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The Stourbridge boy who met Superman

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: April 21, 2014

By Dan Shaw

  • The signed photo of Christopher Reeve as Superman, complete with bootprint

  • Phil Carr today, with his memento of meeting Superman

  • ABC manager Tim Williamson and 13-year-old Phil Carr

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SOME children are lucky enough to meet their heroes but Phil Carr met a superhero when he was introduced to actor Christopher Reeve in 1978.

The story on the ABC Minors in our March 27 edition prompted Phil to bring along to our offices his souvenirs of a very special day.

Phil was a member of the ABC Minors at the cinema in Stourbridge in the late '70s and early '80s. He went on to work there when he was 16 but before that he helped out during the week, after school, polishing the backs of chairs and cleaning the carbon projectors and carbon rods that provided light for the projector.

"I rewound films onto spools after showing, and checked them by hand as I wound them back on," recalled Phil.

"Because I'd worked so hard, the manager of the ABC, Tim Williamson, asked me if I wanted to go with him to Pinewood Studios in London. He was going there to see Derek Meddings, a model maker for a lot of films. He built a bridge for Superman, and an entire street that a lot of it was filmed on at Pinewood."

Tim was a keen on stop animation, hence his interest in Derek's models.

"While we were there," said Phil, "a woman called Pat O'Brien, a PR for the Superman films, came down to see Derek Meddings. She told us they were filming Superman II, and asked if we wanted to go in and have a look.

"She took us through, popping into an office on the way to get some photographs of Christopher Reeve for him to sign.

"We went onto the set, and were told to be very quiet. They were just filming the flying scene, with Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder. We were sworn to secrecy, but they did it by lying him down in a cast of his chest, with a green screen behind him and cameras moving around him.

"When they finished shooting and got them down, Pat O'Brien brought him over. He seemed huge, and the first words he spoke to me were 'Well, hello down there', as he put his hand out for me to shake. He had the tights and the boots on, and a dressing gown over the top.

"I was so star struck I didn't say much at all. He asked me if I liked the first film, but I barely managed an answer.

"He signed the pictures, and when he signed mine he dropped the picture and trod on it. It may well have been my fault, I was pretty nervous when I passed it to him. But that footprint on the picture is from Superman's boot."

Have you any interesting film memorabilia and stories to share with Bugle readers? Please contact dshaw@black countrybugle.co.uk or write to our usual address.

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