CapedWonder.com.

A Guide to Identifying an Authentic, Screen-worn Costume

Updated 20 May 2013

It is my sincere pleasure to host this very important Superman costume article written by Martin Lakin, with research assistance by Chris King. I consider these two fine gentlemen to be among the top authorities on the history of authentic, screen-worn Superman costumes from Christopher Reeve’s tenure as our Man of Steel.

Martin and Chris have spent many countless, tireless hours for well over a decade studying and photographing both authentic and reproduction costumes in circulation around the world. It is their hope, as well as mine, that this article will enlighten and educate many of you, and help clarify the real differences between the “genuine article” and the probable reproductions that have likely appeared on the internet and at auctions. This article, together with Jason De Bord’s outstanding blog, www.originalprop.com, should provide any prospective buyers with the knowledge to be able to make sound collectible acquisition decisions. Martin has more to say about this matter in the article’s conclusion. Read more about Original Prop Blog at the bottom of this page.

Accompanying the article is a gallery of photos of what is believed to be authentic, screen-worn Christopher Reeve Superman-The Movie costumes (on loan from Stephen Lane’s Prop Store of London) formerly shown on display at the London Film Museum. Many photos of these costumes, as well as various CapedWonder™ images, are referenced throughout the article with links.

Super Thanks to Martin and Chris for your hard work and dedication to the original Superman movie series, your friendship and giving spirit, and making CapedWonder™.com the exclusive host of your fascinating article and great photos! Christopher Reeve would have definitely appreciated your attention-to-detail and hard work.

And Super Thanks to Darren Julien, President, CEO and Founder of Julien’s Auctions, and Jason De Bord, President and Founder of Original Prop Blog. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this page to view their costume photos.

“What is original?”

CapedWonder.com.

Is It Silk? Is It Plastic?

A Study of the ‘Superman’ Movie Costumes 1978-1987

by Martin Lakin

Updated 04 February 2013

Footnotes from Yvonne Blake’s original costume design sketch (dated 1976);

“Leotard in shimmering blue two way stretch fabric worn over fake muscles and harness for flying. Capes to be made in various flowing fashion for resting. Boots in glove leather or elastic with small heel. ‘S’ motif in red and gold on breast and again in all gold on back of cape. Gold metal belt with ‘S’ buckle.”

Debuting in the pages of Action Comics in 1938, the iconic combination of tights and cape initiated by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster would not only endure, but become the template for a legion of comic-book imitators to follow.

For such a seemingly simple design, however, there is much more to the uniform of the original Superhero than meets the eye – and its analysis here serves both as a dissection of the prop and to honour the talents involved in its evolution as a landmark in popular culture.

Having won an Academy Award for best costume design in 1972 for Nicholas and Alexandra, then gaining further nominations in 1976 for The Three Musketeers (her first collaboration with producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind), talented young Yvonne Blake was no stranger to forging elaborate collections and was, therefore, an obvious choice to tailor the Man of Tomorrow for contemporary cinema.

Given the considerable task of adapting pulp iconography to the silver screen, the producers and designer researched the character’s evolution over his forty-year, four-colour history and various live-action incarnations before referring back to the source material of the era – the DC comics of the late 1970s themselves.

With Blake’s conceptual artwork underway, and the costume department in its infancy, there was little in the way of wardrobe available for the audition process. This accounts for the appearance of early would-be Supermen in hastily-assembled outfits comprised of ‘Underoos’, elastic stockings and random belt. This arrangement would be used for the first instance of footage showing Christopher Reeve winning the title role – utilizing his ability to make you focus on the man rather than the costume – a blessing in this instance.

Footnotes from Yvonne Blake’s Revised costume design sketch (dated 1976);

“Leotard in shimmering blue two-way stretch Helenca worn if necessary over false latex muscles and a flying harness. Cape in fine wool – (various fabrics to be experimented with for flying) ‘S’ to be appliquéd in yellow on the back of cape & inserted in the front. Trunks to have higher leg-line than in the comic. Belt and buckle in yellow patent leather & plastic. Boots in softest glove leather with concealed fastening.”

As showcased in the February 1977 screen test footage in the 2001/2006 Superman-The Movie DVD documentaries, the key details of the costume, such as the cut of the briefs, the refinement of the belt, and crucially, the chest motif, would steadily evolve into the screen-used final version during the remainder of the casting, and the elimination of the latex enhancements (though some surviving tunics exist with label notes stating ‘Muscles’) were confirmed once Reeve’s insistence that it was “them or me” favoured the grueling workout regime to follow.

Later sketches submitted by Blake depict Marlon Brando as Jor-el wearing the ‘Superman’ chest shield on director Richard Donner’s insistence of the symbol being given some relevance in the story. For decades, the design in the comics had simply denoted an ‘S’ presumably for ‘Superman’, but that whimsy was at odds with Donner’s vision. The father/son emphasis of the mythology was reinforced by Tom Mankiewicz’s declaration that the diamond-encased ‘S’ was instead the family crest of the ‘House Of El’ and all Kryptonian society would be bestowed with similar icons, catering to audiences and puritans alike.

While unmistakably a sleeker interpretation of the drawings seen in the comics, its new purpose as a futuristic crest meant the official DC Comics ‘Superman’ logo (as shown in the movie’s opening credits) would be revised, and variations of the new design would adorn both Kal-el and Jor-el’s outfits. The artwork and patterns for these revisions were, nonetheless, inconsistent, as the crest adorning the front of Superman’s costume differs from the shield outline embroidered on his cape, as do the renderings on both tunics worn by Jor-el.

With artwork approved, Blake’s next step would be sourcing the fabrics. There are clearly more details on how the Kryptonian suits were created (using the 3M Front Projection highly-reflective material) than exactly what materials were used to peel Kal-el’s outfit from the page. One name used repeatedly was ‘Bridal weight spandex’ (see an extreme closeup of the bridal weight spandex pattern here), though to date there is no clear definition or record of such a thing. Blake’s revised design instead offers Helenca as the fabric of choice;

Helenca Smooth, Durable Nylon. 100% Nylon. Smooth, durable, and very strong. Intricately, woven sheer fabric. Excellent multipurpose material, ideal for various types of undergarments and lightweight apparel aswell. Also known as Helenka, Helanca and Helanka.)

A recent revelation is the discovery of small labels stitched into the lining of genuine costumes. Presumably an addition of the German manufacturer, these white nylon labels bear a makers logo, and crucially, identify the fabric as 100% Polyamid. Now referred to in the industry as Polyamide, the definition is applicable to the Superman costume, but hardly conclusive –

Polyamide (nylon) is a strong elastic synthetic fibre. It is made from petroleum products and was produced in the 1930s as an alternative to silk. Today, it is the second most used fabric in the United States. Polyamide, or nylon, is a definition of a range of synthetic polymers made through a special chemical process. It was invented by Wallace Carothers at DuPont in February 1935 and is still a widely used and popular synthetic fabric.

In fact, the ‘Polyamid’ fabric was sourced by costumier Noel Howard, then production manager at Bermans and Nathans costumiers of London, based on the fact it had all the required stretch properties, but was otherwise dissimilar to common lycras.

Regardless, Howard would later declare it was still a hard sell, as Blake, and even Christopher Reeve himself, needed convincing that this fabric was ideal. Once experimentation with a series of dyes to achieve the right colours strengthened Howard’s case, the fabric was outsourced to a specialist manufacturer in Germany in possession of apparently the only machine capable of the correct weave.

Along with the ‘Hero’ versions of fabric, both Howard and Blake testify that there were at least an equal amount of ‘Effects’ versions made to accommodate everything from variations in dye closer to turquoise for process photography to a lighter blue to maintain its true colour when wet through. For the third installment of the franchise shot in 1982, a series of costumes were apparently washed through with black dye to indicate various stages of degradation as Superman succumbed to the influence of Kryptonite.

Tragically, the machine used to manufacture the ‘Polyamid’ fabric was retired in 2005, and to this day no other method of duplicating the same weave has been found. ‘Bridal weight spandex’ may have become extinct along with its maker, but not before it was adopted for Supergirl, season one of the Superboy television series, and later, Stallone’s Judge Dredd, where the fabric was dyed midnight blue and employed as the Street Judge uniforms. Noel Howard went on to assist in the development of the equally memorable costume worn by Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and was active in the industry for many years until his sad passing in 2009. Without Howard, the Superman movie costume we all know and love would have been quite different, and its longevity is a fitting testimony to his career.

Quote From Yvonne Blake in The Making of Superman; The Movie by David Michael Petrou;

“I read somewhere that Chris is supposed to have twenty-five different costumes and six or seven special capes – for flying, crouching, leaping, sitting, standing, whatever. Actually, the number’s probably higher than that. Mainly, that’s where the wardrobe expense comes in, on all the doubles and duplicates and special-effects needs…”

Production sources have it that over thirty suits were compiled by Bermans and Nathans for Superman-The Movie, constructed in an effort to convince the audience that it was seamless. While there is truth in this statement, the notion proved impractical and more emphasis was placed on the technical aspects of the costume to adapt it for use in the plethora of special effects sequences – among these would be the addition of slits in both the suits and the capes to accommodate the flying harnesses and wires, the aforementioned dying of the tunic and tights to contrast against blue screen, and multiple versions of the cape for flight and/or walking.

All of the Superman costumes were labeled in type by Bermans and Nathans with colour codes (A representing blue and B representing red), catalogue number and performer’s name, i.e. “Christopher Reeve 4913, Walking, Superman II” (often misspelled in the case of Mr. ‘Reeves’), and, more often than not, scene-specific, handwritten notes would also be added in marker pen, or randomly in ballpoint pen.

If one were to try and authenticate an item from the production-used Superman wardrobe, there are many intricacies to inspect, but the fundamental basics are that the costumes obviously should exhibit signs of appropriate wear for a garment over thirty years old. Secondly, the costumes will be far less refined than you may think. This means, as with many screen-used props and wardrobe, that the details and stitching will look haphazard up close. There will also very likely be some fading/and or soiling from use, including make-up residue, dirt and water damage – recent examples have also exhibited moth holes due to poor storage.

A Superman costume with its unique brand of spandex made in the late 1970s would not resemble commonly identifiable textures of nylon, lycra, or polyester, and the cape would similarly not be lightweight material. The boots would also not be stiff leather or have conventional soles/heels or side zipper – these outfits were custom-made for an individual that was 6’4” tall and over 200 lbs., with best examples bearing his name inside.

Once you have experienced firsthand the idiosyncrasies of a genuine, production-used Superman costume, the shortcomings of reproductions become easily identifiable. Due to their rarity and how few authentic costumes are in exhibition around the world, the photographs that accompany this overview (from the London Film Museum) should go some way to highlighting the differences.

The Tunic/Shorts

To specify the texture of an authentic costume’s make-up, the closest metaphor for the grain of ‘Polyamid’ is that of a ‘waffle weave’. Up close, the mesh is oversized and clearly defined. The knit is thick in texture and is much ‘heavier’ than an average lycra. Despite common perception, it is also not a regular ‘Navy’ blue. In reality, the colour is more of a steely shade of teal – there are greyer hues mixed in with the blue palette. The ‘magic’ aspect of this particular fabric is that it comprises of a metallic element that photographs in a variety of blue tones and retains that colour on film, depending entirely on how a scene was lit. This accounts for why the casual viewer simply interprets the outfit as ‘blue’ and ‘shiny’, as reflected in most reproductions. The colours in the bodysuits were painstakingly treated with dye to achieve ‘Steel Teal’, and are prone to fading, leaving only the silvery element behind. This colour discipline also applied to the red of the shorts, which were blood scarlet, and the yellow featured on the crest, exhibiting a deeper mustard shade – more golden than yellow. It should also be noted that the tunic/shorts, tights and chest shield are all identical fabric with no exceptions.

The tunic has a central zipper in the back, and, in some instances, eye-hooks for closure at the neck. The appliquéd Berman and Nathans label should be to the right side of the collar. There are seams in the back either side of the zipper rather than on the sides – this was to avoid having an ugly seam visible whilst Superman was in flight. The collar has a rounded appearance when worn, but appears squared at rest. Two fine lines of stitching finish the edge of the collar, and two matching sets of oversized press studs should break the seam line on the shoulder. The shoulder seams are pitched at slight angles off the arch of the shoulder, and the sleeve is finished by a generous width of cuff.

The ‘S’ chest shield is arguably the most crucial aspect of the costume. It was neither patch, screenprint, nor attachment. In accordance with Blake’s revised sketch, the yellow portions of the red shield were to be inserted. As all the costumes were handmade, variations are present in all the shields meaning no two are 100% the same and often visibly switch between scenes due to changing of tunics to avoid visible sweatmarks.

The ‘S’ chest shield construction is thus: a template of the design is used to cut out the diamond section from the front of the shirt. This same template is used to cut the negative shapes (the yellow portions) using the guidelines, and similarly, leaving a red ‘frame’ to insert the yellow shapes to form the ‘S’. The excess border of all the shapes is used to tack the shield together (a very intricate process), while the smaller yellow triangles are stitched in conventionally due to their small size, making the stitching visible on the outside. From inside the assembly looks unsightly, but is, nonetheless, the defining factor of the Superman costumes, and the unique curve of the ‘S’ invariably the stumbling block of all reproductions.

There is photographic evidence of versions of the red shorts that are separates (resembling Speedos with belt loops), these featured on early versions of the ‘walking’ costumes but thereafter generally employed for flying sequences (indicated by slits made to accommodate harness links). The majority of ‘Walking’ shorts were made integral to the blue tunic to avoid gathering and loss of shape. The four chunky belt loops were added halfway above the waistline to prevent any bleed of fabric beyond the beltline. The loops are characterised by an apparent pleat in the centre. This is a consequence of the seam beneath showing through from the pressure of the belt, rather than a purposeful addition on the surface. The cut of the leg hole/arch is fairly narrow and tapered, finished with elasticised rims for shape and fit. Many reproductions overlooking these refinements are notable for their woefully inaccurate long briefs with a wide crotch.

The Belt

Another source of conjecture, many belts were constructed for the movies and most bear tell-tale signs. As evidenced once again by the Superman-The Movie DVD documentaries, the belt was made from fabric-backed patent vinyl (the gallery below shows closeups of the shiny patent vinyl material). Some stunt belts may have been painted leather, but there were no authentic, screen-worn Superman belts made with a dull or matt finish. Other examples of belts show that they were lined with electrical/duct tape (presumably for preservation, or ease of movement), and were tethered at the rear by either hooks or elastic thread through punctured holes (click here to see another example). In any case, genuine Superman belts do not stand the test of time very well. They warp, crack and contort due the fragility of the vinyl/leather. Some retain their wardrobe labeling, and/or handwritten notes, but often those will have worn off through use. The belt should also be at least 2” wide to accommodate the buckle height. A notable fact about Superman’s belt buckle is that it was held on by common paper fasteners. The ‘heads’ of the fasteners were fillered into bored holes on the rear of the buckle, and the ‘legs’ punctured the surface to be secured from behind. The oval bordered buckle, in contrast to Blake’s original conception, was a flawless copy of the comic incarnation of the time, and made from painted resin to match the belt which, again, was a mustard shade of yellow.

The Tights

Made in corresponding fabric and colour, the blue tights (the bottom part of the costume from the waist down) were basic in their construction apart from the central seam being buried deep beyond the inside leg. Impressions from the thick waistband would be disguised under the finishing touch of the belt, along with any visible impressions left by the dance belt containing various sizes of metal codpiece (a well-documented source of amusement for leading lady Margot Kidder). The costumier’s label on the inside waistband was intended to match with a corresponding top (tunic) of the same batch, but presumably this effort became muddled during production. The tights also were all full-footed, evidently with softer, more comfortable fabric tacked at the ankle, and conversely no evidence to suggest that there were any with foot straps or similar, so any tights that have may also be discounted as reproduction.

The Boots

Arguably as complex in their assembly as the chest motif, Superman’s red boots are controversial for being another difficult aspect of the costume to replicate accurately, and the fact that director Richard Donner loathed them. Interestingly, the boots in the context of the movies were generic Kryptonian boots worn by many in the populace, as represented in Yvonne Blake’s portfolio and this screenshot from a cut scene in Superman-The Movie.

Another survivor of the original conception, the boxing-type boots were over 20” tall and men’s size 11, realised in crimson glove leather with the comic-accurate notch below the knee, but sporting a much thicker cuff. Although skin tight, they were soft and floppy, as there is footage of Reeve repeatedly yanking his up between takes as they persistently wrinkled at the ankles. Efforts to combat this problem were the addition of elastic bands around the neck of the boot and stitched-in ‘stiffeners’ to strengthen the peaks of the \/. A central seam runs down the length of the boot until its bisection by a toe section that is reminiscent of a ballet shoe.

There is a slim internal heel on a standard boot, but evidence of thicker bases on some (possibly to lessen the impact of a stunt ‘landing’) exist, while the surviving soles themselves are usually in poor condition, as they were either taped up to prevent wear or not, resulting in extensive damage. On the backs of the boots were silver zippers from mid-heel to top, with an accompanying line of Velcro tape to correspond with a wide flap of excess leather to close over to both seal the boot and hide the zipper.

Age has also not been kind to these authentic Superman boots, and due of the nature of the thin leather, they become tatty and shapeless. Many have been discovered with interesting details scrawled inside for specific purposes (flying/walking/waterproof, etc.), also including special versions where the zippers were cunningly relocated to the front of the boots for certain scenes, including nabbing the “suction cup” burglar, bridging the railroad track and retrieving Lois’ car in Superman-The Movie.

The Cape

Look no further than The Making of Superman II to see just a sampling of Superman capes made for the production. Of all the pieces of Superman’s attire, the capes possibly had the most extended life. They were often repaired and ‘remade’ for the sequels, hemmed short to accommodate Supergirl Helen Slater’s waif-like frame, and later for John Haymes Newton as Superboy. The capes were also the most duplicated piece of the costume, as many scenes were dependant on a cape doing a particular job, so they were made in differing configurations besides being adapted for effects shots. There were two basic styles – ‘flying’ and ‘walking’. The flying capes are much wider (up to ten feet) and exhibit slits in the sides so the wires from the flying harness could pass through and attach to the crane above the actor. The walking capes are slimmer and trimmer (up to eight feet wide). The ingenious ‘cape flapping’ device was a special effect, rather than wardrobe, so it will only get an honourable mention here.

In order to capture the look popularised by the comics, it became necessary to rethink the cape’s neckline and shoulder construction in order to avoid a limp drape. Therefore, the clever addition of a long flap to tuck into the back of the tunic was employed, while padding was added to the shoulders to boost their shape. As Reeve literally ‘grew’ into the role, the shoulder padding would visibly lessen during the course of filming.

Tension to marry the cape to the nape of the neck was achieved by passing two long straps beneath both of the actor’s armpits and tied around against the back – forcing the cape up and forwards comfortably into position. Two sets of male press studs on the inside of the cape would lock the cape into place by marrying up with the female press studs present on the shoulders of the tunic. The look was finished by having two neat fixed reverse pleats in either shoulder, leaving no impression on the outside of the tunic. The capes were predominantly fashioned from heavy wool gabardine, notable for its characteristic thick diagonal weave and, in most cases, ‘finished’ with a jagged edge at the bottom. This results in fraying in most capes that have survived.

Approximately eight inches down from the neckline of the cape’s exterior resides the yellow ‘S’ shield. This is made from the same fabric as used in the tunic/shorts and tights, as is the matching mustard yellow, and details are embroidered in black cotton to echo the chest shield in outline. As this shield is, in fact, a patch, yellow excess is visible outside the border all the way around. As this is a rather crude adornment on real capes, it is a dead giveaway for identifying a reproduction.

Not all capes exhibit the yellow ‘S’ shield (click here to see another example), as some were never intended to be seen from behind and did not warrant the detail. Cinemaquette‘s president confirmed with Jim Bowers in 2010 that a number of Reeve Superman capes with no yellow S shield currently reside in the Warner Bros. vaults when he toured the facility a few years ago.

Incidentally, a yellow cape shield was the only thing that Christopher Reeve kept as a souvenir from the entire production.

In Conclusion

The information above pertains to the three Salkind Superman productions made between 1976 and 1982. Once the Salkinds had sold the rights to the Superman motion picture property to Cannon Films in 1986 after the disappointing box office performance of Supergirl, the new producers Golan & Globus were not only denied access to certain special effects equipment, but also to any of the previous costumes, meaning all-new costumes were required for Superman IV: The Quest For Peace.

Although Bermans and Nathans were once again responsible for costume, the Superman uniform in Superman IV looks distinctively bleached out in daylight scenes. Ironically, this colour blue on film more closely represents the ‘true’ colour of the costume having been photographed virtually ‘flat’ and not bathed in the glow of Geoffrey Unsworth’s light as in Donner’s installments.

Once again duplicates were made for effects shots, but as the production was a far quicker and cheaper affair, no effort was made to colour correct the costume against blue screen photography, and visibly less care was taken to hone details which explains the alarming appearance of the bulky flying harness through the fabric and the lack of padding in the shoulders of the cape.

In the decades since the quartet of Superman movies ended, the fate of many of the costumes that were not re-used in future productions remains unknown. The Salkinds retained the rights to Superman in the late 80s, and although Superman V was announced by the Cannon Group, and then in pre-production as Superman Reborn back in the hands of the original producers, the fifth film sadly never materialised. The final appearance on-screen of a Reeve costume was worn by Ilan Mitchell-Smith as fancy dress in the two-part Bizarro episode of the Adventures of Superboy TV series (broadcast in November 1989, starring Gerard Christopher) – the very same costume used by John Haymes Newton to audition for the part (as seen in the first season of Superboy).

It is unknown just how many complete costumes survived in various grades of condition, but there are far fewer genuine pieces on exhibition, or in the market, than you may think. Many of these reside in private collections, or are in storage as investments. Indeed, rare items becoming available at auction historically have commanded escalating sums, and as a result of Reeve’s definitive portrayal, the value of these garments will only go up, up and away. This gap in the market for people clamouring to own a piece of this cinematic milestone is currently being plugged by certain individuals passing off replicas of wildly varying quality as the ‘genuine article’. These copies are sold under the pretence that they are screen-used wardrobe with ‘provenance’, including everything from C.O.As to convincing recreations of the Bermans and Nathans labels.

While not a new practice by any means, these reproductions have sporadically invaded the market, and money is still changing hands on the basis that not enough is known about the genuine articles to verify their authenticity. Hopefully, the information presented here, and the constant vigil kept by the www.originalprop.com with its in-comparable archive of suits presented at auction, will go some way as a guide to rectify this. In the meantime, those fortunate enough to own a screen used piece, or to have seen one exhibited, should feel privileged and appreciate the efforts of the individuals who contributed to the Superman costume’s lasting legacy.

My sincere thanks to Superfans Chris King for his tireless research, Jason De Bord for his persistence, and CapedWonder™.com’s Jim Bowers for hosting this article.

Martin Lakin
(www.supermania78.com)

CapedWonder.com.

London Film Museum Gallery

Updated 25 October 2013

Special Note: The colour of the costume leotards in the photos below is deceptively various shades of blue. The real costume fabric is much more “teal” in reality and, in most instances, only appears to be at its most blue when being photographed (using film still, digital still, motion picture film stock); thus, the variations in blue seen throughout all five Superman movies.

Click here to see one example of how two digital still cameras models render the blue colour differently. The blue colour in the right photo is more representative of the actual teal look in an authentic, screen-worn costume.

Please refer to the ‘Tunic/shorts’ section in the article above for more explanation about this blue/teal subject.

Costume One:

This first costume pictured below was photographed by Martin Lakin in 2008 and has since been returned to the Prop Store of London. It appears to be the very same costume that Christopher Reeve is shown wearing in this photo taken at Pinewood Studios, England for Superman II.

Costume Two:

This second costume pictured below was photographed by Martin Lakin in July 2012 and has since been returned to the Prop Store of London. It appears to be the very same costume that Christopher Reeve is shown wearing in this one-of-a-kind continuity Polaroid taken on the Lex Luthor set at Pinewood Studios, England, in September 1977 and in various promotional photos for Superman-The Movie.

Article and London Film Museum/Movieum photos are © Copyright 2013 by Martin Lakin, and are not to be reproduced or excerpted without prior written permission. All Rights Reserved. Additional photos are © Copyright 2013 by Jim Bowers, Chris King and Prop Store of London. Every effort has been made by the author, photographers and CapedWonder™.com to make the above information as accurate and organized as possible. CapedWonder™.com is not an official authentication resource and makes no claims beyond “guideline” for the article and photos in this section of the webpage.

CapedWonder.com.

Superman 75th Anniversary Costume Tour Gallery

Updated 07 January 2014

Superfan Joseph Rinaldi shot these exclusive photos on October 11 and 13, 2013 of an original Superman-The Movie Christopher Reeve Superman costume and an original Superman III evil Superman costume at New York Comic Con 2013. These two costumes were part of the Superman 75th Anniversary Costume Tour by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and DC Entertainment.

Click here to enjoy the entire gallery of 89 high-resolution photos!

Photos are © Copyright 2013 by Joseph Rinaldi, and are not to be reproduced or excerpted without prior written permission. All Rights Reserved. Every effort has been made by Joseph and CapedWonder™.com to make the above information and photos as accurate and organized as possible. CapedWonder™.com is not an official authentication resource and makes no claims beyond “guideline” for the information and photos in this section of the webpage.

CapedWonder.com.

Julien’s Auctions Gallery

Updated 14 February 2013

I developed a business relationship with the President, CEO and Founder of Julien’s Auctions, Darren Julien, a few years ago. Always the consummate professional and very accommodating, Darren has been gracious enough to share these detailed photos of three excellent examples of authentic, screen-worn Superman IV flying costumes. Two sold in 2012, and the third is due to be sold this coming April at his auction house.

The first two costumes came directly from Superman IV‘s London-Cannon Films Post Production Supervisor, Stephen Barker, while the third from an anonymous source who worked at the studios at the time of filming.

Thank you again, Darren, for sharing these wonderful photos with CapedWonder.com.

Please note that one photo features red stockings in place of boots. The stockings were NOT production used.

Costume One:

This costume sold in March 2012. Click here to visit the auction page.

Costume Two:

This costume sold in November 2012. Click here to visit the auction page.

Costume Three:

This costume sold in April 2013. Click here to visit the auction page.

Photos are © Copyright 2013 by Darren Julien, and are not to be reproduced or excerpted without prior written permission. All Rights Reserved. Every effort has been made by Julien’s Auctions and CapedWonder™.com to make the above information and photos as accurate and organized as possible. CapedWonder™.com is not an official authentication resource and makes no claims beyond “guideline” for the information and photos in this section of the webpage.

CapedWonder.com.

The Original Prop Blog Links

Updated 04 February 2013

Jason DeBord’s Original Prop Blog is an invaluable resource for information, research and high-resolution photographs covering the fascinating world of movie and television props. Of particular interest are his ongoing articles about costumes in the marketplace attributed to use by Christopher Reeve in the Superman movies of the 70s and 80s.

Below are direct links on OPB’s website that should be of particular interest to Christopher Reeve Superman costume enthusiasts:

High Resolution Photo Reference Archive: “Original Superman III Christopher Reeve Costume”

“Super Hollywood” Superman III Costume Case Study: High Resolution Photo Archive & Analysis

“Hands On” Superman Costume Comparative Analysis In Development: Warner Bros. Archive, Authenticated vs. “Super Hollywood”

Superman Costume Comparative Analysis: Warner Bros. Archive, Authenticated vs. “Super Hollywood”

Original Superman Costume Reference Archive: Fabric Comparison

Authentic Superman Costume In The Marketplace – The Prop Store of London

“Prop Store Collection” Superman Costume, Fabric Discussion Continued, Part 1

“Prop Store Collection” Superman Costume, Fabric Discussion Continued, Part 2

Antique Helper Catalog Now Online With Descriptions of Superman-Related Costumes at Auction; No Warranties Nor Claims of Authenticity

Click here and make some time to study even more fascinating Superman articles with high-resolution comparative photos of Superman costumes that have appeared in the marketplace. Knowledge is Power!

CapedWonder.com.

The Original Prop Blog Gallery

Updated 04 February 2013

Super thanks to Jason DeBord of Original Prop Blog for sending us some of his high-resolution original photography of three confirmed authentic costumes featured below.

Special Note: Jason makes the following statements on this webpage regarding brightness and color cast variations of the costume fabric when photographed (this topic has been previously referenced in the article and gallery above):

“It is important to note that many photos were taken in a short session, and minor adjustments in lighting and settings can produce varied results in the appearance of these pieces.”

“None of the photos that appear in this article have been adjusted in Photoshop or any other program, apart from being resized and, in some cases, cropped…” . Such is also the case with the presentation of Jason’s photos shown below.

Note that some of the photos show fading in areas of the fabric due to UV exposure and aging.

Confirmed Authentic Superman II Margot Kidder “Lois Lane” Tunic (see Margot wearing the tunic in her May 1977 makeup & lighting test on the Fortress interior set here and here.):

Confirmed Authentic Superman III Evil Flying Tunic:

Confirmed Authentic Superman IV Flying Tunic:

For additional information about these costumes and Original Prop Blog’s costume analysis, please click on the image below:

Photos are © Copyright 2013 by Jason DeBord, and are not to be reproduced or excerpted without prior written permission. All Rights Reserved. Every effort has been made by Original Prop Blog and CapedWonder™.com to make the above information and photos as accurate and organized as possible. CapedWonder™.com is not an official authentication resource and makes no claims beyond “guideline” for the information and photos in this section of the webpage.

CapedWonder™.com fully concurs with and supports Original Prop Blog’s founding principles, philosophy and objectives as stated here and here.

CapedWonder.com.

CapedWonder Owned Superman III Flying Tunic

Updated 14 February 2013

Click here to see an authentic, screen-worn Superman III flying tunic owned by Jim Bowers.

4 Responses to Christopher Reeve Superman Costumes

  1. jai says:

    we were actually lucky enough as kids to have several costumes from superman 4 and supergirl brought into my school back in ’86 and I remember there being different shades of blue for night shots and such or am I misremembering this?

  2. I have been a big superman fan since I was young boy and my first superman which was the tv show reruns from the 50′s. I have alway’s want a supersuit from the movie and I can pay for it please tell how I can one made just from the movie’s in my size just like Christopher Reeve wore i n superman the movie please and thank you I 44 in belt size 54 chest 42 pant’s boot’s i am 9 1/2 w foot and calf please help make one of these suit’s or tell me where I can get made. again thank you
    From
    Andrew Shainberg

  3. mark saccone says:

    you gave me alot of imformatian on cape i have the 1 from superman 2 thanks i mite put up for sell

  4. Thanks for sharing this web good way of bring this Authentic, Screen-worn Costume . Keep up the great work !