Little-known sci-fi fact: How a Superboy TV show was killed by cereal

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Mar 31, 2014, 2:28 PM EDT (Updated)

A Superboy TV series almost happened, but a cereal company got in the way. How?

The popular Adventures of Superman TV series starring George Reeves as the titular hero ended in 1958, but it was still airing in syndication in the early 1960s. The reruns of the show were sponsored by the Kellogg's cereal company, which had a longstanding relationship with Superman media produced by what was then still called National (now DC, of course) Comics. Kellogg's sponsored the Superman radio show, used Superman's likeness in ads for its products and served as an important sponsor during The Adventures of Superman's original TV run. 

In 1961, National Comics set out to build on the success of its Superman TV show with a Superboy TV show and produced a pilot for the series. It seems like Kellogg's would be a natural sponsorship fit for such a show, but the company was still on board as a sponsor of the syndicated Adventures of Superman and couldn't afford to do both. With Kellogg's tied up, National Comics went in search of other sponsors for the Superboy show and wound up landing a Kellogg's rival, the Wheaties cereal company. 

Kellogg's, naturally, wasn't pleased with the idea of another Superman-themed show appearing on TV with a direct competitor's name stamped on it and voiced its concerns to National. National had to drop the Wheaties sponsorship and couldn't find another company to step in as a replacement. So the Superboy show died, leaving us with one less live-action interpretation of a DC Comics hero.

(Via Brian Cronin/CBR)