Title: Stamp Day for Superman.
Rated: Not Rated.
Director: Thomas Carr.
Release Date: 1954.
Runtime: 18 min.
Genre(s): Short, Fantasy, Science-Fiction.
Cast: George Reeves, Noel Neill, Jack Larson, John Hamilton, Tristram Coffin, and Billy Nelson!
My Overall Rating:
Now, you might be wondering what on earth is going on here. Does this movie really exist? How is that even possible? After the release of the first live-action DC Comics movie in 1951 called Superman and the Mole Men, the 1950s television series Adventures of Superman became a cult hit for countless fans in the world. Representing truth, justice, and the American way, Superman became an icon that anyone and everyone could look up to and that’s something that the U.S. Department of the Treasury couldn’t just overlook. In hopes to promote the purchase of U.S. savings bonds and stamps, they requested the development of a short film starring George Reeves as Superman and Noel Neill as Lois Lane where they’d educate children about the program and make them care in the name of their American identity. Talk about making them do their part. If that isn’t a call for patriotism, I don’t know what is!
What is Stamp Day for Superman about? The movie sees Clark Kent and Lois Lane serendipitously run into a jewelry robbery in progress while they were out shopping. While the robbers escape, Lois Lane claims she might have seen the culprit but what she doesn’t know is that the culprit also knows that she knows! Meanwhile, Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen visit Jimmy’s old school only to realize how cool it would be if Superman could pass by to promote the U.S. Treasury Department’s Savings Stamp program. Isn’t that great? Unfortunately for Superman, he’s going to have to save Lois from trouble before he could give his big speech about the importance of bonds and stamps for American children.
It’s not uncommon to see Superman serve the government in some way. It is part of his history to go through a phase where becoming their weapon is nothing but the most logical step towards a better society. Of course, without all the killing. Otherwise, that would just turn him into a figurative nuke. However, in his much more innocent form, clearly displayed through this propagandist short, is a Superman that simply wants to help the government help their economy through the education of the youth. Nothing wrong there, right?
How is the rest of the story though? What we get here is a very simple and mundane kidnapping with almost no true stakes at play. Considering how this short needed to stand on its own two feet as well, it comes with the mandatory display of Superman’s skills, whether it’s him flying through the city or deflecting bullets, as well as the introduction to Lois Lane’s incredibly creative and insane typewriting skills. Not because she’s gifted with words and could cast spells through them though. Nop. You’ll just have to watch the short to find out.
The short itself doesn’t really age well, subtly depicting the cultural norms established back in the day but isn’t as bad as one would like to claim it is. It gives us a little of everything without breaking new grounds and clearly achieves its educational purposes through a very important speech given by Superman himself for the American children. If anything, the short plays out like another episode in the Adventures of Superman and if you don’t have any other expectations, you’re sure to have a good laugh at the very raison d’être of this short.
Stamp Day for Superman (1954) is an unexceptional, mundane, and propagandist short produced to sell bonds and stamps after the war.