In Part I of “The Man of Steel”, we looked at Superman from his humble beginnings 1932 to the end of the “Adventures of Superman” in 1958. This week we will look at some of the film highlight of his film and TV adventures from 1960-1980.
The 60′s saw the explosion of children’s cartoon programming.
The New Adventures of Superman was a series of six-minute animated Superman adventures produced by Filmation that were broadcast on CBS between 1966 and 1970. The 68 segments appeared as part of three different programs during that time, packaged with similar shorts featuring The Adventures of Superboy and other DC Comics superheroes.
Super Friends is an American animated television series about a team of superheroes, which ran from 1973 to 1986 on ABC as part of its Saturday morning cartoon lineup. It was produced by Hanna-Barbera and was based on the Justice League of America (JLA). Superman was the De-facto leader of the group.
After being out of life action essential since the end of the “Adventures of Superman ” in 1958, Ilya and Alexander Salkind purchased the rights to produce a live action Superman film from DC Comics in 1974. In 1976 a relativly unknown actor, Christopher Reeve was hired to play the lead role.
Superman (also known as Superman: The Movie) was released in1978. Richard Donner directed the film, which stars Christopher Reeve as Superman, as well as Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Glenn Ford, Phyllis Thaxter, Jackie Cooper, Marc McClure, Valerie Perrine and Ned Beatty. The film was a huge success.
Superman II is the 1980 sequel to the 1978 Superman and stars Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, and Terence Stamp, It was the only Superman film to be filmed by two directors. For this reason, the film is surrounded with controversy since original director Richard Donner had completed, by his estimation, roughly 75% of the movie in 1977 before being taken off the project. Many of the scenes shot by second director Richard Lester (who had been an uncredited producer on the first film) in 1979 are refilmed Donner sequences. This film was also a box office success.
Following the success of Superman II, two additional films were released Superman III (1983), a moderate success, and Superman IV (1987), which was a Box Office flop. Warner Brothers coined the phrase “franchise fatigue”, and Superman disappeared from live action for almost 10 years.
Superman is a 1988 animated Saturday morning television series produced by Ruby-Spears Productions and Warner Bros. Television that aired on CBS. It ran for 13 episodes in 1988.
Join us next week for the Final installment celebrating, “The Man of Steel.”