If you have been wondering who played the original Superman, it is understandable. The radio show from 1940 starred Bud Collyer, so you could argue that he was the first ever portrayal of Superman. Then there was a 1948 Superman movie series starring Kirk Alyn, credited as being the first actor to play the character on screen. There was also George Reeve in the 1952 black and white TV show who barely ever threw a punch and simply solved mysteries. But to me, who was the original Superman was the one from the first color movie: Christopher Reeves from the 1978 film.
Christopher Reeve, who ironically broke his neck from falling off a horse (and lived 9 more years!) was the unofficial original Superman from the movie, depicting the most powerful man on Earth. Some have cited his accident as being proof of an alleged curse. Regardless, never before had we seen a more real and plausible visualization of the Man of Steel. This goes for the first movie at least, due to the audacity of its sequels and their campy plot sequences. Even so, despite not being the actual-first Metropolis hero, being the first on-screen color actor has made him the most credible and memorable of them all.
So what made this original Superman actor so great, in my opinion? Perhaps it is just nostalgia, for he was the first one I had seen as a kid. Putting this aside though, the way he looks is more consistent with how he originally looked in the comics. What I mean is that he is fit, but not totally ripped. Why does this matter? Because he is a super man, not Hercules. Christopher Reeve was the perfect balance of being muscular, without coming off as a body builder.
But what made Christopher Reeve the most original Superman actor of them all? His attitude. Superman should always represent the flawless ideal Boy Scout with an unfailing moral compass. Granted there have been plenty of stories where he had drifted, but without these positive characteristics these abnormal circumstances would never have been interesting. As a little kid barely five years old, such a strong moral character to look up to was a critical and important piece to the kind of person that I grew up to be. If Superman had this kind of effect on me, just imagine the impact he created for the rest of the nation.
Disagree with me? Be sure to comment.