Waxing Nostalgic Over Classic TV

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Death of Superman

"Look, up in the sky!"

There have been many incarnations of Superman. He has appeared in comic books, cartoons, tv shows, and movies. But perhaps the iconic Superman is the one created by George Reeves, who appeared as The Man of Steel from 1951-1958 in one movie (Superman and the Mole Men) and 104 television episodes.

I was totally entranced by the show when I was a kid, and never missed an episode. Natually, I had the required gear, a bright red and blue Superman costume, complete with magic cape. I used to fly around the house and drive my mother crazy. Actually, I was hoping the cape might give me at least a couple of magic powers, and I briefly considered jumping off the roof of the house to see if I could fly before thinking better of it.

So when I heard that Superman was dead, that he had killed himself, it was pretty devastating news. It didn't compute. I thought only kryptonite could kill Superman. If Superman could die, what other beliefs that I held sacred might prove to be untrue? Was Santa Claus for real? The tooth fairy? My mind boggled at the possibilities.

George Reeves death was ruled a suicide, but many people believe that he was murdered and the crime was covered up. A couple of years ago, a really great film called Hollywoodland chronicled the story of his death. But however he really died, his death contributed to a crisis of identity for a lot of grief-stricken American kids.

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