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Adventures of Superman
Season 1 Episode 2: The Haunted Lighthouse

Titlecard for Adventures of Superman: The Haunted Lighthouse


Jim Olsen takes a vacation to visit his aunt Louisa on Moose Island, off the coast of Maine. But some things seem strange. Louisa's son Chris seems very unfriendly to him, and while wandering the island, he meets a suspicious man named Mack...and upon coming back to the house after this, Chris gets very upset. Adding on to all this is a mysterious voice yelling about drowning and a lighthouse that's been abandoned for 20 years lighting up, making it all feel a bit haunted.

When it escalates to Chris threatening to stab Jim, Jim calls Clark Kent for help. Clark "somehow" makes it there very quickly and discusses and investigates the matter with Jim. Realizing how intense the situation is, he secretly flies off as Superman and meets with the Coast Guard. Unfortunately, while he's doing this, Jim gets captured and imprisoned by Chris and Mack. Superman will need to get to the bottom of what's going on and save his cub reporter friend.


Jim meets Chris

Unusually, this episode starts with narration, though it doesn't last long. It explains that Jim Olsen is taking a vacation to a small island off the coast of Maine called Moose Island to spend time with his aunt Louisa Horn, who he hasn't seen since he was a baby. The island has a lighthouse which hasn't been used in 20 years, since the captain, Louisa's husband, drowned back then. Louisa's son Chris and their housekeeper Alice (who is deaf and mute) live there too. For some reason, Chris is very unfriendly to Jim. As off-putting as this is, Jim tries to enjoy himself by wandering the island and taking in the scenery.

As Jim is wandering, he is disturbed when he hears a female-sounding voice calling repestedly, "Help! Help! I'm drowning!" As he runs around trying to find where it's coming from, he comes across a suspicious-seeming man named Mack who had been expecting to meet Chris and tells Jim to go get him. But when Jim does so, Chris gets upset and accuses him of "spying" before leaving. Louisa just says that Chris has a temper and begs him to forget about the weird happenings and enjoy his vacation.

Chris holds up a knife to Jim

Things are quiet for a few days. But one night, Jim sees the lighthouse light turn on and is compelled to investigate. When Chris sees Jim is poking around the lighthouse, he is upset and starts interrogating him. When Jim mentions the idea of writing a story about what's happening, Chris pulls out a knife on Jim and orders him to go back to bed. When he does so, he finds a note on his pillow from aunt Louisa saying she needs help, but when Jim knocks on her door, she doesn't answer. Alice tries to show Jim something, but they stumble across Louisa, who doesn't seem to be in any trouble and tells them to go to bed.

Naturally, Jim realizes he's in a bad situation, so the next day, he calls Clark Kent to tell him about the weird happenings. Jim can't even finish the phone call due to being frightened by hearing the strange voice yelling about drowning. Naturally, Clark changes into Superman, flies over, and changes back into Clark. After Clark brushes off Jim's question about how he got there, Jim shows Clark around the island and explains things in more detail. (Louisa and Chris are out on the boat at the time.) Clark then asks Jim for some samples of his aunt's handwriting and asks him to get a new sample, and that he should go back home while he keeps looking around.

Superman talks to the Coast Guard ship captain

Clark takes this opportunity to change back into Superman and find the coast guard, telling them something is happening on Moose Island. Meanwhile, Jim has obtained a recipe from his aunt and sees that the handwriting does not match the letter inviting him or the note asking for help (which match each other). Then, Alice gives Jim another note from Louisa saying Alice will guide Jim to meet her (Louisa) later and to be careful. Jim then leaves the house to go looking for Clark, but can't find him. Unfortunately, Mack and Chris see he's snooping around, and when Jim goes into the cave in his search for Clark, they subdue him with some brief fisticuffs, then pull a lever that makes prison bars lower, trapping him. Because the tide will eventually come in, Jim's fate is seemingly sealed.

As the criminal trio of Chris, Mack, and "Louisa" have dinner, they hear the coast guard ship coming. The men go to try to hold them off, planning on shooting the ship's gas tank, and they tell "Louisa" to blow up the lighthouse if neceessary. "Louisa" is concerned because Alice is there, but they don't care, and she doesn't object further.

Superman pulls open the prison bars to save Jim

Superman is still with the coast guard ship, but they're struggling due to the fog. Superman starts guiding them with his vision powers. However, he also hears Jim's cry for help and promptly rescues him, despite some feeble attempts from Mack to stop him with trifles like a falling boulder and knife to the chest. Superman then makes sure Jim is OK, and explains that Chris, Mack, and "Louisa" are smugglers using the lighthouse and caves to hide their operations, and that of course, "Louisa" is a phony.

Jim stands with Louisa

We cut back to the house where the fake Louisa is sitting forlornly at the table, when suddenly the real Louisa emerges with a pistol and instructs Alice to tie up the impostor. Jim emerges and Louisa explains the criminals imprisoned her in the lighthouse for weeks, the faker is her former housekeeper Mrs. Carmody, and the criminal Chris is not the same as her real son Chris. The coast guard, accompanied by Clark and the handcuffed criminal Chris, then come in. We hear a final cry of "Help! Help! I'm drowning!", but it turns out it was Louisa's pet parrot Peter all along.



Jim peers out the window to see the lit-up lighthouse

The Haunted Lighthouse is a fun episode with a nice atmosphere, making use of darkness more than the average episode (I especially like the shot where Jim is in the dark room looking out the window at the lighthouse). In terms of quality and general feel, it's pretty standard for this time in the series. What's less standard is the fact that very little of the episode takes place in Metropolis, and even more unusually, Lois Lane and Perry White don't appear at all - Clark and Jim are the only main characters to be featured. Even the fact that the main characters are reporters barely comes into play. This may seem a little weird considering it's the second episode of the entire show, but considering the very episodic nature of the series, I assume this wasn't much of a consideration. Like most episodes of the show, there's some cheesiness and contrivances, but it doesn't seem to affect my enjoyment much, and the characters still feel mostly natural.

Clark smiles when he hears Jim is calling him

I have to be honest, not a lot is coming to mind when it comes to things to say about this episode. I don't have any major complaints, but it's not as though it's one of my favorites - it's just a good episode. A lot of this is probably down to the fact that less of the cast appears. But it's still an enjoyable experience and focusing on Jim for an episode is pretty nice. One of my favorite parts of the episode was the real Louisa's personality - she's a real firecracker. I also thought it was endearing when Jim called Clark and Clark's face instantly turned into a big grin when he realized it was Jim.

Peter the parrot

If I have to make a complaint about this episode, it's that it's a little lame that the mysterious haunting voice was just a parrot and it doesn't really have anything to do with the rest of the plot. But I can't say I really care that much.

Overall, it's good. That's the bottom line.

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