In 1948, Superman became flesh and blood up on the big screen in a serial produced by Columbia, starring Kirk Alyn as the Man of Steel. The first serial revolved around Superman battling it out with the Spider Lady. The second introduced audiences to the first live-action Lex Luthor. These shorts were produced on a shoestring budget and meant to please children, so it didn’t live up to the standards of the comics at the time. Still, they were immensely popular and helped the character gain even more traction among the American public.

These serials are perhaps best known for introducing the world to Noel Neill, who played Lois Lane throughout these shorts and into the later TV series. Things didn’t work out the same for Alyn, who was later replaced. Still, he did an admirable job here, even if the production couldn’t find an affordable way to make him fly on screen. Instead, they cut to a cheap animated version of the character whenever he took off. Everyone has to start somewhere.