Bob Holiday, Broadway's First Superman
Bob Holiday's Publicity Portfolio
A small request


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From time to time you’ll read that Jack Cassidy was the real star of "It's a Bird It's a Plane It's Superman©". Certainly he got top billing. Sometimes you’ll hear that Bob Holiday, who played the dual role of Superman and Clark Kent, was not much more than an afterthought. Folks cite the evidence that “Bob Holiday as Superman” appeared in last place in the cast list. Neither extreme is true. So let’s set the record straight!

Bob Holiday, Patricia Marand, Shirley Jones, Jack Cassidy

Yes, Jack Cassidy (who played villain Max Mencken) got top billing. He was the well-known name that opened a lot of doors that eventually got "It's a Bird It's a Plane It's Superman©" onto Broadway. There are some pretty credible rumors that Jack wanted his role enlarged. Fair enough, what actor doesn’t?

He was a terrific performer.
Take a listen!

Jack Cassidy as Max Mencken

Anyone who saw Jack Cassidy as Max Mencken knows that Hal Prince found the proper balance between hero and villain. Anyone who missed the original production but has seen a revival probably doesn’t know what I’m talking about. It took someone as great as Jack Cassidy to play Max Mencken. Click HERE for an in-depth look at just what that balance needs to be.

While Jack Cassidy was fabulous in his role, he was a villain in a superhero show. In other words, he was the biggest name, but he was not the star.

Bob Holiday was truly the star of the show. He was fantastic. There’s an art to live theater that involves reaching out into the audience and grabbing everyone’s heart. Did Bob Holiday manage that? Oh, yes! Though critics may count the minutes that Bob Holiday appeared on stage, that calculation misses the point that Superman/Bob Holiday was ever-present to the audience.

Program Cast List

What about that billing in last place? It turns out that Bob Holiday himself requested that spot. Bob fully recognized the contributions that Jack Cassidy was making to "It's a Bird It's a Plane It's Superman©". And, knowing that Jack deserved top billing, Bob requested the honor of being listed last. It’s rather traditional to introduce a new, up-and-coming star in just this way.

The Daily Planet

Bob Holiday and Jack Cassidy had a lot of fun in "It's a Bird It's a Plane It's Superman©". They loved to upstage each other. Urged to do so by producer/director Hal Prince, Bob used the milk and cookies on his Daily Planet desk to upstage Jack whenever they were together in the office. And Jack returned the favor! Read about this and other fun memories of the show HERE.

Photos courtesy the Estate of Bob Holiday
Text ©2021 Toni Collins
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Bob Holiday as Superman Bob Holiday as Clark Kent