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

Our 1966 Memories
The Superman Kids share their memories of "It's A Bird It's A Plane It's Superman©"

This page is a work in progress. We're collecting memories from the people who saw and remember "It's A Bird It's A Plane It's Superman©". We need to preserve for future generations the excitement we felt. Want to share your favorite memory? Please eMail your story to Webmaster Toni Collins,

Superman Becomes Clark Kent

Sitting in my plush Broadway seat, hardly breathing from sheer excitement, I was about to see my first Broadway show. And Superman was in it! But I was confused and asked my mother, “Why is Jack Cassidy the star if Bob Holiday is Superman?” She mused, “Maybe Jack Cassidy plays Clark Kent. Superman can’t really change clothes on stage.” Well, that made sense.

Finally, finally, the lights dimmed and the orchestra exploded with the opening bars of the Overture. The magic had begun. As the driving notes segued to a more melodic tune, I startled upon hearing three sharp claps: POW, POW, POW! And then, we heard the deepest, smoothest, most incredible voice boom out. What? No one speaks during an Overture!

HE: “Bullets can’t hurt me.”
SHE: “Oh Superman, you saved my life again.”
HE: “Ah Lois, it was nothing.”
SHE: “Would you like to dance?”
SHE: “Now where did he go?”

We were riveted. And in five short sentences, the entire audience perfectly understood Superman and Lois Lane’s relationship.

I know from seeing revivals that the show opened with Superman capturing a mob of bank robbers, but I don’t remember that at all. The scene was subsumed by my favorite memory, which occurred right afterward. Although my mother had made sense, she was, in fact, wrong. Superman actually changed into Clark Kent right there on stage! His clothes flew to him one by one in perfectly choreographed time. I gasped each time Superman masterfully grabbed Clark Kent’s clothing as it flew from the heavens into his hands. Bit by bit, garment by garment, our favorite Superhero turned into one mild mannered reporter. A quick slump of his shoulders and the illusion was complete: Superman was now in disguise. The show could go on!

Toni Collins, who grew up to become Bob Holiday's webmaster

At one performance in Philadelphia, Bob flew in backwards with his cape over his head! Gave all of us on stage a good laugh! LOL

Judy Newman Greenhut, who played Marnie, the Model in "It's A Bird It's A Plane It's Superman©"

I think my favorite memory was one of the little things. When Clark Kent used Superman's X-ray vision to see the bomb in the wastepaper basket in the Daily Planet's news room. It sparked a lifelong interest in the world of F/X. Watch all the movies you want, but nothing says "How did you do that?" like seeing it done live on the stage right in front of you.

Mick Stonehenge, who saw "It's A Bird It's A Plane It's Superman©" at the age of 9

A Broadway Memory

Steve Fisher

Growing up in NYC, I had the good fortune to see a fair number of Broadway shows. I believe I was 14 when It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman opened and, although I had pretty much left comic books behind, I was still a Superman fan. I had to see the show. A cousin and I went to see it while it was still in previews and instantly fell in love with it. When my junior high school home room class decided to take a field trip to see a Broadway show, I fought for It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane … and handily won. One problem I did not foresee was getting my parents to sign the consent slip and cough up the money for a ticket. They refused. They had no objection to my seeing a Broadway show—I came from a show biz family—but I had already seen it and they didn’t believe in paying to see a show twice. So, the next day, I went to school as usual and returned home to tell my parents that the class switched their choice to go see Man of La Mancha instead. My parents readily signed the form and gave me the money. Of course, the offshoot of that is I never got to see Man of La Mancha.

One indelible memory from seeing It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman is that at one of the performances I saw—please don’t ask me to identify which one; I have a hard enough time remembering what I had for breakfast this morning, let alone something that happened in 1966—on one of his flying cues, Bob Holiday backed up to the stage right wing flat, where a stagehand would connect the cable for Superman to fly. He evidently missed, because as Bob moved left and delivered his Superman fly line, “Up, up and away,” nothing happened. Bob looked to the audience, held up a finger and said, “Excuse me.” He backed up to the flat again, the stagehand got the connection right this time and Bob said the line and took off flying.

To say Bob was the consummate Broadway professional is an understatement. I was never lucky enough to see him in anything else, but his Superman, and Clark Kent, were pitch perfect. From my seat, or seats, in the Alvin Theater, Bob looked exactly like the character from the comic book pages. Or maybe he bore a striking resemblance to George Reeves in the TV series, albeit without the paunch. His jet-black hair with the slight forehead curl made him Superman. Slipping on the glasses and the hat and he transformed, before our very eyes, into Clark Kent. His vocal intonations perfected the impression: His Superman had the strength and gravitas to make us sit up in our seats, yet his Clark Kent seemed weak and timid in comparison. We always wondered how a hat and a pair of glasses could fake everyone into believing Supe and Clark were different people, but Bob certainly made them seem different. And when it came to Superman flying, yes, even at 14, I knew that was enabled by a system of weights and wires, but Bob made it look so effortless, and graceful, you believed he could fly.

The one disappointment of the show, for me, was the curtain call. Jack Cassidy got the last bow, but it was Bob who was the star of the show. And he will always be my Superman.

Steve Fisher, Host of the Lifeslices Podcast, who thought "It's A Bird It's A Plane It's Superman©" was so good,
he managed to see it TWICE!


Photos courtesy the Estate of Bob Holiday
and the personal collection of the webmaster
Text ©2023 Toni Collins and
Superman on Broadway, ©2003 Bob Holiday and Chuck Harter, page 11
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