Friday, July 3, 2009


Okay. Back to the fun stuff.

Faster than a speeding bullet. (Close up of revolver and the sound of firing) More powerful than a locomotive. (Medium range shot of a steam locomotive with accompanying sound) Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound. (Long shot of skyscrapers fades to crowd looking up) “Look, up in the sky.” (Woman in crowd) “It’s a bird.” (Man in crowd) “It’s a plane.” (Man in crowd) It’s Superman. (Shot of Superman flying) Yes, Superman. Strange visitor who came to earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman . . . who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way. (Intro closes with Superman in his traditional, hands-on-hips stance with his cape and an American flag waving in the breeze)

I hope I got the narrative correct up there. If I didn’t, someone click on the COMMENT button and straighten me out. But I watched that program and listened to Bill Kennedy’s narrative was burned so many times that it's burned into my brain.

The series ran from 1952 until 1958. There were a lot of great episodes, but I want to tell you today about one of my all-time favorites. It was episode #40 entitled “Jungle Devil,” which aired December 19, 1953. During this episode Jimmy, Lois, and Clark travel to a jungle in search of a lost scientist, and encounter a dangerous jungle creature. I don’t remember much about the jungle creature except I think he was the guy who stole the diamond eye out of the idol the natives worshipped.

The climax of the show was when Clark pointed out that the diamond may have fallen into the conveniently placed quicksand pool. Cleverly, he concealed a chunk of coal in his hand before punching his fist into the quicksand. With his hand concealed, we watched him squeeze the coal as the narrator explains how diamonds are formed from carbon that’s been subjected to a gazillion tons of pressure for a bazillion years.

When Clark removes his hand from the quicksand, he opens it to reveal a 5,000 karat diamond that’s perfectly with with the typical 58 facets and gleaming like a jewel. This episode guest starred James Seay as Bill Hurd, Al Kikume as the Native Chief, Henry Escalante as a Native Man, Leon Lontoc as the Witch Doctor, Doris Singleton as Gloria Harper, Damian O'Flynn as Dr. Ralph Harper, Nacho Galindo as Alberto, Bernie Gozier as another Native Man. The director was Thomas Carr. Screenplay by Peter Dixon.

This episode was filmed when they were still using black and white film. It wasn’t until the following year (1954) that the color episodes began. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a color television so it didn’t really make much difference. I still prefer to watch them in black and white today.

Now, the final part of this post will give you an idea of how brilliant I am. Shortly after watching that episode (which I think I must have watched as a re-run because I would only have been about 4 years old when it originally aired) anyway, shortly after watching it I decided to try it myself and create my own huge diamond. I went downstairs to my dad’s workshop and found a bag of Kingsford charcoal briquettes. I took one of them and placed it on the workbench and balanced a couple of bricks on top of it. I knew it probably wasn’t enough weight, but I could be patient. I checked my charcoal briquette every day for a week, but I couldn’t see much change taking place.

My diamond manufacturing plant was dismantled when my dad asked me what the bricks were doing there. I told him I was making a diamond. He gave me a rather strange look before replying, “Well, let me know when it’s done because I need to use the workbench.”

If you were a fan of Superman, let us know. Click the COMMENT button at the bottom and tell us your favorite episode. Here’s a couple of good websites with a lot of great info about Superman.

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