What influence did you have on the portrayal of Superman in other media—the Max Fleischer cartoons, for instance?
Joe Shuster: It was purely accidental. I was just down in Miami for a visit, and somebody who knew me said, "How would you like to come down and visit the Studios?" I said, "Yeah, I'd love to see them doing Superman." They were just starting on it. I went down there, and I was fascinated with it. And I suggested, "I wouldn't mind drawing some shots for you showing how Superman looks in side view, front view, three-quarter view; how Clark Kent would look, and Lois Lane would look." They said, Fine; they'd love to have me do it. So I just sat down and spent a couple of days there drawing model sheets. I loved doing it, and I loved being involved in it. And we were lucky enough to receive a credit line on the cartoons afterwards.
Were you involved in the radio show much?
Shuster: No, not really. Jerry may have been consulted about some of the initial scripts. But I remember meeting Bud Collyer, who played Superman. I think the show was very well done.
Did you ever watch any filming of the TV show?
Shuster: No, but I met some of the cast later on. Several years ago we had a reunion and were interviewed on one of the stations in Los Angeles—Channel 13. We did an hour show, and I met the girl who played Lois Lane—Noel Neil—and Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen).
Did you and Jerry have any part in casting the Superman movie?
Joe Shuster: That would have been great, but we were never approached as to who would play what part—but I had certain people in mind. One of the people I had in mind for newspaper editor Perry White was the fellow who played Lou Grant: Ed Asner. He was marvellous as a newspaper editor.
But you've met the stars of the film.
Jerry Siegel: Yes, at the Los Angeles premiere. I thought that Christopher Reeve was great as Superman. He really captured the sense of humor that Joe and I intended the early character to have.
What do you think has made Superman so popular for over 40 years?
Jerry Siegel: If you're interested in what made Superman what it is, here's one of the keys to what made it universally acceptable. Joe and I had certain inhibitions... which led to wish-fulfillment which we expressed through our interest in science fiction and our comic strip. That's where the dual-identity concept came from, and Clark Kent's problems with Lois. I imagine there are a lot of people in this world who are similarly frustrated. Joe and I both felt that way in high school, and he was able to put the feeling into sketches.
Joanne Siegel: Most teenage boys have disappointments with girls...
Joe Shuster: True! That's why I say it's a universal theme, and that's why so many people could relate to it.
Joanne Siegel: That's why love songs are so popular: they're all full of passion for someone who doesn't care about the singer.
Jerry Siegel: There's one other comment that I would like to add before we close. It has been very frustrating for Joe and me to have been off the character that we originated and loved for so many years. We are grateful that, in our senior years—we're both almost 69—that the corporation which owns Superman is treating us well.
Joanne Siegel: We have a good relationship with DC and Warner's.
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SEVENTY YEARS STRONG!