(I have a cupboard full of mugs, each of which represent…something. In this space, until I run out of mugs, I’ll try to explain what that “something” is)
I picked this up on a family vacation to Universal Studios Theme Park, but this story isn’t about the vacation. It’s about what Superman meant to me as a boy.
In a word: “Everything”
I watched a lot of TV as a child. A whole lot.
My mother (who used the TV as my babysitter, for which I will always be grateful) would say “You’d watch an armpit licking contest if it was on TV!”
“What channel?,” was my standard response.
My mother was right, I would watch anything. But, by far, my favorite show as a child was The Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves as Superman (secret identity, Clark Kent, “…mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper”). I couldn’t get enough of that show and I still love it even though, as an adult, I can’t help but notice the low budget sets and the corny plots and dialogue.
What I liked best about the show was that Clark Kent (tall, dark hair with tortoise shell glasses) looked like my dad. As far as I was concerned, there was an excellent chance my father was, in fact, Superman. When I was little, I repeatedly asked him to admit this.
He denied it about 500 times a day.
I was obsessed. As soon as I could read, I asked for Superman comic books and studied them like the Dead Sea Scrolls. But what I really wanted, no, needed, was a Superman costume.
I remember seeing one on a shelf during a trip to Marshal Field’s with my grandmother. I never had wanted anything as badly as I wanted that outfit. My grandmother was incredibly kind and indulgent, but, for whatever reason she would not buy it. Surprisingly, “But it has a cape!” didn’t move her.
It was the greatest disappointment of my life until the 1969 Cubs came along.
I’ve told my wife that, if I had a Superman costume that fit me, I’d wear it around the house. Every day.
Yet, still no costume.
But I do have this cup, which reminds me of a boy who desperately wanted to believe his dad was a Superhero.
A good father tries to ensure his children have the things he himself was denied.
The Adventures of Superman had a classic theme and opening credits. This is the open of the first episode (1952). George Reeves isn’t in it because it’s the “origin story,” but it’s quite entertaining.
It was always amazing that no one recognized that Clark Kent looked exactly like Superman. That was his real super power. Here’s a reel of Clark/Superman in action.
Clark Kent for Frosted Flakes
Each Clark Kent had his own style of eyewear