If you're a fan-boy then you've probably heard of the talk from the early 50s about a proposed Sub-Mariner television show. It was supposed to have starred actor Richard Egan. And though the former army judo instructor and World War Two combat vet would have been good for the part , the person I always imagine as the Sub-Mariner is Johnny Weissmuller.
I picture a Sub-Mariner movie starring Weissmuller being made sometime between the MGM and RKO Tarzan film series. Namor's undersea kingdom (it wasn't referred to as Atlantis until the Silver Age) would probably have been a lot different than it was in the comics. Most likely a city under a dome of some sort. And there would be a lot of "shot through a fishbowl " photography. Brenda Joyce who played Jane to Weissmuller's Tarzan in the RKO series would have been ideal as NY policewoman Betty Dean. And Frances Gifford or Linda Christian could have been Lady Dorma. Weissmuller with his angular (if not triangular) features , whiplash eyebrows and lean swimmer's physique was a spot-on match for Bill Everett's comic book creation.
Truth is I cant help but think the Sub-Mariner's creator didn't have Weissmuller in mind when he brought the prince of the undersea kingdom to life. After all Weissmuller was the greatest swimmer of the era , setting records in distances from 50 meters to the half mile. The star of the 1924 and 1928 Olympics he was undefeated in official competition and was an accomplished water polo player as well.Who would have been a better model for the Sub-Mariner? Buster Crabbe? No. He's Aquaman.
Retro art by Vance Capley
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