Superman: The Animated Series 10th Anniversary
Celebrating 10 years...
The winner of the lengthy polls was a (welcome) surprise to many - The Late Mr. Kent! Edging out the competition, The Late Mr. Kent easily won the final poll. Read on below for exclusive comments from the shows writer, Stan Berkowitz!
"The Late Mr. Kent" - Review and Media
"The Late Mr. Kent" - Forum Talkback
Comments from episode writer Stan Berkowitz
I suppose I could claim that because it's been more than ten years, I don't remember much about "The Late Mr. Kent," but the truth is, since we usually work as a group, I often don't remember who contributed what to the various episodes I've worked on. And that goes for the ones I've worked on as recently as yesterday. As Bruce [Timm] has often remarked, everybody talks, everybody contributes things, and we quickly forget who said what. But this much I do remember:
The episode wouldn't have happened had it not been for Paul Levitz. He had a meeting with the writing staff back in '96 and he had lots of suggestions for story avenues. The one I latched onto was the concept of something happening in Clark's life that would affect Superman. What affects people more than death?
The film noir thing came about because I've always liked that genre. The first one I remember is "This Gun for Hire" which I saw on TV with my dad when I was a teenager. I spent many of my college years watching late-night noirs and took from them the concept of someone you think is dead not really being dead (Otto Preminger's "Laura," "The Third Man," among others).
The story beats were worked out with Alan [Burnett], who gets far too little credit for all the work he's done. We always spend a lot of time nailing down the outline, so that when it's time to write the script, we don't have to worry about plot points, and are free to concentrate on dialogue. "The Late Mr. Kent" was no exception. As far as making Bowman the killer – genre rules demand that the real killer be connected to the story somehow; so who else could it have been?
My original story had the witness to Clark's death being discredited not because he was near-sighted, but because he was delusional. I guess Alan must have thought that I was exploiting crazy people, because he went for the glasses thing. Once the script was done, Alan had an idea for a new ending -- which is now the ending that you've all seen. The censors didn't give us any problems with it because the actual moment of death is off-screen.
One more thing: my own favorite episode is Paul's first Mxy episode. One of the first things I read when I was hired was his outline for the episode, and I'd never seen such funny, elegant writing.