
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    A secret formula, representing the only known defense against atomic warfare, is stolen.
  6. 6. A Night of Terror
    October 23, 1952
    26min
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    Phyllis Coates in the role of Lois Lane, reporter on the Daily Planet, is vacationing on the Canadian border when she is captured by a pair of desperate gunmen. To free herself, she involves Jimmy Olsen (Jack Larson) who is in turn seized.
  7. 7. The Birthday Letter
    October 30, 1952
    26min
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    A message relating to a set of valuable printing plates stolen from the Bank of France and shipped to America is sent by mistake to a young girl. Captured and held by the counterfeiters, the girl is rescued by Clark Kent .
  8. 8. The Mind Machine
    November 6, 1952
    24min
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    Three witnesses before the Congressional Crime Commission die in sudden agony due to the strange power of a Hypno therapy machine, located in a mountain hideaway, and operated by Lou Cranek, self styled "Kingpin of Crime," in the thrilling Superman adventure.
  9. 9. Rescue
    November 13, 1952
    25min
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    The plight of an elderly coal miner, trapped fifteen hundred feet below ground, causes Lois Lane, nearby on a routine assignment for the Daily Planet, to foolishly try to save him.
  10. 10. The Secret of Superman
    November 16, 1952
    25min
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    An attempt to capture Superman, drug his mind and thereby control his will, is made by Doctor Ort, a fanatical scientist, in the thrilling Superman drama, "The Secret of Superman."
  11. 11. No Holds Barred
    November 27, 1952
    25min
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    Perry White, managing editor of the Daily Planet, hires the young wrestling champ, Wayne Winchester, to expose crooked wrestling in the Superman drama, "No Holds Barred."
  12. 12. The Deserted Village
    December 4, 1952
    25min
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    A mysterious "killing fog" and a strange sea monster are driving the inhabitants of Cliffton away from the town. Clark Kent as Superman investigates and discovers that a druggist and his son have found a valuable deposit of hydrozite, an element used in the hydrogen bomb, in the Superman adventure, "The Deserted Village."
  13. 13. The Stolen Costume
    December 11, 1952
    26min
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    The secret identity of Superman is almost exposed when a sneak thief fleeing from the police slips into Clark Kent's apartment, finds the special Superman costume, and takes it to a notorious racketeer, in the thrilling adventure "The Stolen Costume."
  14. 14. Treasure of The Incas
    December 18, 1952
    25min
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    Following a clue from an Inca tapestry, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen attempt to track down a vast treasure cache belonging to the Peruvian government hidden somewhere in the desert, in the Superman drama, "Treasure of the Incas."
  15. 15. Double Trouble
    December 25, 1952
    25min
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    Identical twins, the Von Klaven brothers, steal a million dollar core of radium from the U.S. Medical Corps in Germany and transport it to the United States during the Superman adventure, "Double Trouble."
  16. 16. Mystery in Wax
    January 1, 1953
    25min
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    Madame Selena, eccentric operator of a wax museum, is seemingly able to prognosticate the deaths of five prominent residents of Metropolis. When Perry White, editor of the Metropolis Daily Planet, is named the sixth victim and disappears, Clark Kent and Lois Lane get into the case.
  17. 17. The Runaway Robot
    January 8, 1953
    26min
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    An eccentric staff correspondent of the Daily Planet, Horatio, brings his latest invention, an electronically controlled robot, to town. It falls into the hands of robbers who put it to work looting the First National Bank in the Superman adventure thriller, "The Runaway Robot."
  18. 18. Drums of Death
    January 15, 1953
    25min
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    English
    Jimmy Olsen and Perry White's sister, a professional photogra-pher, are seized by voodoo worshippers while photographing the Citadel, reputed jungle burial place of fabulous treasure in the Superman drama, "Drums of Death."
  19. 19. The Evil Three
    January 22, 1953
    26min
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    Stopping at a seemingly abandoned hotel in the Louisiana Bayou Country, Perry White and Jimmy Olsen find that it is inhabited by three strange characters who attempt to scare them from the premises during opening scenes of the Superman adventure, "The Evil Three."
  20. 20. The Riddle of the Chinese Jade
    January 29, 1953
    25min
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    A Chinese jade figurine, valued at more than half a million dollars, is mysteriously stolen from Lu Sung's curio shop just before he is to present it to the National Museum. Clark Kent, as Superman, uncovers the thief and quickly puts him behind bars.
  21. 21. The Human Bomb
    February 5, 1953
    26min
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    "Bet a Million" Butler, a well known gambler and racketeer, schemes to keep Superman helpless for thirty minutes while his henchmen rob the Metropolis Museum in the Superman thriller, "The Human Bomb."
  22. 22. Czar of the Underworld
    February 12, 1953
    25min
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    Clark Kent and Inspector Henderson, en route to Hollywood to help in filming an important picture about crime, are warned to "lay off" by Luigi Dinelli, notorious gunman and gang leader, in the Superman television drama, "Czar of the Underworld."
  23. 23. The Ghost Wolf
    February 19, 1953
    25min
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    Rumors of a werewolf in the Canadian North Woods, which causes the lumber jacks at the Metropolis Daily Planet's timber reserve to leave their jobs, and a raging forest fire combine to enliven the plot of the Superman adventure, "The Ghost Wolf."
  24. 24. Crime Wave
    February 26, 1953
    25min
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    In order to halt a gigantic crime wave sweeping Metropolis, Superman allows himself to be captured and exposed to the deadly rays of atomic fission in the thrilling Superman drama, "Crime Wave."
  25. 25. The Unknown People: Part 1
    December 31, 1969
    26min
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    English [CC]
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    English
    Ordered to write a story about the deepest oil well in history, newspaper reporters Clark Kent and Lois Lane are amazed to discover that the well is closed and the countryside rife with terror following the realization that they have drilled into another world in the center of the Earth during the Superman adventure, "Unknown People." Part 1 of 2
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Season year
1969
Network
DC Comics
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Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

889 global ratings

  1. 84% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 10% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 4% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

C. C. BlackReviewed in the United States on November 27, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
The Season That Launched A Classic Series
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For many, the first season of "Adventures of Superman" (1951) was the best of the six. Filmed at the RKO Pathé Studios in Culver City (on the same lot as "The Andy Griffith Show"), the show was saturated in film noir atmosphere. This season's scripts, many adapted from "Superman" on radio, range from compelling ("The Haunted Lighthouse"; "The Deserted Village") to macabre ("Mystery in Wax"; "The Evil Three") to creatively "bottled" (even more cheapo when the production ran over budget: "Crime Wave"; "The Human Bomb"), to wide yawns ("The Case of the Talkative Dummy"; "The Secret of Superman"). All seasons of this series (and every other you can name) has peaks, plateaus, and valleys. On balance, most of the stories still hold up. The direction, by Tommy Carr and Lee Sholem, was as creative as possible on a budget of about five bucks per show. The music, a combination of MUTEL needle-drops and cues by Herschel Burke Gilbert ("The Rifelman"; "Burke's Law"), ranges from sentimental to powerhouse. The character actors, most imported from classic movies of the 1940s, were top-notch. And producers Bob Maxwell and Bernard Luber scored with all the actors in the leads: Robert Shayne as Inspector Henderson (created for the series to grease the expository scenes), John Hamilton as Perry White (who shines more brightly in this season than any other), Jack Larson, who defined the role of Jimmy Olsen but was limited this season to "juvenile in distress," Phyllis Coates as no-nonsense Lois Lane, and, of course, George Reeves in the lead. For many Boomers he remains the definitive Superman/Clark Kent. As styled by Maxwell, Superman in this season was a mysterious, mind-boggling stranger to most; Kent, a two-fisted, crusading reporter in his own right. Reeves struck both tones, as directed: very serious, only occasionally coy, with little of the light sense of humor that he and others would later inject in their roles.

So why not five stars? For me it's a matter of taste and style, compounded by the ridiculously short production deadlines that show onscreen. During the Maxwell-Luber era (filmed in 1951, broadcast in 1953), usually four episodes were being filmed simultaneously: it was a rushed production, and it shows. (A new producer, Whitney Ellsworth, took the reins in 1953–1959 and eased things [!] to three shows per fortnight.) Maxwell wanted to produce a children's show that wasn't really a children's show: there's an inner tension within the series' first season that was never resolved. When Kellogg's Cereals began funding the show's production for syndication in 1953 and gave Maxwell the boot, Ellsworth got the balance of tension and comedy just right in Season 2.

Still and all, this is a superb season of 26 episodes, glossed with multiple commentaries by knowledgeable experts. If you're a millennial and want to watch TV in its infancy, when your parents were children, you can do a lot worse than the "Adventures of Superman." If you're a Boomer, these shows will transport you back to your childhood with thrills and suspense.
8 people found this helpful
cokoamojoReviewed in the United States on April 6, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent series
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This first year produced in 1952 is surprisingly good. Special effects were very basic back then. But fortunately Superman usually only appears for about 1 or 2 minutes in each episode...the remaining time is used to explain the reason for why he needs to show up and save the day.
George Reeves is excellent as Superman and Kent.

The origin episode is very good and for the most part is true to the comic.

And of course the main question is never answered:

If Superman's costume is indestructible and impervious to fire, knives, atomics bombs, etc...
...how did ma Kent cut the peices for it from his baby blanket and sew it together on her singer sewing machine?
willwriteReviewed in the United States on November 25, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
Get Up & Away with the Adventures of Superman!
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The Adventures of Superman takes me back to my childhood - and this first season of adventures started them all!
As you'll find from most reviews of this B&W season, the episodes have a grittier tone then the ensuing seasons. George Reeves is great at bringing the classic American hero to life from the comic pages. He's more forceful in this season, facing off mostly against crime leaders & hoods, with the occasional sci-fi device (robot, etc) thrown in. While the Superman character appears to become more light hearted in following seasons, it is interesting to note that Clark Kent remains a tough, risk taking reporter throughout and not a feeble excuse at a secret identity. Phylls Coates' Lois Lane is an equally hard as nails reporter. This was Coates sole season as the lovely Lois Lane. The rest of the cast - Jack Larson as Jimmy Olsen, Neil Hamilton as Perry White, & familiar film face Robert Shayne as Inspector Henderson - would remain throughout the show's run.
The black and white episodes are beautifully presented and the extras are nice treats. I'm not a huge fan of commentaries, but the ones presented on several of these episodes made me smile as film historians pointed out interesting production facts and recalled first viewing the series when it aired as youngsters. While I may have watched it as a youngster of a different generation, my experience in front of the TV set was similiar. Also included in the package is a DVD of a George Reeves western short, the origonal release of Superman and the Mole Men and a 30 minute or so documentary. The documentary is rather routine. There's no big surprises for fans of the show but small treats like comic writers revealing their fondness for the show led them to incoporate the Inspector Henderson character into the hero's comic pages for the first time in the 80s.
Of the episodes, my favorites were Superman On Earth, revealing the man of steel origin with what must have been fabulous effects for the era and The Evil Three in which White and Olsen find themselves immeresed in some mad men's hunt for buried treasure! The latter episode includes commentary.
13 people found this helpful
Dr. Greg A. GroveReviewed in the United States on April 8, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
The Conquering Hero!
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I grew up watching these episodes on TV in b/w. In the 1950s, there were tensions of political and social nature that seemed to creep into the series, most naturally of course, but also most valiantly! I always loved the stark contrast between good and evil as portrayed from one week to the next (and still do!). As I recall, Superman himself gave me a boost toward courage to stay the course in my life, although events then were not always easy to handle--as now--but then the series was meant to inspire and direct you to a Higher Purpose. :)
SciFi-Kaiju-Guy @ TeePublicReviewed in the United States on February 8, 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
The 1st season of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN is here! Episodes look & sound pretty good.
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BOTTOM LINE: George Reeves' portrayal is still a mighty yardstick by which future actors who donned the red & blue tights are measured by. This groundbreaking Golden Era superhero series is chockablock full of warm old-fashioned memories from a long bygone era in our country. Regrettably, the episodes themselves look & sound just "OK" on this 5-disc Warner Home Video DVD release, but the energy and thrills still shine through even in less-than-stellar standard-definition. A 5 star 1st season, but the disappointing video quality of the presentation results in a 1 star subtraction, so... 4 STARS.

THOUGHTS: Original 1950's-era Superman series gets a decent, respectful treatment here. Episodes appear to be complete & uncut but they look rather grainy & gritty, with scratches, dirt, debris and whatnot - but it is what it is. This and Season Two were the BEST the series had to offer. The slide towards a very young kiddie audience, (mandated by the show's skittish sponsors), was already underway by the end of Season Two. Dumbed down, doofus characters like the stuttery, pop-eyed Professor Pepperwinkle and mopey martian Mister Zero are the bane of the series... but even these are enjoyable entertainment on a "silly-fun" level.

Thankfully in this first season there are no such groan-inducing shenanigans. The threats are very real and Superman is tested time and again by some decidedly nasty, ruthless criminal types. Tough but beautiful Phyllis Coates was THE perfect Lois Lane and earnest Jack Larson personified the innocent Jimmy Olsen. John Hamilton & Robert Shayne's portrayals as blustery blowhard Daily Planet editor-in-chief ("Don't call me 'Chief'!") Perry White & tough-yet-lovable Inspector Henderson were both equally iconic. Too bad George Reeves didn't work out to get the kind of Charles Atlas physique needed to believably sell the part of the Kryptonian superhero, but that kind of dedication wasn't a thing back then. Reeves got help from a foam rubber sculpted muscle suit to fill out the iconic blue & red tights. (Man, that foam thing must have been an unmercifully hot, gawd-awful nightmare to act in under the blazing studio lights. God bless him!) The stuntwork and flight scenes are much more energetic and inspiring throughout this first season as well, before George got a touch of superstar-itis and refused to do any more flying bits after his broken wire-related fall. Reeves is at his leanest here in season one; his youthful vigor & earnestness shine through in every frame of film in his portrayal of Kent/Superman.

THE DVD SET: The first season arrives not from another planet but from Warner Bros. The episodes are spread over 5 discs; housed in a folding cardboard case. The audio quality of the shows is alright but the video portion of the transfers are grainy and dirt-laced. It would appear that the episodes were merely authored onto DVD with no clean up efforts of any kind. A shame. This looks like a job for... a dedicated, top flight team of audio/video restoration experts! This series is in dire need of a complete frame-by-frame overhaul. Short of an exhaustive (and undoubtedly expensive) meticulous restoration effort using original source material & camera elements, which this series (and especially this first season) absolutely deserve, this is DVD release is probably as good as the show will ever look. Season One also includes some pretty solid supplementary features to up the overall value of the set. So, until the day that Supes makes a hi-def leap onto Blu-ray and/or 4k this standard-def set will have to suffice for fans of the Man of Steel.
9 people found this helpful
Tommy RayReviewed in the United States on December 2, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Shady Amazon practices
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I wanted to see what was involved in one of Amazons video downloads. I incorrectly assumed there would be an interim step between selecting a download and the actual download. I was wrong
the download initiated but gave an opportunity to cancel which I immedietly selected. (an elapsed time of less than 10 seconds) I then received a message that this download could not be canceled. Be very careful dealing with this increasingly crooked website.
2 people found this helpful
Jon GladeReviewed in the United States on June 8, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
Superior Series...
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I was pleased to see the first season of the "Adventures of Superman" come down in price, and I was excited when my order came in a day earlier than expected. I saw only one episode of this landmark television series when it was new, and I used to walk to the other side of town (a small town) with a friend when I was in junior high school to watch random episodes of the series on his family's television in the late afternoon (they had two extra channel on early cable which I couldn't pick up with rabbit ears). Decades later, I learned most of the episodes, but not all, had been filmed in color when the series became fodder for the Cable Revolution of the eighties. I'm not unfamiliar with the series, but this is the first chance I've had to see the episodes of the first season in the order in which they were telecast originally. It doesn't bother me that the first season is in black and white either, I expect that from early television shows.

I've watched ten of the twenty-six episodes now, enough to know I'm delighted with the material itself; I do have one small quibble with the way the navigation links are laid out in that they are so clever that I had to watch several episodes before I got the hang of them. One the other hand, the packaging is rather nice. The episodes I've seen are all crisp and sharp and probably looked better than they did on the television sets of the early fifties; if the stories weren't remastered then they were made from prints that were kept in pristine condition.

I had seen the initial episode which essentially takes Siegel and Shuster's original two-page "Superman: Who He Is and How He Came to Be" feature from Superman #1 and expands it out nicely to include details from George Lowthar's novel from the forties, "The Last Son of Superman", and also shows how Clark Kent landed his job at the Daily Planet; that episode is very well done and features some economic storytelling that covers a lot of ground without seeming rushed or forced. I've yet to see a bad episode in Season One, and I find the way the way the action is balanced with humor makes the primitive state of the special effects seem more acceptable (although I still chuckle at how effortlessly Superman bends steel bars which are obviously made from rubber). The stories work on several levels and I have no doubt that my young granddaughters would find them exciting, while they seem like short French Boulevard comedies to my wife and I. I had seen far fewer of the episodes with Phyllis Coates in the past, simply because Season One is the only season in which she was in the cast and I rather like the way she plays Lois Lane. Overall, the casting is well done and I appreciate how an episode like "The Haunted Lighthouse" puts the spotlight on Jack Larsen as Jimmy Olsen, and an episode like "Drums of Death" features John Hamilton prominently as Perry White. It is hard to imagine anyone who could play the roles of both Superman and Clark Kent better than George Reeves for the small screen. The scripts are quite good and are as accessible to those who know the Superman mythos of the comic books quite well as they are to those who only know Superman from second hand sources. The storylines may be relatively simplistic but they are still capable of doing unexpected things; in "Drums of Death" it is obvious that the main villain is a white man in blackface but I didn't expect that to become a plot point nor did I guess which white man it was under the makeup; there are likely other surprises in the episodes I haven't seen yet.

All in all, I'm quite satisfied with Season One of "The Adventures of Superman" and my only real problem is going to be deciding if I want to watch the Theatrical Version of "Superman and the Mole Men" which is included as a bonus feature first, or watch it after I've seen the two episodes ("The Unknown People" parts one and two) which it was edited into for the series; I could certainly have worse problems.
3 people found this helpful
JohnDrakeMI6Reviewed in the United States on March 27, 2011
5.0 out of 5 stars
Best Superman episode ever next to Superman having amnesia
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I have loved George Reeve's Superman since I was a kid in the late 50's and only 6 years old when George passed away. I have probably watched almost every episode and with a little memory loss, I can enjoy them all over again.
This episode is better than most except for the time Superman lost his memory temporarily after colliding with that asteroid.
I think this episode shows that Superman still doesn't believe in killing even though the gangsters got a hold of his costume. He placed them in exile until someone slipped off a rock....
It is Superman that makes him SUPER and not the costume, but don't YOU just wish you could have the real costume in your very possession? After all, it still had the same super qualities as Superman because of the material was made from Krypton.

I would probably worship the thing if I could and make a special closet with a secret access switch to keep my secret Superman costume so others could find it long after I was gone. (I just bought a very nice Superman Pendant off Ebay and it was the best one I've seen yet.)

Anyway, I only wish ALL the episodes were all in living color. It makes it more real....When I get enough money, I will purchase ALL the episodes or buy each season on Amazon.com. It's only about $1.99 each.

The Adventure Continues!!!

Enjoy!

John
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