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Comic Legends: Did Superman Nearly Meet Kojak?

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Comic Legends: Did Superman Nearly Meet Kojak?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and fourth week of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, it’s all Superman legends!

Here‘s Part 1 of this week’s Comic Book Legends Revealed! And here‘s Part 2. Let’s continue!


In the initial script for “Superman”, Kojak was going to appear.



One of the biggest problems with the initial “Superman” film, in the early stages of the film, was that the producers, Ilya and Alexander Salkind, were seemingly more interested in the hype behind the project than the project itself. This meant lots of rumors about major stars being involved in the film. It also involved a lot of money being thrown around in the pursuit of WOOING big names, including the initial writer of the “Superman” screenplay, famed novelist Mario Puzo, who wrote “The Godfather”.

Where it made SENSE to hire Mario Puzo to write a screenplay for a Superman movie is a whole other question. However, that’s what the Salkinds did and the end result was a bit of a mess – and at the cost of “only” $600,000 (and that’s in the mid-1970s!). It was over 500 pages long for two films intended to be filmed back to back and then released as “Superman” and “Superman II” (much longer than a standard film script, even for two films).

So David and Leslie Newman were brought in and they revamped the script a lot, reducing the size. Still, the end result of the Puzo/Newman screenplay was a very campy movie. So Tom Mankiewicz was brought in and his re-writes were what gave us the ultimate screenplay that was used for the hit film.


Mankiewicz was brought in by Richard Donner, who really did not like the Puzo/Newman screenplay. One of the areas that Donner had a particular problem with, as a sort of symbol of the whole campy approach that he did not like, was a cameo by actor Telly Savalas in his popular Kojak character from the “Kojak” TV series.

You see, at one point, Superman was looking for Lex Luthor and he sees a bald guy and goes to grab him and, surprise! It’s Kojak, complete with his trademark lollipop and he was even to say his catchphrase, “Who loves ya, baby?”


Now, this cameo has long been put on Puzo, but I don’t know about that. It appeared in the Newman rewrites, so it very well could have been a Newman addition. Does anyone know for sure?

Anyhow, naturally, that was cut from the end script.

OK, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week’s covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is And my Twitter feed is, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

Here’s my most recent book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? The cover is by Kevin Hopgood (the fellow who designed War Machine’s armor).


If you want to order a copy, ordering it here gives me a referral fee.

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Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends. — half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).

The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…

If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…

Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed

See you all next week!

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