E-mail Exchange between Bill Kane and Chuck Jones
on Saturday, June 06, 2009
Subject: Malcolm Mealey
Hello, I am a life-long Superman fan and would be very interested
to know anything you could tell me about your step-dad Malcolm
Mealey. Having watched his Superman appearances many times I
have always been impressed by his unique contribution to the
series. Do you know of any other appearances he may have done
on tv or in the movies. Some biographical information would be
greatly appreciated as well. There is a wonderful website called
GR-Tac which is dedicated to fans of the late, great George Reeves.
This year will mark the fiftieth year of his passing in June.
All of us his adult fans would greatly appreciate any and all
information you could impart about your stepdad. Personal annecdotes
and any thing at all you may recall him saying about George Reeves
would really be a wonderful addition to this fanbase. Thanks
for your time, Bill Kane
Bill, It is kind of you to inquire. Mal was born in Ventura
on November 18, 1920.
As you know he performed in two episodes of Superman.
One was The Deserted Village in which he was the villain
and the other titled No Holds Barred in which he was the
hero (after Superman of course). So he got to play both the good
and bad guy. Mal was a bodybuilder and at one time and ran a
gym with Steve Reeves (of Hercules fame) in Hollywood -- before
Steve became famous. So yes, at the time he was probably in better
shape than George Reeves who played Superman.
Both of the above were made in 1951. Later in 1952 he also played
the love interest of Margie in the My Little Margie television
program and then also had a bit part in a movie called Working
Her Way Through College. I believe he had other bit parts
in several other movies but I haven't been able to locate them.
As you probably know actors' names are often not listed when
you have a lesser role.
Mal was performing at the Pasadena Playhouse and/or Sartou's
Theater when he met my mother who was acting there at the time.
In 1954 he married my mother and in 1955 my half-brother Mark
was born. Pretty much from that time on his acting days were
over and he got a "real job" to support the family.
However, he never gave up his love for theater and the movies
and in the seventies and eighties he ran a classic film review
at a local theater in Fullerton, CA. Mal would do research on
the movie and before the viewing of the film, would provide the
patrons with some background on the actors, directors, producers,
and many interesting ante dotes.
Throughout his life he continued to be involved in weight training
and body building and in fact during his late sixties and early
seventies he trained weightlifters at a gym in Anaheim, CA. When
he wasn't traveling to Mexico, South America, or England, he
was also an avid art collector. His biggest collections were
ceremonial masks from various cultures of the world and pre-Columbian
art. During the late fifties and early sixties, Mal carved tiki's
out of palm logs for a hobby. It would take him about a month
to carve a tiki with a mallet and chisel and he became the talk
of the neighborhood. Most of his tiki's were sold to Steve Crane
(Lana Turner's ex) who built hotels (Hilton Hotels I believe)
at the time. Within the hotels were Polynesian themed restaurants
which were quite the rage back in those days.
From the mid-sixties through about 1990, he owned his own garden
art production company. He made planters, statuary, and fountains
out of cement. This served as another creative outlet for him.
Then from 1990, until his death in 1998 he ran a little art store
in Fullerton, CA that had quite an eclectic selection of pieces
from Mexico, Central America, South America, and Africa.
Mal died in November of 1998 from abdominal cancer, just a few
days before his 78th birthday.
I hope this gives you some idea of who Mal was and what a varied
and interesting life he lived. We all miss my step dad. He was
a wonderful and charming person.
I've also attached some photos of him.
Unfortunately, I don't remember any comments or stories Mal may
have told regarding George Reeves. I do remember his shock upon
the news that George was dead and how he always thought him to
be a nice man. Of course, as a young boy I thought it impossible
for Superman to die, so it was a sad time for me as well.