As cub reporter Jimmy Olsen himself once said “We’re back!!!!”
A very warm welcome to SUPERMANIA’78 for friends old and new alike. Over the last year the site has been completely regenerated with a dynamic new look featuring all new navigation. Please make your first destination here for an introduction and mission statement. Then I invite you to click across the top menu for pages featuring brand new content ending with one devoted entirely to you – the Superfans and your experiences.
Meantime, older posts have been updated and links to both my Instagram page and, finally, YouTube Channel have been added. SUPERMANIA on video is a new venture for me and I’m very excited by its potential. I have a number of shoots upcoming that will include everything from cast member interviews to showcasing original Props & Costumes! See the first of these shorts here and be sure to subscribe!
Please feel free to leave any feedback and continue to check back for updates – my email is firstname.lastname@example.org should you wish to contribute or just get in touch. In the meantime, on the very day Superman IV: The Quest For Peace premiered 32 years ago I’m proud to bring you a world exclusive from the filming on location in the UK –
This amazing backstage pass is awarded to you by one Graham Bedford – a photographer who happened to be working right in the centre of the city doubling for Metropolis. Graham tells his story below –
“Way back in 1986 I had an office in Milton Keynes, adjacent to the Railway Station –
When I discovered that some scenes for Superman IV were to be filmed there I couldn’t resist taking in my camera to get a few pictures. As a life long Superman fan it all seemed quite magical!
Once filming got underway I mingled with the other onlookers and chatted with some of the film crew – Health & Safety restrictions didn’t exist in those days!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to speak to Christopher Reeve himself but I did manage to get some images of him in action. The pictures are a bit “grainy” but in those days and with a cheap camera they were as good as I could expect. It all made for a great tale to pass on to my Grandson one day…”
All images ©Graham Bedford 1986 – Anybody interested in prints can contact him directly here
In a week where the first and best Superhero movie of the modern era was welcomed into the National Film Registry archive and its latest media release awarded ‘Best Product’ by fans on the Superman Homepage, SUPERMANIA concludes 2017 with another first –
Martin Lakin – Editor, SUPERMANIA78.com
Just as Superman IV: Redux was a personal triumph, SUPERMANIA was doubly honoured to act as consultant on this magnificent project initiated by two friends made from back in the earliest days of web fandom.
It fills me with pride when I recall, some 20+ years ago now, how a random bunch of young fans united by their passion for the Superman series deigned to meet and explore some of the locations shown above and marvel at how little had changed since filming had completed years before. The experiences from that day obviously left lasting impressions on more than just myself, and now here we are, with once coy Oliver Harper chairman of his own YouTube empire and quiet Introspective Tim Partridge now a tenured filmmaker. Keeping in touch with these talented folks over the years has culminated in the superb piece of broadcast-standard material above. Think you know everything about Superman IV? Think again and be entertained doing so.
Many times since this website has been live I have mused on quite why a 30-year old movie reviled by most should still court quite so much analysis and attention today. I could go on and on as to what I love about it, but like religion, would never force it on anybody else. What surprises me is I never have to and I’m gratified beyond words when many fans tell me the best reference for the film is to be found right here. Like many fans I wish to pass on my thanks to Tim and Oli for putting it to such memorable use, I look forward to future collaborations…
Tim Partridge – Director
I’m a professional filmmaker and Oliver Harper is a popular YouTuber, specialising in video essays. Both of us have known for decades about the filming locations of Superman IV, thanks mostly to SUPERMANIA, and we always felt there was a great story to tell about the unusual choice of it’s settings. We wanted to both analyse and celebrate the film’s undeniably creative production design. We thought this project was very appropriate for Oliver’s YouTube channel, and would enhance his format by putting him on-camera in the Superman IV locations.
We went through all of the original production/publicity material we could find in order to research this, as well as speaking to some of the crew members who worked on the film. Oliver and I had spoken of making the video as early as 2012, and had aimed to release it in the autumn of 2016, exactly 30 years after Superman IV went into production. However, the project grew and our narrative adjusted itself. We were very lucky to interview double Oscar-winning set decorator Peter Young about his experiences on the film, enriching the video with a first hand perspective and insight into the production design of Superman IV.
A huge thanks to everyone who helped us along the way.
Oliver Harper – Film Documentarian/Video Editor
I’ve been fascinated with Superman IV ever since I was a kid. It’s obviously a bad movie but I always appreciated its good intentions and its production and design I found very interesting. With the movie making use of the United Kingdom for many of its locations, far more so than Superman 1 to 3 and Supergirl, I wanted to explore these places and see how they made use of them. However, this was always just an idea in the back of my mind. I had made a trip to Milton Keynes in the late ’90s with Martin Lakin and Tim Partridge (director) but that was as far as I got in seeing what they used. Come 2011 when I started my YouTube channel, which focused on movies of the ’80s and ’90s, my first review was on Superman IV and the idea of making a video on the locations was something that I felt could be interesting. The director of the ‘Man of Steel and Glass’ video, Tim, and I both shared similar views on the film and we had discussed ideas about making something a couple of years before we even decided to officially move forward with it. Come 2016 I finally said let’s get this going so we could celebrate the 30th anniversary of the production, although it grew into a bigger project which we would release the following year.
The documentary started out as something quite simple but the narrative began to change. The whole design of it shifted radically into something more than just a before and after video like most traditional videos of this nature that you find on YouTube. Tim especially wanted to push the magic of the movies and how filmmakers have continuously tricked audiences into believing they’re shooting in one location but in fact are shooting in a entirely different country. Superman IV could’ve successfully done that but was let down by some poor decisions regarding the photography of the locations, thus undoing the illusion…
2018 marks the fortieth anniversary of Superman: The Movie’s cinematic release and advance word is that the celebration will last in various forms all year long. In the US, 40th Anniversary Cons attended by many of the original cast have already begun with more promised across the world in the coming months. Indeed, for a franchise entering middle age, it shows no signs of slowing down and new discoveries continue to emerge such as these exclusive images below from the Milton Keynes location of Superman IV in 1986 –
SUPERMANIA wishes you & yours a Merry Christmas and Happy New year. The Adventure Continues in 2018..!
Today would’ve been Christopher Reeve’s 64th birthday. As is customary here at SUPERMANIA we mark the occasion with a fitting tribute – in this case a rare interview with the man himself taken from the August 1987 issue of Starlog Magazine.
Speaking to Kim Howard Johnson from the set of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace in 1986, Reeve, somewhat poignantly indicated how this film was the most personal of the series. In fact it would be, both thematically and practically having taken story credit and second unit direction besides the standard dual roles.
All of which Reeve seemed to take in his stride, his experience evident after a decade in the red boots and the creative freedom to express what his Superman should be doing. Some of these character nuances (such as both identities ultimately being a disguise) were firsts here and continue to resonate in Super-Literature.
Though the film would be a critical and commercial failure, Reeve’s performance was universally praised and remains the one constant in what has now regained life as a cult classic.
Rest in Peace, ‘Toph…