Con Yvonne…

From Fotogrammas.es; 25/04/2017

“Behind Superman’s outfit was a Super-woman. That was Yvonne Blake, the current president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Spain. She was the one who designed the superhero costume for the movies directed by Richard’s Donner and Lester, and originating from the comic-book character created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster .

‘The Superman Costume’ is a short film by the Algecirian filmmaker Juan Manuel Díaz Lima, who reveals the in’s and out’s of the creation of the Man of Steel’s dress through its own creator.

The costume designer has four Goya awards (‘Remando al viento’, ‘Canción de cuna’, ‘Carmen’ and ‘El puente de San Luis Rey’) and won an Oscar for the film ‘Nicolás and Alejandra’ in 1971.  She has also been part of the technical team of productions such as ‘Fahrenheit 451’, ‘Robin and Marian’, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, ‘Don Juan in the Underworld’ and ‘The Goya Ghosts’ among many others.

The Documentary also includes interviews with directors, film critics, seventh art scholars and experts on Krypton’s most famous inhabitant who serve to contextualize and understand the fascination with the designer’s work. Among the personalities are: Jesús Palacios, Antonio Sánchez-Escalonilla, Carlos Díaz Maroto, Miguel Ángel Vivas, Jordi Claramonte, Raúl Álvarez, Manuel M. Velasco, Iskander López, Jorge Jiménez, Jordi Costa, Víctor Matellano and José Manuel Serrano Cueto.

DirectorJuan Manuel Díaz Lima holds a degree in Audiovisual Communication and Doctor from the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid. His filmography includes several documentaries and several fiction short films and director of several video clips.
‘The Superman Costume’ is a film financed with the support of the Community of Madrid by Creta Producciones SL, Veo Veo Producciones SL and Pasajes Invisibles SL.”

Debuting on the 19th week of the Short Film of the Community of Madrid, The Superman Costume, a new documentary apparently made without the authorisation or involvement of DC Comics or Warner Bros. seems to have passed right under the radar of the English-Speaking world.

Now a National treasure in her adoptive home country of Spain, legendary designer Blake has already been the subject of a book so it was only a matter of time before she herself made the transition to film, although precious little information about the picture itself seems available online.

With the subject matter obviously very dear to SUPERMANIA’s heart, a hand is extended to our Spanish readership for more information on this (or indeed a link where it can be watched) In the hope it may share some valuable revelations.  In the meantime, enjoy the excellent piece below written by Irene Velasco for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo ;

A self-respecting superhero cannot leave his wardrobe in the hands of anyone. And even less so when it comes to the definitive Superman. When the Man of Steel decided in 1978 to make the leap from the pages of the comic to the big screen actor Christopher Reeve needed one of the most reputed specialists in the world to take care of his wardrobe. A woman who had as an arduous mission to dignify, as much as possible, a garment that she herself recognised as quite ridiculous, composed of an electric blue suit with a large “S” printed on the chest accompanied by a cloak and Red underpants. Her goal was to make the grotesque combination work in the movies. She achieved it. This heroine is Yvonne Blake, who has made costumes for some 58 films (some as mythical as Jesus Christ Superstar), has dressed dancers and singers of numerous ballets and operas, has worked under François Truffaut , won An Oscar for best costume for the film Nicolas and Alexandra (1971), has four Goyas awards, has dressed legends the likes of Marlon Brando, Robert de Niro, Audrey Hepburn, Sean Connery, Ava Gardner and Elizabeth Taylor . Since July 2016 she is the president of the Spanish Film Academy.  A 76-year-old superwoman has led an exciting life. Aware that a hem, a stitching, or a tie could be more damaging to Superman’s image than the Kryptonite itself, Yvonne made it seamless. The Man of Steel’s suit she made for the film had, of course, the usual seams, but she managed to keep them well hidden and keep her superhuman reputation safe.  She also prepared Superman layers of 25 different fabrics, with the aim of getting the desired movement in each of the shots before the camera. But the biggest problem, she confesses, was to find the exact blue. “No doubt that was the most complicated,” reveals Yvonne as she pulls out of a large portfolio the original sketch of the figure, whose upper left corner still retains a sample of that happy fabric that cost him so much. The difficulty was that it was necessary that the patina was not too blue or too greenish to serve for the chroma-key, that technique in which certain scenes (especially those that require special effects) are rolled on a background.  But there were also other difficulties. “Christopher Reeve was very nervous, he was sweating a lot, and because his skin was very sensitive and he was immediately irritated, he could not use deodorant,” recalls Yvonne. Result: Superman appeared constantly in the armpits a very little dark patches, an unmistakable sign that the superhero transpired. “We solved the situation the only way we could: drying Christopher Reeve’s sweat stains with a hair dryer.”

 Marlon Brando is one of the actors that impressed me the most,” she says.. “He had a fantastic sense of humour, and he was not vain, on the contrary, in the first costume test he did not even bother looking at himself in the mirror, sating he would leave it in our hands.” She made a special cloth suit that reflected the light and made it look white, as if it radiated energy. “He told me that he had a hard time memorising the dialogue, and he often had to use large posters to remember his script, sometimes writing on his hand and sometimes directly off the forehead of the actress when she was off- camera.  He also said that this inability to memorise was what prevented him from doing theatre.

But before reaching the summit and making the mythical suit of Superman , Yvonne Blake had to go a long way from Salford, the northern city of England where he was born in 1941. “I have been very lucky in life but also a lot of push, I’ve always been ambitious. Once I had a goal in my head, I went for it,” She confesses…

L’Art de DC…

As a great editor once said – ‘Well if Paris is gonna go gablooey I want my best reporter right in the middle of it’ – and so SUPERMANIA brings you the lowdown on the gleaming new exhibition in France which opened to the public this week.

Quite out of nowhere and “In collaboration with DC Entertainment and with the participation of Warner Bros. Consumer Products, The Art Ludique Le Musee presents “The Art of DC – The Dawn of Super Heroes,” a unique world first exhibition that pays tribute to the story of DC and its iconic Super Heroes and Villains such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Joker at the origin of a true contemporary mythology. 

An original creation of the Art Ludique-Le Musée team, “The Art of DC – The Dawn of the Super Heroes”, unveils more than 250 original historical plates and more than 300 works of research from the cinema and many Costumes and genuine props from the films

We also present the authentic costumes created for the great DC movies such as the mythical costume worn by Christopher Reeve in Superman and the famous costume worn by Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman in the 1970’s…”

While this may be an all-new installation some of the artefacts shown may look familiar.  Indeed, the Superman costume (Top pic, on loan from WB archives) is the same one remounted from the 75th anniversary showcase at comic-con in 2013.

The Clark Kent ensemble, however (second pic) is more of a mystery and may be comprised of genuine suit pieces over a screenused Superman tunic completed with replacement glasses and hat.

The real finds here though are the miniature costumes for special effects flying models of Reeve & Kidder for the ‘Can you read my mind’ sequence in ‘Superman – The Movie’ (third pic).  These wonderful, intricate creations were never seen in the finished picture but remain a  testament to the ingenuity of the art dept. as the Superman costume, for example, is made form the same fabric as the full-size outfits.  Set in a glass case surrounded by hand-drawn storyboards, its as fine a collection of Super-movie history collected in one place you’re ever likely to see…

  • From  March 31, 2017 to September 10, 2017
  • Address : 34 Quai d’Austerlitz – 75013 Paris (metro station Gare d’Austerlitz, parking paying opposite)
  • Prices : 16.50 € (regular rate), 13.50 € (reduced rate), 11 € (children from 4 to 12 years or group +20)
  • Opening hours : Monday: 11:00 – 19:00, Wednesday: 11:00 – 19:00, Thursday: 11:00 – 22:00 – Nocturne, Friday: 11:00 – 19:00, Saturday: 8 pm, Sunday: 10 am – 8 pm

Most Iconic…

img_4998img_4976img_4979img_4968Taking its rightful place as the centrepiece in an exhibition charting a trio of cinematic Sci-Fi anniversaries, an original Superman costume stands proudly among selected screen used props currently showcased in Moyes’s Hall Museum UK.

Celebrating its 8th Sci-Fi Action exhibition in acknowledgement of 30 years of the Alien franchise, 40 years since the camera’s rolled on the original Star Wars and 50 years of Star Trek, the West Suffolk site is currently housing over 100 items of memorabilia from these enduring saga’s and more.

Described as ‘Perhaps the most iconic Movie costume of all time’ and on loan from Propstore, the Christopher Reeve Superman display has had somewhat of an upgrade since it was last seen in public at Covent Garden in 2012.  Although the costume remains the same combination of mis-matched tunic & tights last seen by SUPERMANIA on the Propstore tour, it has apparently been neatly re-mounted on the mannequin with a new \S/ shield base and the cape now sports its yellow patch – missing since the original display since its first appearance in 2010.  Stephen Lane himself told me he had the shield in storage the whole time (which accounts for its clean appearance) but had yet to re-attach it – making this the very first time the costume has been displayed 100% complete.

Superfan Andrew Hanton took the fantastic pics above and had this to say about his close encounter –

“My wife works in Bury St Edmunds and said she had seen a leaflet about a small sci-fi exhibition in Bury’s Moyse’s Hall Museum in the town centre.  I wasn’t too interested as I usually attend the big Showmasters Comicon events said ‘Mmm I don’t think I’ll bother’ – then she said ‘they have Christopher Reeve’s Superman suit on display!’ Well my reaction was ‘No way!!’
Sure enough it was true so the next day we drove to Bury to see the costume, when I walked in the room I couldn’t believe my eyes – it was a dream come true for me –  a Superman and in particular a Christopher Reeve fan since the age of 8 (I’m now 41). There it stood in a glass case and to top it off it was standing proud on a Christopher Reeve mannequin.
Although a little battered & bruised it looked amazing and to be up close to the real thing was overwhelming, the tunic was a little faded but for me that added to it, as the ‘S’ stood out vibrant in colour and proud.
We were allowed to take as many pictures and video it as we liked which was brilliant, apart from seeing this iconic suit for me it affirmed the authenticity of my ‘Super Costumes’ replica as I have to say mine is pretty damn close to the original which makes me even more pleased with it.
All in all a wonderful day and only £5 to get in – who’d of thought I’d get to fulfill a life long dream – seeing a Superman costume & in little old Bury St Edmunds…!”

The exhibition runs until Sunday November 13th so be quick if you want to share the experience of seeing it for yourself – click on the tab in the right hand column for details and be sure to leave comments here about your visit..!

Lot 774/983…

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Eubanks Entertainment & Memorabilia (Movie, Music, Sporting & Toys), 12th May 2016, 12:00pm

Lot 774
Description

Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987) Christopher Reeve leotard in pale blue stretch fabric with Superman logo to front, zip to back & four stud fasteners on shoulders to attach cape, label to inside, ‘ Bermans & Nathans, 40 Camden St, London NW1, Christopher Reeve 4913 Flying Superman IV ‘.

Provenance: A friend of the vendor worked on the set of the film.

Lot 983
Description

Superman – Acrylic crystal production used movie prop in the Fortress of Solitude scenes with Gene Hackman as he learns about his arch-nemesis Superman, and later in the film as Superman’s powers are taken away from him. approx 11 inches long.

Provenance: The vendors family have a long history of working on film sets in Elstree, Pinewood & Shepperton Studios. Her granddad was Bill Lowen (Rigger) & her father was Dave Lowen (Carpenter). This was given to the vendor as a gift from her father who worked at the Studios.

These two superior upcoming lots from the famed Surrey auction house represent the first original pieces of genuine Superman movie memorabilia on offer this year –

The ‘flying’ tunic (top three pics) is a great example of what distinguishes the Superman IV costume from the preceding films with its narrow bottom curve of the \S/ on the chest shield.  The lack of shorts also suggests (or harness vents) also indicate this tunic may have been used for bluescreen effects and its soiling indicates potential use for the climatic Moon battle…

Superb…

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SUPERMANIA brings you not one, but two firsts this week – an all-new series of posts on SuperFans and their collections and the first memorabilia showcase from the Salkind produced Superboy TV series from 1988 ever to be hosted on the site.
Collector and SuperFan Zach Curtis (above) volunteers his insights and shares his phenomenal collection of rarities and high-end costumes headlined by a screen-used costume (top) from the first season of Superboy and the original watercolour costume design (second pic – art by Matt Larson) from Disney Studios. Zach takes up the story below;

Zach thank you for taking the time to talk to SUPERMANIA about your superb collection. How long have you been collecting super-memorabilia and what drew you to it?

-I have been collecting Superman memorabilia since I was 13 years old and I just turned 23 this week! It’s hard to believe ten years have gone by so fast and that Superman has been a part of my life for almost half of it. I’ve always had collecting in my blood- I collected baseball cards and coins as a kid. It wasn’t until junior high school that those collecting passions shifted towards Superman after falling in love with the character through the TV show “Smallville”. I was obsessed with that show. I watched it religiously over and over again and then picked up a few comics and watched the Reeve movies. In no time at all, Superman was my guy.

What is it about the character (and which incarnation) appeals to you most and why? Do you tend to collect from a specific era?

Superman stands for truth and justice. In a world of increasing moral relativity and growing evil, Superman represents what is good about human kind. In the words of Brando’s Jor-El, “They are a great people Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way”. Superman represents the good inside each one of us, the potential of what we can be. It’s inspiring to me. I think perhaps the best representation of this is Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of the character which is why I especially love collecting 70’s memorabilia. Though I really collect from all eras to be honest, because it’s not about the actor for me, it’s what the character stands for.

What was the very first Super-item you remember having at an early age and what has been the most difficult piece to add to the collection as an adult?

My collection began with two items. Around the time I started really loving the character, one of my church youth pastors gave me a Superman toothbrush he had won at a white elephant gift exchange. That same weekend I went to an arcade and won a plush Superman figure and I looked at these two items together and thought “I think this is the start of a collection”.
As far as items that have continued to remain elusive to me, I have had trouble finding original props and costumes from “Smallville” for sale which got me initially hooked on the character. Many of the 1940s merchandising has also been especially hard to obtain.

You also work in the vintage toy field which must provide great opportunities to see and obtain all sorts of collectables. What rarities have you seen and what do you recommend as good investment opportunity to fellow collectors?

Yeah it’s a fun job. I’m currently a full time student at Cedarville University and will head off to the Ohio State University for dental school next fall. A few years ago I started my business “That Vintage Toy Guy” (Find me on facebook!) to help pay for my hobby and education! It certainly has got my foot in the door with every major toy dealer in the area, which is nice to have first dibs on some cool pieces. I have seen many rare items from nearly every toy line in my time in the business, especially browsing toy shows and conventions. As far as investing, I have two pieces of advice. 1) Always buy vintage. It will always be harder to find. 2) When you don’t buy vintage, buy Lego. Lego’s (especially superhero Lego’s like Superman and Batman) tend to double in value in just a couple of years.

Has experience given you a reliable eye for valuations? What is the most scarce article you’ve ever handled and/or the most expensive? What sources or websites do you use and trust?

Absolutely! I typically buy out over 100 toy collections per year which requires me to be up to date on values and scarcity of the vintage toy and collectibles market. I base my evaluations on completed eBay listings, certain price guides and books, but mostly my own experience and a wide variety of friends who have expertise in different areas. It’s nice to be able to make a phone call to the right person and get an immediate appraisal for the rare stuff.
The rarest item I have handled in regards to my business has to be a double telescoping mushroom tip Kenner Star Wars Darth Vader prototype. It’s one of three in the world and extremely valuable. I live near Cincinnati which is where the old Kenner Toys factory was located so I get rare Kenner items from time to time, including Superman prototypes. As far as the rarest Superman item in my collection (props and costumes excluded), there are several options to choose from. I recently acquired a 1940’s clerk badge for the “Superman Bread” program and it is one of only five in the world. I have a lot of 1940’s items as their scarcity makes the hunt more fun!

As this is a site dedicated to the classic Salkind Superman Movie series please give us both your thoughts on the movies and share with us your favourite items. Do you have any props from the films?

I just LOVE the Reeve films. They are fantastic and capture the essence of the character in a beautiful way. Superman IV is obviously a little hard to get through at parts, but I will still love it just because of Reeve. I also am not a huge fan of Superman sleeping with Lois in the Fortress in the second movie, it does not seem to fit his character well, but again the movies are overall fantastic!
Props and costumes from the Salkind movies are very pricey so that has hindered my ability to collect some of that merchandise….. yet. But I still have a few things. I have one of Reeve’s capes from Superman II and a collection of hand drawn story boards from the “Kneel before Zod” sequence which is one of the most iconic in my opinion.

And please do talk us through the John Haymes-Newton Superboy costume you recently obtained – it looks to be in splendid condition and the costume design is, to my knowledge, a world-first reveal. How did you secure this and what is it about Superboy that resonates with you?

This costume was actually at a pretty big auction house and I was fortunate enough to end up with the winning bid! The costume was originally obtained from a Superboy contact by Jim Bowers and then sold to Franco Tuscanini. Franco recently passed away and his collection made available to the market. Now I am honoured to house this amazing piece in my collection.
I have always loved the Superboy television series, but the main reason that I love the costume is because it is the closest thing to a true Christopher Reeve costume I can obtain and afford at the moment. The series was also produced by the Salkinds so the costumes were made remarkably similar to Reeve’s, in some cases even recycled. A Reeve costume in the modern market will sometimes break $100,000, but I was able to obtain this for a fraction of that cost. It displays well and remains a symbol to me of everything Superman stands for and his place in Hollywood history.

And is that Tom Welling’s red T-Shirt from Smallville I see in the bottom left hand corner? Where and when did this materialise and was it a challenge to get? How do you display and maintain such expensive items?

Yes. I mentioned earlier that it has been hard to obtain original Smallville props and costumes, but this is the one iconic piece I have been fortunate enough to make my own. This was first introduced to the collector market on screenused.com (one of the most reliable sources of screen used items on the web) and then actually popped up on ebay a while ago. The very hour it was listed I messaged the seller and worked out a deal with him. It included the COA and provenance.
Displaying my items varies depending on what the item is and the rarity of the particular piece. I am currently a college student that lives near school so my collection resides at my parents in my room there. I am fast running out of room so my displays are often jam packed and tight. I still do my best to make sure everything is well lit and protected though, and use frames, cases, and other protective measures. I also use heavy curtains to block out light that may cause fading. I bought a couple glass cases from IKEA and lighting from Lowes and have picked up acrylic cases from various other places as well. My most prominent and expensive pieces obviously get the most attention as well as pieces that mean the most to me.

Have you met many Superman celebrities face to face and gotten autographs? Who was your favourite and why? Was there any one living or dead you would really want to have met?

I’ve been really fortunate to meet a host of Superman celebs. I have met- Brandon Routh, Dean Cain, Sam Huntington, Michael Rosembaum, John Glover, Justin Hartley, Stacy Haiduk, Margot Kidder, and Laura Vandervoort just to name a few. Most of these I have met at the annual Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL. They have all been so nice it’s hard to pick a favorite. I would still LOVE to meet Erica Durance or Tom Welling from Smallville, and of course Christopher Reeve would be a dream if he was still alive.

And finally what is your ‘grail’ item from the Superman pantheon? Do you have it already? Given an unlimited budget what would be the first thing you would seek to add to your collection and why?

There are a couple pieces I would love to have, but the biggest hurdles are budget and actually tracking down the stuff. I would LOVE to own a significant costume of some kind from Erica Druance’s Lois Lane. And of course a Reeve costume would be fantastic. Action Comics #1 of course. A few years back the check that initially bought Superman from Siegel and Shuster went to auction, That would be pretty fantastic as well!

Zack Curtis, Thank you very much..!