In 1978, the world believed a man could fly after watching the first full-length Superman movie ever to hit theaters. The special effects epic was a huge Box Office success and is widely regarded as one of the best superhero movies ever produced. It made a star out of Christopher Reeve and ushered in a craze for the genre that is still going strong.
The story of Superman is one that has intrigued and fascinated fans for decades about a child from the doomed planet Krypton finding a home on Earth, where he has great powers, including super strength and the ability to fly. In the film, the Kal-El (Superman’s Kryptonian name) begins as a baby, placed into a small capsule and released into space by his parents just as the planet crumbles apart. Routed for Earth, when he arrives like a meteoroid, he crashes into a field and is discovered by Ma and Pa Kent, played by Phyllis Thaxter and John Ford.
Emerging from the burnt husk of the tiny space ship is a naked child, his black unruly hair and chubby fingers reaching up to the gawking old folks. With Ma Kent believing the boy is maybe heaven sent, the couple take him in and raise him as their own, shielding him from discovery and teaching him to conceal his extraordinary powers until the time is right.
The toddler is played by actor Aaron Smolinski, who was not yet three-years-old while filming. In his scene, Baby Superman is most remembered for picking up the back end of Pa’s pick-up truck after the jack holding up the rear axel slips. It’s become an iconic shot in the Superman franchise and for good reason as it perfectly captures everything we need to know about the child and his super strength in one shot.
Amazingly enough, this would not be the end of Smolinski in the series, despite the character growing up. Though he got out of acting and made a career in child psychology, he has cameod in Superman II, Superman III, Superman IV, and Man of Steel (plus the Richard Donner cut of Superman II). He has appeared in more Superman movies that any other actor. There are no reports he will be in the latest Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film.
Interestingly enough, his connection to Superman doesn’t stop there. Smolinski is appearing in an independent film called Superman vs Doomsday, following young Clark Kent’s start in journalism. It also tells how Superman’s villain Lex Luthor takes over for his father, building the Doomsday project, which is set to threaten the entire world. Smolinski will not be playing the Man of Steel however, which seems his birthright at this point, instead played by Caleb Strebler. No, in this movie he is Luthor, making him the first person ever to play both Superman and his arch nemesis. The low budget movie is directed by Scott C. Brown, who is also the writer and head of the production company, Pushing the Pen. Still in production, the film is expected to be released in 2017.
While it’s always fun to catch up with actors who seems to have fallen off the radar, this one is particularly good, knowing that his start as a naked toddler in a Superman movie has kept him in the movies and television for most of his life, even though few people outside that circle know his name. With the thriving comic book to film craze still the biggest box office draw in the business, this latest movie will surely get some attention and who knows, maybe one day Baby Superman will be back in the another Man of Steel film.