Adventures of Superman

Season 1 Episode 2

The Haunted Lighthouse

Aired Friday 3:30 PM Sep 26, 1952 on
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Jimmy Olsen visits his aunt and discovers a group of smugglers on her island home.

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  • This is a fan and critic acclaimed episode.This was very dramatic, very suspenseful and it showcased Jack Larson as an A+ actor who could perform well as a dramatic actor. This episode was definitely not a childish show.moreless

    At the very beginning George Reeves gives a narration that tells the story about Jimmy Olsen receiving an invitation to spend the summer on Moose Island, which was off the coast of Maine with his Aunt Louisa and his cousin Chris. When we see the scene at the house you can see the fake background and the shadow of Aunt Louisa (Sara Padden) coming out the door to greet Jimmy. His cousin Chris (Jimmy Ogg) seems deliberately unfriendly. Through Reeves narration we learn of Alice (Allene Roberts), a pretty house maid who cannot hear or speak. Jim is escorted into in his uncles room during his stay. Although he has been dead for 20 years, Aunt Louisa kept it as if Jimmy's uncle was still alive.

    Jim's uncle drowned 20 years earlier and the light house on Moose Island had been abandoned ever since the tragedy. Jim is exploring the shore when he heard the Signature Line of the episode; Help me I'm drowning. Jim runs around looking for the voice when Mack (William Challee) startled him. Mack thought that Jim was Chris at first and asked Jim to help him store stuff before a storm hits. When Mack finally noticed that Olsen was not Chris he ordered Jim to go home and get Chris.

    Chris does not like Jimmy staying with them and accuses him of spying. Aunt Louisa explains that Chris has a bad temper and does not like anyone near the Lighthouse. Later that night Jim noticed a light on in the lighthouse so he goes to investigate. While trying to open the lighthouse door, Chris followed Jimmy and threw a dagger at the door. When Jim tried to tell Chris he is a reporter and this haunted lighthouse would make a great story, Chris threatens Jim and orders him to go back home and go to bed.

    When Jim gets to his room he notices a note that reads "In Terrible Trouble. Wont You Come? Aunt Louisa". Jim hurries to his Aunt's room when Alice comes up behind him and motions that she wants Jim to follow her. When the two go through the hall and out the door from the kitchen, Aunt Louisa lights a lamb with a match and yells Where do you two think you are going? Sara Padden recited this line with such force that it makes you jump and also adds to the macabre of the story. Jimmy tries to calm her down by telling her he was worried and they were going out to look for her. Aunt Louisa said in a stern voice that Alice should have known better than that. Alice and Jim went back to their rooms and back to bed.

    Finally in the next scene almost half way through the episode, Jimmy calls Clark at the Daily Planet to ask him to come to Moose Island. While on the phone Jimmy hears the voice again crying for help. The fearful look on Jack Larson's face is quite impressive. Jack makes it look like his eyes are going to bulge right out of their sockets.

    Clark changes into Superman and flies off to Moose Island. Gary Grossman points out a blooper in this scene; when Superman lands at Moose Island the sound effects of him flying were still running.

    Clark meets Jimmy at his Aunt Louisa's house and asked him why Jim did not meet him at the Mainland? Jimmy replied by saying his aunt and Chris took the boat and the telephone lines were shut down. Jimmy also made a comment to Clark by saying he does not know if he is coming or going in this crazy town. Jimmy then shows Clark the island and takes him to a cave.

    Clark asks Jimmy to show him the invitation and the note Aunt Louisa wrote him. Clark then asks Jimmy to get her write out a recipe or something so he can compare hand writings. Jimmy goes back to the house while Clark changes back to Superman and flies onto a Coast Guard Ship. Superman is greeted by a Lieutenant played by Stephen Carr. Stephen Carr was the brother of Tommy Carr, who directed this episode. Stephen was also the voice director for the first two seasons of Superman.

    Superman informed the Lieutenant that he must go to Moose Island to investigate some strange activity that is taking place. Meanwhile Jimmy gets a recipe for Blueberry pie and Alice gives him another strange note that reads "Alice will bring you to me late tonight. Be careful they do not hear you. They are desperate people. Aunt Louisa".

    After reading this Jimmy exits through a window to seek out Mr. Kent. He goes back to the cave where they last saw each other, but Jimmy did not notice that Chris and Mack saw him and followed him into the cave. The two grab Jimmy, knock him out and then lower a steel bar so that when the tide comes in, the rising water will drown him. Jimmy staggers to get up and yells for Mr. Kent and then we see the waves rushing onto the island and into the cave. The signature voice cries "Help I'm drowning" is heard from again and Jimmy collapses.

    Chris and Mack are back at the house telling how the tide will completely cover Jimmy and they hear the sound of the Coast Guard boat heading towards the lighthouse. Chris grabs a rifle that is hanging on a wall and both men rush towards the lighthouse. On the boat Superman is guiding the Lieutenant through the smog when he sees Mack with the rifle and also notices that Jim is in trouble. Superman leaps off the boat flies to the cave, bends the cage bars and he gets Jimmy out of danger. Gary Grossman talks about this scene on how the bars would not move, so it took a long time to film this scene. It has been reported that Jack Larson caught a bad cold from being in the cold water for a long time.

    After Superman got Jimmy out of the cave he jumped up to confront Mack. Mack takes out a knife to stab Superman only to get his dagger bent. Then he picked up a large rock to throw at Superman but Superman moved out of the way and Mack went over the cliff. After this Superman looks at the notes and recipe Jimmy brought with him and The Man of Steel begins to unravel the mystery. Jimmy's real Aunt Louisa is in the lighthouse. Chris and Mack are smuggling contraband into the lighthouse using the cave as an entrance.

    The end scene we see Jimmy's real Aunt Louisa (Effie Laird) waking through the door holding a pistol pointed at the fake Aunt Louisa. We find out that her name is Mrs. Carmody and she was the housekeeper. When Jimmy's real cousin Chris went off to the Service, Mrs. Carmodys son Chris came to live with them. A humorous bit of dialogue comes up when Clark Kent comes into the house and Aunt Louisa notices that he looks a lot like Superman but before she utters Clark Kents other identity Clark moves real quick away from her and towards the Lieutenant who is holding a gun at Chris. Clark tells the Lieutenant that there are silk, leather, English china and silverware in the lighthouse. The cries for help come again and we find out it is Peter the parrot, who wants to be home and fed. This was a nice piece to chuckle at after a tense drama.

    If you like mystery suspense and drama this is the perfect episode to watch. This was the second installment in the first season but this was the set up for more to follow in this season. I hope you enjoy this show and if you have already seen it in the past I am confident that you will never get tired of watching it in the future.moreless
  • Oh, if all the episode were this good!

    This is one of the best Adventures of Superman episodes with a real adventure consisting of plot twists, detective work, mild scary moments, etc. It is a shame later episode fail to live up to suspense and fun of this one.

    Jimmy Olsen (Jack Larson) did an outstanding job and certainly showed the ability to be a leading actor and hold an episode together. Cancellation of the series with the death of George Reeves would never have been necessary if the writers and producers continued in this writing vein with Jack and the other actors.

    If you like the Adventures of Superman and get the chance to watch this episode, please, take the 20-30 minutes to watch it. You'll enjoy most every minute.

    On a side note: As someone who enjoys collecting sneakers, this episode was really enjoyable. Jimmy Olsen wears a pair of high top sneakers from start to finish. There are several close ups of his sneakers, unfortunately the resolution isn't up to the 21st century standard so much of it is grainy.

    As a collector, I wondered what brand he was wearing in 1950 / 1952. Unfortunately, I couldn't make out the brand / manufacturer. At first I thought they were Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars (first release in 1917), but the rubber sides and ankle patch didn't match those of the time period.

    Later I thought they were Pro-Keds (first release in 1949). The rubber sides and ankle patch looked much like those of the time period. Later in the cave scene, though, the soles of his sneakers become visible and I don't recognize them as being Pro-Keds. It is possible the 1949-1952 versions used a different sole pattern than they do today, but if not then they certainly aren't Pro-Keds.

    As a collector, I'd love to know more about these (or other sneakers) of the time period. Feel free to drop me a line via, if you know something or simply want to talk about sneakers.moreless
  • The epitome of what television's Superman needed to be

    Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen) was just outstanding in this episode as well as many episodes he appeared in during season one. He was allowed to be a full rounded character who could play the drama but also recognized the humor in key moments. Unfortunately by season three when the col,or episodes began, Jimmy became a cartoon. He was strictly for comic relief as he no longer embodied that of a young, ambitious reporter. He just became a clod whose sole purpose was to get into a life threatening situation so Superman could save him.

    But in Haunted Lighthouse, producer Robert Maxwell went for the very best in film noir with many shades and textures. I loved this version of The Adventures of Superman.moreless
  • Strong performances by Jack Larson and George Reeves.

    This was the second episode aired, though it was not the second episode filmed.

    "The Haunted Lighthouse" is an excellent example of the \"film noir\" style that we see in the first season of \"The Adventures of Superman.\" As with films in the film-noir genre, this \"mini film\" begins with a long-shot of a dark, foreboding, landscape: violent waves beating against cliffs with a darkening sky in the background. There is a voice-over describing the exposition in past tense, a common film-noir technique. The voice-over is performed by, none other than, George Reeves.

    Jimmy Olsen (Jack Larson), is visiting his widow aunt who he hasn\'t seen in a very long time. Her late husband, the former lighthouse keeper, died 20 years ago. Jimmy is alone on the island with his aunt, her young, mute, housekeeper, \"Alice\" and a cousin \"Chris\", who he has never met before. There is a mysterious lighthouse that, supposedly hasn\'t worked for 20 years, yet still lights up; a mysterious, unseen, drowning person, crying for help; a mysterious and stern \"sailor\"; and \"Chris\", Jimmy\'s hot-headed, unfriendly cousin.

    Throw in some mysterious hand-written notes in the night, unexplained goings on near a cave, some secret that, the mute, Alice can\'t talk about, and the lighting and music of a true 40\'s style dectective story, and you have a half-hour of suspense and mystery -- even before Superman shows up.

    The young, Jack Larson, delivers an excellent turn as the terrified Jimmy Olsen. George Reeves shows his dramatic flair as Superman as well as his comic timing as Clark Kent. This early episode is emblematic of the dramatic, detective story quality of the season one episodes, not seen in later seasons.

    This episode offers a lot of adventure and entertainment in a tight, half-hour package. It\'s an excellent example of what could be done during television\'s infancy, even with a small budget and tight filming schedule.moreless
Maudie Prickett

Maudie Prickett

Mrs. Carmody (as Maude Prickett)

Guest Star

Jimmy Ogg

Jimmy Ogg


Guest Star

Allene Roberts

Allene Roberts


Guest Star

Jack Larson

Jack Larson

Jimmy Olsen

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Goof: The sound of Superman flying continues for three to four seconds after he lands on Moose Island.

    • This is the first episode where George Reeves uses a spring board to take off as Superman. It occurs when he leaves the Daily Planet to fly to Moose Island after Jimmy calls him on the phone.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Aunt Louisa: Say, where's that handsome Superman?
      Jimmy: Oh, he went to find Mr Kent.
      Aunt Louisa: Well, If I was just thirty years younger...

    • Jimmy: Mr Kent, this is my real Aunt Louisa.
      Clark: So, I gathered.
      Aunt Louisa: My but he's handsome too. As a mater of fact, he looks like...
      (Clark quickly turns away from Louisa.)
      Clark: Ah... Lieutenant, the lighthouse is loaded with contraband merchantdise. Silk, leathers, English china, silverware. Cases of it.

  • NOTES (5)

    • This episode marked the first of two unrelated appearances from Maude Prickett.

      This episode marked the only appearance from Jimmy Ogg.

      This episode marked the first of three unrelated appearances from Allene Roberts.

      This episode marked the only appearance from Sara Padden.

      This episode marked the only appearance from Effie Laird.

      This episode marked the first of three unrelated appearances from William Challee.

      This episode marked the first of fourteen unrelated and uncredited appearances from Stephen Carr.


    • Disc 1 of the Superman DVD contains a commentary version of this episode by Gary H. Grossman.

    • This story is based upon the Superman radio serial "Lighthouse Point Smugglers," episodes 70 - 75 of the first Superman radio series (airing from July 22 through August 2 of 1940) and upon "Lighthouse Point," episodes 710 - 716 of the second Superman radio series (airing February 22 through March 01 of 1944). "Lighthouse Point Smugglers" was the third Jimmy Olsen story ever made.

    • John Hamilton (Perry White) is not present in this episode.

    • Phyllis Coates (Lois Lane) is not present in this episode.


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