I’ve spent a lot of time this week reading Michael Palin: Diaries 1969-79 – The Python Years. It’s a book that’s not only humungous (I only trust myself to read it in bed, never daring to take it outdoors for fear of dropping it on a small child and squashing them flat), but also beautifully written and evocative of a time long gone, back when Michael was still getting used to his Monty Python’s Flying Circus fame and looking toward a future in which he hoped he could retire at 40 and travel the world (it actually took him a few years longer than that, but… bingo!).
Last night I read of his adventures as he hosted Saturday Night Live in New York with a young Bill Murray and John Belushi. Apparently he had to put live cats down his trousers for one skit, and the poor scared felines relieved themselves all over him on live TV. We’re not just talking liquids, either. He was mortified, but, as always with such events, it made wonderful television.
But here’s the reason I mention his book in this post: on 6 May 1978, Margot Kidder – currently filming Superman The Movie at Shepperton – popped round to Michael’s pad for a meal with her pal Dan Aykroyd. Remember, this was before anybody had seen the film, in the days when nobody believed a man could fly.
Apparently, most of her work involves hanging in harness alongside Christopher Reeve whilst people do strange things to them. They have to fight an eagle on the top of the Empire State Building. The first ‘eagle’ they got was from Taiwan and looked so un-eagle like, with a funny red crop on its head, that it was sent home and it was decided instead to use large falcons. The falcons would only fly after chicken bones, so Margot and Superman were suspended, with wind machines blowing them, between one man hurling falcons towards another man holding chicken legs.
As Superman perspired heavily, leaving tell-tale patches around the armpits of his costume, one member of the crew was standing by to blow-dry his armpits.
The length and design of Superman’s cock was the subject of much controversy, which culminated in Superman appearing at a photo-session with a large metal dong down his tights. Margot said she got so fed up with this thing digging into her leg that she took to flicking it with her fingernail, causing a light but noticeable ting every time she touched his shorts.
Now THAT’S the kind of info you don’t get on a DVD extra, isn’t it?