Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Breakfast with Superman

In response to yesterday's post about the 50s TV series The Adventures of Superman, Mike Doran offered this intriguing comment:

One of the joys of collecting videos of ancient TV shows is finding the occasional local commercial spot, frequently for something like a brewery or a bank.

The Cisco Kid, for example, was sponsored in its original run by Interstate Bakeries, makers of Butternut Bread - in the midwest, at least ("Tut-tut Nothin' but Butternut Bread!"). But I've got a few episodes in my collection with spots for Weber Bread - same packaging, even the same jingle ("Can't get enough o' that Weber Bread!").

I also recall how Lloyd Bridges would appear at the close of Sea Hunt to say a few kind words about Heileman's Old Style Beer - here in Chicago,anyway. I don't doubt that he spoke with equal fondness of other brands in other markets.

During its original run, Kellogg's sponsorship of Superman was proclaimed right in the opening credits, accompanied by commercial spots by the cast members - all of which had to scrapped when the show went into its later syndication phase.

The cast of Superman plugging breakfast cereal? That sounded pretty cool, so I checked YouTube and found quite a few commercials. Thanks, Mike, for hepping us to the jive! Some samples . . .


Deka Black said...

Oh! Kellog's! One of my earliest breakfast memories!

David Cranmer said...

I saw original tapes of Serling's ZONE at Ithaca College (where he taught in the 1970s) and saw some of these offbeat commercials. A different time for sure.

Charles Gramlich said...


Mike Doran said...

Thanx for the shout-out. It's always good to be recognized ...

I checked out the commercials and found myself linked to a clip of the original original Superman opening, complete with the Kellogg billboard. That reminded me of just how many TV shows, network and syndicated, had to completely refilm their opening and closing credits to remove sponsor billboards.

One example (to serve for many):
During its original run on NBC, Bat Masterson was fully sponsored by Sealtest Ice Cream. The opening titles showed Gene Barry twirling his cane next to a spinning sign with the Sealtest logo and various of their products.
This had to go for local syndication, but Ziv was simply too cheap to come up with a new credit sequence, which is why the titles on Bat Masterson reruns today look so ... generic?

Similarly, sponsor IDs had to be removed from both the opening and closing credits of Car 54, Where Are You?, which is why nobody has heard the bridge of the theme music since its original run on NBC.

There's two examples for you; others may come up with many more.

I have to throw in one more star commercial:
John Cassevetes's short-lived Johnny Staccato was sponsored by Salem cigarettes.
One show in my collection has a spot with Cassevetes watching from a cliff as a romantic couple in a rowboat below "take a puff ... it's springtime!", as he affirms in his voiceover narration.
I've got this one on an old VHS tape: is it online, by any chance?
I tell you, it's a must-see.

Any of you who can add to this, please do so.
I can't wait.

pattinase (abbott) said...

So weird. I was just writing a post on forgotten cereals.

Cap'n Bob said...

Cheerios, Raisin Bran, and rice Crispies were the cereals we usually ate, though some corn flakes made their way to the table on occasion. Even then I was wary of anything frosted.

Anonymous said...

I remember these. I'd forgotten about Sugar Smacks. My parents didn't allow the sugared cereals, but we had Corn Flakes and Shredded Wheat.

NextDoorWriter said...

What about Captain Marvel, my favorite comic book hero? And Mary Marvel, of course. I don't remember TV or even radio shows about them. Or cereals. My fave was Wheaties -- who was their hero?

Anonymous said...

It's possible Wheaties stuck with sports stars, especially baseball.