ONEHUNDREDANDEIGHTY…!

“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)

 

Scholaction…

“Scholastic Action® features celebrity profiles, and read-aloud plays and high-interest content to help low-level readers build the skills they need to succeed….”

Still publishing to this day with a focus on introducing young people to reading by way of popular culture, Scholastic Inc. were one of the first childrens periodicals to feature the fresh-faced star of the upcoming Superman movie and also provide a handy double-page timeline of his origins.

For middle-schoolers, Christopher Reeve would also appear on the cover of Scholastic Scope In January 1979 and their definitive volume – The Great Superman Movie Book – would first be published in 1981, and again in 1983 to incorporate the newly-released Superman III

While there may have been no reprint to incorporate Superman IV in 1987, Scholastic nonetheless released both a tie-in Novel and a childrens storybook (by Nancy E. Krulik and B.B Hilller respectively) to commmerate the character’s 50th anniversary.

As quick Google search provides no result for the issue above, one must presume its a rarity so SUPERMANIA is proud to archive the feature here – meantime the GSMB continues to be a staple of ANY Superman Movie collection – just make sure the poster is present before adding it to yours…!

 

68…

Today would’ve been Christopher D’Olier Reeve’s 68th Birthday – as is customary here at SUPERMANIA I like to showcase a little exclusive to celebrate and the above is quite the rarity.  Indeed, this seldom-seen, jumbo 128-page one-off Special ‘Competition Edition’ comic hails all the way from Australia and is stuffed with content featuring stories from the Siegel & Shuster days right up to the present day of 1978.

There’s some thing for everyone in this DC Comics authorised anthology issued by Murray publishers, but of particular note to Superman Movie fans is the collection of ‘Movie Reports’, which had previously been published sporadically by DC across their entire range of titles.  The five chapters above represent the only volume they have ever been collected in (although re-formatted and incomplete).  There would also be a follow-on with issue #5 featuring Movie Reports on Superman II sandwiched between more reprints in what became a seven-issue run ending in 1982.

This little relic and thousands of others like it may be insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but in uncertain times like today, when a hero is needed more than ever, they serve as a nostalgic reminder of happier days when to us, The Man of Steel was real.

Rest in Peace ‘Toph…