Gentleman’s Cape Cont’d…

DSC_1961DSC_1991DSC_1957DSC_1966Taking full advantage of Propstore’s kind permission to examine their original Superman costume in detail gave us the opportunity to inspect the most minute details.

For anybody yet to have seen/spent time with any original prop or costume you may be surprised just how primitive and thrown together they are in reality.  For example above is a few macro shots of the Superman costume revealing the stitched in cape padding and poppers at the shoulders, the slits made to accommodate the flying harness, the spray-paint job on the belt buckle and the stitched in supports for the \/ notch in the boot.  On film under studio lighting, none of these details would be visible and the suit would appear pristine, such is the magic of Hollywood…

Superheirloom…

superman7superman8superman10superman9Another fascinating exhibit featured in the recent ‘Superheroes’ display at Indianapolis Children’s Hospital is this cape pertaining to be screen-used wardrobe from Superman: The Movie.  Keen eyes will perhaps notice something strange about this particular piece in regard to the proportions and conclude that the distance between the shield and the hem is way too short.

While it would be easy, then, to dismiss this as mere replica two things lead me to believe it is not and that its history may be even more colourful.

Firstly, thanks to SuperFan James Sawyer’s clear photography it becomes apparent in higher resolution the weave in both shield applique and cape body fabric are a match to other screen-used wardrobe and secondly, according to James there were slits in either side of the cape at waist level, the purpose of which he was unsure of.

All of which leads me to speculate that this is indeed a Christopher Reeve worn ‘flying’ cape that had survived use in the original ’78-’83 trilogy only to have a quarter of its length hacked off for use in Supergirl. 

As we know, all production-made Superman capes were catagorized for use by their state of degradation.  Therefore what would start as a ‘Hero’ or ‘Walking’ cape would wind up being used as ‘Effects’ or ‘Stunt’ capes depending on their condition throughout filming.  We also know they were maintained on-set and in many instances ‘remade’ to enure their longevity.  This process was used throughout the Superman series and clearly later on in Supergirl  where surviving examples were adjusted as noted above…

Many thanks to James for use of his pics and bringing this great discovery to my attention..!

Care To Step Outside..?

DSC_1987DSC_1978DSC_1984DSC_1980Presenting the first of a series of posts coming to you directly from an exclusive tour of the Propstore Of London!

The editors of SUPERMANIA, A Tribute To Christopher Reeve and the No Wires Facebook page came together this past week and were given unprecedented access to the huge archive of original props and material currently on display/for sale at the UK office.  Though the facility is a fanboy paradise in its own right (with treasures from decades of movie magic too numerous to even list here) we had been granted special permission to examine one of the showcase pieces of the Propstore collection – an original and authentic Superman costume.

It was during the walkaround of one of the Propstore’s many storage areas when Sebastian Columbo noticed something familiar stood high on a wooden shelf nestled anonymously among other pieces such as the Alien Queen maquette and simply stated ‘Boots’.  I asked one of the helpful assistants to fetch the items down for us to see and once the cloud of dust had dissipated, sure enough we all stood in wonder looking at the costume pieces shown above.

Unconvinced at first due to the zips being visible on the rear, I peeked inside and instantly noticed the faded inscription inside reading ‘Stamp’, then noticed the label dangling from the left boot (second pic) and it was confirmed – we were looking at General Zod’s original boots.

As we had been given permission to photograph the Superman costume I asked if the boots could come along too, which our guide (General Manager Tim) was happy to arrange.  Later as we were snapping away Alexei paused to look at the boots and noticed something odd – ‘They’re red’ he kept saying.  Convinced Superman’s cape was reflecting on the black PVC I suggested we took them out into the daylight for a better look…

The debate regarding the Phantom Zone villain’s all-black uniforms really opened up with the release of Superman II, The Richard Donner cut where during some scenes, the shiny accoutrements of the trio’s costume indeed seemed to be metallic red.  SUPERMANIA can confirm that incredibly, in a similar fashion to the Superman’s costume’s ability to change colour with light, General Zod’s boots follow the same principle.  I have no idea how this was achieved but as the (third & fourth) pics show, Yvonne Blake’s customary alchemy is still in full effect…

Our sincere thanks go to Tim, Stephen and the Propstore crew for their kindness and generosity.  View the official listing for the boots here – as of this writing, they are still available to own…