In celebration of Superman’s 75th birthday, SUPERMANIA looks back at a special moment in the character’s history where the comic book and movie world briefly collided –
Well publicised and a considerable coup for DC Comics at the time, the ‘Great Superman Movie Contest’ would boost sales whilst adding momentum to the hype surrounding the upcoming Superman Movie.
With blurbs across the whole range of DC Comic Books proclaiming “YOU could be in the SUPERMAN MOVIE!” offering no less than a set visit and a role in the picture, it was probably unsurprising the response was unprecedented. Indeed, lucky young contest winners Tim Hussey and Ed Finneran were picked from entries numbering in the tens of thousands before eventually appearing in the movie as members of the Smallville football team.
Keen to repeat the success of the contest, a second one was launched with less furore but a far greater challenge – 25 questions with answers culled from two months worth of DC Comics titles. 1st Prize this time? Christopher Reeve’s screen-worn cape.
Far from deterring the readership, once again the response was huge and the story behind the winner selection is fascinating. But don’t take my word for it – read the account of somebody that was actually there on Bob Rozakis fantastic blog…
From the top; Original ad with terms & conditions for entering ‘The Second Superman Movie Contest, Limited Edition of Action Comics Issue #1 as read in the DC Offices by Christopher Reeve (bottom collage – does that make this issue a prop??) The Superman: The Movie Collectors Album (brandished by excited DC employees for Reeve to sign, 1st pic of collage, bottom) and collection of rare stills from Reeve’s visit to the DC Offices presenting his cape as the prize and selecting the winner…
More never before seen behind the scenes prints from the SUPERMANIA collection on location with Superman IV: The Quest For Peace.
The decision to shoot the entirety of the fourth installment in the Super series in the UK was especially convenient for star Christopher Reeve, who was living in fashionable Chelsea at the time. Having struck a two-picture deal with Cannon Films, Reeve was fulfilling his contractual obligation with Superman before he could work on a more personal project, Street Smart.
As Reeve’s family was also based in England the star had them along on the shoot (bottom pic with Matthew, Alexandra and Mother Gae) and as second unit director, managed to get both of his children in the Tornado rescue scene.
Also on-set was Special Effects supremo John Evans, (third pic down, right with blue sweater and mustache) who would go on to create ‘those wonderful toys’ seen in WB’s Batman feature only three years later…