Politics is my second love. Tonight, I’m visiting my first
I was only 10 years old and found it hard to sit still for five minutes, much less 2 and a half hours. But there I was, wide eyed and innocent, sitting in a movie theater on a cold day in December of 1978, watching the opening credits of Superman: The Movie soar across the silver screen.
My older brother was next to me and later he would gleefully tell mom and dad how I sat speechless, mouth wide open in amazement. In adoration even. My favorite comic book hero, the subject of many pencil and crayon creations at our dining room table, was now being brought to life before my very eyes.
There have been many pivotal moments in my life that I remember clearly. My first day of kindergarten, the first time I looked over my shoulder as I peddled a bike down the road and saw my dad was no longer holding the seat for me, my first kiss, the first time I had sex (who could forget THAT!), and watching my bride come down the aisle towards me.
But Superman. Oh my God. Before the first kiss was even thought of, when girls were still icky, and learning to ride a bike was a distant memory, Superman defined my 10 year old personality. Truth, Justice, and the American way! That mantra may have planted the seeds of my political future.
Unknown to the little kid on the front row, Superman was created in the 1930s, during the depression. The character as we know him today originally fought against the causes of hardship and poverty. But, of course, he wasn’t real. It took a Democratic President named Franklin Roosevelt to lift America out of depression. But if FDR could have written Superman into his New Deal, I’m sure he would have.
Now, almost 70 years since the Depression, and almost 20 years since we last saw Christopher Reeve in the red cape, Superman Returns. Tonight. 10PM.
It’s been a ritual for me these last few weeks to Google the latest reviews of the movie. Most have been positive. A few have been negative. The predominant theme I’ve noticed in the scattered negative reviews have been a yearning for Christopher Reeve – an almost “how dare they make a new Superman” attitude.
It might surprise them that many people never took to Christopher Reeve as Superman. My dad didn’t. He grew up during the depression. He saw Kirk Alyn first portray Superman at the movies, and then watched 105 episodes of the George Reeves TV series in the 1950s. To my father, George Reeves was Superman, not Christopher Reeve. It will be the same now. Brandon Routh will be Superman to today’s movie goers. Old-timers will have to accept it. I have.
So tonight, I’ll be 10 years old again for at least 2 and a half hours. This time my wife will see me transfixed with wonder. She then might understand why I haven’t shut up about this movie in months. But unlike that cold December day in 1978, I won’t embarrass her by running up the aisle, arms stretched out, and making a swooshing sound when the movie is over.
Or will I?