Superman: The Twenty-Second
Since that summer night in 1934
when writer Jerry Siegel came up with the
Superman legend as we know it (he was initially
conceived as a villain), there seemingly has been an endless
number of adventures for this superior being, throughout our
life and times. And they have been told via every conceivable
medium and execution you can imagine: comic books, newspapers,
radio, movie serials (broken down into 15 breathtaking weekly
“chapters” as we remember them in the early fifties,
Alyn), animated cartoons, various TV series and
feature films (starring of course Christopher Reeve) and even
a Broadway musical. We never seem to tire of him nor his saga.
And now, he is back! Yet again.
Yet, another major motion picture, Superman Returns,
starring newcomer Brandon Routh.
This one is steeped in Christian
allegory, what with Brando intoning (yes, Marlon has been
“resurrected” for a posthumous performance—
that’s how good an actor he is!) such prophetic lines
only lack the light to show the way.”
have sent them you, my only son.”
And there’s that descending-through-space-in-the-Crucifixion-pose
And while the Superman-as-Christ
allusions are so pronounced in this film (Superman Returns
to Save Mankind From Its Sins headlines the NY Times
review), Jerry Siegel did not have that in mind when he created
the character over 60 years ago.
In an excerpt from an interview
in the 1940’s, he spoke of the source for his inspiration:
Kent grew not only out of my private life, but also
out of Joe Shuster's (the artist for Superman). As a
high school student, I thought that someday I might
become a reporter, and I had crushes on several attractive
girls who either didn't know I existed or didn't care
I existed. So it occurred to me: What if I was really
terrific? What if I had something special going for
me, like jumping over buildings or throwing cars around
or something like that?
or not— and maybe it’s the traditional Catholic
teaching in us—Superman as a Christ figure, has always
jumped out at us. Like, from Day (or “Duh?!”)
One. Way back when we were still in short pants.
it is so obvious. You make the call.
Only in LA: The Voice of Rocket
So here’s our son, walking
the family Chihuahua up the private road. A lost Jaguar pulls
up alongside him, and asks directions to a nearby restaurant.
He provides it.
The driver, a woman, then asks
the lad if he has ever heard of Rocky and Bullwinkle.
Well of course he has! What do you think we’re raising
Whereupon, she begins
to do the voice of “Rocky” followed by that of
“Natasha.” And she does it perfectly. As she should.
Because she is June Foray. And Rocky is the
most famous of the countless characters to whom she has given
the gift of her wonderful voice. She has in fact, been unofficially
titled: “The Queen of Voice Performers.” Headshot
and résumé follow:
in 1917, June Foray has become the goddess of animation
voice actors, having a career that has spanned over
60 years. She has been the voice for Granny (Sylvester
and Tweety's owner) from the Warner Bros. cartoons.
Granny has even had a revival of sorts in The Sylvester
& Tweety Mysteries and Baby Looney Tunes.
More of her work includes Merry Melodies, Smurfs,
Tiny Toon Adventures, Disney's Mulan,
and the Flintstones. And she was the voice
of Rocky, Natasha, Nell Fenwick, and other female characters
on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.
Ah, LA. That’s why we live here.
For the culture.
A special thanks to you Ms.
Foray! That at 89, you’re still not acting your age.
And that you are still bringing smiles to the faces of yet
another generation. Even the Chihuahua seemed amused.
IWOSC Reads Its
The Independent Writers Of
Southern California (IWOSC), of which we are
members, will once again sponsor its twice-yearly public reading
program at Border’s Bookstore in Westwood, on
July 9th, from 7-9pm (Free admission).
We will be participating, along
with approximately a dozen other members— each of us
assigned about ten minutes reading time.
The program covers a broad spectrum
of writing genres including novels, short stories, plays,
non-fiction, essays, poetry and something called a Muse-Letter.
We have participated on
two occasions and found it to be a very stimulating and fun
evening. Yes FUN. Many of the pieces are of a more humorous
bent. Hope you can join us.
This Book Will Save Your Life:
We had never read a book— fiction
or non— that so captures the quirkiness of LA, in all
its culturally peccadillo-ed splendor. Not to mention that
type of angst that is so indigenous to this particular coast.
And yes, incongruously, the title This Book Will Save
Your Life does suggests something along the lines
of the “self-help” genre rather than that of a
Its author, A.
M. Holmes, is a bold and edgy writer whose credits—
beyond her nine books— include: contributing editor
at Vanity Fair, short story and
essay writer for The New Yorker, The New York
Times, Harper’s; winner of Guggenheim
and NEA fellowships, etc. And while
she resides in New York (of course), she must have spent a
good deal of time here, as evidenced by the likes of…
in the distance, there is something orange and smoky;
it takes him a moment to decide— brush fire or
simply dawn in Los Angeles?”
However, the book is not about
LA per se, but as Stephen King in one of the book jacket blurbs,
think this brave story of a lost man’s reconnection
with the world could become a generational touchstone,
like Catch-22, The Monkey Wrench Gang or Catcher
in the Rye.”
We might not go that far (and
what is The Monkey Wrench Gang by the way?), but
Ms. Holmes can write. And having had the opportunity to speak
with her at a couple of book publishing parties, we have found
her to be an interesting woman in her own right, beyond the
dynamics she brings to the page.
Anyway, she had us by
began to cry. He cried without making a sound, and when
he realized he was crying, the very fact of crying,
or the fear of it, told him that something was very
wrong. And he cried harder.
this “It”? Was this how “It”
happens? Was there something before this, something
he should have noticed, a warning? Either this was the
warning or this was IT.”
Fun Fact For The
Fourth From Philadelphia
With the Fourth of July here,
we offer this little gem from America’s history:
(to Popular Belief)”, which happens to
be the book title from which this fact was excerpted (Joey
Green; BROADWAY BOOKS; 2005), George was not the first.
Here is how that goes,
as taken directly from the Mr. Green’s book. Follow
the bouncing ball:
The United States was established on July 4, 1776. George
Washington was inaugurated thirteen years later, on
April 30, 1789.
• During the intervening years,
the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia drew
up the Articles of Confederation (the first American
• In 1781, Maryland representative
John Hanson was elected the first president
of the Congress of the Confederation. His official title
was “president of the United States in Congress
• After Hanson, seven other men
served as president:
o Elias Boudinot
o Thomas Mifflin
o Richard Henry Lee
o John Hancock (and we thought he just
hand a fancy handwriting)
o Nathaniel Gorham
o Arthur St. Clair
o Cyrus Griffin
• In 1787, congress held a constitutional
convention. The delegates wrote the current constitution,
ratified by the states in 1788.
• The following year, the ratifying
states elected Washington our nation’s ninth president
(but the first under the new constitution).
More information than many of us will ever want to know,
for sure Yet it does serve as a reminder that history
and government are not about key dates and names, mandated
for memorization while in grade school. It is about
what transpires in between those dates; in
between those holiday weekends of summer.
We were especially reminded
of this having just returned from Philadelphia;
THE place where most of the aforementioned drawing up,
ratifying, signing and electing took place.
The setting for such history
is quite dramatic and moving. Although we must admit,
we were somewhat taken aback by the size and location
of The Liberty Bell. We somehow
expected it to be better hung, so to speak.
Ah, but Jim’s
on South Street was everything it was cracked up to
be in terms of making the quintessential Philadelphia
cheese steak sandwich. Arteries be damned! But we digress.
Have a great 4th!