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Author Topic: John Frederick??  (Read 7787 times)
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davidelliott
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« on: January 09, 2007, 07:07:28 PM »

I stumbled on this on the Superman Homepage site... linking to the original story here:

http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/99999999/FAMOUSIOWANS/50111022/0/THEMES

I thought it sounded pretty legit, til Mr Younis said he contatced Larson and Noel Neill who never heard of him.  The Superman costume in the "publicity" photo looks not only homemade, but wrong!  Check out the sleeves and boots!

Let's all jump on the bandwagon!
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nightwing
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2007, 08:59:55 PM »

The studio was barely willing to pony up enough funds to film the shows with the regular cast, so there's no way they'd spring for an extra 18 episodes that might never see the light of day.

In the "late 50s", as this article puts it, the studio only shot 13 episodes at a time as a way to jerk around the cast members and keep them under contract longer than they thought they were signing up for.  And in the early 50s, they shot 26 in a row.  So where this guy gets the number 18 I have no idea.

Trust me, this show has been analyzed, dissected and studied from every angle by afficianados for years.  There are guys out there who can tell you what the key grip on episode 94 had for lunch on the second day of shooting.  If this character figured into the history of the show at all, we'd have heard about him before now.

And as you note, not only is the costume wrong (the cape looks to be a better quality than the real one!), but there'd be no way for this guy to shoot any episodes without interacting with Noel and Jack, who don't remember him.

All this proves is that lying and being desperate for fame is not the exclusive purview of the young.  Well, that and you should never believe anything you read in the paper.



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Klar Ken T5477
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2007, 09:48:39 PM »

Whoaaaa....that's a bad outfit, Jim  -- for a masquerade... and nothing more.
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Great Rao
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2007, 02:33:37 AM »

It's entirely possible that he was shooting some other Superhero series but thought it was Superman.  All he said was that it was the "Superman producers," but they never told him that he was actually playing Superman.  Based on the costume, it sure doesn't look it.

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"The bottom line involves choices.  Neither gods nor humans have ever stood calmly in a minefield forever.  Good or evil, they are bound to choose.  And when they do, you will see the truth of all that motivates us.  As a thinking being, you have the obligation to choose.  If the fate of all mankind were in your hands, what would your decision be?  As a writer and an artist, I've drawn my answer."   - Jack Kirby
davidelliott
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2007, 08:05:29 AM »

Look again.. he's Clark Kent in the first photo and under the second is scribbled "Superman"
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nightwing
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2007, 01:08:59 PM »

Over on Dave Schutz' TAOS forum, it's postulated that perhaps this Mr Frederick had photos of himself taken and sent to the studio for consideration as a replacement for Reeves.  Around this time, Reeves was in salary disputes (although there were resolved after about a month) and an LA paper mentioned that Whitney Ellsworth was launching a search for a new lead.

The other possibility is that Frederick himself was scammed by some outfit shooting an unofficial Superman (or generic superhero) project.  That description of the studio as a "tiny office with two men in it" sounds suspicious.  Maybe it was porn film!  Cheesy

Another suspect detail in this story: Frederick says "hanging on a rack was the Superman costume" and one of the men told him, "If it fits, you’ve got the part."  This story makes it sound as if the producers were too cheap to care about an actor's abilities so long as they didn't have to spend money making a new costume.  The trouble is, what's pictured is NOT the Superman costume. 



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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2007, 04:52:53 PM »

Another suspect detail in this story: Frederick says "hanging on a rack was the Superman costume" and one of the men told him, "If it fits, you’ve got the part."  This story makes it sound as if the producers were too cheap to care about an actor's abilities so long as they didn't have to spend money making a new costume.  The trouble is, what's pictured is NOT the Superman costume. 

That's my point.  It seems pretty clear that Frederick thought it was the Superman costume (either at the time or decades later, probably just thinking of "superman" as a generic term for costumed flying hero), but it's obviously not the "real" Superman costume.  So did the producers every actually say, "This is the *Superman* costume"?  Or did they just say, "try on this outfit and if it fits, you've got the job."  I'm guessing the latter, that the postulated episodes were about a different but similar hero, and that Frederick wrote "Clark Kent" and "Superman" on the photos himself.

I wish the photo were bigger, it's hard to make out.  Sort of looks like it could be a recycled Flash Gordon costume or something.
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"The bottom line involves choices.  Neither gods nor humans have ever stood calmly in a minefield forever.  Good or evil, they are bound to choose.  And when they do, you will see the truth of all that motivates us.  As a thinking being, you have the obligation to choose.  If the fate of all mankind were in your hands, what would your decision be?  As a writer and an artist, I've drawn my answer."   - Jack Kirby
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2007, 07:23:35 PM »

Well, we already know that Ellsworth and company were willing to do a Superboy show with Johnny Rockwell and of course the infamous SuperPup, so there is a bit of precedent for churning out clones and spin-offs to keep the gravy train rolling along.  (Jack Larson has even said he was approached about doing a "Jimmy Olsen" TV show after Reeve's death. The plan was to somehow use stock footage of Reeve cut in with new scenes of Jimmy.  Laudably, he rejected the proposal as "a sick case of necrophilia.")

So...maybe it is possible they were lining this guy up to do a show about someone who was Superman in everything but name.  But I can't believe it was anyone in the DC offices who was behind it.  Why would they create some new generic Superman rip-off when they already owned dozens of legit Superman rip-off's?  If there was a danger of Superman going off the air, why not prep a show about Batman or Green Lantern?

It would be interesting to know.  But for me the biggest sticking point is the money.  There's simply no way Ellsworth would have green-lighted 18 episodes of a show that might never air...that guy made Scrooge look like a spendthrift.  Giving this joker the benefit of the doubt, I think it may be possible some rival studio saw the success of TAOS and tried to produce a clone.  They hired Frederick and told him he was going to be "the next Superman" and/or that he'd replace Reeve in the public's affections.  Then for whatever reason -- most likely DC's lawyers getting wind of it, or maybe lack of funds or trouble with special effects -- the project was aborted and forgotten.

But I think it's more likely this guy is just a liar trying to move copies of his newly released memoirs.  He wouldn't be the first.
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