Although SUPERMANIA’s long-standing relationship with Propstore has been going on for some years now, after last years bumper offering of incredible artefacts from all four Superman Movies It seemed there was no chance such a feat could be repeated. Indeed, after 40+ years, how many loft finds and shed discoveries from various former crew and/or family could there possibly be? No, the 2021 auction was surely the pinnacle of what remains of available Superman ephemera. The exquisite miniatures. The hairpieces, the crystals. Even Valerie Perrine’s iconic dress. After the last visit, we all shook hands and drove home with a sense of finality – how lucky were we to see these wonderful pieces before they were scattered across the world to their new custodians?
Well. Turn’s out joke’s on me.
Not content with having just as enviable a selection as last year, Propstore have gone one better by presenting a catalogue of fresh items in this years Entertainment Memorabilia Live Auction with a complete costume from the Salkind Superman trilogy as their premiere lot. While Propstore has seen many a Super-garment pass through their hands, rarely does a complete costume (below, on a finished display, no less) become available. And quite the example it is too, with the description revealing it to be a composition of screenworn items from all 3 films, presenting a unique opportunity to own a piece from each in the franchise.
Also for Reeve fans there is the 1:1 in flight model from Superman II, an autographed still and my personal favourite lot, the two Leather-bound scripts personally signed by Reeve and donated as a prize to UK TV show Multicoloured Swapshop, where the provenance on offer is about as comprehensive as can be.
Enjoy the preview video (top) courtesy of the Capedwonder Podcast where Jay Towers and I interview Propstore CEO Stephen Lane and look out for the upcoming video on the SUPERMANIA YouTube channel as we prepare to visit the Propstore office once again at the end of this month. Until then, I will keep any predictions about next years auction firmly in check…
Showmasters Collectormania finally came to Birmingham this month after a long absence from the UK Midlands. A show nestled somewhere between a Con and a Collector’s fair its consistent crowning achievement is the calibre of guests it manages to attract.
SUPERMANIA has attended the show for years, starting in arguably its best suited venue, Centre:MK, where such Super-Alumni as Jack O’ Halloran, Sarah Douglas and Brandon Routh would appear and later, in the Ill-judged transition to The MK Dons Stadium Marc McClure would be meeting and signing for a multitude of fans.
So it was with particular excitement that it was announced noneother than Helen Slater would be flying into the second city as this time there was an opportunity to have a picture taken together by a pro photographer so what better excuse to dust off the costume after Superman IV: Redux?
Every bit as demure and age-defying as the pics above suggest, Ms. Slater seemed totally unfazed by the many cosplayers who had donned the cape for the event and seemed flattered when complimented on her contribution to the Superhero genre – with her appearances in Smallville and the current Supergirl series being aired on the CW. The 10×8 selected for signing had been bought in advance (notice the flap hanging down beneath the armpits on a Chris Reeve cape!) and the result (top pic) was a very happy fanboy.
Next month marks a historic occasion in Super-Fandom as Showmasters have managed to do it again by assembling no less than all three supervillians from Superman II for the very first (and most likely last) time as Terence Stamp attends his first-ever Sci-Fi convention. SUPERMANIA will of course be there and will deliver a full report and hopefully a group photo! Stay tuned…
Now that the long-awaited team-up of the Man of Steel with the Maid of Might has finally made its successful screen debut, (albeit on television) SUPERMANIA goes once upon a time-warp to investigate just how & why the opportunity to do this some thirty years earlier on the big screen was lost.
With the latest addition to the collection of a second-draft script (Dated November 1982) produced by Alexander Salkind and written by David Odell, could the mystery of Christopher Reeve’s 11th hour decision to pull out (forcing last-minute script rewrites) be solved? Would the film have been better received had Superman remained part of the story as originally planned?
By late 1982 filming was concluding on Superman III with the general understanding that this would be the last of a ground-breaking, phenomenally successful movie trilogy. By part III, the saga was flailing in terms of concept and script quality and its star was also keen to move on to pursue other roles. Not yet ready to put their cash cow back out to pasture, however, producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind (cannily having made the deal for the rights to the entire Superman family back in 1976) decided to mount a spin-off series of pictures based on the adventures of Superman’s cousin Kara Zor-El. Supergirl.
With Jaws 2 and Somewhere In Time Director Jeannot Swarzc attached and Dark Crystal screenwriter Odell on script duties, to say nothing of a gargantuan budget for the time and the same talented team of SFX technicians the Salkind’s must have been assured of another blockbuster franchise…
Its surprising for a second draft just how much material made it unchecked into the finished picture – the plot, structure and dialogue in key scenes survived what would have been countless rewrites after Superman’s exit. So what of his role in the story? Evidently, the lack of a Superman forced the creation of the Omegahedron, the power source Kara pursues in the movie to save her home Argo City, from destruction.
Keen to capitalise on Reeve’s established audience to springboard their new, unknown star, Superman was supposed to be ready and waiting for Kara’s arrival so he could introduce her to a new world. As for insights into what made Reeve reject the script – arguably it may still have been to early to return to the part having publicly made his decision to retire but beyond that, the material presented here was, for want of a better word, garbage.
With all the rich story potential this opens up (to say nothing of Supergirl’s comic-book history) it seems incredible Odell produced such a confusing nonsensical mess based around the weak concept of ‘Magic’. The Superman here is not developed in any way and lacks the charm and warmth we associate with the character . In fact, Kal-El and Kara are afforded little time together to build any kind of relationship before Superman gets relegated to a bizarre sub-plot, abandoning Earth for- I kid you not – the ‘Planet of the Healers’ not to reappear until the end. His one big action scene, (the battle with the invisible Shadow Beast shot with Supergirl in the final cut) is played out exactly as in the film ‘Leave this place and do no harm!’ but renders him weak and powerless having been exposed to Selena’s spell.
This, alongside the odd Zoltar character (a confused self-involved artist – not yet the scenery-chewing incarnation he becomes) and Jody (not yet Lucy) Lane and poor Jimmy Olsen showing up in once scene do little to advance proceedings. Conversely, the Selena character is given a far more sinister background here as the newly-elected leader of an occult sect – but without the desire for the Omegahedron’s power she’s given no more motivation to take over the world than to win the affections of her dimwit gardener and destroy Supergirl in the process. Its possible the witchcraft illustrated here (including using a severed ear as a communication device!) made the producers nervous about appealing to a family audience so was diluted to the cringe worthy camp which it became.
In short, its not difficult to understand why the movie failed on so many levels and why Reeve was smart enough to turn it down. Today, as a cult curio if little else, Supergirl has its fans and is fondly remembered but hardly the cinematic titan it was intended. Had Odell adhered more to the science fiction aspect without fully embracing the fantasy elements (Innerspace/Outerspace? What?) we would surely have gotten a better take (a road the producers of the current Supergirl series have wisely taken) and who knows? A Super-sequel guest starring the Man of Steel may have been the premiere Super-Hero team-up we deserved…
From the top – Christopher Reeve & Helen Slater meet at a Premiere in 1984, Unpublished poster art by Lawrence Noble, Front cover and select script pages featuring Superman from Odell’s 132 page screenplay…