Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Superman Poll Results

Voting closed yesterday on the latest Gutter Talk poll which asked readers to pick their favorite from among the various actors who've portrayed Superman in movies and TV shows over the past six decades.  I'd like to thank everyone who participated and especially those who shared their opinions in the comments.  A few more people took part this time than in my previous poll, which asked for readers' favorite comic by Mike Grell.  Since my readership numbers have been pretty constant for the past few months, I'm guessing the increase is due to people being more familiar with Superman, at least in movies and television, than they are with Grell's work.  I did have one person tell me, while the previous poll was in progress, that his favorite Grell comic was one Grell didn't do, meaning that he obviously wasn't a fan.  
Among comments on the current poll was this one:

"Part of the consideration should be how each actor played the dual identity of both Superman and Clark Kent. George Reeves made for a fine Superman, but his Clark seemed a little underdeveloped. Therefore, for me, the choice would be a race between Kirk Alyn and Christopher Reeve."
On a purely objective level, I would concede that Christopher Reeve was the best at portraying the dual role of Clark Kent/Superman.   Still, perhaps due to his version being the one I was exposed to first, my vote went to George Reeves.  I just love the exasperated expression on his face whenever crooks would shoot at him, as if he were thinking, "Don't they ever learn?"  Plus, I actually like the way he played Clark Kent, which, due to budget constraints, he did a lot more than he played Superman.  Rather than an inept bumbler, Reeves portrayed Kent as a smart, competent and even tough reporter who was more than able to hold his own in the constant verbal jousting with Lois Lane.
Michael N. left this comment:

"George Reeves, but with (needless to say) better scripts."
I certainly agree with you there, Michael.  Although the first two seasons, especially the first year under producer Robert Maxwell, were much better than the last four.  Two things happened with the third season that effected the quality of the series.  Whitney Ellsworth, who took over from Robert Maxwell in the second year, and the powers that be at DC, decided that the show should be more of a kiddie show, so the violence and darker tone of Maxwell's episodes was abandoned in favor of a more comedic flavor.  Secondly, in order to ensure the show's future success in syndication, the producers decided to shoot in color.  This was an expensive proposition back in the early days of TV and ate up most of the budget, leaving little for special effects or better writers. 
I might add that Christopher Reeve could have benefited from better scripts in his last two outings as the Man of Steel, and they didn't have those excuses.  After all, they could afford to hire Richard Pryor.
Now for the results.  The winner isn't much of a surprise.  As I predicted at the beginning, it was for the most part a two man race between George Reeves of the 1950's Adventures of Superman TV show and Christopher Reeve of the 1970's and 80's film franchise.  Between them they garnered nearly 80% of the total votes.  In the end, Christopher Reeve came out on top with a plurality of 46%.
It was nice to see that at least one person remembered Kirk Alyn, the first screen Superman.  Alyn set a standard for all who've followed him to live up to.  I was a little surprised at the complete lack of love, and votes, for Dean Cain of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.   In my opinion, he was a pretty good Superman, and the series, especially in the first couple of seasons, wasn't bad, either.  Being of a somewhat paranoid nature, I'm convinced that at least one of the two people who voted for Superman Returns' Brandon Routh did so to make me look bad, since I wrote that I didn't expect him to get any votes.
That wraps up the latest Gutter Talk poll.  I'll be back with another one before too long.  If you've got a burning question you'd like my readers to answer, let me know.


  1. Dean Cain might not get much love, but I'll bet Terri Hatcher would do better in a corresponding Lois Lane poll.

  2. Probably best to make your next poll about something completely different. I think so, and the cast of Monty Python's Flying Circus agree with me.

  3. Mrs. Slocombe of Grace Brothers Department store agrees as well. "And I am unanimous in this," she commented.
    I've thought about doing a companion poll on Lois Lane. If I did, my vote would go to Noel Neill.