Hollywood Kryptonite: The Bulldog, the Lady, and the Death of Superman

Sam Kashner, Author, Nancy Schoenberger, With St. Martin's Press $21.95 (207p) ISBN 978-0-312-14616-0
When George Reeves, who had achieved international fame by playing Superman for five years on TV, was found dead by gunshot in 1959, the death was officially recorded as a suicide. According to Kashner and Schoenberger (A Talent for Genius), however, unanswered details about Reeves's demise shroud what in truth was foul play. In this page-turning hybrid of bio and murder mystery, the authors entertainingly pick at the loose ends and point their pens at a killer. Reeves, they show, was hardly as wholesome as his TV image implied. His life was filled with hard-drinking men, manipulative women, mafiosos and a career that plummeted like a comet after The Adventures of Superman went off the air. The authors set down this B movie-style tale with hard-boiled relish. They introduce archetypal sleazebag characters with an entertaining terseness--""Eddie was a tough guy with a heart of tungsten""; ""Leonore Lemmon wore the reddest lipstick in New York""--that occasionally veers into cheap Hammett imitations. The well-articulated backdrop of low-budget TV production only enhances the cheesy milieu, however. By laying out Reeves's life before solving the mystery of his death, the authors present the equivalent of a crisp black-and-white TV docudrama, and manage to evoke all the irresistibly creepy nostalgia of a bygone era. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1996
Release date: 10/01/1996
Genre: Nonfiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 320 pages - 978-0-312-96402-3
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