Who Was Superman at the World’s Fair? Part Two

In case you missed it, there is raging simmering controversy over a longstanding claim (and one I repeat in the book) that Ray Middleton, an up-and-coming local New York actor, played Superman at the 1940 New York World’s Fair. See previous post here (or just scroll down = exercise). There is another good recap at Tenth Letter.

After lots of disagreement in the comments (Mark Evanier also posted on it again), I did some more hunting, but with no luck. So until we can find more primary evidence, I asked an expert to look at the evidence we already have.

Linda Budinoff Spurlock is a biological anthropologist with a Ph.D. from Kent State University in Biomedical Sciences who specializes in forensic art and scientific illustration. Her work with facial and head reconstruction helped solve the ‘Deerfield Joane Doe Case’ and was integral in the 2000 civil ‘retrial’ of the infamous Sam Sheppard case (which inspired The Fugutive). 

I gave Linda all of the photos we’ve looked at; this is her response:

After viewing the various pictures of Ray, I can see that his chin and nose often look different in some, depending on his facial expression and camera angle.  For example in the ‘1950 Ray Middleton profile’ (right), his chin looks strong and projecting, much like the Superman profile from the parade. 

Too bad the ‘supermansameday’ parade picture (left) isn’t more clear.  I cannot ‘exclude’ Middleton as Superman in that picture because of the quality, and also because the facial proportions are so very similar.  This means there is not even one clear difference that would indicate that Superman was played by someone other than Middleton.

If the parade picture was clearer and I could tell that Superman really did have a strong bend in the bridge of his nose (which seems to be there) then Middleton would be excluded since his nasal bridge is obviously quite straight.

Visit Dr. Spurlock’s website here. She is also a professional archaeologist and is co-editor of Caves & Culture: 10,000 Years of Ohio History.

One thought on “Who Was Superman at the World’s Fair? Part Two

  1. The facial proportions are similar, but the hairline is very different, Ray’s earlobes are more delicate in the side-by-side shot from your last post: http://brad-ricca.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/sameday.jpg Ray also has higher cheek-bones that are clear in the above shot, which causes his face to fold differently when he smiles. In the side-by-side from your last post, Ray has a dimple on his left cheek, Superman has no hint of that. Their mouths seem to make different shapes when they smile. Their eyebrow shapes and the implied shape of their eye-sockets are way off too. But most tellingly is the nose and how Supes appears to have a slightly down-tilting nose with a slight bump on it – whereas Ray does not.

    Yeah, I definitely don’t think it’s Ray.

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