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..!

 

99 Cards..!

S U P E R M A N I A  ‘7 8

W E L C O M E S  Y O U  T O  2 0 1 6 !

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DSC_1284DSC_1279DSC_1278After a two-month hiatus, SUPERMANIA returns from the confines of the Xeno Galaxy with the long-overdue result of a fantastic collaboration in hand…

The product of years of diligent research, design and copy writing, this fan project has finally come to fruition and fulfilled its original brief – to plug a big hole in Superman collectable history.

Never officially produced for reasons still unknown, this Topps style Superman IV: The Quest For Peace Movie Picture Card series has been created from scratch using rare images compiled from the SUPERMANIA, Capedwonder.com and A Tribute To Christopher Reeve‘s joint collections to fill the void and illustrate the story of the longest, uncut version of the film as originally intended over 99  cards.

Considerable effort was made to give this set as authentically vintage appearance as possible to compliment the prior collections in the series perfectly and be indistinguishable in presentation and quality from any official release from the era (second pic) from the traditional title card (top pic) to the accompanying story breakdown on the reverse (incorporating all deleted scenes).

This full base set (Note: Stickers will be a future project) concludes with a special hand-numbered preview card (note; ‘AP’ Artists Proof) of the unmade feature Superman V (third pic, for fun as if the movie series were to continue) for this strictly-limited run of 50 sets (to tie in with Superman’s 50th anniversary at the time).

SUPERMANIA highlights that this is simply a wish fulfilment fan-art project and does not intend to infringe copyright in any way.  However, should you wish to learn more about the collection, feel free to leave comments below and an email address should you require more information…

Grant Meets…

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SUPERMANIA is proud to present an exclusive interview with a man who, as a boy, was very lucky to be in the right place at the right time and wearing the right outfit.

The short but sweet clip above very recently uploaded to YouTube after 28 years is a segment from the UK’s BBC1 children’s breakfast show ‘Saturday Superstore’ presented by DJ Mike Read.  1987 would be the final season of the show where most celebrities of the day would appear and be subjected to all manner of questions from a kids phone-in, with often hilarious results.

In town shooting the final scenes for Superman IV: The Quest For Peace was Christopher Reeve, who, spotting a youngster wearing a Superman costume, selected young Grant Curran to accompany him during his interview.  Grant himself takes up the story from here…

Grant, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to SUPERMANIA. Your video is superb and you were so lucky to meet the man himself but when and where did this occur and how did you come to appear on television…?

It was on Saturday 17th January 1987 when I went to the BBC Studio in London as I had heard Superman was being interviewed live on Saturday Superstore. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of him and get his autograph if I was very lucky. I just went up to him to and the next minute he walked onto the set taking me with him. The rest is as you will see in the video.

How old were you at the time and were you as big a Superman fan as you appeared? Had you seen all the films up to that point and what was it about them you liked most?

I was 7 years old and Superman mad ever since I can remember. I had seen all the films lots of times. My favourite was Superman II. I knew them all off by heart. I think my favourite scene is where Zod screams after having his hand crushed and also when Clark spins Rocky around in the chair at the restaurant at the end of Superman II.

You are stood with Christopher Reeve in a Superman costume and he seems to take to you very well – had you met backstage before that moment or was it live as seen?

I was already wearing my Superman costume when I arrived. No we had not met backstage before. It was Christopher Reeve that took me with him and as you can see from the look on my face I am overwhelmed and stunned to say the least. I don’t think I realised quite what was happening until I saw Mike Read.  After the show when Christopher Reeve came out backstage I thanked him and he posed for a photo with me.

You appear remarkably composed for meeting somebody so world-famous at the time – what do you remember about Chris himself and did he say anything else to you off-camera? Did he have interaction with any of the other kids?

I think that was because he was such a genuinely nice guy. I always remembered that he said ‘he would take me flying sometime’. He chatted to the other kids on the show as they were asking him questions.

The footage is remarkably clear for a vintage video recording if that is indeed the source – if not where did it come from and and was it difficult to obtain?

All I can say is that it is a professional copy which I tracked down relatively easy recently as my original video recording back in 1987 was damaged.

Today you are a father yourself – are you still a Superman fan and did meeting Chris back in the day influence your life in any way?

I am still as big a fan as I ever was and have passed this onto my daughter. We both have Superman t-shirts and watch all the films together.

I have never forgotten the experience of meeting Christopher Reeve. He made me feel so special and by him calling me ‘superman’ I thought I could do anything. It still remains the most amazing memory and I consider myself to be very lucky indeed.

Grant, thank you so much for talking to us..!