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

Matinee performances of
"It's a Bird It's a Plane It's Superman"
were much better than the evening shows,
at least if you were a kid.

That's because after every matinee, Bob Holiday invited all the children in attendance to come backstage for autographs. That's when we became "Superman Kids," an honor that we enjoy to this day. Two "Superman Kids," Bert Gibbs and Wayne Johnston, had parents who were clever enough to bring a camera backstage. Please enjoy the photos they've shared with us and their vivid memories of meeting Bob Holiday!

Bert Gibbs

Bert Gibbs with Bob Holiday as Superman

Bert Gibbs had to be coaxed into attending "It's a Bird It's a Plane It's Superman." Only 8 years old, he was already a huge fan of ... Jack Cassidy. And that was the hook his mother used to get him to the show.

Bert recalls: Ma told me that she was getting tickets for "Superman," my first Broadway show. I was somewhat unimpressed because I understood special effects and assumed it would probably look false when adapted for the stage. Then she mentioned that Jack Cassidy was playing in it. This was the show I NEEDED to see!

Well, I loved Jack Cassidy in the show, but I also loved Bob Holiday. When he sat alone as Superman singing "The Strongest Man in the World," I actually started to cry.

Later, we had a fun moment backstage. While Mr. Holiday was signing my program, Ma snapped a photo, somewhat surprising my new, favorite Superman. When I saw the other kids amazed that the Man of Steel was surprised by the camera's flash, I covered it by saying, "Ma! Why did you use the Kryptonite flash bulb?!?"

I never forgot Bob Holiday as Superman. He even influenced my eventual career.

Bertram Gibbs is the author of the celebrated super-hero novel Formally Known As ... available at

Wayne Johnston

Bob Holiday holding young Wayne and Warren Johnston

I was just a little tyke when my family went to see "It's a Bird It's a Plane It's Superman." Bob Holiday invited all the children in the audience to come backstage after the show. My parents made sure we were last in line so that we could spend some time talking with Superman.

Mr. Holiday was great. He got to talking with my mom and dad who asked if we could pose for some pictures with him. He spent a long time with us, joking around and really having fun with us.

Here you see him holding my brother Warren and me. He really was strong, picking us both up at once.

Wayne Johnston Sr. holding Bob Holiday

Of course, my dad couldn't let Superman show him up. So he asked Mr. Holiday if he could return the favor. Sure enough, here's my Dad competing for the title of "Strongest Man in the World" by lifting Superman!

We really had a great time. I was so happy to get a copy of Bob's book, Superman on Broadway. I love all the pictures in the book. Some I have seen, many I have not. And of course having it signed by Bob ... I just don't have the words to do it justice.

Bob Holiday with Pa Kent?

This must have been the first photo my mom took. You can still see the pen in Superman's hand from signing autographs. I don't actually know who the other gentleman in the photo is, but my mother always told me he was Pa Kent.

Hope you enjoyed these backstage memories. Bob Holiday really made Superman come alive, and those of us who got to meet him after the performance never, ever forgot him.

Photos Courtesy Bert Gibbs, Wayne Johnston
Text © Bert Gibbs, © Wayne Johnston
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