And now…some nightmare fuel.

§ February 19th, 2010 § Filed under Uncategorized § 27 Comments

So I was talking with Employee Timmy about Smallville at the shop the other day, and I happened to mention “hey, you know who hasn’t popped back up on the show? Mxyzptlk!” Which is just as well, since the Smallville version was, well, kinda lame, but then I asked Timmy if he’d ever seen the Michael Pollard version of Mxyzptlk from the Superboy TV show. Unsurprisingly, he hadn’t, since the show ran from ’88 to ’92, and Timmy was born, um, somewhere around 2004, I think. Anyway, I Googled up a YouTube clip on my iPad while riding around the store on my Segway, and here is what I showed him:

Given my usual luck with YouTube clips, it’ll probably disappear in short order, but what it shows is 1) Mr. Pollard popping up out of a pool in the full-on Silver Age Mr. Mxyzptlk outfit, 2) special guest star Richard Kiel as a larger, more menacing imp from the 5th Dimension, sporting a purple beanie and roughing up Mxyzptlk, 3) Stacy Haiduk in a swimsuit, 4) the finest special effects $3.98 could buy, and 5) not a whole lot of dignity. It’s…all a bit strange, and I suspect any attempt at doing a live action version of Mxyzptlk can’t help but turn out like this, but…well, it’s certainly something.

I really don’t remember a whole lot about this series, since I probably haven’t seen it since it originally aired…and even then, I only saw a handful of episodes. But my memory of it was that it wasn’t too bad…even the clip above is sort of amusing in a very peculiar sort of way, and honestly, I think my initial negative reaction to it came from the fact that I just wasn’t prepared to see what I had seen. I mean, how could you prepare for that? Purple-beanied Richard Kiel will be visiting me in my unquiet dreams.

So, I’ll ask you folks…did you like (or not like) the show? Should I seek out a DVD rental or two to refresh my memories, or should I just let those memories fade gently away?

• • •

I still plan on doing a little follow-up on some of the later questions you folks dropped into my comments sections over the last week. Thanks for reading and participating!

27 Responses to “And now…some nightmare fuel.”

  • Allan says:

    I gotta say, that’s still better than LOIS AND CLARK’S version of the character, which was just Howie Mandel dressed and behaving–distressingly–like Howie Mandel (back when he had hair).

    And while I acknowledge that I risk pedantry by saying this, anyone who has yet to watch the video should be warned that Ms. Haiduk is actually seen wearing a chaste one-piece and not the “bikini” promised by Mr. Sterling above. Those of you who need to know whether she had an “innie” or an “outie” will therefore be disappointed.

  • Bryan says:

    *rubs eyes* Them special effects were fantastic!

    I don’t think I ever saw an entire episode of “Superboy” given it’s syndicated nature, but I had an issue of “Amazing Heroes” from the time period that had an interview with Stacy Haiduk and she seemed pretty nice and level-headed, and made me want to check out the show. I think the clip above is probably as good of info as to whether or not you want to subject yourself to more of that by checking out DVDs.

  • Old Bull Lee says:

    I don’t think it’s fair to judge any Superman media solely by a Mxyzptlk appearance, which is going to be a goofy departure from the norm – whether for an episode of a show or even a comic series.

    I was pretty young when it was on and I remember the show being decent, and Haiduk was definitely one of its highlights.

    Someone refresh my memory – was it mostly on right before or after the show Out of This World?


    Old Bull Lee, it might have been in your area. Superboy and Out of This World were syndicated programs which means that they were sold directly to television stations and those stations were free to schedule them as they wanted.

    Mike the show was terrible in spite a of few fun bits. I’d say watch it for sheer suffering factor.

  • Randy Jackson says:

    I dunno, I thought it was a pretty good series, especially as it moved along. Stacy Haiduk definitely added something as Lana, and the guys playing Superboy were pretty decent as I recall. Also, the show had a pretty good Luthor as well.

  • Billy says:

    It was one of my favorite shows while it ran. Unfortunately, only the first season is available on DVD due to the Superboy character rights in dispute. The first season is definitely the worst, but the show improved greatly with age.

  • De says:

    Billy: The first season is the only one available because nobody bought it. Combined with the character rights dispute and Warner Home Video was no longer interested in the time and expense of releasing subsequent seasons.

    I’d love to see the other seasons but they are notoriously difficult to find in watchable condition.

  • Salamurai says:

    I remember the first season being better than the second, and not watching it after that. Haven’t seen even a minute since then, until now.

  • Mark Cook says:

    There was an extremely disappointing Smallville Mxyzptlk – I think he was running a gambling ring and mucking with Smallville High football games? He was some dude from some random eastern European country with some kind of psychic powers.

  • DeeBee says:

    Michael, in a word GODNO.

    Superboy was what it *was* for the time, but don’t look back. Just… just try to live with the failure that is Smallville.

  • Nate says:

    I watched all these as they orginally in syndication. I loved it then.
    I’m fond of it when I re-watch it now. It’s silver age Superboy stories being done in 80’s fashions. Think about the awesomeness of that for a second.

  • Mikester says:

    Allan – Whoops, you’re right…no idea why I said “bikini.” Fixed now!

  • Andres says:

    Hey Mike, didja like the 90’s Flash TV series?

  • Trinity Moses says:

    I find myself reminded of the MAN FROM ATLANTIS episode with Kareem Abdul Jabbar as a dimension-traveling gold miner, and a giant air-breathing seahorse with legs.

    So, whatever else you want to say about SUPERBOY, you have to admit that there are sillier things out there.

  • Ben says:

    My remaining memories of that Superboy series are limited to them visiting a ghost house with waaaacky angled construction, the Kryptonite Kid playing powerlines like a guitar by blasting them with poorly animated energy blasts, and finally the time that Lex Luthor got Superboy’s powers subsequently using the X-ray vision to look at Lana’s tits.

    I’d say give it a try!

  • cletar says:

    The 80s Superboy was unspeakably awful. They filmed a lot of it around the University of Central Florida campus, and the production imposed a lot of hassles on UCF students, so that adds an element of extra hate for me…but still, the show was awful. I had some friends who did some design work for the show, and were so appalled by the actual finished product that they didn’t put “Superboy” on their resumes. It’s that bad.

  • philip says:

    Awful? Awful good!

    Okay, seriously, I remember enjoying it at the time. There weren’t a whole lot of options for superhero stuff on TV then (leastways not on the Boston UHF dial), so one took what one could get. I still like it better than the Dean Cain “Diminutive Superman” thing.

    Also, I’ve never seen his cape more pleated than it is in this clip. Amazing.

  • HydrogenGuy says:

    So the Fifth Dimension was actually in the Bronx?

  • Ed says:

    Yeah, I remember being somewhat scornful of the show at the time, and tended to avoid it, until one Saturday afternoon I was flicking around and landed on an episode with an entertainingly goofy version of Bizarro (he had a crush on a parody of Sally Jesse Raphael!), and thought, “hey, this isn’t so bad after all.”
    It also featured a rather pleasingly snarky version of Luthor, played by the guy from that Seinfeld episode whose weight loss is ruined when one of the gang (Kramer?) drops a Junior Mint into his body while watching him being operated on…

  • Chad says:

    Apparently one of the early pitches for “Superman III” was for the villain to be a live-action Mxy…played by Dudley Moore.

    Oh, what might have been.

  • Tom Foss says:

    For years, the only thing I could remember about this show was an episode where a witch made Clark’s face disappear, and he put on a Superboy mask to disguise it. Sadly, that episode wasn’t in the first season DVD set, but I did manage to find a clip of it a few years back.

    Anyway, I watched a few episodes of Superboy when I bought the DVDs, and what struck me (besides the terrible special effects) were the surprising depth of the plots. I think I’d enjoy Smallville a lot more if they’d spent less time and special effects magic on sappy soap opera idiocy and just a little time on the sorts of social issues and ‘real-life’ stories that Superboy did in “Back to Oblivion” and “The Russian Exchange Student.” Sure, it was Cold War-era superhero melodrama, but it was better than three seasons of pining away after Kristen Kreuk.

  • Undeadboy says:

    That’s possibly the single worst superhero thing I’ve ever seen. EVER!!

    I’ve never seen the show, but this clip was more than enough to satiate my appetite for it.

  • Josh Perdue says:

    I see my memory is good. Stacy Haiduk was unbelievably hot and the only reason I watched that show back then.

  • David C says:

    Is that a real thing? I’m suspicious this show never existed and it’s all some elaborate prank. It ran 4 seasons? With that acting?

  • C.M. says:

    If I remembering right, in this episode Mxyzptlk convinced Richard Kiel that Superboy and Lana had adopted him as their son. For some reason, his adoption meant that he wasn’t allowed to go after Mxyzptlk. There was a scene at the dinner table where El Supo tells Mxy not blow bubbles in his milk. Lana tells them if they clean their plates they get extra desert, and Mxyzptlk says that he and Kiel are going to read comics under the sheets later.

    Memory dump complete.

  • Bill D. says:

    Well, clearly it hasn’t aged well, but for mid-to-late 80s first-run syndication, it wasn’t half-bad, especially the later seasons with the older Luthor and the recurring parallel Earths episodes. The first time they played with that plot, Superboy went to two different Earths, one where the resident Superboy became a tyrant called The Sovereign and one where the public had turned on its Superboy after he had finally had enough and killed Lex. Another one involved Superboy being visited by another Earth’s older, now-retired Superman (played by Doc Savage and Tarzan himself, Ron Ely) and recruited to rescue yet another Earth’s recently arrived Kal-El from that particular Lex and his girlfriend (though the girlfriend was the criminal genius of that world and Lex was the flunky).

    Kinda convoluted to explain, but fun to watch. And especially interesting that a TV show based around a concept excised after COIE made such rampant use of another, while the comics of that time had neither.

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