Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Superbman: The Other Movie

movie poster
Superbman: The Other Movie poster
It's a bird. It's a plane. It's a parody!
Clark Cant apparently can leap over tall women in a single bound but the Kraptonian Cant seem to get a definite DVD release date for Superbman: The Other Movie.
Dealing with red tape seems to be his Kraptonite.
You don't need x-ray vision to see that the film's title is an obvious play on the Richard Donner directed Superman: The Movie. It's no coincidence that it's also the movie that is spoofed.
On February 21, 1981, SUPERBMAN premiered in the auditorium at Cal State Long Beach. What started out as a simple student film in 1978 evolved into a much more ambitious project.
According to the official website, it was originally intended to be a ten minute trailer without a plot. However, as opportunities presented themselves, the filmmakers decided that there was potential for something greater so a script was written adding characters and a plot, extending the film to 30 minutes.

If you were not around in the early eighties or didn't attend science fiction or comic conventions, chances are you haven't seen this film. It's currently not available for purchase or viewing but an announcement at the end of the trailer states that it's "Coming soon on DVD." However, that trailer was produced in 2008 and the DVD has yet to be released.
Speaking of the trailer, you can get a sense of what type of humour they were shooting for. Being a superhero spoof, you might think the 1966 Batman TV series and movie would be the obvious choice for a template to use but the humour in SUPERBMAN seems to be more in line with that of Spaceballs, which is really funny. Of course that movie wouldn't come out until 1987.

Notice some of the big names these students were able to convince to take part in their humble little film. The most impressive of these is none other than the first actor to play Superman on screen, Kirk Alyn, who plays Pa Cant. Alyn played the "Man of Steel" in the 1948 film serial Superman.

Another notable name is Alvy Moore, who plays Perry Blight, editor-in-chief of The Daily Comet newspaper. Moore is probably remembered most as Hank Kimball, the scatterbrained county agent on Green Acres. He still makes me laugh watching reruns on Antenna TV.

Coincidentally, Gary Owens who is Antenna TV's promotional announcer is also the narrator of Superbman. Owens is famous for being the announcer on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In as well as providing the voices of several cartoon characters. Among some of the more well-known characters he voiced were Roger Ramjet, Space Ghost, Blue Falcon and Powdered Toast Man.

Bob Burns also makes an appearance as Tracy the Gorilla who was "trained" by Burns on The Ghost Busters live action TV show from 1975-76. He's also an archivist and historian of movie props and costumes which he keeps in his basement that has gained cult status and notoriety as Bob's Basement.

On low budget films which in almost every case is what student films are basically, it's not unusual for those involved to have more than one job. Often, the actors on screen are also pulling double or triple duty as part of the crew or production team. Such was the case for Vern Dietsche, who not only portrayed a Kraptonian Elder in Superbman but was also the movie's producer as well as the editor and assistant director. He was also part of the supporting cast in The Wizard of Speed and Time and was an uncredited Enterprise crew member in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. He seems to be attracted to movies which describe what they are in the title. Know what I mean, Vern?

Nowadays, Dietsche is busy chasing aliens and making videos as UFO Bob. Hold on... Clark Cant was an alien! Coincidence? I wonder.

I posed the question to Vern (aka UFO Bob) about the status of an impending DVD release of Superbman. Unfortunately, the news did not sound overly optimistic.

Could the nefarious Rex Ruthor be behind the DVD's delay? Only Vern knows for sure.

I usually don't watch "The Making of (insert movie title)" featurettes before actually watching the movies themselves but since it might be a while before an official DVD release, I can't wait that long. If you're a little more patient and don't want to spoil any of the movie magic then just don't watch it. For all others, enjoy The Making of Superbman: The Other Movie.

Vern Dietsche & Dave Teubner Interview, April 18, 2012

I first found out about SUPERBMAN when I listened to an episode of The Projection Booth podcast, something I listen to on a regular basis. In it, Dietsche and director Dave Teubner are interviewed about how writer Jon Ginn came up with the idea for the script, how they got the big name stars to appear and some of the problems they had to overcome in order to complete the film.


  1. Update: UFOBob (aka) Vern has posted on his Twitter page that Superbman is finally close to being released on DVD.
    Getting SUPERBMAN: THE OTHER MOVIE ready for DVD release. Just need to get SCENES YOU NEVER SAW from Dir. Dave Teubner.— UFO Bob (@UFOBob1) October 6, 2014

  2. Update #2: Bad news. It seems the DVD release will be delayed due to unforeseen costs.

    Cost has tripled to mfg SUPERBMAN DVD - a 2hr / dual layer DVD must be replicated not duplicate. #filmmaking #filmschool— UFO Bob (@UFOBob1) November 5, 2014


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