Superman: The Unauthorized Biography
Glen Weldon (Author)
A celebration of Superman's life and history - in time for his 75th birthday. How has the Big Blue Boy Scout stayed so popular for so long? How has he changed with the times, and what essential aspects of him have remained constant? This fascinating biography examines Superman as a cultural phenomenon through 75 years of action-packed adventures, from his early years as a social activist in circus tights to his growth into the internationally renowned demigod he is today.
Hardcover: 352 pages
Date: May 17, 2005
In his early 70s, Jack doesn't much like to fly, so the 14 hour flight from Los Angeles to Sydney was not something he undertook lightly, plus he hates being away from his pet dog for too long.
Jack agreed to meet with me, thanks to a glowing recommendation from Noel Neill. Heavily jet-lagged, Jack needed company to help him stay awake until a reasonable hour Sydney time... and I was happy to oblige. :)
Meeting at around 5.45pm at his hotel room, Jack and I spent a half hour chatting, with me introducing myself, and with Jack posing for the photo (shown right). We then ventured out into the cool night, found a small Chinese restuarant along the water's edge in full view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and enjoyed a nice meal. After the meal I walked Jack back to his hotel room, and bid him goodnight at around 8.45pm.
It was a wonderful three hours I'll cherish for a long time! He is such a gentlemen, and it was a real pleasure to be able to spend time chatting with him. We spoke about everything from George Reeves to Christopher Reeve, from his pet dog to Chinese food, from Phyllis Coates to Noel Neill, from his role in "Superman Returns" to his favorite episode of "The Adventures of Superman".
SPOILER WARNING!!! - This next paragraph reveals Jack Larson's role in "Superman Returns", if you don't want to know then skip the next paragraph.
I must state for the record that Jack did not tell me directly who his character was in "Superman Returns", but when I guessed it, he admitted that I'd guessed correctly. I was able to piece it together from things mentioned to me by Bryan Singer, things I'd seen on-set down in Sydney when they were filming on the street, and from the small bits of information Jack mentioned. Jack Larson is playing the part of Bibbo in "Superman Returns". For those unfamiliar with Bibbo, he's a character that has appeared both in the comics and in "Superman: The Animated Series". He's a friend of Supermans, and owner of the Ace O' Clubs tavern/bar.
With the movie script tucked away safely in his hotel bedroom, Jack told me that he was impressed with the script so far (only having had it handed to him that day). He was happy with the various short sequences in which his character was involved, finding them well written and interesting. Overall, he said he was impressed with the story line of the movie.
Earlier in the day Jack had been taken to the Fox Studios set and was introduced to the cast and crew. Having known Bryan Singer for a few years, and being a fan of his work, Jack was introduced to Brandon Routh and the other cast members, especially young Sam Huntington who is playing Jimmy Olsen, the role Jack himself made famous in the 1950s. Jack made special mention of Kate Bosworth (Lois Lane), stating how he thought she was an exceptionally attractive woman with a classic beauty about her. He compared he to come of the classic Hollywood starlets of years gone by.
Jack was impressed with all the cast, and mentioned that they had been filming a scene on the roof of the Daily Planet building that day. He was also interviewed on camera, and said that the footage was to be used in the DVD of "Superman Returns".
I should also make mention of the fact that Jack has been involved in the making of that other Superman related movie, "Truth, Justice and the American Way", the biopic on the life and death of George Reeves. Jack met with Ben Affleck and Diane Lane recently. He was happy with Diane Lane's casting as Toni Manix, as Diane is currently his favorite actress, and he was very good friends with Toni Manix. He was also very impressed with Ben Affleck, stating that Ben came across as very smart, and was confident that the actor would do George Reeves justice, having spent the better part of a whole day with Jack, asking questions and learning about George.
As I mentioned, we spoke on a range of subjects, but the above information covers the most topical news to come out of the time I spent with Jack.