Lois in the movie serials


Noel Neill wins hands down as the actress who played Lois Lane more times in several different venues than any other actress. She starred as "the girl reporter" in the Kirk Alyn serials (1948 and 1950), was Lois Lane in The Adventures of Superman, and had a cameo in the first Superman movie (1978) as Lois Lane's mother and played Lex Luthor's wife in Superman Returns. She even had a part in the syndicated Superboy series.

As Lois Lane in the serial, she lived up to the "girl reporter" moniker in much the same way that Jimmy Olsen lived up to the name "cub reporter" in that she was young, enthusiastic, but not often accorded the respect an adult would or should have been granted. Also, like Jimmy and often in the company of Jimmy, Lois would get into the type of trouble that required Superman's aid.


Noel Neill with costar Kirk Alyn from 1948. The pair reunited 30 years later for the Superman movie.




Lois in the movies


Margot Kidder was the first "big screen" (theatrical film as opposed to serials) Lois Lane. Her Lois was aggressive and abrasive, but completely captivated by Superman.

Kidder played Lois Lane in the first two films opposite Christopher Reeve, but didn't put in a true reappearance again until the fourth and final film. She was also the first Lois Lane who actually had a sexual liaison with Superman. However, she was made to forget their love making at the end of the film when she received the famous, or infamous "forget everything happened" kiss imparted by Superman near the end of Superman II.

Almost 30 years after Margot Kidder had made her debut, Kate Bosworth became the newest Lois Lane in Superman Returns with Brandon Routh as her superman. This was a sequel to the original first two Reeve Superman movies, although some found that confusing and thought it was a remake. 

In the movie it is revealed that the passion Lois and Superman shared paid a dividend that could not be erased with a kiss. Lois became pregnant and gave birth to a son. However, the narrative of the story made it unclear how much, or what Lois remembered from her night of passion. Clearly she seemed stunned that her child displayed super powers. Also Bosworth's Lois was rather lackluster compared to her predecessor Margot Kidder. Perhaps some of the loose ends can be tied in the next movie and some moxie can be infused into Bosworth.





Lois in The Adventures of Superman


Phyllis Coats was the first Lois Lane on a recurring television series. Her abrasive Lois might actually have given Kidder's a run for her money. This was a no-nonsense Lois who saw journalism as a goal totally uncluttered by romance, or even the desire for romance. She was one of the few depictions of the character who had did not go gaga over the Man of Steel and her relationship with Clark Kent could sometimes border on contempt.

However, despite her hard-as-nails character trait, she truly did seem to care about the people she covered in her stories and saw journalism as a way to help them.

Coates reign as the famous reporter lasted only one season. She left the series and was replaced by Noel Neill, who had previously played Lois Lane in the old movie serials. The difference between the two actresses when portraying Lois was literally the difference between night and day, or, as the authors of "Fantastic Television" put it, when Coates' Lois called Clark Kent a "pantywaist," she meant it, but the Neill version of Lois did not.

Noel Neill was definitely the "kinder gentler" Lois Lane. She also reestablished the trait of Lois Lane being head over heels in love with Superman, though she was in no way a bitter rival of Clark Kent as Coates' Lois had been. They actually seemed to be friends and even had an affection for each other, at least as much as was permissible in this version of the Superman saga.


A final note on Phyllis Coates, she did play Lois Lane's mother in one episode of Lois and Clark The New Adventures of Superman.  While doing interviews with Teri Hatcher, Coates explained the rigorous filming schedule for the old series. She said the actors often wore the same outfits from one episode to the next because they filmed three or four episodes at one time.






Lois in Lois and Clark The New Adventures of Superman


If someone were to meld Phyllis Coates' Lois and Noel Neill's Lois and mixed liberally with sex appeal, they'd quite probably come up with Teri Hatcher's Lois Lane. Since the Lois and Clark series was designed to be a "love triangle built for two," this Lois Lane, despite her "take no prisoners" journalistic approach, would have to have a romantic side.

This take on Lois was unique in that she was part of the whole Superman equation. She just didn't give The Man of Steel his famous nom de voyage as had been the case in other retellings of the saga, she was part of  his moral and ethical foundation as well and sometimes had to function as cheerleader and conscience to get Superman back in the game.






Lois in Smallville

The newest TV Lois Lane is played by Erica Durance, a Lois who actually knows Clark Kent before his famous Superman days, but is the only girl in town who doesn't swoon at his feet. Beautiful, but tomboyish, she made a perfect, albeit temporary mate for Oliver Queen, AKA Green Arrow in an era prior to meeting his true love Black Canary.

While comic book purist might be disturbed by Lois Lane knowing Clark in his youth, the time line shift does allow viewers to see how Lois Lane finally made her way to the Daily Planet. 









Lois in animation


Lois Lane debuted in animated form in 1941 in the Paramount cartoons created by the Fleischer studios. This take on Lois was suspiciously similar in look and attitude to Rosalind Russell's portrayal of an aggressive, sarcastic and humorously caustic reporter in the film His Girl Friday, which had debuted the year before. 

Also, as with all animated versions of Lois Lane, the format itself afforded the luxury of possibilities that allowed for feats of daring-do not possible in live action film of the same era. The outrageous stunts pulled by Lois Lane to get her stories helped cement her reputation as a woman who dives in first and checks the water level later.

Lois and Superman have existed in animation in nearly every decade since the 1940s and the most recent animated incarnation is voiced by actress Dana Delaney. This Lois, though meant to be jaded in attitude, often comes across as apathetic instead. She takes a back seat to the villains, monsters, cool gizmos and other items that can flood the toy market.

However, as the series progressed, Lois had more screen time and segued into the Justice League Unlimited series where she and Superman began a romantic relationship. In the Superman: Doomsday DVD movie the romance was very serious, as had been the case in the comic book story arc The Death of Superman and Lois learned that Clark and Superman were the same person.

In the relatively new field of computer generated comic animation, Lois and Superman have also made their debut in the form of "webisodes."  These stand-alone short episodes aren't long on plot or characterization, but just as with the comics over 70 years ago, Superman and Lois Lane are pioneers in a new field. 



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