"It's hip to be square"

 

In the psychedelic 60s, it was the era of the counter culture. Anything that smacked of established morals and ethics was rebelled against. The 60s was also the era where anti-heroes ruled and superheroes were lampooned.

Batman hit the small screen in 1966. The villains and the cars were permitted to be cool, but the hero was not. The show became wildly popular and remains to this day the ultimate example of "camp" entertainment.

 

It's not surprising that hot on the heels of Batman's enormous success, the musical comedy "It's a bird It's a Plane It's Superman" debuted on Broadway at the Alvin theater.

Jack Cassidy, playing the villain, got top billing. Bob Holiday, playing Superman, actually got last billing just above the scenery and costume credits. Holy injustice!

 

 

In one number, Superman lifted the grandstand with the aid of a backstage forklift (left-hand photo). In another, actors stood in cubicles where the set was designed to look like a comic book page complete with several panels of action taking place simultaneously (right-hand photo).

 

  Easily the scariest incarnation of Superman (unless Nicolas Cage finally plays the part) was David Wilson's portrayal of the Man of Steel in the television version of the musical.

Airing about a decade after the Broadway version, the TV special might have prompted Warner Brothers to produce the Chris Reeve movie simply to sponge away the image of a Superman who looked a bit like a deranged Ted Koppel.

 

  A musical moment from "It's a Bird It's a Plane It's Superman" possibilities

 

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