09 April 2017; The 1979 Oscars & Other Awards
38 Years Ago Today, April 9, 1979: Superman-The Movie wins at the Oscars! Click here for the whole story, plus other awards the movie received.
28 March 2017: Superman Production 40th & CapedWonder.com 15th
First Day of filming during the Richard Donner Superman Years (1977-1978): Despite a nagging head cold, Marlon Brando arrives at Shepperton Studios that morning to begin filming his first scenes as Jor-El for the two ‘Superman’ films under the direction of Richard Donner. Brando is draped in black velvet and filmed teaching Kal-El via an education crystal. Christopher Reeve is on set to watch Brando at work. Brando later informs Creative Consultant Tom Mankiewicz that day that he has just read the complete script and calls it a “valentine”. Featuring an unreleased head-shot of Marlon Brando. Source photo from Jay Towers. Restoration by Jim Bowers.
CapedWonder.com is 15 Years Young! Thanks to the Incredible Superman Cast & Crew and Super Fans like You!
24 March 2017: Krypton Gallery Updates
I’ve updated the Krypton gallery with lots of new photos. Below are a few. Check them all out here!
23 February 2017: Christopher Reeve Revealed to the World
“He’ll portray the caped wonder from Krypton…” Christopher Reeve was announced 40 years ago today as the new Superman and Clark Kent at a press conference at Sardi’s Restaurant in New York City.
17 February 2017: Pa Teaches Clark at the Farm
Richard Donner and his Superman team planned to include in ‘Superman-The Movie’ a photo stills montage showing Clark Kent’s time growing up on the Kent farm, much like was done for Donner’s, The Omen, in 1976. See the photo stills montage from The Omen here. As a side note, you can see Holly Palance in the scene after the stills montage in The Omen; she was Lois Lane during Christopher Reeve’s Superman screen test on February 1, 1977.
Ultimately, Superman set photographer Bob Penn *did* shoot photos for a montage (using five little Clark Kent actors, including Aaron Smolinski and his older brother, Travis), but those photos were never included in any edit of the movie that I am aware of (work print, etc.), or used in publicity.
Below is one of Bob Penn’s photos for the stills montage, featuring Travis Smolinski and Glenn Ford at a chalkboard in the backyard of the Kent farm house, filmed in Canada in August 1977.
Here’s an excerpt from David Michael Petrou’s amazing book, The Making of Superman-The Movie:
“[Publicist] Gordon Arnell and [set photographer] Bob Penn, along with special-effects man John Richardson, were on the Kent farm set most of that first week, coordinating an elaborate still-shot sequence which might possibly be incorporated into the film, detailing the growth and displaying the super powers of young Clark. Using the young boys selected at the earlier casting session in Calgary, Richardson had to create effects which included milking a cow at super-speed, chopping a cord of wood in a single blow, and lifting a tractor. Since these fantastic actions had to be depicted in still shots rather than in motion, the sequence provided Bob Penn with some unique problems.”
16 February 2017: Pa Meets Clark at the Farm
Please enjoy this unreleased photo of Glenn Ford and Jeff East as Jonathan and Clark Kent on the farm, filmed in Canada in 1977. I’m updating the Smallville gallery, as well as many other Superman-The Movie galleries. Please check back often.
06 February 2017: Queen Elizabeth II Cup
Queen Elizabeth II commemorated her 65th anniversary as queen today. Take a look at Richard Donner’s cup in the photo below; it’s from Queen Elizabeth II’s 25th anniversary (1977). You can buy one of these vintage cups on Etsy (I own one).
01 February 2017: Superman’s Screen Test
Christopher Reeve’s Superman screen test took place 40 years ago on February 1, 1977. Holly Palance, daughter of actor Jack Palance, played Lois Lane. She starred in Richard Donner’s 1976 film, The Omen. She retired from acting in 1989.
This is a photo of Chris during his Superman screen test shot by an unknown photographer using a “Pocket Instamatic” 110 camera. “Pocket Instamatic” 110 cameras were very popular as a low-cost film option for general consumers, starting in 1972. A 110 film cartridge contains negative film that is a mere 0.51″ × 0.67″ in size, and, thus, produces so-so quality prints as compared to 35mm. I own many other 110 negatives from the production of Richard Donner’s Superman movies; here’s a scan of one (shot by an unknown photographer from the kitchen of the Kent farm in Canada).
24 January 2017: The Dreams Poster
We made a few updates to one of Ramon Casares’ fabulous 2004 “Dreams” inspirational posters.
19 January 2017: The Kent Farm
The farm used for the Smallville scenes in Superman-The Movie is a real farm that turns 100 years old this year.
According to Bill Brodie’s scouting records (now part of the CapedWonder Collection), the farm owner intended to tear down the house and barn after production wrapped in August 1977, but, for unknown reasons it never happened, and the structures stand to this day.
The farm has a different owner today. Over the past seven years, I’ve had many enlightening phone calls and e-mail correspondence with the owner’s spokesperson; they seem to be decent people who are very private.
The owner does not permit anyone on the property. There has apparently been much vandalism, and at least one break-in, which has greatly upset the owner.
I strongly recommend staying away from the farm. The owner’s spokesperson has already issued multiple cease-and-desists to people who have entered the property, and has threatened to get the police involved, with the intention of charging offenders with possible unlawful entry/breaking & entering, trespassing, and/or theft. They are very serious about this matter.
The owner and their spokesperson are well aware that I have photographed the property, but we have a written agreement that I will not post my photos anywhere on the World Wide Web and not divulge the farm’s location.
If you have been to the farm and have posted your photos on-line, I urge you to take them down. If you do happen to drive by the farm and take photos from the public road sitting in your car, do yourself a favor and don’t post those photos on-line. You’ll be glad you made that decision.
18 January 2017: Gallery Updates Continue
I am still updating the Superman-The Movie galleries, so check them out here!
13 January 2017: Superman-The Movie Gallery Updates
The majority of the Superman-The Movie galleries have been updated with new and improved photos; check them out here.
There is still more work to be done in the Marketing & Promotion and Premieres/Press Junkets galleries; I am updating those during the first and second quarter of this year.
Below is a scan of an original storyboard from the CapedWonder Collection; see more storyboards here.
12 January 2017: The Super Train
Featured below is a photo of Clark Kent jumping in front of the Kansas Star train in Superman-The Movie (top) and an original photograph shot by me at the exact same level crossing – an intersection where a railway line crosses a road or path at the same level – in Canada in 2011 (bottom). I was fortunate to have a train go by while I was there, as it was a very quiet track that day.
11 January 2017: Lynn Stalmaster Believes in Christopher Reeve
40 years ago this month – January 1977: Casting director Lynn Stalmaster strategically places a casting photo of a young stage actor on the top of Richard Donner’s inbox, only to discover later that the photo is placed at the bottom of the pile. Undeterred by his thoughts on the young actor, Stalmaster again places the photo at the top of the inbox, and again, three times in total. Donner takes a shot and contacts the actor, who is in the middle of production on the play, My Life, as an understudy for William Hurt, via his agent, to come in for a reading. The agent informs the actor that the chances of getting the part are remote at best because no one had seen a script. Christopher Reeve agrees to meet with Richard Donner to discuss the Superman project.
Read about Lynn Stalmaster’s amazing career here. And see his acceptance speech below for his Honorary Oscar at the 2016 Governor’s Awards in the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood, CA, Saturday, on November 12, 2016.
These photos of Christopher Reeve below, shot to promote his character on the TV soap opera, ‘Love of Life’, were taken within a couple of years of Christopher Reeve first meeting Richard Donner about Superman. The headshot – with the white background – was scanned and retouched by me, and can be seen all over the internet on various websites, blogs and social media outlets.
09 January 2017: Superman II Alley Transformation
Please enjoy this panoramic of Clark Kent’s transformation into Superman in the back alley from Superman II using numerous Blu-ray screenshots. Click on the image and it will open in its own box. Then save the PNG file to your computer and open it with your favorite viewer to enjoy the full-size version (3447 x 400 pixels).
07 January 2017: Superman-The Movie Screenshots
Many Superman-The Movie screenshots have been uploaded to our satellite website on SmugMug. Please enjoy them here. There even more screenshots at the top of this page; see the far right dropdown.
01 January 2017: Wishing You a Prosperous New Year!
Hand-craved “CapedWonder Superman Imagery” by Michael J. Stribling. The carving is laying on a Giclée canvas gallery wrap enlargement of a Curt Gunther photo of Christopher Reeve as Superman. Photography and layout by Jim Bowers.