Living The Dream…

20160716_16212020160715_14454220160715_14562620160716_085619Regular visitors to SUPERMANIA could be forgiven for noticing a lack of posts in the last few weeks but now we are back, and with exclusive coverage of the most significant and personally gratifying event this site has ever hosted.

As the sun sets on this years Milton Keynes International Festival #IFMKFest, a wide ranging celebration of culture and history within the city, the 10 day celebration closes this very evening with the big screen premiere of Director Richard DeDomenici’s Superman IV: Redux – Thirty years to the date of the UK release of Superman IV back in 1987.

This latest addition to the Redux Project, a bold experimental attempt to remake selected scenes from Hollywood blockbusters brought DeDomenici to the infamous locations used in 1986 by Cannon Films to shoot there some thirty years later. Keen to celebrate their small but fondly remembered involvement in Superman cinematic history, Milton Keynes Council lent their full support to Superman IV: Redux.

With years of research dedicated to the making, marketing and mayhem of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace it was only natural that the project would eventually come to my attention where I would admit to initially being sceptical.  However, as the casting call was open to all and the opportunity to access indoor locations was rare I decided to tag along for the audition process.

Never once did I anticipate or dream I would be cast as Superman/Clark Kent and embark on a short, but life-changing journey but that’s exactly what happened.

A full account of the events leading to, during and after the shoot will be uploaded to a permanent page on the site in the coming weeks.  I can’t wait to share my dream come true with you all…

From the top – Martin Lakin as Superman alongside actor David John Waterman, reprising his role as the Hot Dog Vendor from Superman IV, one of the many props reproduced for the filming of Superman IV Redux, Martin Lakin as Clark Kent in  the Avebury buliding, original location of the Daily Planet offices and Esther Webb exhibiting appropriate sass as Lois Lane…

Rated PG…

SIVPress1SIVPress2SIVPress3SIVPress4By 1987 the traditional bumper advertising manual was steadily being consigned to history.  Indeed, what began as a series of grand ‘Exhibitor Campaign Books‘ concluded with the above basic four-page leaflet.

SUPERMANIA gets back to good old-fashioned vintage ephemera with the fine vintage example reproduced in its entirety above.  For what was a modest campaign thanks to the low-key efforts made by Cannon Films, the poster and still sets made available by the National Screen Service are of immense quality (the UK Quad arguably the best variation of the poster with its bold silver title) and form a vital part of the SUPERMANIA collection.  Enjoy..!

Extra! Extra..!

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SUPERMANIA spins the world back to 1986 for yet another pictorial exclusive from the making of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace courtesy of actress Stephanie English.  A tenured performer appearing in numerous productions of the 70’s and 80’s, Steph shares her experiences of being a background artiste in the quick chat below…

Stephanie, thanks so much for talking to SUPERMANIA – can we start by asking you how you came to be involved in so many memorable movies & shows back in the 80’s and what exactly was your contribution?

I started doing films/TV in the early 70’s from being a model it was really just a transgression from one to the other as I started getting small parts as a model and it went on from there.

Can you tell us what a typical day for you as an extra/stand in would entail? What was the most memorable show you spent time on and why – were there any jobs you look back on as the best of them all?

A typical day on a film would be an early start around 6 to 7am then time spent waiting to have your hair and make up done and getting into costume – you have no idea what time you will finish and often no idea what you will be required to do.  My most memorable films I would say are Batman as the Gotham city set was amazing and Robin Hood as we spent many memorable weeks filming in the woods at Burnham Beeches.

And so to SUPERMAN IV – how and when were you approached by the production  company and were you excited to be a part of it?  Had you been a fan/seen all the SUPERMAN films up to that point?

I got the job on Superman IV through my agent – I had already worked on Superman II but the scene I did where we were being blown over by the super villains was cut out unfortunately.

How much time did you spend on the set and what were your specific scenes?  From your pictures its evident you were in Milton Keynes for the two major sequences where Superman flies down into the Train Station.  What was the atmosphere like and was seeing Christopher Reeve in flight as cool as it looked onscreen?

I worked one day Milton Keynes as far as I remember and I was an onlooker watching Superman flying in.  It was interesting to see how they did it and how well they made the area look like Metropolis.  I was in the crowd behind Superman when he walks to the podium to make his speech.

Speaking of Chris, you were also present for what would sadly be a cut scene at the London Hippodrome nightclub.  That picture of you together (Top) must be special to you.  Can you give us your impressions of working with him and how he came across as a person?

My memories of Christopher Reeve from the Hippodrome scene were that he was very nice – friendly and down to earth.  I remember him saying his feet were hurting as the shoes they had given him were too small..!

Stephanie – thank you very much..!!

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…

Toy Story…

IMG_3940-001IMG_4078IMG_3947IMG_4084An American Toy Story
19 March – 30 October 2016

Just like the films that inspired the toys and collectables in our new exhibition, An American Toy Story promises to be a real blockbuster!

This exhibition explores the huge impact that movie-licensing had on toy production and the way we play. A collection of vintage treasures and modern classics, spanning over 100 years, is on display together for the very first time. Whether you’re a Disney princess or the next James Bond, you’re certain to find something to delight you in this show.

Exhibition highlights include;

Iconic early-twentieth-century celebrity dolls, including Charlie Chaplin and Shirley Temple
Classic movie posters
Early Disney toys, including a rare 1930s Donald Duck
A collection of vintage James Bond toys
Favourite toys from the Science-Fiction films of the 1980s
Superman costume worn by Christopher Reeve
An interactive room with dressing up and photo zone

Press Release;

This spring and summer, the major exhibition at the American Museum in Britain is An American Toy Story. It will appeal to avid cinema fans as well as families looking for an interesting day out, as it tells the story of the toys and games that inspired – and were inspired by – popular films.

As well as showcasing movie props, vintage toys, and memorabilia from various famous films – including James Bond, Star Wars, Snow White, Mickey Mouse, Frozen, and Toy Story – the exhibition will also give visitors the chance to take part in various interactive activities, a stop-motion animation zone, and the chance to dress up as film characters.

Exhibits will include well-loved toys displayed alongside mint-condition treasures from film buffs’ collections. Donald Duck and Shirley Temple dolls from the 1930s will appear alongside the ET Extra-Terrestrial video game from 1982; 1970s Early Bird Deal and Millennium Falcon toys can be contrasted with Buzz Lightyear 1996 action figures; and more recent films such as Frozen will be represented too.

Disney started early in the licencing and franchise business, but few other early film companies ventured into that arena as it was not seen as not very profitable. In 1977, there was a radical change when George Lucas struck his infamous deal with 20th Century Fox for a share of the merchandising rights for Star Wars. The money made from this deal exceeded box office takings and enabled Lucas to set up his own production company. It also heralded an era of film in which merchandise became both commonplace and also collectable.

Items on loan to the exhibition have come from a variety of sources ranging from children lending their beloved toys to serious collectors showing valuable and unusual pieces.

The exhibition will be open from 19 March – 30 October 2016 in the Exhibition Gallery.

Tuesday – Sunday, 12noon – 5pm. Gardens and café open from 10.30am.
Closed Mondays except during August and on Bank Holidays.

An inspired conception competently executed, this exhibit currently housed in The American Museum in Bath is sure to bring joy to children and a nostalgic misty eye to the parents.

SUPERMANIA was lucky enough to get these preview images of the Superman display as it was being installed, showing a very rare and complete costume from Superman IV: The Quest For Peace on loan from the V&A’s Hollywood Costume exhibit of a few years back.  Having just toured the world, this is a rare opportunity to see the only genuine Superman costume on display anywhere in the UK.  Unfortunately, the same restrictions on photography still apply and fans will also notice the cape has been re-mounted with the straps on the outside – Chief Curator Kate Hebert explains;

“I am aware that the Superman cape is mounted incorrectly. I am, alas, unable to correct this. The costume is a loan from the V&A Museum. They mounted the costume on the mannequin and we, as the borrowing institution, are not permitted to change it. I suspect that it has been mounted in this way for conservation reasons but I will contact them to confirm this…”

Regardless, set against a perfect backdrop and accompanied by arguably the greatest Superman action figure produced to date (Hot Toys) in such great surroundings this has all the makings of a memorable day out..!