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

The First
and The Last of
Bob Holiday's

The Epilogue to Bob Holiday's Written Interviews

As Bob Holiday's assistant for all things related to Superman, one of my jobs was to help him with interviews as his health declined. We'd ask for written questions and work together to answer them. All but two of those interviews appear here on Bob website. Oddly enough, they were the first and the last that we'd written together. Here are the stories behind these two interviews.

Superman vs. Hollywood by Jake Rossen

Superman vs Hollywood

The first of the missing interviews was lost when my laptop experienced a hard-drive crash. As the first interview that Bob and I wrote together, we'd poured our hearts and souls into it. The interview was for Jake Rossen and his book Superman vs. Hollywood. When I bought a copy and eagerly began to read, I almost cried. In the prologue, on page x, Mr. Rossen wrote the following:

There are the highs: [including] Christopher Reeve... And the lows: Superman prancing on Broadway....

To set the record straight, Superman definitely did not prance—even once—on Broadway.

And the inaccuracies did not stop there. Mr. Rossen gets into the meat of the Broadway show on page 41, in a chapter titled "Purgatory." Having thus prejudiced his readers to assume "It's a Bird It's a Plane It's Superman©" was just shy of hellish, he then gets most of the particulars wrong. Mr. Rossen seems to be unaware that a Broadway show takes years to produce. He incorrectly states:

National ... was ecstatic at the prospect that Batman was surpassing the heights of the more rigid Reeves series. Eager to transfer the tongue-in-cheek formula to the Man of Steel, they agreed to let Harold Prince orchestrate a Superman musical on Broadway.

Everything about that statement is inside out. "It's a Bird It's a Plane It's Superman©" had been preparing for well over a year by the time Batman appeared on television. The songs of the show—including "Pow! Bam! Zonk!" which many incorrectly thought was an homage to Batman—were already written before the first Bat-pixel ever appeared on a television screen.

While promotional material for Superman vs. Hollywood claims the book is well researched, I recommend taking that claim with a super-sized grain of salt.

Hero-A-Go-Go by Michael Eury

Hero-A-Go-Go Hero-A-Go-Go

No one ever knows when they're doing something for the final time. Certainly, when Bob and I worked on the delightful questions sent by Michael Eury, neither he nor I knew what would unfold. As Michael Eury wrote:

Mr. Holiday passed away on January 27, 2017, as this book was going into production; this was his final interview.

It was a fabulous final interview. Michael Eury asked terrific questions, and Bob relished answering them. More than any other interview, this one stayed true to both the spirit and the letter of everything Bob told Michael. In fact, spread across five full pages, peppered with images showing Bob as a strong, towering Superman, Michael Eury faithfully reproduced every answer Bob gave. Because of this, it wouldn't be fair to reprint the entire interview, because the interview IS the book. Instead, I'll share with you my two favorite questions:

Michael Eury: Lyricist Lee Adams once said in an interview that you were the first actor who auditioned for the lead in It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman. He felt that you were too good to be true, but they kept auditioning actors before finally settling on the best of the bunch, the first guy to walk through the door! Were you aware at the time that you were the first person to audition for Superman?
      Bob Holiday: I knew I was early, but I didn't know I was the first. It all happened so fast. I saw the ad in the New York World Telegram that Hal Prince was looking for a Superman. And I fit the physical requirements—six-foot-three-inches, 200 pounds, black hair, and blue eyes. It was overwhelming. I knew I had to audition. I wanted the part so bad. I knew I had to do my best and completely believe in Superman. I raced over to Hal Prince's office, and I ran into Hal and Charles Strouse coming out of the elevator. I loved their greeting, "Bob Holiday, Bob Holiday! Are we glad to see you!" But I was on pins and needles during the whole audition process. I had no idea whether or not I'd get the part.

Michael Eury: Of your numbers in the show, did you have a favorite song?
      Bob Holiday: Oh, that's a tough one. I loved opening the show with "Doing Good." I'd opened Fiorello! by singing "On the Side of the Angels" and felt good about the rhythm of singing the opening number. We had a lot of sight gags in "Doing Good" like a phone booth following me around the stage, and my Clark Kent clothes flying to me on wires. It was great. And "The Strongest Man in the World" was such a powerful, emotional bit. I've had fans tell me that it broke their hearts when I sang that. It's a good thing to be remembered for. And "Pow! Bam! Zonk!" was a gas. It was physical, we were fighting while we were singing, and it took everything you had to make it work. If I really have to pick, I'd pick "Pow! Bam! Zonk!" I knew that was going to be a hit with the kids.

A great interview begins with great questions, and Michael Eury really asked the best questions I'd seen. Besides these two peeks at the interview, Michael Eury brought out stories that no previous interviewer ever had. He asked—and Bob answered—great questions about the cast and the production, pulling stories out of Bob not seen in any other interview. I highly recommend the book, not just for Bob Holiday's contribution. Still available on Amazon, Hero-A-Go-Go will immerse you in the joy and excitement of The Sixties. Don't miss this book!

All spelling and punctuation is reproduced from the original.

Text © 2008, 2016 and 2023, Jake Rossen, Michael Eury, Bob Holiday, and Toni Collins
Photos courtesy the Estate of Bob Holiday and personal collection of Toni Collins
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