(Originally published by the Daily News on July 8, 1977. This story was written by Peter Coutros.)
It’s adventure, it’s comedy, it’s romance, someone has said of the hugely expensive “Superman.” It is also “Fantasia,” “2001” and “Love Story” revisited.
It is also The News, whose art deco facade has earned architect’s kudos over the years, doubling yesterday and today as the Daily Planet, that clarion of justice, truth and virtues synonymous with Clark Kent.
Looking sincere in single-breasted blues and horn-rims. Clark Kent is among the actors, directors, grips, camera crews and others jamming the lobby and making it look like Penn Station at rush hour.
Pete Hamill: Watching the Daily News become the Daily Planet
Ellen Bry is also there. They want Ellen Bry for her body and she loves every minute of it. Smaller than a breadbox and cuter than a lop-eared rabbit on Easter morning. Ellen Bry is Superstuntwoman.
“You see, Lois has this idea that Clark Kent is really Superman in civvies,” says Ellen, who would rather be an actress but can’t say no to all that money they pay stunt people for being the fall guy. “Margot Kidder plays Lois, except when it comes to throwing herself from the window.”
Lois Lane going out the window was filmed in London two weeks ago. Lois Lane bouncing off a canopy into a fruit vendor’s cart is being filmed here outside The News Building; cause and effect 3,000 miles and two weeks apart.
“We got $ 400 worth of watermelons and bananas and grapes and cherries,” says Bob Wilson, prop man in charge of watermelons, bananas, grapes and cherries, as he instructs Ellen on the best way to fall onto the cart, fashioned from plywood and cushioned with layers of foam rubber.
As prescribed by Mario Puzo’s script, Lois Lane’s hurtling descent is guided by Superman’s X-ray eyes and breath strong enough to blow out a match at the far end of the Lincoln Tunnel. Of course, Superman’s superior magic eludes Lois, who is too busy plucking watermelon pits from her ear to notice.
If Lois Lane needs help in suffering life’s hard knocks, Superman is no less vulnerable to bodily damage (no matter what you’ve ever read or heard), so Vic Armstrong has been hired to perform the on-screen heroics written in for Christopher Reeve, who plays the leotard schizo, Super/Kent.
Ellen Bry, who spent days and weeks and years studying Chekhov and Anouilh, smiles and says, “What the heck, it puts bread on the table.”
Bread and watermelons and bananas and grapes and cherries…