Superman on Television

John Haymes Newton

John Haymes Newton as Clark Kent Character: Clark Kent/Superboy in Superboy (1988)

Birth Date: December 29, 1965

Birth Place: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

John Haymes Newton (1965-)

The First Superboy From the Adventures of Superboy

John Haymes Newton was a late Christmas present for his parents, born on December 29, 1965 in Chapel Hill, NC. Newton graduated from Chapel Hill High School in June of 1984, and enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that fall, where he became active in the theater. He moved to NYC to study acting full time in January 1985. In discussions with the Superman Homepage, John remarked, "My spiritual path started in 1985 when I learned to meditate, began extensive Martial Arts training and became 'health-conscious'."

Newton received rave reviews for his debut as the male lead in the Playmakers Reparatory Company production of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" (directed by Robert Allan Ackerman), and following graduation in May, 1987, made the decision to move to Los Angeles to actively pursue his acting career.

That same year, producers Ilya and Alexander Salkind began their plans to rekindle their franchise of Superman movies. Following the failure of Supergirl on the big screen, the Salkinds decided to try the small screen with a syndicated television show featuring a young Man of Steel. The show, called The Adventures of Superboy was scheduled to begin filming at Universal Studios in Florida in 1988.

From a comic fan's perspective, this was a curious move considering the fact that John Byrne had essentially done away with Superboy when he revamped the Superman character in 1986. Even more odd was that this version of Superboy was to be set in the present rather than the pre-Superman 1940's or 50's and didn't really fit into the DC continuity other than it's use of known characters and villains. Obviously, this was not a concern for television.

The Salkinds began a search for their Superboy, and decided that they wanted an actor that resembled a young Christopher Reeve to star in the syndicated series. Visiting family back in Wilmington, North Carolina while auditioning for 'Weekend At Bernies" for Lynn Stallmaster, John decided to audition for Superboy. He was 22 years old, stood six feet tall, had green eyes and brown hair and was exactly what they were looking for. Within days, he became their choice for the role of Clark Kent/Superboy and was told to darken his hair color to match that of the Reeve's Superman.

When production began, John Haymes Newton (as Superboy/Clark Kent) was part of a cast featuring Stacy Haiduk (as Lana Lang), Scott Wells (Lex Luthor), Stuart Whitman (Jonathan Kent), and Salome Jens (Martha Kent). The first episode, The Jewel of the Techacal (written by Fred Frieberger and directed by Reza Badiyi), aired October 3, 1988. In that introductory episode, Professor Lang and his assistant are heading to Shuster University to oversee an exhibition of artifacts from their latest archeological dig. Professor Lang's assistant believes one of the relics is cursed and as they arrive at the airport his theory seems correct when their landing gear collapses nearly killing them. Fortunately, Clark Kent also witnesses the disaster and appears as Superboy to rescue the plane (much like the first appearance of Superman in John Byrne's Man of Steel mini-series). It isn't long before we meet Lana Lang who tries desperately to smooth out differences with her father until the curse strikes again, and Professor Lang dies from a massive heart attack. Everyone agrees that the cursed artifact must be returned to its place of origin or everyone at Shuster University will face the curse. Unfortunately, a ruthless upper-classman named Lex Luthor, with his henchman, Leo (Michael Manno), has pilfered the artifact intending to sell it to the highest bidder. Again, Superboy arrives to foil the sale and return the artifact... and make Lana Lang suspicious as to who Superboy really was.

For the rest of the first season, the series featured stories revolving around Clark and Lana's adventures during their first year at Shuster University's Siegel School of Journalism (a definite tribute to Jerry Shuster and Joe Shuster, creators of both Superman and Superboy) and their interactions with Lex Luthor. Newton appeared as Superboy in all twenty-six episodes during the first season and the show did well in syndicated ratings. Not only did Newton succeed in looking like a young Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent, but he also looked good in the Superboy costume and became popular, being featured in many teen magazines in 1988.

The first season (called "Superboy") was shot at Walt Disney World Studios. After the first 26 episodes, they moved to Universal (and renamed the show "Adventures of Superboy").

John Haymes Newton and Stacy Haiduk At the end of the first season, Newton tried to exploit this popularity and went to the Salkinds to re-negotiate his contract, demanding an increased salary for the second season. The Salkinds were nothing if not pragmatic and made a decisive move based solely on the bottom line. The Salkinds chose to release Newton from his contract and quickly hired Gerard Christopher to replace him as Superboy for the second season assuming that it was the costume, and not the actor that wore the cape, that attracted viewers.

"It was my choice to leave the Superboy series," Newton told the Superman Homepage. "The producers asked me back repeatedly. I asked for a small raise (20%) which had been previously promised to me and then retracted when the second season was to start. This was due to the amount of dangerous stunts I was performing as well as two serious accidents, one involving a substitute flying rig operator swinging me into some power lines. (They happened to be insulated)."

The move to replace him came as much as a shock to Newton as it did his fans. Turning inward to re-evaluate himself, Newton continued studying martial arts and exploring his spirituality. It was these experiences that helped him re-establish him. However, it was also this rejection that made Newton introspective to the point where, for a time, he omitted his role of Superboy from his list of acting credits on his resume, and to this day remains somewhat hesitant to mention the series at all.

Newton returned to the screen, shooting two TV movies in 1989: Emanipation of Lizzie Stern and Everyday Heroes. Then later as Nick in the film, Cool As Ice in 1990-91. The next year, Newton used his martial arts training to earn the part of Joe Highhawk (Hawk) in Desert Kickboxer (also known as Desert Hawk, 1992).

Again, with the help of his martial arts training, Newton was chosen to play Joey Prado in episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger (Full Contact, episode # 5.16) with Chuck Norris in 1993. Later that year, Newton appeared again on Walker, Texas Ranger (Rookie, episode # 5.26). Perhaps as a result of these appearances, Newton received the recurring role of Agent Tony Pigano in the 1992-94 TV series, The Untouchables. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled at the end of a 42 episode run. In 1993, Newton played the character Antonio "Tintin" Vizintin opposite Ethan Hawke in Alive (also known as Alive: The Miracle of the Andes), directed by Frank Marshall.

In 1994, Newton secured another recurring role on television, playing Mark Warriner in seven episodes of the series Models, Inc (Ghosts, episode # 2.4, 9/28/1994; In Models We Trust, episode # 2.5, 10/12/1994 and Men Don't Leave, episode # 2.15, 1/9/1995). He then went on to appear in the films Goodbye America, (1997, co-starring James Brolin), and Dark Tides (1998).

On September 14, 1998, Newton began the role of Ryan McBride, the younger brother of Kyle, on the two-hundredth episode of Fox's Melrose Place (The World According to Matt) beginning his tenure by having an angry quarrel with his brother after he is accused of making a pass at Taylor. He appeared steadily in that role until 1999. Most recently, he has appeared as Martin in the TV movie, Operation Sandman (2000).

John Haymes Newton continues to act, while also finding the time to pursue his interests in the martial arts, Yoga, motorcycling and supporting his personal causes of protecting the environment, supporting nature, and sharing his knowledge of the healing sciences.