Who would have made the best Captain America (and Red Skull) over the years?
1940s: Gary Cooper
Yes, Captain America was immortalized in a Republic movie serial starring Dick Purcell, but imagine a World War II-era feature telling the story of the patriotic hero featuring all the elements that made comic fans all over the world fall in love with the character. Nobody embodied his on-screen characters with a patriotic spirit better than the iconic Gary Cooper. Cooper solidified his heroic credentials in "The Westerner" (1940) and the mind-blowingly beautiful "North West Mounted Police" (1940), before starring in "Sergeant York" (1942), a role for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. But nowhere is it more evident that Cooper had the quiet dignity needed to play Steve Rogers than in "High Noon" (1952). Just picture a black and white shot of Cap and Bucky blazing across a battlefield, shield swinging, inspiring America to endure the dark days of the Second Great War. Cooper's Cap could have been a cultural touchstone, but alas, the world and the studios were not ready for a superhero feature until decades later.