My cousin asked me to house-sit for him. So it is me, his big house, and no cable. Just digital antenna. And Hulu and Netflix, but none of them this weekend. I am watching a marathon of “The Adventures of Superman” starring George Reeves.
The problem with that show is that there was rarely a sense of danger. Superman is bulletproof, lightening-proof, and room full of deadly radiation lightening proof. Superman flies to rescue Jimmy and Lois, crooks shoot at Superman, Superman stands with a “Hoo Hum” facial expression, the end. Almost made me add it to my list of old science fiction shows that do not withstand the test of time. A few shows had some danger, kryptonite and the like. Reduce the “Hoo hum” to “Hum.”
But some of these shows were gobs of goofy fun! I just watched “Flight to the North,” first aired on 10/1/1955, it’s a tad older than I am. Chuck Connors played a hillbilly to the Li’l Abner hilt (wish he’d done more comedy roles). A hotel manager was stunned to read the name that Chuck wrote on the register—Sylvester J. Superman—and asked him to bend a conveniently nearby iron bar. “Yew city folks shore larn fast! How’d ja know ah wuz the strongest man in Skunk Hollow County?” said S.J. Superman as he bent the bar into a U with a CREEEEEK!
There was also a gangster who reminded me of Gunther Toody from “Car 54, Where Are You?” He just got out of prison after five years, and he told a friend what he missed the most: “Lemon meringue pie!” He even tried to shake down a lady friend for one such pie that she baked for her finance. Was he jealous of the guy who was getting the girl? No, but he chased that pie all the way to Alaska. (Sylvester took it there for her: “Alasky? That’s mighty fur, ma’am!”) Pie is delicious motivation for a criminal! (Somehow that pie got to be worth $25,000 to him. Maybe it was a bet? Must be pretty good pie.)
I gotta throw some old fashioned goofy gangsters at Holly. I have an Edward G. Robinson type in mind: “Yeah, yeah, Rocky doesn’t like super dames, yeah, yeah!”
In another episode, Superman disposed of a liquid about to explode by drinking it. Holy heartburn, Superman! Later in the show, another beaker of explosive liquid is about to go BOOM! George Reeves lifts it to his lips, looks pained, and says, “Oh no, not again.” He puts it down and hustles everyone outside of the cabin, which goes BOOM.
And I gotta have Holly drink explosives sometime, except she’ll have to keep drinking. I could tie that into my dislike for the taste of beer. She’ll hate me, but I’ll giggle.
Okay, now you know what inspires older nerdy writers. Goofy older TV.