Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Today is the 100th Birthday of Noel Neill

Today is the 100th birthday of the late Noel Neill, the original live-action Lois Lane.  

Neill mostly famously played Lois Lane for five seasons of The Adventures of Superman alongside actor George Reeves.

Neill was active on the convention circuits and became a fixture at the Metropolis, Illinois Superman Celebration each summer until her very last years.  

Noel Neill had originated the role of Lois Lane in a 1948 movie serial opposite Kirk Alyn.  The serial is a lot of fun, but when they came back to do the next films which became the television show, everyone was recast.  I think she looks pretty great in that hat.  

The first season of The Adventures of Superman cast Phyllis Coates in the role, but Coates declined to re-up for Season 2.  Recalling how good she'd been in the movie serials, the studio grabbed Neill again, and she starred in the role until the series' end.

In some ways, this started the Superman tradition of casting former players in supporting roles, which she would firmly pioneer by featuring in a cameo in 1978's Superman: The Movie, playing the mother of a young Lois Lane who spots Clark Kent running at superspeed outside a train car.  Lois' father is played by Kirk Alyn!

Neill also appeared in the 2006 movie Superman Returns in a small but key role.  

While Neill passed in July of 2016, a statue of her as Lois Lane was erected years before her passing and stands down the street from a massive statue of Superman in Metropolis, Illinois.  She was considered "The First Lady of Metropolis".  

In 2015 I met up with Stuart at the Superman Celebration and we checked out the statue.  Ms. Neill was not in attendance as she was then too frail for travel.  But, hey, I was just glad to see the statue and know she was appreciated.

I'm a lot taller than Noel Neill, I guess, but the statue is keeping up

Anyway, we were lucky to have Ms. Neill on this Earth for so long.  If you've never seen the serial or The Adventures of Superman, fix that.  She's terrific as our intrepid reporter.

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