Superman, played by American actor Christopher Reeve (1952 - 2004), holds a green crystal at the Fortress of Solitude, in a promotional still from 'Superman', directed by Richard Donner, 1978. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Christopher Reeve Couldn't Resist His Own Superman Saturday Night Live
Skit Idea
1978's "Superman" has always been revered, but over successive sequels, the franchise slowly made a joke out of its source material. Though star Christopher Reeve wasn't too happy with the way the saga developed, his "Saturday Night Live" appearance in 1985 proved he at least had a sense of humor about it.
In his 1999 autobiography, "Still Me," Reeve recalled how he had "never poked fun" at Superman, but had devised a sketch for his SNL appearance that he found "irresistible." The idea involved Reeve playing an elderly Superman, who sits in a nursing home alongside one of Billy Crystal's old Jewish guy characters.
"I wore a bathrobe with the Superman costume underneath. [...] Silver hair and bifocals completed the picture," Reeve recalled. "As I talked about the old days I said, 'I used to be faster... faster than... uh...' Then Billy would finish the line. Then I'd go on, 'And I could leap... um... tall...' and the sentence would trail off."
Reeve's contribution seemed to go down well with SNL’s audience, and it was carried by Billy Crystal, who managed to keep the energy up despite Reeve's slightly too convincing old man drawl. Reeve proved his acting chops were as sharp as ever, deftly performing as the various characters he was given in the sketches.