2001 Superman Celebration

Tim Sandor's personal report of his time at the Superman Festival.

Welcome to Metropolis This is my second trip to the Superman Festival. My wife and I visited in 1998 and decided in 2001 we would take our two daughters to the Festival.

I had checked out the Metropolis website and saw that villains would be invading from the 1st two movies, I was in heaven. I was also excited to find out that we would all have the chance to watch Superman get married. At first I thought it was a stunt to commerate Lois and Clark's wedding, but I was thrilled when I found out it was going to be a real wedding.

The news became even more thrilling when we found out that David Cassidy was going to be in concert for the weekend. Having been a big PARTRIDGE FAMILY fan, this was going to be a must too. David's dad Jack, starred on Broadway in IT'S A BIRD, IT'S A PLANE, IT'S SUPERMAN. Great musical.

Wall Painting We started out on Thursday morning for the nine hour drive from Texas to Illinois. We stayed Thursday night in Memphis, complete with a trip to Graceland.

We arrived in Metropolis on Friday morning about 11:00am. We had the pleasure of staying at the Isle Of View Bed and Breakfast. Great accomadations and good breakfast to boot. Was so filled up with breakfast, that we did not need to eat lunch.

Our first stop was a visit to the Chamber of Commerce to get a schedule of events for the weekend and to buy a few souvenirs. I was amazed at how big the Chamber was. They had moved across the street from where they were located in 1998. Was truly impressed.

Superman Statue Next we decided to visit the statue and have our pictures taken there. The girls could not get over how big the statue was. I noticed it was not as bright as it was in 1998. Do not know if it is ready for a touch up paint job or not. It is still breathtaking nonetheless.

After our trip to the statue we HAD to visit one of the best things in the whole city, Jim Hambrick's SUPER MUSEUM. Hambrick boasts the largest collection of Superman memorabilia and he does not disappoint. Jim is so in love with the tourism of the town he has plans drawn up for a Superman Theme Park that he would like built there as well. Jim even ran for a councilman spot in the town as well.

The admission for the museum is a steal. It cost my family of four a whopping 12 dollars, AND YOU CAN YOU FLASH FILM IN THE MUSEUM. Cannot beat that at all. Cannot describe all that is in there, but they have everything from Kirk Alyn pieces all the way up to 2001. Breathtaking museum. Tonn of merchandise to buy in there as well.

Kryptonite rock Some of the features that I showed my children in town are the following:

  1. The cover of Action Comics #1 on the side of a building
  2. The giant Kryptonite rock, and
  3. The water tower with Superman.
[Check the Picture Gallery for photos of all of these site].

Friday evening was spent watching David Cassidy in concert. Great seats, good view, and I had to buy his CD's that weekend. It's all we listened to on the way home from the festival. My kids put him up there with N'Sync and The Backstreet Boys in terms of their favorite singers. (Good compliment from an 8 and 11 year old girls.) Hope I look as good as he does when I turn 50.

Tim and Scott Saturday was the day I was waiting for. I had made a homemade wallhanging of Christopher Reeve that I was going to have signed by the celebs that were there for the weekend. On our way to visit the town again, the girls and I had a chance to meet Scott Cranford, the OFFICIAL Superman of Metropolis. Scott was ALWAYS ready to stop for pictures and autographs. Even if he was in a hurry to get somewhere, and someone asked for an autograph or a picture, he was always glad to stop and do this. GOOD HIRING METROPOLIS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.

Some of the highlights that my wife and kids enjoyed while I was in line for autographs, were the following:

  1. Make a cape,
  2. Karate exhibition,
  3. Cheerleader and Drill Team exhibition,
  4. Magic show,
  5. Dog show, and
  6. A full fledged carnival/street festival.

Before I got my autographs, I got to meet John Thompson (Artist on BIG BANG COMICS for IMAGE COMICS) who was doing original artwork and selling prints of his work. Great guy.

Sarah Douglas Early that afternoon, there was a question and answer session with the celebrities of the weekend. The celebrities were as follows: Sarah Douglas (Ursa), Jack O'Halloran (Non), Valerie Perrine (Miss Teschmacher) [and still as hot as ever], Jeff East (Young Clark from Superman: The Movie), and another ravishing lady Noel Neill (Lois from THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN). All the celebrities gave some good anecdotes about being on the various Superman projects. One memorable one was a statement Valerie Perrine made about her scene where she jumps in the water to save Chris Reeve in the movie. She mentions how she is VERY AFRAID of water and GOT DRUNK to do the scence. That was classic.

I then had my 2.5 hour wait to see the celebrities inside the Chamber of Commerce building to get autographs. I was carrying a 2' x 3' homemade wallhanging that I made to be signed. I met some great fans in the line and we had some great talks about Superman. Thought it was amazing how ONE MAN can make complete strangers come together for great talks and friendship. Topics were about everything from who was your favorite Superman to how did George Reeves really die.

Tim's Sign As I got all my autographs, all the celebs were amazed at the artwork I brought. Valerie Perrine was really impressed when I told her I took up this stitching as a way of quitting smoking. All the celebs were very down to earth and were really impressed with the city. I was very much amazed at the love of life and energy that Noel Neill showed. Hope I make it to 80, let alone have the zest that she does. She remarked that the artwork looked too nice for her to sign, but she did sign it for me.

Saturday was the annual George Awards and auction. Was not able to attend (kids would not sit through that) but they did have some good items for sale. Lowest priced item sold for $40. Everything went for over $100 after that. One of the highlights was a swatch of George Reeves' Superman cape that was framed.

Wedding Party Sunday night was a great day for the family. We were lucky to have good seats for Superman's wedding. Scott Cranford was in his Superman suit, and his fiance, Marcella Encinas was a dead ringer for Lois Lane. There was a costume competition for who would be the best man and maid of honor. The wedding party included Robin (the best man who was a DEAD RINGER for Burt Ward) and his wife who was matron of honor (looked like Hippolyta's version of Wonder Woman). Also at the wedding were appearances by Zatanna, The Riddler, and Supergirl. We were fortunate to be sitting by Jack O'Halloran, who started his carrer in college studying to be a teacher. He gave me a pat on the back for being a teacher myself. Was also gracious to take a pic with me and my daughters. I also sat with a gentleman who appeared as JOR-EL, Superman's dad. His costume was a dead on ringer for the role from THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, pilot episode, SUPERMAN ON EARTH.

All in all, the weekend was excellent. I knew I would enjoy it, and was amazed when I found that my kids loved it as much as my wife and I did. This festival is a definite must for ALL SUPERMAN FANS TO SEE.

Tim Sandor (sandor@darkstar.swsc.k12.ar.us)

[Check out Tim's complete photo gallery from his time at the 2001 Superman Festival.]