Supermannequin…

A truly incredible and unique display – this intricate life-size creation was on loan from Stephen Lane’s (Propstore of London) personal collection to the Movieum Of London (now renamed the London Film Museum) last year. Not only is the reworked portrait of Christopher Reeve generated from one of Stuart Freeborn’s few surviving life-casts but the costume is 100% original and one of the finest examples still in existence today.  Worn by Reeve and screen-matched to the Luthor’s lair confrontation scenes in Superman: The Movie and the alleyway change scene in Superman II, the costume is ideally preserved on a custom mannequin and standing proudly in the magnificent rooms of County Hall, a breathtaking and eerie experience to behold. The detail evident in the images above were so revealing I was able to compile arguably the most definitive article to date about the Superman costume hosted exclusively here on Jim Bowers’ incomparable capedwonder.com where you can see more images from my shoot on the day…

Superwaxwork…

The original waxwork of Christopher Reeve’s Superman was given pride of place in the exit stairwell of London’s Madame Tussauds for many years after its introduction in 1979.  The figure was suspended mid-air in a dramatic flying pose and had strobe lighting and a strategically placed fan to billow out the cape.  Concrete rubble was distributed around a hole in the floor to create the effect of Superman bursting up through the ground and the effect was quite breathtaking, at least to my teenage self and all the other kids who stood around it yelling ‘Look! Its Superman! Christopher Reeve!!”

While the likeness was probably not as well-realised as the elaborate display across the pond (at the Movieland Wax Museum) and the hair somewhat flat, the costume had clearly been made as per the originals (supplied by Bermans & Nathans) to include a lightweight cape for movement.  By the early 2000’s however, time and wear had taken its toll and like many Superman Movie costumes, the colour had faded dramatically and so a replica costume was produced for the figures relocation to the ‘Movie Room’, (bottom pic) where it would reside until the figure was retired sometime after 2010.  If any Superfans out there have any more images of the figure (prior to the costume switch) I’d love to hear from you..!

 

Downtown Disney…

Hollywood2Hollywood1Hollywood3Hollywood4As Superman producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind based the production of the SuperBoy TV Series at Universal Studios in Florida it was inevitable some items from the production would wind up in exhibition there.  In fact, the Christopher Reeve Superman costume on display in the Downtown Disney Planet Hollywood restaurant was used for John Haymes Newton’s screentest (as shown on the SuperBoy: Season 1 Boxset) and appearing, bizarrely, as fancy dress in a two-part story in Season 2 worn by IIan Mitchell-Smith as And McCallister.

Suspended on a black velvet mannequin in ‘flight mode’ from the ceiling, the prop was hung in open space unguarded from the elements and showing signs of wear (note the hole in the bodysuit above the belt, (third pic) prompting its relocation/salvage years later to the entrance (see its upgrade here). Conversely, Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor robe (preserved in pristine condition in a wall-mounted glass case, bottom pic) can be found in the stairwell to this day…