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The Day Superman Died (3 of 3)
Series: The Man of Steel
OPEN: (We showed a picture on the screen of George Reeves as Superman with a flowing cape)
Who is this? (Superman)
Of course it's Superman.
This was THE superman.
He was the strange visitor from another planet with powers and abilities beyond those of Superman. This was the hero that I watched as each week I watched for another exciting episode of Superman.
All those other guys that played Superman were pretenders.
They were just actors.
(Turning my back on the audience and putting my fists on my hips, Superman style)
THIS was Superman.
(Pause) Oh, alright. He was just an actor too.
But for 5 years back in the 50's he reigned as the superhero on TV.
George Reeves was one of original actors who portrayed Superman on TV. Back in 1953, Reeves' was making an appearance as Superman at a department store when a young fan pulled out his father's loaded .45 caliber Army Colt and pointed it directly at Reeves' chest.
Now, why would that young man do that?
Why would he want to shoot Superman?
Because the boy thought that "Superman" couldn't die.
He'd watched Reeves on TV as bullets bounced off his chest, and he just wanted to see it in real life. But, of course Reeves was only an actor. The bullet WASN'T going to bounce off his chest... and IF he couldn't think of a way to talking the boy out of shooting that gun, he was going to die.
Moments away from death Reeves coolly told the boy that while the bullet wouldn't hurt HIM "when bullets bounce off my chest, they might hurt you and others around here."
Superman couldn't die.
George Reeves did die in 1959, but he REALLY wasn't Superman.
Superman... couldn't die!!!
But he did!
20 years ago in 1993 Superman died.
The comics killed him off.
Most people thought it was a gimmick to raise comic book sales.
And it did.
One Comic Book store that usually ordered 50 Superman comics per issue... sold 2200 ...
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