“Battersea Power Station, London, England 1982 –
As shown in the TV Special ‘The Making Of Superman III’, the conclusion of the movie is shot at one of the capital’s most iconic landmarks just before its decommissioning after supplying a fifth of the city’s power for decades.
Swaggering onto set in a bright red towelling robe, star Christopher Reeve meets & greets before being consulted about a new flying rig being trialled for an upcoming shot. Stuntman Mark Stewart is strapped into a seesaw-like contraption that elevates him simply by applying the weight of two men the opposite end. The result is admittedly unimpressive, and Reeve dismisses it as ‘useless.’ Stewart offers that it might be better for landing than taking off and Reeve walks away, literally leaving Stewart hanging. Later, an even more primitive solution of a wooden board is employed to bring Reeve and co-star Richard Pryor back down to Earth.
The highlight of the day, however, overlooked by bemused Power Station staff is Superman’s flight to exit the scene, to be achieved with the assistance of the Flying Unit and a large crane. Tenured SFX technician Bob Harman snaps the hooks onto Reeve’s harness as he’s done so many times previously while cinematographer Robert Paynter (top pic, far right) lines up the shot. Pre-flight checks done, the giant pulley is turned and Reeve gracefully ascends, banking over the skyline before saluting the ground crew. Below, Stunt double and friend Paul Weston shouts “180!” though the megaphone to confirm a successful rehearsal…”
The above was originally intended as an introduction to a page dedicated to the late Bob Harman, whom SUPERMANIA had been in contact with for a year before his sad passing in 2020. Bob was very modest about his incredible contribution to the ‘Super’ series of films but had nonetheless agreed to tell his story – unfortunately we never got the opportunity – however I was glad to offer his family some rare footage and images of Bob in action back in the day from the SUPERMANIA archives.
Its also bittersweet to realise that only the stuntmen (Weston & Stewart) are the only men from this tale to still be with us – hopefully one day we get to share their stories before they are lost to time. Paul Weston is still active in the industry and is a simply wonderful guy – I’ve also made contact with Mark Stewart who is similarly gracious but to date has not gone on record to share his experiences – I ask all Superfans interested in hearing from him to make it known in the comments section below..!
(images courtesy Alexei Lambley-Steel)