Tuesday, July 07, 2009

"Superman on Earth"

"Come with us now on a far journey, a journey that takes us millions of miles from the Earth, where many years ago the planet Krypton burned like a green star in the endless heavens. Here, civilization was far advanced, and had brought forth a race of supermen, men and women like ourselves but advanced to the absolute peak of human perfection."--From the opening of "Superman on Earth."

"Superman on Earth" was the first episode in "The Adventures of Superman." In this introductory episode, we meet Jor-El, a scientist who warns the council of the planet Krypton of its impending doom. Packing his son Kal-El into an experimental model rocket to escape the planet's destruction, Jor-El and his wife Lara face Krypton's doom together.

Eben (pronounced "ee-behn")and Sarah Kent, out on a drive, witness the crash of the infant's rocket and rescue him from the burning wreckage. As Clark grows older, he finds himself different from other kids and questions his strength, speed, and other special abilities that no one else his age seems to have. Sarah tells the 12-year old Clark of how they found him, and he seems to understand. A visual montage later and grey-haired Ma and Pa Kent are getting ready to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their adoption of Clark, when Pa has a heart attack and dies. Ma sees Clark off at the Smallville bus depot. She explains that the costume she made for him are made from the blankets he was wrapped in the day they found him and Clark is off to Metropolis.

Clark Kent takes a job at the Daily Planet so that he can be alerted to emergencies that need his attention. He tries to meet curmudgeonly Perry White, the editor of the great metropolitan newspaper, but White is too busy to talk to him. Unphased, Kent makes his way out through a broom closet, along a ledge and through White's window. As he enters the office, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen get a lead on a story of a man hanging from a dirigible 1,000 feet in the air. Clark suggests that if he gets the exclusive story, White should give him a job. White agrees, thinking him crazy, and Kent makes his first storeroom costume change and takeoff. After Superman saves the man and Kent gets his exclusive (and job), Lois asks him how he got there so fast and got the exclusive story. Clark smiles and says, "Maybe I'm a superman."

When I was in junior high and lived with my dad, I used to come home every day from school and run next door to my grandma's house. There, at 4:00 I would open a can of pork & beans or Franco-American spaghetti, eat it cold, and watch this show. My dad would come over when he got home from work and I would tell him about the episode I'd watched and he would tell me about watching the show when he was young. It started on television when he was nine years old, and my grandparents had one of the first televisions in the area. The show became something we had in common, as this was just before the first Christopher Reeve movie came out. I even bought the book Superman Serial to Cereal by Gary Grossman because I was so interested in the show. There's a list of episodes in the back and I used to mark them off once I'd seen them. I saw this episode only once and it was much later than I'd seen the rest. It was very exciting to see the origin of Superman on TV. Of course, we've all seen various versions a dozen times since in various video incarnations, but this was the first. I bought my dad the entire series on DVD over the past few years, and now I have it to enjoy all over again after 30 years. Good stuff, good memories.

1 comment:

KC Ryan said...

I've never seen that particular episode, but it sounds terrific.