Sinister Cinema: Superman Live

Autograph Hound Super-Sunday once more, and from his extensive files of John Hancocks stacked on top of John Hancocks, Brian Leno sends in Kirk Alyn — the first actor to portray Superman in live action.

Brian noted, “Am enjoying the Warburton stuff. I’m jealous. Talking to some drunk derelict at the bar is not quite the same as you conversing with The Tick.”

Brian and I were chatting and I did a quick run-through of movie people I have met, from William Forsythe to Jackie Cooper. Didn’t count stars I saw but didn’t meet — such as Hugh Jackman opening his one-man play in San Francisco. I saw him for more than an hour but didn’t meet him.

Obviously if I went to Comic-Con a few times I could pile up the brief encounters, but my way is working well enough for me.

The only actor I mentioned to Leno that I saw in such a scenario was Kirk Alyn, at a comic con in New York City, early 70s. Handsome guy, tall, and he gets counted because we were the only two people on an elevator. Didn’t talk. Nodded.

What the hell, the first Superman. I’ll count him.

(Looking up dope on Alyn just now I was almost shocked to see that he had been married to Virginia O’Brien. While I appreciate Alyn’s cultural standing, Virginia O’Brien is one of my film favorites. Master of deadpan. Didn’t get to do enough movies.)

“Dug through my movie serial autographs and found Superman’s,” Brian writes, “since you said you saw him in an elevator, not a phone booth. Thought you might get a kick out of it.”

Brian was thinking that he himself had seen practically no celebrities — then he remembered some “I saw, didn’t meet.

“Went to a boxing match in Vegas years ago and Mr. T was there. Redd Foxx showed up with a young beauty on his arm. The best thing was Bo Derek. A beauty. Truly a Frazetta-like girl.

“Redd Foxx walked by where I was sitting and everybody started hooting and hollering, Hey Redd! He stopped and waved, seemed like a pretty good guy.

“Mr. T of course had more gold on him than a pirate ship.”

And by the way, Patrick Warburton got to play Superman too, in those commercials with Seinfeld, but they made him a cartoon. He could have played it live.

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