Superman on Radio & Audio
Did You Know?
Jackson Beck (voice of the Superman Radio introductions) was Best Man at George Reeves' wedding simply by coincidenceIn 1995, Brian McKernan, friend of the Superman Homepage, interviewed Jackson Beck (best known as the voice of the 1940s Superman Radio Series introductions). During the interview Jackson Beck told of how, by pure chance, he became the Best Man at George Reeves' wedding, even though the two had never met before and would never meet again.
Beck: George Reeves--I'll tell you a story about him. I only met him once. I was best man at his wedding.
McKernan: Really, best man at his wedding?
Beck: And I never knew the guy. A friend of mine roomed with him. He called me up and said, "Jack, what are you doing Sunday afternoon?" And I said, "I don't know," so I called up my wife and said "Are we busy Sunday?" She said "No."
So I said "What's up?" And he said, "A friend of mine, my roommate, as a matter of fact, is getting married and we need a best man."
"What's wrong with you?" I asked.
"Well, I--for various reasons I can't do it," he said.
So I said "All right."
And he said, "Would your wife be, matron of honor?"
And I said "Sure, I guess so."
So he said, "Come down here, there's a place on Grammercy Park."
So we get there on Sunday, and we walk upstairs, I brought a bottle of champagne or something, and I get upstairs to this apartment on the top floor. Five floors up, it's absolutely empty except for a couple of sleeping bags, a couple of wooden chairs, and a table. And not much of a table. Typical starving actor's home. So I'm introduced to Mr. Reeves and to the blushing bride.
McKernan: Was this before he was Superman or after?
Beck: Well he was going to leave for the Coast the following day to do the picture ["Superman and the Mole Men"]. And so I said "It's nice to meet you," and so on and so forth, and that's just about where the conversation began and ended. And finally this minister--I don't know who he was or where they got him--he looked like a parody of what you'd think of in an old-time minister. He was a thin, grey man with a hat and a white shirt, and a black tie, and a black suit, more like an undertaker than not. And he had a bible in his hand and we were introduced to him. And then the ceremony took place. I signed all the papers, I had to sign the license, the witness, and all of that. And then I said, "Well, I brought the champagne, do you have four--five--glasses?" And they scurried around and finally found a couple of glasses and a couple of cups. So we all drank to the newlyweds, and my wife and I took off. The next day they flew to California to do Superman the picture. And that's the first and last time I ever saw George Reeves. I don't know where the hell he was from, I'd never heard of him before.
McKernan: What was his wife's name?
Beck: I don't know, I've no idea what her name was.
McKernan: So was it through Superman Inc. that they made that connection?
Beck: The picture?
McKernan: No, that they asked you. Was it because of the Superman connection that they had asked you to be his best man?
Beck: No, it's just that I was friends with his roommate.
McKernan: Oh, okay, so it was just totally coincidental, then?
McKernan: What was he like, was he a nice guy?
Beck: I don't know. I saw the guy all of a half an hour. That's all it took. We came there, we did the number, and we left.
McKernan: So that is fascinating. You were George Reeves' best man at his wedding.
Beck: That's right.
McKernan: And so this would be the early 1950's, then.
Beck: I don't even remember when it was. Whenever that first series of Superman came out is when it was.
McKernan: And he never stayed in touch after that, or anything?
McKernan: Well, seems like kind of a strange story, huh?
Beck: Yeah. But if you're writing about Superman it's a little thing you can throw in.
McKernan: Thank you, I greatly appreciate it, it's a wonderful nugget--was he friendly at all?
Beck: Yes, of course, I was doing him a favor. He had to be friendly.
McKernan: Yeah. And he seemed like a nice enough guy.
Beck: Yeah, he looked like a nice guy. But I never knew him except for that one incident.
Interview © Copyright 1995 by Brian McKernan
Additional Notes: George Reeves first wife's name was was Ellanora Needles. She was married to George in 1940 but the marriage ended after 10 years, with the couple being divorced in 1950. The story from Jackson Beck above is in regards to some other woman whom George supposedly married in 1950 after his divorce to Ellanora.