Superman: The Richard Donner Years Celebrity Super Reunion
Here we are at our WonderCon Anaheim 2015 gathering that took place April 3-5, 2015. What a blast! Thanks to all of the fans who made the effort to be there!
HEARTFELT THANKS to Margot Kidder, Valerie Perrine, Sarah Douglas, Diane Sherry, Marc McClure, Jack O’Halloran, Aaron Smolinski and Ilya Salkind for your generosity, kindness and friendship – for joining us – and for the many wonderful years you have captivated us on the silver screen! The fans love you for it!
Special Thanks, Richard Donner – it was very cool having you with us in spirit through your personal video presentation!
MEGA-HUGE THANKS to my Official WonderCon CapedWonder Team – Lynn Anderson, Terry Van Tassel, Julian Adderley, Daniel Lee, Geena Lee, Robert Lee, Michael Lee, Gerard Sison, Scott Cranford and Rennie Cowan! You are all awesome! I couldn’t have done it with you! Hugs!
SUPER STELLAR JOB, Jay Towers, on the news coverage! Thanks SO VERY much for co-hosting the Q&A panel! You ARE Superman!
Special Thanks to Chris Mason and Orlando Arocena for sharing your special art with us – your talent is astonishing!
Super thanks to Brian McKernan for writing my Q&A panel intro speech featured below.
Super thanks to Brian McKernan, Ty Bjornson, and Bill Williams for contributing questions for Q&A panel.
Epics have been part of moviemaking since the dawn of Hollywood. Pictures such as Intolerance and the original Ben Hur were early box-office gold, and by the 1960’s films such as Cleopatra and The Longest Day – with ensemble casts of international actors – re-defined the term blockbuster. By the mid-1970’s the James Bond franchise could hold its own against Jaws and The Godfather. Keenly aware of all of this, Ilya Salkind, son and grandson of film producers, in 1973 conceives of the idea to make an epic film about the most fantastic of all fictional characters: Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. His inspiration: A Zorro poster he sees one day in Paris.
Superman had a great advantage: he was “pre-sold” to audiences. He was known to generations from his more than 30 years in practically every medium: television, radio, newspapers, Broadway, comic books, advertising, and even Oscar-nominated 1940’s theatrical cartoons and two movie serials. But he had never been given big-budget cinematic “John Wayne” treatment. Ilya’s father Alexander agreed that the time had come for an epic Superman film, and he hired no less than Godfather author Mario Puzo to write the script, James Bond veteran Guy Hamilton to direct it, and the Godfather himself – Marlon Brando – to appear as Superman’s father Jor-El. French Connection star Gene Hackman soon signed-on as Lex Luthor as well. But making a Superman movie fly in the 1970’s proved to be a formidable challenge.
The digital green-screen computers that make possible today’s Superhero films didn’t exist back then. After a full year of pre-production in Rome and millions of dollars spent, the Italian crew still couldn’t figure out how to make Superman fly. Fortunately, changing currency values of the lira and the British pound necessitated moving the production to England. Guy Hamilton couldn’t come along due to tax problems, prompting some critics to carp that Superman was doomed. All that changed early on a Sunday morning in December 1976, when director Richard Donner got a phone call from producer Alexander Salkind, who had seen Donner’s blockbuster film The Omen the night before. The elder Salkind asked Donner to direct Superman: The Movie for a then staggering 1 Million dollars.
Well-aware that Superman was America’s King Arthur, Robin Hood, and 007 all rolled into one, Donner determined that he would make sure that this film was done right. With only 90 days until the cameras were scheduled to roll, he immediately took command of the production, convincing pal and 007 screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz to re-write the campy script, entrusting the task of making Superman fly to a team of Britain’s best effects experts, and overseeing final casting, including the most crucial role of all, Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel. Above all, Donner made “verisimilitude” the watchword of the production: the mandate to make this film realistic and believable.
‘Superman: The Movie’ was a challenging, risky, and expensive film to make, especially in terms of its special effects, sets, and locations on two continents. It necessitated nearly endless effects tests and the invention of some unique new technologies. It was also complicated by the simultaneous filming of a large portion of its sequel. Through it all, however, Richard Donner moved the production forward, directing, guiding, and inspiring a highly dedicated cast and crew to slowly but surely make ‘Superman: The Movie’ take flight. And as impressive as the film’s effects were, they were there to serve the needs of the story; it was the film’s actors who made audiences care about the characters, to hiss at the villains and to cheer Superman’s heroic deeds. And cheer they did.
‘Superman: The Movie’ today stands as the first of its kind: the grand-daddy of today’s super-hero epics. It was not an easy film to make, but even now – after nearly 40 years – it’s still an easy film to love. Today we are here to pay homage to this film’s director, to the inspiration of its producer, and to the actors who gave it its heart and soul, who made it succeed, and made everyone Believe That A Man Could Fly.
Updated 04 January 2023
Here’s our celebrity signings table video!
Here’s our Q&A panel!
The Flix Men featured our panel on their website.
Here are the two videos we showed on the two huge screens during the Q&A panel. The first video was edited by Julian Francis Adderley. The second video was shot by Derek Hoffman, with final edit by Julian Francis Adderley.
Here’s Jay Towers talking about our event on his Detroit news station.
Here’s the official CapedWonder WonderCon Teaser Video Number Two! Edited by Julian Francis Adderley for CapedWonder.com.
Here’s the official CapedWonder WonderCon Teaser Video! Edited by Julian Francis Adderley for CapedWonder.com.
Promo Materials & Artwork
Updated 04 June 2015
Gerard Sison created this amazing Superman-The Movie collage poster just for WonderCon. It was a big hit with the fans and celebrities, and will be available for purchase later this year whwn the CapedWonder on-line store launches.
Exclusive: CapedWonder.com Enlists The Other Worldly Talents Of Orlando Arocena For A Stellar Tribute To Richard Donner & Christopher Reeve At WonderCon 2015. See how he created it here. Purchase a print of it here.
Here are the WonderCon ad and banner.
Updated 04 June 2015
Here are lots of great photos by Rennie Cowan, Lynn Anderson, Ty Bjornson, Julian Adderley, The Lee Family, Leah Case, and Jim Bowers. Many more to come!