Johnny Rockwell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Johnny Rockwell (born in Pennsylvania in 1944) is an American actor. He was the first actor to play the role of Superboy, in the pilot for the proposed series The Adventures of Superboy (1961).

Superboy pilot[edit]

The Superboy pilot was created and produced by Whitney Ellsworth, producer of the classic 1950s television series The Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves. This was Ellsworth’s second attempt to revive the Superman franchise; the first was in 1957, when he produced a pilot for The Adventures of Superpup, a series aimed at young children in which actors (all of whom were little people) wore oversized dog masks.

The Superboy pilot was shot in B&W, and 13 scripts were written in anticipation of the show being picked up. Rockwell had been working at the Ziv/UA studios when he heard about the proposed series. He approached Whitney Ellsworth for an audition and was eventually cast in the role.

Because of changes in the first-run syndication market, the proposed series was deemed too expensive; thus, it was not picked up for distribution, and the remainder of the 13 scripts were never filmed.

Other Roles[edit]

Rockwell had studied acting with Agnes Moorehead at 20th Century Fox. Later he appeared in a minor role in the Playhouse 90 production of The 80 Yard Run (1958) starring Paul Newman. Based on Newman’s recommendation, Rockwell moved to New York to study acting with Sandy Meisner. In addition to his dual role of Superboy/Clark Kent, Rockwell appeared in As Young as We Are (1958) starring Ty Hardin, Please Don't Eat the Daisies (film) (1960) with Doris Day and Bus Riley’s Back in Town (1965) with Ann-Margret. His other credits include appearances on Ozzie and Harriet and Dobie Gillis, both on television.

Rockwell continued to act professionally until 1967. In the 1970s Rockwell became a friend of Hugh Hefner and lived on and off at the Playboy Mansion from 1972 to 1978.


"Superboy and Superpup: The Lost Videos" written by Chuck Harter and published by Cult Movies, © 1993.