Friday, August 21, 2015
Gerard Christopher - Superboy/Clark kent
By Rennie Cowan
Gerard Christopher was cast to play Superboy for season 2, 3 and 4 for the Superboy TV Series. Gerard Christopher was his stage name; his real name is Jerry Dinome. Interestingly enough, Gerard was older than Christopher Reeve when Reeve played Superman in the Salkind produced productions. He was older than both Dean Cain and Brandon Routh when they both got cast to play Superman...and by almost ten years! So why Gerard Christopher? Well, Gerard's boyish good-looks benefited the show and audiences believed he was college-age. He looked younger than his true age (30). Take a look below, watch Gerard's very first screen test for Ilya Salkind is avaialble on Superboy Theater's youtube channel.
At the end of season one, Superboy the TV Series ranked #48 in syndication. Within 3 weeks of Geard's season 2 debut, it quadripled and ranked in the top 10 of syndication. For the first time ever on television, Ilya Salkind took a chance and recasted all his essential lead roles except for Stacy Haiduk who was there to stay for good.
Gerard Christopher arrived on the Hollywood scene from starring in a big Hollywood picture titled "Tom Boy" (1985) which I remember had played at my local movie theater. The first time I saw Gerard Christopher was when he was Jerry Dinome in Tomboy at the movie theater. Gerard looked a dead ringer for the Superman even back then in Tomboy, a small, cult-movie released several years before his Superboy role. He co-starred with the young Betsy Russell who later appeared in a season episode titled "Superboy...Rest in Peace". So that was a treat for those who were fans of Tomboy.
In season 2, Gerard looked very much like John Byrne's drawings and his Superboy suit was the same style of Superman costume from the John Byrne Man of Steel comics (not to mention Gerard had the fold-over cape of Byrne's Superman's costume). Gerard was also very atheletic and in good shape; at one time he had appeared on the front cover of Muscle Magazine. And so a new Superboy meant a new stule of Superboy costume, one that was changed to suit John Byrne's artistry with the fold-over cape to fit Gerard's broad shoulders perfectly. The style left after season two for a simplier look without the fold-over cape. But in season one of Lois and Clark, the fold-over style returned halfway through the season. The only difference was that Dean Cain used sholder pads and Gerard didn't need any due to his chisled physique.
Unlike John Haymes Newton who played the character with reserve and a little bit of shyness, Gerard played the role like Christopher Reeve which intailed a "nerdy" Clark Kent. I asked Gerard Christopher during a sit down with the episode "Nightmare Island" if that was his idea, or was it written in the script to play a nerdy Clark. He stated it was in the script but he had fun with it, and did it to the extreme. So most of the goofiness was his idea. When I asked Ilya Salkind the same question, Ilya stated that by the time Gerard Christopher arrived in the role they had decided to do everything "like Christopher Reeve had done it" (in his own words). Ilya further said, "go with everything Reeve". During my sit-down, watching "Nightmare Island" with Gerard he also stated that he swam in the clear-water lagoon and it was his favorite episode because the location was so beautiful. Indeed, his favorite places are within water-bound Santa Monica near the ocean shore.
Of course, there were still fans who were loyal to John Haymes Newton's portrayal of Superboy, but Gerard Christopher would be remembered as the one most associated with the TV series because he stayed with it for three seasons (season 2,3 and 4). Gerard Christopher eventually became one of the producers of the series because of his dedication; but in title only. He did not actually own any of the rights to the series.
Gerard Christopher continued to act after the Superboy series ended and appeared in guest-starring roles in "Melrose Place" (as did John Haymes Newton), "Sunset Beach" and "The Agency". Gerard Christopher was originally cast to play Superman in the Lois and Clark TV show, but one the producers of Lois and Clark realized that he had done Superman before (or in his case, Superboy). The producer immediately recasted him with Dean Cain. Just think, Gerard was going to be Superman; and he was being cast twice for the same role!
On the Superboy Theater youtube channel are some interesting clips from the movie Tomboy, one in particular which Gerard looks very much like a young Christopher Reeve:
Something tells me he was meant to be Superman (or looked a hell of lot like him). Today, Gerard is focusing on his business endeavors and is doing well. He lives in Los Angeles and loves to fly his airplane. He loves martial arts, has a pet turtle, runs his own international real estate business and finance business. He is married to a doctor and has 3 daughters. He is also very much in touch with the fans and has sold Superboy videos and DVDs on his personal website. His intention was to help the fans have access to his three seasons of Superboy but Warner Brothers put a stop to it. So he does not sell Superboy DVDs/Tapes anymore on his website, though he did at one time and that is due to Warner Brothers supervision. We can only hope that WB releases the rest of the series for the fans.
Douglas Barry Meyers who played Bizarro on Superboy the TV Series continues friendship with Gerard Christopher. During the summer of 2011, Meyers took a ride in Gerard's private airplane in Los Angeles. You can view a photo of the flight, and a video shot by Meyers himself below. So Superboy and Bizarro continue to fly together as brothers:
Gerard Christopher has also appeared on the front cover of several romance novels back in the days when he was doing modeling work (and looked very much like a young Christopher Reeve). Below, you will find pics of some of the novels that he had been on the front cover of.
Be sure to visit Gerard Christopher's official website for everything on this Superboy actor. The link is provided above in this biography.