Bob Holiday, Broadway's First Superman
Bob Holiday's Publicity Portfolio


A Behind The Scenes Peek at Bob Holiday's Interview with Mark Edlitz


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Author and director Mark Edlitz once told me that he spent four years trying to find Bob Holiday. Eventually, the three of us connected for an interview and Mark wrote two articles, one for Slice of SciFi and an expanded version for The Los Angeles Times. That page, with links to the two articles is HERE.

Bob Holiday wasn't the only actor Mark interviewed. After talking with over three dozen people who'd contributed to the superhero genre, from Helen Slater to Stan Lee and from Noel Neill to Leonard Nimoy, Mark wrote the delightful book How To Be A SUPERHERO, still available on Amazon. His book is a unique take on our fascination with superheroes, feeding our hunger to know more by actually giving us MORE. Every superhero fan should read this book. As Mark himself wrote:

This book is intended for everyone who ever donned a towel and pretended that it was a cape.... This book is meant to tap into our fantasies and look behind the scenes in order to help enrich our eternal fascination with superheroes. I hope you enjoy it.

Now here's YOUR look behind the scenes. Mark Edlitz's articles and book closely follows our 2011 three-way telephone interview. Besides that phone interview, Mark submitted written questions to Bob. And today we bring those questions and Bob's answers to you!

Follow Up Interview, July 14, 2011
Bob Holiday as told to Toni Collins
Questions by Mark Edlitz

What makes Superman tick? What motivates him?
      That could be several things. Lois Lane is number one. The people around him are important to him. Like the song said, his job is “Doing Good”! And then there’s the whole love triangle with Clark loving Lois, Lois loving Superman, and all the mix ups that come from that.

Earlier you said, “I am Superman.” How so? Can you elaborate on that? How are you like Superman? How are you like Clark Kent?
      It’s a feeling. You just get into the role, and it’s all summed up in that statement, “I am Superman.” You can’t say any more, because words just reduce the feeling.
      Clark is that guy who’s “Ooh … good … OK,” kind of bumbling. You don’t know that it’s Superman. There were two different people. In my mind they were number one and number two. The way I walked, the way I spoke—I’m an actor, I had to capture both. It doesn’t mean I’m like either of these characters, but that I had to create them as an actor. Bob Holiday and what he’s like has nothing to do with either one.

How has this part changed your life?
      Bob Holiday will always have the honor of being Superman. I still answer, “Up, up and away” when anyone calls me. Seriously though, I used a Superman-like character for the logo of my home-building business. I’m proud to have been a part of the Superman legacy. Christopher Reeve once wrote that in every decade, a new man carries the legacy of Superman, and I’m proud to have done so in the 1960’s.
      I got to build a live-action Superman on Broadway, calling out, “Up, up and away,” with people actually looking up at me. That was an important and unique aspect to my Superman. They actually saw me fly, it wasn’t movie magic.

What’s the best part of that association? The worst?
      The best is the pride of being Superman and “Doing Good,” to have the interaction and effect on the audience. I’m very proud of what that was. There was no playing and no fooling around in the whole of the show. I took Superman seriously.
      The worst was when the shackle broke and I dropped six feet. But it was a case of making lemons into lemonade. I was in good shape, my knees went down and then back up and the audience roared. Other than that, there’s no downside to having played Superman, no down side at all.

Did your feelings about playing Superman change over time?
      I’ve lived a long life. A lot has happened since then. I was asked to play the dad on The Brady Bunch, but the studio overrode that decision. So it’s not like I was typecast as Superman. I eventually found that I loved real estate and building homes, and I had a 30 year career with that. But in 2003, I attended the Metropolis, IL annual Superman Celebration. That started fans getting in touch with me again and it’s been a great part of my life in retirement.

Are you surprised that fans still track you down after all these years? What does that mean to you?
      Yes, I’m surprised, and I love it. At 78, it’s good to know people still remember me. I love retirement, and I love hearing from people. Life is good, and Superman is a part of that.

Because no one taped the show much of your performance hasn’t been properly documented. So new Superman fans can’t watch your show (although they can listen to the cast recording). Is that somewhat disappointing? How do you think you’d be remembered in the legacy of Superman if your show were properly recorded and documented?
      The show made it into the book The Best Plays of 1965-1966, so it will be remembered. A lot of the show got captured by that book. And then, on my web site, you can watch a couple of clips of me as Superman. One’s an Aqua Velva commercial, so it has little bit of an edge to it, but the other is a part of a “documentary” that was actually shown on stage. That one shows exactly the way I played the character. So there’s a little bit of a legacy there. There it is. Somewhere along the way, someone will say, “Bob Holiday did this.” And that’s nice.

Book Jacket Back Cover

It sounds like you have some Superman memorabilia in your house…even if it’s not items for the show itself. What do you have?
      I have lots of photos from the show, and articles and clippings. A fan made me a BBQ apron that looks like Superman’s costume, and I have a couple of Superman “S” pillows and things. But it’s not exactly the theme of my home décor.

Did Superman creator Joe Schuster give you any insights into the character of Superman? He created him so anything he said would probably be uniquely useful.
      We met when I was prepping for the show. It was so long ago that it’s tough to recall his exact words. He just gave me little tips and insights into Superman’s strength and character.

Do friends and family ever refer to you as Superman?
      Are you kidding? All the time!

When was the last time you put on the cape, and how did it feel?
      The last time was for the 1967 St. Louis and Kansas City revivals of the show. The crowds were huge, upwards of 20,000 people saw those shows. They cheered Superman and it felt great.

Anything else to add?
      I just want to pay a little tribute to my Lois Lane, Patricia Marand. We became very good friends, and I loved her dearly. She and her husband and I met again 40 years later at a New York revival of the show. It was as if the friendship had never taken a break. I was so sad to lose her just two years later to brain cancer. She was a great girl and the perfect Lois Lane.

Text © 2011, 2022 Mark Edlitz, Bob Holiday, and Toni Collins
Photos courtesy the Estate of Bob Holiday and personal collection of Toni Collins
SUPERMAN and all related elements are the property of DC Comics. TM & © 2022
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Bob Holiday as Superman Bob Holiday as Clark Kent