‘I Love Lucy’: Why Lucille Ball Didn’t Credit George Reeves as Superman

by Madison Miller

Back in 1957, two superheroes joined forces on the silver screen — Superman and Lucille Ball.

On January 14, 1957, the “I Love Lucy” episode titled “Lucy and Superman” aired for millions of viewers at home. The episode is about Lucy and her many attempts to outcompete her friend and equal-parts-nemesis, Carolyn Appleby. Both are throwing their kids birthday parties, but Lucy wants Little Ricky’s to stand out against Appleby’s.

‘I Love Lucy’ and Superman Credits

Lucy finds out that Superman is in town and tries to get him to come to Little Ricky’s party to outshine the rest. Unfortunately, Superman is too busy to make the party. In a very Lucy fashion, she instead dresses up as Superman and shows up at the party.

Like in almost every episode of “I Love Lucy,” Lucy gets herself into trouble. She ends up being saved by no other than the real Superman himself. The real Superman was played by George Reeves. When it comes to picking a Superman for “I Love Lucy,” the show couldn’t have picked a better person.

This is because Reeves was starring in the popular television program “Adventures of Superman” at the time. He had his superhero role from 1952 to 1958. For viewers at home, Reeves was the “real” Superman.

In fact, this is why “I Love Lucy” writers and producers decided not to credit Reeves during the episode. Stars on “I Love Lucy” were credited at the end with a voice-over, not a printed scroll. According to Mental Floss, Ball was adamant about not spoiling the belief in superheroes like Superman for younger children. For some people, Superman was real and Lucille Ball and others didn’t want to take that wonder away.

She was thinking of her two kids at home that loved and believed in superheroes. Although Reeves was credited on his own show, that was in writing. That means kids who couldn’t read had no idea.

This is why George Reeves is not credited at the end of the episode like other guest stars.

Keith Thibodeaux and Superman

When it comes to sweet connections to Superman, Little Ricky himself (played by Keith Thibodeaux) remembers that episode fondly.

Thibodeaux remembers being enthralled by actor George Reeves when he showed up to the “I Love Lucy” set. Similar to other kids, just like Lucille Ball thought, Thibodeaux really thought Reeves was Superman.

He said in an Archive of American Television interview from 2005 that he knew Reeves was an actor. On the other hand, it was still hard to separate him from his Superman identity. This “I Love Lucy” episode remains his favorite.

“That was probably my personal favorite because George Reeves was my personal hero. And here he was coming, on my birthday on the show, and I got to meet him,” Thibodeaux said.

The two got to meet before filming and he couldn’t get over that awestruck feeling he had. He was only 7 at the time.

“He’s Superman, I mean he’s just Superman! Here I am, I’m an actor and he’s an actor. I know he’s an actor and we’re all actors, but I’m thinking, ‘This guy’s really super! I shook hands with him and he’s Superman!’” he said.