Friday, October 8, 2010

Curse You, Superman! (Dredging Up The Past Part III)

(Once again, as it was in 2006, the buzz in comics fandom is about a new Superman movie to be filmed by a director who has made his rep among comics fans with a pair of highly successful comic book adaptations.  Back then, it was Superman Returns by X-Men director Brian Singer.  Today, it's an as yet untitled reboot of the franchise to be helmed by Zach Snyder of 300 and Watchmen fame.  I'm sure that once Snyder gets around to casting his film, the hoary old wives tale of the "Superman Curse" will resurface, just as it did back then when I wrote the following post debunking the so-called curse for The Word from on High.)
Noel Neil, the One, True Lois Lane--Still Sane and Healthy
With a new movie in production, that ridiculous old urban legend about the so-called "Superman curse" has reared its ugly head again. According to proponents of this theory anyone working on a Superman film, especially those playing the lead roles of Supes and Lois Lane, are doomed from the moment they sign on to the project. The supposed evidence for the curse is as follows: George Reeves (apparently) killed himself in 1959; Christopher Reeve was paralyzed after being thrown from a horse and Margot Kidder suffered a nervous breakdown and was, I believe, found confusedly wandering around Hollywood in her nightgown.
While all these events are tragic, that they all happened to people who had been involved with Superman films is simply coincidence. No, I don't believe in curses. If I did, I'd have to believe my life was cursed. Besides, if it were a curse, wouldn't everyone who's ever played Clark or Lois have suffered some horrible fate. But, of course, that's hardly the case. 
Bud Collyer, the first actor to play Superman, on radio and in the Fleischer studios cartoons, played the part the longest, continuing to lend his voice to the Man of Steel in TV cartoons until shortly before his 1969 death. Kirk Alyn survived for nearly fifty years pretty much unscathed after being the first person to actually put on the big S on screen in the serials Superman and Atom Man vs. Superman. Nothing bad has happened to Dean Cain so far, unless you count his career kind of fizzling since Lois & Clark ended.
Now, to be fair, Collyer's story could used to make the case for the curse. According to his bio on the Internet Movie Data Base, Collyer "died of a circulatory ailiment at age 61." I will admit that, by today's standards, 61 is a relatively young age to shuffle off this mortal coil, but if there is a "Superman Curse," why did it take thirty years from the time he began doing the radio series in 1939 to catch up with him?
As for the Lois Lanes, things since Lois & Clark have only gotten better for Teri Hatcher, since she's currently enjoying great success as one of the Desperate Houswives. Phyllis Coates, the Lois from the first year of Adventures of Superman, is apparently still alive and healthy. The first, best and, to me at least, "real" Lois Lane, Noel Neill, certainly appeared to be at the peak of both physical and mental health when I met her a couple of years ago at Mid-Ohio Con. She even has a small role in the new film, Superman Returns.
No, there's no "Superman Curse"--unless you count people back in 1983 cursing as they left the theater after paying good money to see Superman III.

1 comment:

  1. Seems to me that the real curse is letting Zach Snyder continue to make movies about superheroes. Hopefully this newest offering won't have too many "6 Million Dollar Man" uses of slow motion.