While I really wish the above were a new figure announcement from Hot Toys, it is in fact a fabulous piece of art illustrating what arguably should’ve been part of an abandoned DX release already.
Courtesy of SuperFan Michael Stribling comes this pitch-perfect manip of the MMS 152 Superman figure into Christopher Reeve’s bespectacled alter-ego in tailored Navy blue 3-piece pinstripe suit, screen accurate tie and horn-rimmed glasses. Accessories besides those pictured would possibly include briefcase, raincoat, alternate ‘shirt-ripping’ hands, one open hand (with caught bullet), copy of the Daily Planet with ‘Caped Wonder Stuns City‘ headline and best of all, Superman costume tunic under the shirt so the figure can be posed in ‘reveal’ mode.
Take this clear and simple brief, multiply by fan demand and there must be only one question remaining – Why haven’t Hot Toys made this yet…? Lets ask…!!!
Featured in the newest site of The London Film museum, Covent Garden is currently playing host to a treasure trove of cinematic artifacts including a rare opportunity to see the above as part of the Magnum On Set collection.
Originally on loan from the Propstore of London, this incredible exhibit was first unveiled in the County Hall site on the South Bank in 2010 (see my archived post) before being withdrawn some months later.
In the intervening years, however, there has been a curious revision that prompted a trip to view the display up close once again. Whereas the costume in County Hall was successfully screen-matched to specific scenes of both Superman: The Movie and Superman II, it was evident the costume tunic had been switched out for one arguably more instantly recognizable.
To clarify, all the Superman costumes were handmade and therefore share particular quirks as none were 100% the same. This costume, however, can be matched to a specific scene in Luthor’s Lair in Superman: The Movie and is clearly identifiable (despite two differing tunics being used in the same scene!) besides being used in promotional material (most notably in the Topps trading card sets as shown in the comparison above. The key identifier is the unique shape of the yellow triangle at the base of the chest shield giving the bottom curve of the \S/ its shape.
Quite why the top has been switched out is a mystery (as this is clearly a much older piece rightly showing its age and not a colour match to the tights) and there has clearly been amendments to the mannequin’s padding, making the body visibly more slender than before. The rest of the exhibit attributes (cape, boots, belt, etc.) appear unchanged.
The exhibition is in its closing weeks now so if you have an opportunity to go and see this genuine piece of Movie history I can’t recommend it highly enough. Vintage Superman costumes are becoming more rare in the public domain and it is unlikely we will ever see their kind (with such accurate provenance) again.
Further reading about the specifics of Christopher Reeve’s Superman costume will be available in the coming weeks with a updated version of my detailed analysis featured on the incomparable capedwonder.com where an extensive gallery of both the Propstore displays can be found…
UPDATE 12/09: Official Propstore feature on this piece here
(comparison pic courtesy of capedwonder.com & Chris King)
Sold only days ago by the Propstore Of London, the unique item shown above is not your typical example of movie memorabilia, nor is it a hand-me-down from a market-stall trader.
Gifted to ‘John’ for Christmas 1977, this coat is actually one of Christopher Reeve’s on-set casual jackets worn between takes both to cover his Superman costume and offer warmth against freezing nights on the Pinewood lot.
Watch any Superman ‘Making of’ documentary on Blu-ray/DVD to see Chris in a variety of coveralls during his tenure between takes – (pictured bottom is a similar jacket worn during the shooting of Superman II) consisting of coats and more often than not, a bright red dressing gown.
This particular offering is made all the more poignant by the accompanying handwritten letter on Superman production stationary by Reeve himself reading;
“Dear John –
This is by way of a present because
I don’t really know what you need and
I hate to give useless things –
Anyway Merry Christmas and
thank you for being a friend.
With such great provenance the jacket sold within hours of being listed, possibly not on the strength of the item (fine example though it is) but by the story behind it proving that even Superman needs a friend…