We then went into the movie theater and the lights dimmed and a small sounding trumpet played as the image of a red curtain came up. The curtain opened and we saw a black and white image of a comic book and a kid flipping through the pages. Almost without warning a full orchestra kicked up and large names that I could barely read started swooshing at the audience. The music swept me away like the names that were coming and going...but as the music swelled I managed to read one word..."SUPERMAN"!
I sat transfixed through that movie. Getting majorly freaked out at the people falling down huge chasms as Krypton prepared to explode to watching poor young Clark kick a football into the stratosphere and race the train, getting his main life lesson from Jonathan Kent before he died, "(I know one thing son and it is that you are here for a REASON.") His quest to find out who he was, building the Fortress of Solitude and a weird long special effect journey with Jor-El (I was five years old and didn't care a hill of beans who Marlon Brando was!) to...this beautiful, beautiful man, dressed in blue with a red cape and red boots standing opposite a large chasm in the white fortress. The music (oh that music!) kicked in and...he flew...he FLEW...TO THE AUDIENCE...and he turned off screen. I was thrilled.
And the helicopter rescue I remember. "You've got me?! Who's GOT YOU!?!" and boom, not only was I enchanted, I was absolutely in love. It didn't take Lois long either...get flown around the city, `accidentally dropped' (yeah, like THAT wasn't intentional?!) and caught and dropped off at the terrace. Oh man...best first date EVER!
In short, I love Superman. I have pictures I drew at the age of 6 of Superman flying around. I nursed a heavy crush on Christopher Reeve for YEARS. I was on my mission when he had his accident and I remember the shock of seeing the magazine cover in the grocery store. I remember crying a bit and feeling embarassed at having to explain why to my companion. Because...because he's SUPERMAN!
And since his accident I came to respect him. No longer just a pretty face that happened to look really really GOOD in blue tights that really showed off his eyes, he inspired even more people with his quest to walk again and physically he accomplished light years more than the doctors thought he would. He continued to act and even showed up in an episode of Smallville (which really was their BEST EPISODE EVER.) He also was a powerful voice for stem cell research which he was convinced would eventually help him walk again. And like many, he seemed so firm in his convictions that he WOULD walk again...I believed him.
So today when I came to work I skimmed he headlines and saw that Christopher Reeve died...part of me is crying again. He was my first childhood crush (and don't tell me those aren't powerful!) and he represented all that was right with the world. As Superman he represented Truth, justice, and yes, the American way...and like my other posts on sidekicks, he was made human by the love of a mere mortal. A god among men, striving to do the right thing. Sent by a loving father. Sound familiar much? It's no accident.
As a human being, well...he was still a remarkable human being.
There have been other incarnations of The Man of Steel since. Lois and Clark...(where Dean Cain made a MUCH better Clark than Superman,) and now Smallville where Tom Welling IS very pretty, acts fairly well, and if anybody is the real heir to the cape, I guess it's him...but for me, Superman will ALWAYS look like Christopher Reeve.