erik lundegaard

Superman Screenshot of the Day posts

Saturday June 08, 2013

Superman Screenshot of the Day

Iron Eater heads to Metropolis

As TV seasons progress, budgets shrink, and you wind up with characters like the above, the Iron Eater, a well-meaning .... um ... whatever ... from the first season of “The New Adventures of Superman” in 1966.

The Iron Eater is actually a meteorite that comes to life and has the added ability to transform itself into a perfect replica of anything: bridge, cop, signage. Superman winds up defeating it (of course) and flying it to an asteroid of iron, where it'll live happily ever after ... until it runs out of asteroid, I guess. Then maybe the cycle repeats itself.

I love the above for its absurdity. Who knew meteorites who come to life as monsters could read English?

Posted at 11:06 AM on Jun 08, 2013 in category Superman Screenshot of the Day
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Friday June 07, 2013

Superman Screenshot of the Day

Metropolis turns on Superman, 1988

The Ruby-Spears' Superman, which premiered in 1988, a year after “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace” died at the box office ($15 million, U.S.), is closely tied to the Christopher Reeve movies. We get the John Williams' score and Lois hanging from a helicopter. Clark is clumsy. The first time we see Superman and Lois, they're flying through the air a la “Can you read my mind?” Plus Clark/Superman even looks a bit like Christopher Reeve.

As for the above screenshot? It's Superman's reaction to one of my least-favorite and most laughable conceits in entertainment.

In the show's first episode, Lex Luthor, the CEO of LexCorp, creates the Defendroids to stop crime. There's some indication that he creates both the crime and the crime-stoppers, but he creates the latter so Metropolis will turn on Superman. Which is totally what happens. The Defendroids stop some “Mad Max”-type yahoos in the park and Luthor appears to hail them and dismiss Superman:

Lex: What has Superman done? Oh sure, he arrests a few jaywalkers and muggers. But do you feel safe at night?
Everyone: Noooooo!

Then an apartment building erupts in flames and the Defendroids save some children in the white-hot spotlight of the press, while Superman saves an elderly couple around the corner, unnoticed. When he's spotted by a TV reporter, she, and the crowd, surge upon him:

TV reporter: Well, Superman, how does it feel, knowing that with THEM around you’re no longer needed?

CUT TO: Angry faces of crowd.

Man in crowd: Ha! We’ve got the Defendroids to help us now!
Woman in crowd: Yeah! We don’t NEED you anymore!

CUT TO: The above screenshot.

Oh, how sharper than a serpent's tooth to have a fickle populace.

The whole thing is so absurd. Angry? “Ha!”? “We don't NEED you anymore”?

Sure, you can make arguments for why everyone in Metropolis turns on Superman so suddenly and viciously. Maybe they feel guilty because they've relied on him for so long. Maybe they're sick of relying on him and now, now that they don't have to, they can finally vent their frustration. No one likes to owe anyone anything, particularly unpayable debts, and humanity owes nothing but unpayable debts to Superman. So the knives come out.

But what is this conceit really about?

It's Hollywood's view of us, the movie-going, TV-watching population. We flit from show to show, movie to movie, star to star. What's revered today is a joke tomorrow. We don't NEED you anymore, David Cassidy, Fonzie, ALF. We don't NEED you anymore Mel Gibson, Winona Ryder, Kevin Costner, Arnold Schwarzenegger. We don't need you anymore, “Friends.” CUT TO: David Schwimmer, looking like the above.

The point: This conceit is almost never true in the context where Hollywood places it (as above). But it's always true in the context of Hollywood entertainment. Because in Hollywood, you're only as good as the last crime you stop.

Posted at 02:45 PM on Jun 07, 2013 in category Superman Screenshot of the Day
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Thursday June 06, 2013

Superman Screenshot of the Day

Lois Lane, hypnotized, with finger

Don't say Superman cartoons never had any subtext.

This is a screenshot from Filmations' 1966 “New Adventures of Superman,” episode 18, “The Deadly Dish.” Lex Luthor invents a “Kryptonic Wave” that weakens Superman, but, as he tells his assistant, Blinky, “It takes 15 minutes for the transmittor to attain full power! And the waves are effective only within one square mile!” So how to get Superman close enough? Why, hypnotize his friends to do dangerous things, of course.

At The Daily Planet, Luthor shows up (sans Blinky) disguised as a professor to give Perry White and company an award for ”best newspaper," then releases the mind-control gas from the award. Ha ha! Then he gives them orders. Perry White is supposed to stand in the middle of the street. And Lois Lane? With Luthor's finger dangling just inches away from her open, hypnotized mouth, Luthor tells her:

Tomorrow at 12:10, you will enter Apt. 2A at 37 Pine Street. At exactly 12:13 PM, you will climb out on the window ledge!

Oh, Lex. So little imagination. Unlike, apparently, the animators at Filmation Studios.

Posted at 02:47 PM on Jun 06, 2013 in category Superman Screenshot of the Day
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Wednesday June 05, 2013

Superman, Fat Ass

Superman, fat ass

Here's an unfortunate screenshot from “Superman and the Mole Man” (1951). I'm not sure if it's Reeves or a stuntman. Either way, it's hardly buns of steel. No wonder Superman wears a cape.

Posted at 12:13 PM on Jun 05, 2013 in category Superman Screenshot of the Day
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Tuesday June 04, 2013

Superman Screenshot of the Day

Animated Superman saving animated mole-man in "Superman and the Mole Man" (1952)

By the time of “Superman and the Mole-Men” (1951), the animated flying of the Kirk Alyn serials was a thing of the past. Instead, they did take-offs with wires (until George Reeves injured himself), a few POV shots with whooshing sound effects, and close-ups of Reeves as Superman steadying himself in mid-air.

But they did rely on animation for the above scene. Two of the mole men, who have emerged from the world's deepest (and driest) well, are exploring the neighborhood, which is unfortunately in Texas, and they rile up the locals. One MM is shot off the top of this bridge and falls to his death. But wait! Up in the sky! Look! Then we get this.

As bad as it looks as a screenshot? It's worse when played.

Posted at 03:37 PM on Jun 04, 2013 in category Superman Screenshot of the Day
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