Meet Bud Collyer, Who Played SUPERMAN Over 2,000 Times On Radio And In Animation

Over the decades there have been many people who have played or voiced Superman, but actor Bud Collyer, with well over 2,000 performances under his belt, has been the Man of Steel more than any of them.

Bud, who was born Clayton Johnson Heermance, Jr. on June 18, 1908, was a major radio star and would shift over to television to host TV game shows like Beat the Clock and To Tell the Truth. But in 1940 he agreed to take on the dual roles of Superman and his secret identity, Clark Kent, on The Adventures of Superman radio show. Brought to life just two years after the character had been introduced in the pages of Action Comics, it attracted a wide-ranging audience for its stories, which were initially presented in 15-minute installments running three to five times a week, though in 1949 it ran three times a week at half an hour each.

What has to be kept in mind is that while today Superman is just an accepted part of pop culture, back then he was a genuine phenomenon. And this show was a really big deal for its largely-young audience, though not necessarily for Bud himself at first.

I thought the character would be nothing but an embarrassment, both personally and professionally,” he related. “Of course, it grew into a magnificent career-within-a-career. It was great fun and a great way to get out all your inhibitions real fast.”

bud-collyer-3

In a radio interview from 1966, Bud, who died on September 8, 1969, reflected on the process of those episodes: “We did a quick read through, sitting around a table, and then we did a dress rehearsal. About an hour and a half overall. What’s really been forgotten today were those dress rehearsals. There was something about the ‘out there’ quality of the characters we portrayed and the situations we found ourselves — we used to camp it up and horse around during those dress rehearsals as much as we could. If we hadn’t done that to get the laughs out of our system, it could have well broken you up on the air, because it was so far out.

But on the air,” he added, “it all sounded realistic. Playing it that far out, but realistically, was the right thing to do. It’s like a fantasy when you’re not apologizing for it. So many people get embarrassed by fantasy when they’re directing or performing it, and it loses all of the great charm it could have. But if played honestly and whole-hog all the way, it’s great. And that’s almost what this was; it’s kind of a fantasy.

'This looks like a job ... for Superman!'

Well, the fantasy kept growing. In addition to the 2,088 episodes of the radio show, Bud played the character on the big screen in 17 animated shorts that are still acclaimed for their visual style and approach. And on top of that, between 1966 and (posthumously) 1970, he did so again 68 times for the Saturday morning cartoon series, The New Adventures of Superman. The hallmark of all of them was the uncanny way he would have a soft-spoken voice as Clark Kent and much tougher, deeper one for the Man of Steel, shifting mid-sentence: “This looks like a job … for Superman!”

In that same 1966 interview, he humorously shared what became a near-daily routine, “I can remember vaguely walking around saying to myself, ‘I can’t play it. I can’t go through this again. You’re actually out of your mind,’ but then you get on the air and you give a fine performance.” He paused for a moment before adding to his interviewer, “I don’t understand it either.”

The Adventures of Superman came to an end in 1951. A year later, the Man of Steel made his TV debut in the persona of George Reeves. There had, however, been rumors that Bud was originally pursued for the part. That got a laugh out of the actor. “They took one look at my physique,” he shared, “and said, ‘Nope.’”

HARLEY QUINN Gets A Season 3 Premiere Date And A New Trailer
Related:

HARLEY QUINN Gets A Season 3 Premiere Date And A New Trailer

GHOSTBUSTERS Animated Series In Development For Netflix With Jason Reitman On Board As Producer
Recommended For You:

GHOSTBUSTERS Animated Series In Development For Netflix With Jason Reitman On Board As Producer

DISCLAIMER: This post was submitted by a user who has agreed to our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. As a user-generated content platform, Toonado.com and Best Little Sites LLC is protected under the DMCA... [MORE]
Related
HARLEY QUINN Gets A Season 3 Premiere Date And A New Trailer
The national nightmare is over as we've been given a release date for the third season of Harley Quinn on HBO Max as well as a new trailer with some key upcoming moments.
DRAGON AGE: ABSOLUTION: Netflix Reveals New Animated Series Based On BioWare's Hit Video Game Franchise
Dragon Age: Absolution is a six-episode animated series coming to Netflix this December. Check out the first teaser trailer for this action fantasy series inspired by BioWare's fantasy RPG.
GHOSTBUSTERS Animated Series In Development For Netflix With Jason Reitman On Board As Producer
Ghostbusters: Afterlife director and co-writer Jason Reitman is set to produce a new animated Ghostbusters series that is reportedly in the works at Netflix. Hit the jump for more ghostbusting details!
BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD DO THE UNIVERSE Scheduled For Blast Off On June 23 Exclusively On Paramount+
Beavis and Butt-Head are ready to penetrate space and time in the "dumbest space movie ever." Check out the trailer for Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe which is set to stream on Paramount+ this month.
THE BAD BATCH: Check Out The First Trailer For Season 2 Of The Disney+ Animated Series
The first trailer for the highly-anticipated second season of The Bad Batch debuted during Star Wars Celebration today, and has now been officially released online. Take a look...

The Best Little Sites Network (BLS)

Action Movie and TV News - AnimeMojo.com
Anime News, Trailers & More - AnimeMojo.com
Superhero News, Videos, Rumors & More - ComicBookMovie.com
Horror News - FearHQ.com
Video Game News, Reviews, Trailers & More - GameFragger.com
Sci-Fi and Fantasy News, Videos, Rumors & More - SFFGazette.com
Cartoon and Animated Film News, Videos, Rumors & More - Toonado.com
Professional Wrestling News, Videos, Rumors & More - TheRingReport.com