Adventures of Superman (1952–1958)
4 user 2 critic

Panic in the Sky 

Superman rams a giant asteroid on a collision course with Earth. The impact causes the asteroid to now orbit the planet. However, Superman is staggered as he returns to Earth. He manages to... See full summary »


Thomas Carr


Jackson Gillis (screenplay)




Episode cast overview:
George Reeves ... Superman / Clark Kent
Noel Neill ... Lois Lane
Jack Larson ... Jimmy Olsen
John Hamilton ... Perry White
Robert Shayne ... Inspector Henderson (credit only)
Jonathan Hale ... Prof. Roberts
Jane Frazee ... Farmwoman
Clark Howat ... Professor Roberts' Assistant
Tom Moore ... Shop Owner (as Thomas Moore)


Superman rams a giant asteroid on a collision course with Earth. The impact causes the asteroid to now orbit the planet. However, Superman is staggered as he returns to Earth. He manages to change back to Clark Kent (apparently a reflex action) but doesn't remember who he is. Meanwhile, the orbiting asteroid still presents hazards for Earth. Only Superman can place an explosive device that will demolish the asteroid -- and no one, including Clark, knows where Superman is. Written by Bill Koenig

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

collision course | detonator | See All (2) »







Release Date:

5 December 1953 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode was later adapted as a comic story, "The Menace from the Stars!" in World's Finest #68 (January 1954) and remade as episodes of Superboy (1988) and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993), Superboy: Superboy... Lost (1990) and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman: All Shook Up (1994) respectively. See more »


As the amnesiac Clark lies in his bed, Jimmy, Lois and Perry visit him. He isn't wearing his Clark Kent glasses, but though each of them has met Superman many times, no one recognizes him with his glasses off. See more »


Jimmy Olsen: That's exactly what I meant before. It zoomed right past Venus and Mars didn't it? Just because a big thing runs wild and gallops all over the solar system doesn't mean it's going to hit us.
Lois Lane: I know Jimmy, I know.
Jimmy Olsen: Still it does seem funny we can't see it anymore.
See more »


Referenced in Justice League Unlimited: Panic in the Sky (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

unquestionably the best episode
19 September 2013 | by grizzledgeezerSee all my reviews

Over the past 25 years there's been a shift in the quality of TV and motion-picture programming. TV shows have generally gotten better, while movies have gotten worse.

The improvement in TV shows was particularly noticeable in fantasy and science-fiction. For example, "Hercules: the Legendary Journeys" and "Xena -- Warrior Princess" were treated largely as dramas, with believable characterizations and plausible interpersonal interactions -- that is, they were primarily character-driven, rather than plot-driven. Though there was plenty of action, the stories were /not/ generally built around having the hero step in and resolve problems by force. This /was/ the basic plot line of most "Adventures of Superman" episodes. *

"Panic in the Sky" was a welcome change. Superman has a terrible problem that can't be solved with his super powers. And that's what elevates this episode above all the others. (The "Lois & Clark" remake -- "All Shook Up" -- is atrocious. It quite misses the point of the original.)

George Reeves was not a "great" actor (though anyone who could hold his own against Claudette Colbert deserves respect), but he is completely convincing. It's impossible to think of George Reeves -- who belongs near the top of a short list of beloved actors -- without wanting to cry.

George, we didn't love you because you played Superman. We loved you because your basic goodness and decency were always visible. X-ray vision was never needed.

* Though the first-season episodes mostly follow this pattern, it would be unkind and ungracious not to recognize their distinctive noirish atmosphere. Produced by Robert Maxwell, they are strictly adult in their sensibilities, not at all kiddie fare. They are often quite violent and sometimes just plain nasty, suggesting John Meston's "Gunsmoke" scripts. ("The Stolen Costume" and "The Evil Three" would rightly receive a TV-14 rating.) Considering just the first season, "Adventures of Superman" remains one of the all-time-great TV series. (Yes, I'm ranking it with "The Sopranos", "Deadwood", "Breaking Bad", "Rocky & Bullwinkle", etc.)

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