Did Clark Kent Ever Turn Into Superman in a Phone Booth on Television?

Superman changing in a phone booth

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Clark Kent never turned into Superman in a phone booth on television.

Something that we’ve discussed a number of times in Legends Revealed is the idea that the public’s collective memory is not always accurate, as they’ll conflate two different things into one, like remembering Mr. T’s famous “I pity the fool” line from Rocky III (and seemingly every other project he’s ever done) and presuming that he used the same line as B.A. Baracus on The A-Team (as it turned out, he did not
) or they will remember lines in a tidier fashion than they actually existed (like Gracie Allen’s famous “Say good night, Gracie!” “Good night, Gracie!”, which she never actually said).

As it turns out, one of these examples of the public’s collective memory failing is Superman and his use of phone booths to transform from Clark Kent into Superman. As we detailed in a Comic Book Legends Revealed a number of years ago, it turns out that it was simply a matter of him doing so in one of the most popular Superman projects of all-time, the early 1940s Fleischer cartoons

that locked that image into our collective memory, so that the idea of Clark Kent transforming into Superman is just taken for granted, despite him rarely actually doing so.

Recently, though, reader Gerald P. wrote in to ask about that old Comic Book Legends Revealed. He noted that I mentioned that Clark never changed into Superman in a phone booth in any of the 104 episodes of The Adventures of Superman, so he wanted to know if it was true that Clark never actually changed into Superman at all on any of his live action television series.

Let’s find out!
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Was The Flash’s Harrison Wells Based On an Obscure DC Comics Character?

TV URBAN LEGEND: Doctor Harrison Wells was based on an obscure DC Comics character.

When the CW series of superhero shows started out, it was not always easy to get permission to use certain characters on TV series, not with all of the various licenses out there. Ray Palmer, for instance, was introduced in Arrow only after Warner Bros. nixed the first DC Comics character that they wanted to introduce to play Felicity’s new boss.

One interesting way that the producers on the various CW superhero TV series have gotten around any possible issues is to just take obscure DC characters and essentially just make them brand-new characters. The most famous example of this asw Arrow star Felicity Smoak, who was named after an obscure Firestorm character from the 1980s.

However, things are complicated by the fact that the shows also occasionally invent completely new characters that have no comic book counterparts, with the most famous example being John Diggle, one of the main characters on Arrow. Diggle has since been adapted into comics, but he was invented for the TV series.

Doctor Harrison Wells on Flash seemed to be another example of an original character, but reader Victor C. wrote in to ask if it was true that Wells was actually named after an obscure character from a 1991 Flash one-shot.

Let’s find out!
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Who Was the Surprising Mystery Owner of Yvonne Craig’s Batgirl Costume?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Yvonne Craig’s Batgirl costume ended up being owned by a surprising person.

On the 1966-68 Batman television series, Julie Newmar’s Catwoman and Yvonne Craig’s Batgirl and their respective skintight costumes launched a million crushes by adolescents watching the show (and I’m sure plenty of adults watching the show, as well). Newmar specifically went out of her way to make sure that her costume accentuated her curves by altering the way her belt hung on her Catwoman costume so that it showed off her hips. Newmar was so involved in that sort of thing that she even ended up getting a federal patent on special pantyhose that wouldn’t flatten a woman’s curves! While all the attention was likely flattering to Newmar and Craig, at the same time it must have been a bit disturbing, as well, to constantly be under the scrutiny of the “male gaze,” even from fellow actors. Mark Evanier has a hilarious story about the late Craig’s response to some of that excess attention, while there is also a legend about Newmar responding to the come-ons of another actor with a sharp rebuke.

Craig, meanwhile, was also in for a bit of a surprise when she returned to the Batgirl role one last time a few years after the series ended, when there was a mystery of – who had Batgirl’s costume?
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Is Darkwing Duck Coming Back to Television in 2018?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Darkwing Duck is returning to television in 2018.

I don’t usually feature stuff this current, but when you see Darkwing Duck actually trending on Twitter, it suggests that there is a lot of people who believe something, so it is worthwhile confirming it or debunking it.

There are seemingly tons of old television shows that are returning to the air in the coming year or so, from the X-Files to Full House to Twin Peaks. So when the news came out that Darkwing Duck was returning to Disney XD with new episodes in 2018, it seems believable enough.

But is it true?
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Was Perry White Nearly Played by a James Earl Jones on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Perry White was nearly played by a black actor on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

The issue of color blind casting for film and television adaptations of comic book properties has long been a controversial subject for fans. The simple fact of the matter is that most famous comic book properties are fifty, sixty and in some cases, nearly eighty years old and back in 1938, 1956 or 1961, it was just highly unlikely that African-American characters were going to be included in the supporting cast of the comics. Therefore, movie studios casting these films and TV series today now take that into account and look for a more diverse cast. This is nothing new, of course. Batman Returns was originally going to include Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face and had Tim Burton remained on the Batman films, it is likely that Marlon Wayans would have been Robin in the third Batman film. Both of those roles, though, were eventually cast with white actors (Tommy Lee Jones and Chris O’Donnell, respectively). Recently, though, there have been some changes. 2002 saw the late Michael Clark Duncan cast as Kingpin in the Daredevil film. 2013 saw Laurence Fishburne play Perry White in Man of Steel. Just recently, Mehcad Brooks was cast as James “Jimmy” Olsen in the upcoming CBS Supergirl TV series.

Interestingly enough, though, Perry White was almost played by a black actor twenty years ago on the ABC TV series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Find out what happened!
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Was Ray Palmer on Arrow Originally Going to be Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Originally Blue Beetle was going to take over Queen Consolidated on Arrow instead of the Atom.

When it comes to writing an ongoing TV series, there are always going to be obstacles that will get in the way of the story that you are trying to tell. We have spotlighted a number of these obstacles over the years, from one of your lead characters dying to discovering that the actor you hired to play John Lennon in your TV movie has the same name as the guy who killed John Lennon. Heck, current Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim was even a staff member on David E. Kelley’s The Practice when Kelley was dealing with a massive obstacle on his other show, Ally McBeal, where Ally was set to marry Robert Downey Jr’s Larry Paul right before Kelley had to instead write Larry offf of the show entirely (check out this old TV Legends Revealed to find out why). In the case of TV shows like Arrow and Flash, though, the showrunners of the shows have to keep in mind that they are dealing with licensed characters, and as a result, certain characters might unexpectedly become unavailable to them. One of these incidents led to the introduction of Brandon Routh’s Ray Palmer in this past season of Arrow.

Find out how Routh could have possibly played the Blue Beetle instead!
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Was Gabrielle Reece Cast as the She-Hulk in a Failed She-Hulk TV Pilot?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Gabrielle Reece was cast as the She-Hulk in a failed She-Hulk TV pilot.

The creation of the She-Hulk came directly as a result of the success of the late 1970s Incredible Hulk TV series. Marvel was afraid that the show would eventually introduce a female version of the Hulk so they made sure that they invented one first. I covered it in an old Comic Book Legends revealed here (Spider-Woman owes her creation to a similar scenario). Reader Stephonie wrote in to ask:

There’s a legend where the late Bill Bixby developed and filmed a tv pilot spinoff based upon The Incredible Hulk. It was supposed to star Gabrielle Reece as She-Hulk. I’ve tried to find photo evidence of this but couldn’t find anything. Could you investigate this?

Sure thing, Stephonie! Read on for the answer!
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Did TV’s Catwoman, Julie Newmar, Receive a Federal Patent on a Special Type of Pantyhose That Accentuated a Woman’s Ass?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Julie Newmar, Catwoman on the Batman TV series, received a federal patent on a special type of pantyhouse that accentuates a woman’s ass.

One of the unique qualities of a TV show becoming a sensation is that the actors associated with the show become cultural icons in their own right. This was certainly the case for Julie Newmar, the dancer, model and actress who portrayed Catwoman on the 1966 Batman TV series. Her form-fitting costume accentuated her hourglass figure in all the right places for straight young men watching the program at the time (and those who have watched it in re-runs ever since). Newmar even specifically had her Catwoman costume slightly altered to accentuate her curves. She recently noted that she had the belt on her costume lowered from her waist to her hips to draw attention to her curvy hips.

Newmar has always had a fiery, one might almost call it “cheeky” disposition (her attitude has led to a famous legend about a cutting remark she made about The Wild, Wild West’s Michael Dunn, which I featured as a TV legend awhile back), but surprisingly, her cheeky disposition went beyond mere attitude and entered into the world of inventions in literal fashion when she patented a special type of pantyhouse designed to accentuate a woman’s ass! Read on for more details…
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