Tuesday, January 2, 2018


With the January membership for the Television Crossover Hall of Fame, I like to salute the greats of Classic TV, although those characters can appear anywhere in the schedule, especially if they fit in with the traditions of other months.  

This year I decided the time finally had come for Superman's pal Jimmy Olsen - the televersion from Earth Prime-Time only - to take his place in the Hall.  He qualified for it years ago, once the Amex commercial aired which starred Jerry Seinfeld and the Superman of the Tooniverse.  And I kept slotting him into successive schedules but always found reasons to preempt him for some other candidate.  But like I said, the time has come!

I tend to think the whole world knows as much as I do about everything.  But if you don't know about Jimmy Olsen, let's go to the Wiki file!

From the Wikipedia:
James Bartholomew Olsen is a fictional character who appears mainly in DC Comics’ Superman stories. Olsen is a young photojournalist working for the Daily Planet. He is close friends with Lois Lane and Clark Kent/Superman, and has a good working relationship with his boss Perry White. Olsen looks up to his coworkers as role models and parent figures.

Jimmy is traditionally depicted as a bow tie-wearing, red-haired young man who works as a cub reporter and photographer for The Daily Planet, alongside Lois Lane and Clark Kent, whom he idolizes as career role models. In most depictions of the character, he has a strong friendship with Superman. As Superman's friend, Jimmy has special access to the Man of Steel, thanks to Superman's gift to Jimmy of a "signal watch", a wristwatch which, with the press of a button, emits a special ultrasonic frequency signal that Superman can hear anywhere on Earth. (In Post-Crisis continuity Jimmy invented the watch himself, and Superman briefly considered confiscating it. In New Earth continuity, the watch was designed by Superman based on a larger signaling device Jimmy created.)

In many Silver Age of Comic Books, Jimmy was often seen sharing adventures with Superman, who saved him from various predicaments ranging from dangerous to merely embarrassing. This was particularly pronounced in the series "Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen" published from 1954 to 1974, which saw Olsen in a variety of slapstick adventures and strange transformations. Like most DC characters, modern portrayals of Olsen have been more serious in tone.

An important part of the Superman mythos, Jimmy Olsen has appeared in most other media adaptations of the character.

"Olsen" is a common Danish-Norwegian surname. However, there is never any reference to the character having a Scandinavian ancestry, other than the name.

On the 'Adventures of Superman' television series (starring George Reeves), Jimmy Olsen was portrayed by Jack Larson, who appeared as the cub reporter from 1952 to 1958. Largely because of the popularity of Larson and his portrayal of the character, National Comics Publications (DC Comics) decided in 1954 to create "Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen", a regular title featuring Jimmy as the leading character. Decades later in 1996, Larson portrayed an unnaturally aged Jimmy Olsen in an episode of 'Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman'.

Adventures of Superman (1952 - 1958)
101 episodes

Stamp Day for Superman (1954)
Superman's commitment to promote US Savings Stamps is temporarily delayed when Lois is kidnapped.

Clark Kent and Lois Lane, out for a stroll, discover a jewelry robbery in progress. Lois gets a good look at one of the burglars. Later Clark and Jimmy Olsen visit Jimmy's old school to discuss Superman's visit there to promote the U.S. Treasury Department's Savings Stamp program. In the meantime, Lois is captured by Blinky, the jewelry burglar she spotted. When Lois doesn't show up to join Clark and Jimmy, Clark realizes she's in trouble and arranges for Superman to save the day and still make his appearance at the school's Stamp Day.
(from the IMDb)

American Express commercial (1998)
Jerry Seinfeld comes to the rescue of the Superman from the Tooniverse, thanks to his Amex card.  And Jimmy Olsen, standing outside the Daily Planet building saw the visitor from the cartoon dimension flying through the skies.

When Superman was inducted into the Hall as one of the "pioneers" subjected to my televisiological studies, he was brought in as a Multi-dimensional.  Basically all of the Supermen from the many TV dimensions are of the same basic character even if their Kryptonian telegenetic composition varies.  (It's Toobworld Central policy that all Tooniverse characters - no matter the style of the artwork - are still the same person.)

But with Jimmy Olsen, we're only taking into account the first one seen on TV, played by Jack Larson.  There are a LOT of variations in character for Superman's Pal across the greater TV Universe.  And as far as telegenetic stock, it has gone so far afield that he's black in Comix Toobworld DC-2.  Although it should be pointed out that Jimmy Olsen in Supergirl's Toobworld has the best chance for inclusion in the Hall as another incarnation of the "cub reporter".  So far he's only appeared on 'Supergirl' but he could cross the vortex and wind up in the "Arrowverse" - the alternate Toobworld officially known by Toobworld Central under its designation of Comix Toobworld DC-1.

The Jimmy Olsen of Comix Toobworld DC-3 - which currently only houses 'Lois & Clark' - may not have looked like the Jimmy Olsen of Earth Prime-Time in his youth, but when he was preternaturally aged he looked exactly like Toobworld's Jimmy Olsen by that point in his life.  (Both timelines are askew from each other.)  Yet it's highly unlikely he'll ever see the inside of the Hall unless he buys a ticket....

After the series ended and before he was last seen in that quick cameo for the Amex blipvert, much of Jimmy Olsen's life remains "unseen on TV" and open to speculation.  But this is what Toobworld Central has accepted as its own personal canon, knowing full well it goes against the established life of Olsen in the Comic Book Universe and other metafictional universes.

There's a reason why so many people in the main Toobworld know that Superman's secret identity was as mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent in Metropolis.  It's because Jimmy Olsen spilled the beans.

I've written about this plenty of times in the past so that I'm hoping you are all ardent followers of this blog and will not be surprised by the news: In the main Toobworld, Superman is dead. 

Quick recap - Superman used his body to shield two Chicago gangsters named Ray Luca and Pauli Taglia from an atomic blast when they tried to hide out in the middle of a Nevada A-bomb test site.  They were unharmed, thanks to Superman, but his usually impenetrable skin was permeated with microscopic grains of green kryptonite which had been under the surface of the desert where the atomic bomb was detonated.  It was a fatal dose and Superman died of the radiation poisoning within weeks.

But before he died, Superman told his pal Jimmy everything about himself, all of the secrets - including his Terran identity as Clark Kent - in order for his history and the memory of Kyrpton to live on after he was gone.  

Jimmy didn't take the news well......

One might think that this was something Superman should have told the woman he loved, but I guess he was convinced that it would have been cruel to subject her to watch him die as she transcribed his dictation.  Not that Jimmy fared any better......

Jimmy published Superman's biography after the Man of Steel died, perhaps with the assistance of UNReel, the shadow ops group which keeps the public from believing the Truth about some of Toobworld's greatest heroes.  From this incredible revelation came the comic books, the movies, the TV shows - anything that might later cause a Zonk in the dialogue references from other TV shows.  It's how Jerry knew "Jor-El" was the name of Superman's father, which he used as his bank password.  And any money made from those sales which would have been due to Superman's estate were donated to the foundation started by Jimmy and Lois in his memory - the Kent Foundation.

Other than that, it's anybody's guess as to what happened to Jimmy Olsen, but I like to think that some of those small roles played by Jack Larson on later TV shows were actually Jimmy Olsen despite the difference in names.  I think he was working undercover for a story at the Daily Planet - still out in the streets, working the beat, even though he was more than likely the Editor-In-Chief of the paper by the time we saw him just leaving the Daily Planet in that Amex commercial.

There are a couple of Wish-Craft moments in Jimmy's life which I can't prove but I just like them.  One, he accompanied Superman when he took the trip in the TARDIS with the First Incarnation of the Doctor and his granddaughter "Susan" in order to find a planet where the Kandorians could be released from their glass bottle prison.  (The Kandorians descendants were later seen in an episode of 'The Twilight Zone' - "The Little People".)

Two - Jimmy Olsen had grown up with another Jimmy - James B.W. Bevis.  They even adopted the same clothing style which they continued long after graduating.  (From another 'Twilight Zone' episode - "Mr. Bevis'.  Mr. Bevis had his own run-in with the Doctor: while touring England after he retired, Bevis had to go to the hospital in Leadworth.  After stripping down for the examination, the Eleventh Doctor stole his clothes.)

Like I said, I can't prove it, but it's just some fun conjecture.....

I wanted to make Jimmy related to Mrs. Olson from over one hundred Folger's Coffee blipverts, but as you can see from the superimposed caption on this one, she spelled her name differently.  (I was hoping to make her his aunt by marriage.)

One doesn't like to let go of people in our lives, even the fictional ones, but it has to be accepted that by this point in Toobworld time, James Bartholomew Olsen has passed away... probably around the same time as Jack Larson (2015).

Hopefully this little tribute will keep that memory of him alive for somebody out there.....


'The Adventures of Superman'
'Crime Story'
'Stamp Day For Superman'
American Express commercial
'Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman'
'Law & Order: Trial By Jury'
Folger's Coffee commercial
'Doctor Who'
'The Twilight Zone'

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