Superman. The Theatrical Serials Collection


Estudio: Warner

En la colección: Superman

Año de publicación: 2006

Tipo: Serial Cinematográfico, 518 minutos

Género: Superhéroes

  • Superman (1948)
  • Atom-Man vs Superman (1950)

Film's First Superman

The first actor to play the role of Superman on film, Kirk Alyn passed  away on Sunday, March 14, 1999 in a hospital in suburban Houston, Texas  at the age of 88.

Alyn portrayed the Man of Steel in two 15-part movie serials in 1948 and  1950. Columbia Pictures hired him because he looked like Superman's  mild-mannered, comic book alter ego, Clark Kent, and had dance training  that helped him to dive out of windows and leap over cameras.

Although he always blamed his success as Superman for stifling his  acting career, Alyn benefited from a wave of nostalgia for the Superhero  in the '70s, when he found himself in demand on the college circuit and  at comic book conventions.

"Playing Superman ruined my acting career and I've been bitter for many  years about the whole thing. But now," he said in 1972, "it's finally  starting to pay off."

Alyn was born John Feggo jnr in Oxford, New Jersey. As a young man he  performed in vaudeville acts and chorus lines in New York. He followed  his friend Red Skelton to Hollywood, where he met and married the dancer  and actress Virginia O'Brien in 1942. They were married for 12 years  and had three children.

When he was approached to play Superman, Alyn said, Columbia had already  interviewed 100 actors, but "had trouble getting someone with a good  build who could read lines." The producer and casting director invited the 188cm, 88.4kg Alyn to its  office and asked him to remove his shirt and then his pants. Alyn was  alarmed ("I thought this only happened to actresses," he recalled) until  they told him that they had to be sure he would look good in Superman's  form-fitting suit and tights.

Making Superman fly, Alyn once said, was no simple feat. He wore a metal  harness attached to steel wires. In the first rushes, he said, "you  could see the wires plain as day," which led to the firing of the entire  technical crew. The producers then turned to trick photography.

Columbia stopped making the Superman serials in 1951. That's when  Alyn, who couldn't walk two blocks without hearing fans honk and yell,  "Hiya, Superman!", found himself with little hope of landing other  roles. So when he was offered the television role in 1951, he turned it down in disgust.

Alyn found stage work in New York and acted in about a dozen Broadway  plays. Eventually he moved to California, where he acted in television  commercials during the '50s and '60s. In the '70s, as nostalgia for the Superman character swelled, Alyn agreed to play Lois Lane's father in the 1978 Superman movie starring Christopher Reeve. 

Kirk Alyn toured with Jim Hambrick and the Super Museum in the early 1980s.

Source: Supermuseum.