General Sam Lane on Superman: The Movie
10/8/1910, Oxford, New Jersey USA
Kirk Alyn started his career as a dancer and performer in vaudeville, before moving to Broadway as chorusboy for musicals throughout the 1930s, including "Girl Crazy" and "Of Thee I Sing," as well as starring in two-reel shorts for Warner Borthers Vitaphone film process. He received his break as the lead role for the 1941 play "Pie In The Sky" rather unexpectedly, having auditioned for what he thought was a gag only to be hired on the spot for the part of Pepino Rodrigo. It was in 1942 he moved to Hollywood and met the actress and singer Virginia O'Brien, and they married, having three children before their divorce in 1955. Around this time also, Kirk began appearing in minor roles in films and in uncredited roles, before his finally receiving a noticeable part in the 1946 Republic Pictures serial, "The Daughter Of Don Q." It was in 1948 that Kirk received his most famous role, as Superman for Columbia Pictures 15-chapter serial. Kirk then went on to perform in two other 12-chapter serials for Republic, "Federal Agents Vs. The Underworld, Inc" (1949) with him in the main role and the 1941 Miss America Rosemary LaPlanche as his costar, along with "Radar Patrol Vs. SkyKing" (1950). He returned to Superman in "Atom Man Vs. SuperMan," with veteran character actor Lyle Talbot starring as Lex Luthor, who was using the alias of the "Atom Man" for his schemes. At this point, Kirk had tired of the Superman role and said he would only repeat it for a larger sum of money. Columbia executives refused and replaced him with George Reeves. He starred in one more serial for Columbia, featuring another comics-based character, "Blackhawk" (1952). After this his career slowed down, and he moved to Arizona in semi-retirement, performing small cameos in tv series and movies when offered the opportunity. In 1972, he published his memoirs of his experiences while making the Superman serials for Columbia, "Superman and Me", which drew new fans to his work, and resulted in his being a popular guest speaker at colleges and universities. He published his autobiography, "A Job For Superman" in 1974. Kirk filmed a scene in 1978 for the film version of Superman, along with his former serial co-star, Noel Neill, who had gone on to star with George Reeves in "The Adventures Of Superman" (1952) where they played the parents of Lois Lane, but the scene was cut from the final print of the film. Kirk continued to work on different projects after this, until 1981, when he retired from show business altogether. He made appearances at the 50th anniversary celebrations of Superman in 1988, and still signed pictures mailed to him by eager fans until his death in 1999.moreless
John Feggo, Jr.
Oxford, New Jersey USA
Kirk Allyn, Kirk Allen, Jack Fago
- Trivia & Quotes
Kirk starred with another actor that also played a comic character, Adam West, who played Batman in the 1966 TV series, in the 1981 TV movie, Time Warp.
Kirk's Superman (1948) footage was later reused in another comic-related movie, Corky of Gasoline Alley (1951).
Kirk thought it would be a good gag to audition for a Broadway musical, but was totally shocked when he was offered the part.
In order to audition for Superman, Kirk had to strip down to his underwear. He wasn't musclebound but the producers liked what they saw.
Kirk wrote a book 1971 on his experiences as the first screen Superman, in "A Job For Superman".