It's Groundhog Day and to mark the traditional prediction of spring's arrival by the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, Ant-Man director Peyton Reed took to social media to share an interesting connection between the iconic Groundhog Day movie starring Bill Murray and the Fantastic Four and it's a connection that has taken some fans by surprise.
In the post, Reed shared an autographed photo of Murray from the 1993 film, but instead of Murray signing it with his name, the actor signed the still "Flame On! The Human Torch". In the caption, Reed explained how that autograph came to be, sharing that Murray once played The Human Torch on a radio show before his breakthrough on Saturday Night Live, something that many fans were unaware of.
A Pre-SNL Bill Murray played The Human Torch in the Fantastic Four Radio Show back in 1975. I was a fan. Years later, at the GROUNDHOG DAY junket, he signed this for me.
Happy Groundhog Day! pic.twitter.com/m2sUrhTPzc— Peyton Reed (@MrPeytonReed) February 2, 2021
"A Pre-SNL Bill Murray played The Human Torch in the Fantastic Four Radio Show back in 1975," Reed wrote. "I was a fan. Years later, at the Groundhog Day junket, he signed this for me. Happy Groundhog Day!"
In the replies, many fans were surprised about Murray's Human Torch role, but even more were surprised that the radio show existed at all. The Fantastic Four Radio Show was a short-lived, 13-episode audio program released in 1975 and was narrated by Stan Lee. In addition to Murray, the series starred Bob Maxwell as Reed Richards, Cynthia Adler as Sue Storm, Jim Pappas as Ben Grimm, and Jerry Terheyden as Doctor Doom. The series also featured a variety of other Marvel characters, including Ant-Man, Namor, Nick Fury, and more. Each episode of the series took on an issue of the early Fantastic Four comic book by Lee and Jack Kirby nearly verbatim.
Of course, Reed has his own interesting connection to the Fantastic Four. Reed was, at one point, set to direct the 2005 Fantastic Four movie -- he departed the project and was ultimately replaced by Tim Story, but Reed told ComicBook.com back in 2018 -- before the Fox/Disney deal that brought the characters back under Marvel control -- that he still has an interest in Marvel's First Family.
"Well, I certainly as a fan would love to see Fantastic Four as part of the [Marvel Cinematic Universe]," Reed said at the time. "It just feels like in the comics, man, they're the royal family. So as a fan, I would love to see it, and beyond that, who knows. Who knows if that deal's going to happen, or if so when. I have no idea, but I just know as a Marvel fan, that's something I'd love to see."
What do you think about Reed's Twitter post? Did you know about Murray's work as The Human Torch? Let us know in the comments!