Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lois Lane - Past, Present and Future

There's a new Superman movie in the works called The Man of Steel and most of the principal casting has apparently already been completed with Amy Adams tagged to play Lois Lane. I have a great deal of respect for Amy and her acting ability and I admire the diversity of roles she's taken over the years. I have also noted a discussion of who was the best and worst Lois Lane to date. There's actually more women to chose from than might be expected. On the big screen there's been Noel Neill (who I've had the honor of meeting) who played opposite Kirk Alyn's Superman in a couple of serials back in the 1940s, Margot Kidder (who I've also been honored to meet) and Kate Bosworth (widely alleged to have been the worst Lois). On the small screen there's been Noel Neill again, Teri Hatcher and most recently Erica Durance on the series Smallville. Then there's been a number of actresses who have voiced Lois, both in radio (Rolly Bester in the 1940s), and also in cartoon versions of Superman's adventures, including Dana Delany, Anne Heche and Kyra Sedgwick, among others. But of all the portrayals I have seen I believe that Phyllis Coates (see picture) was absolutely the best. Appearing in the movie Superman and the Mole Men and then moving right into the first season of the TV series The Adventures of Superman in 1951/52, she made the Lois Lane role her own. If you read the early adventures of the Man of Steel you see Lois as a woman ahead of her time - tough, no non-sense, gritty, professional, competitive and yet also very sexy and that was the way Phyllis played her. Phyllis typically wore a business suit in the role but she still looked great. If Clark Kent did something that seemed timid she didn't hesitate to tell him he was a coward in no uncertain terms. She did call on Superman at times but you had the feeling she called on him as she might on the police or the fire department if she got in over her head. And when she did get into trouble she had the most piercing scream in film history - scream queens don't hold a candle to Phyllis!! Many people feel the first season of the the series was the best and a big part of why they think that revolves around Phyllis Coates playing Lois Lane. In the later seasons, with Lois played by Noel Neill, it was a kinder, gentler type of Lois, mostly pining for the Man of Steel and wanting to be Mrs. Superman. That portrayal mirrored the types of story lines that would appear in the Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane comic starting in the late 1950s. But if you like the tough as nails investigative reporter who stands as an equal to Superman in character if not in powers then the Phyllis Coates portrayal is by far - in my humble evaluation - the best of the best. So listen up Amy - you've got impressive high heels to fill.

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