While looking through the early 1960s letters columns in Adventure Comics to see if anyone had written in to complain about the Superboy swipes (see previous post), I came across this missive:
I had never heard about an early 1960s Superboy pilot, so I did some searching and found it on YouTube:
As you can see, after an origin sequence, the story starts out with a young man who's embarrassed because his dad's occupation is a lowly doorman at the local movie theater. I particularly love the speech his dad (the terrific and forgotten actor, Ross Elliott) gives starting around 5:10 about how if he gets his son through college and into his chosen profession, he'll consider himself as successful as anyone his son knows.
But that's not why I decided to do this post. I realized as soon as I saw the opening sequence in the school that the basic plot was swiped from a comic that I had read recently. Since I've been working my way through the Adventure issues featuring Superboy, I assumed it was there. But it turned out to be another swipe from Superboy #49. Here's a scene from that comic:
As you can see, the focus in the comic is on Captain Joe's phenomenal memory, while in the TV pilot, he's working on becoming an artist. But in both cases he identifies the crooks. The robberies are slightly different, with the criminals stealing diamonds from the movie theater in the TV version, while in the comic they stick up a bank nearby.
Both stories end with the young boy satisfied that while a doorman's occupation may be mundane, his father is not. And both include a job offer for the dad that he turns down:
The other thing that is interesting in the pilot is the relationship between Clark and Lana. In the comics it was occasionally hinted that they were more than just friends, but more commonly Lana was just an annoying secret identity pest. In the TV show, it certainly appears that they are dating; note the way they're holding hands after class when they catch up to Jimmy at around 2:48 into the first part.
Here are the other two parts of the episode:
Update: Commenter Tmdess remembered the story being published yet again, and it didn't take me long to find it (with an assist from Commander Benson), in Superboy #88 (March 1961). As you can see, this story is even closer to the Superboy pilot, with the diamonds being stolen from the movie theater while Superboy is dealing with a crook shooting madly from a hideout. It even has the bit where Superboy makes replacement diamonds out of coal.
One thing I can't tell is whether this story is swiped from the TV pilot or vice-versa. Either way, it's pretty obvious that what we have here is a double-swipe from the Superboy #49 story. Here's a list of the other proposed episodes (which were written but never filmed). As you can see, there were other swipes from the comics planned. For example, Superboy's New Parents, which I discussed recently, would be another double swipe, and The One-Man Team was also published in Superboy #88: